Nias island lies off the west shore of Sumatra, Indonesia. Ten years ago, a big tsunami came and swept away all the coastal regions and their inhabitants. More than 350,000 died then, some of whom have never been found. For years now, their families have been looking for them everywhere to no effect.
Under these circumstances, the paces of the Orthodox Mission led me there, ten years ago. A simple Orthodox priest from far Australia, Fr. Nikolaos Marketos, visited the island. I went along with him. When we arrived, Fr. Nikolaos saw the catastrophe, raised his hands to the sky and asked the Lord’s blessing to do something on the devastated island.
Finally, he made the decision to found a school and an adjacent clinic there. Initially, there were 25 students, but gradually they were increased to 170. Subsequently, a church in honor of Saint Nikolaos was built, which was followed by another one dedicated to Saint Catherine. Finally, in 2011, with an anonymous donation through the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, we were able to build the third church of Saints Paul and Martha to meet the needs of our faithful. We cordially thank you for this great help.
Last year, His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine of Singapore ordained a deacon for the island. Besides the three islands where he ministers, he is also the principal of our “Saint Nicholas School”. This deacon is Fr. Chariton Zega, who is newly-wed and has a little daughter. I pray to the All-Benevelont God that he will become a priest in order to minister there and conduct all the needful services.
Besides this good news, we are also concerned with the development of our missionary work. Fr. Chariton lives with his family in a room of the school. Of course, it’s not the appropriate place to live in, but what can we do? Everything here in our young Mission is limited. Thus, I thought that an appropriate house should be built so that they can later live there, when the family grows. Therefore, I pray that God will send us a warm-hearted donor to offer 25,000 euros for this purpose.
Moreover, the number of students increases. This is gladsome, but also pressing, because we have no room to accommodate all these children. Hence we are planning to build at least two more classrooms. If this happens, everyone on the island will rejoice, for the children will be able to attend classes in their region.
These are our updates, dear brothers. I pray that the Almighty God will enrich you with His abundant grace.
Wishing in the Lord,
Fr. Chrysostomos Manalu