The End of a Chapter

Dear Friends,
With regret and sadness I have to inform you that I am leaving Nepal. There are several reasons for my departure and they have had a cumulative effect. It wasn’t until my recent visit to Greece that I realized how empty I had become. I was both physically and spiritually exhausted. Living alone for so long without the grace of the Church, without Orthodox fellowship had exacted a heavy toll. It took several weeks of attendance at services and reception of the eucharist and the lovingkindness of friends in Thessaloniki before I began once again to feel the strength of God’s grace within me.
A second reason has to do with my original motivation for coming to Nepal. The young Hindu priest who wished to become Orthodox and whom I first met in 2006, for reasons known only to himself and God, has refused to meet with me even once in the past 16 months. He no longer even responds to my emails. It is both puzzling and disheartening. I learned while at Vatopaidi that he is even now however seeking the help of the Romanian Orthodox Church to visit Romania and Greece and to have his family received into the Orthodox Church. Imagine having multiple jurisdictions in this small country with only 1 Orthodox family (should he actually succeed in becoming Orthodox) and one Orthodox priest. It is not a situation in which I wish to participate. He has made it clear that he wants to do things on his own and desires no help from me.
Finally, almost as soon as I arrived in Nepal in August 2013, I was once again hit with asthma, something I had been free of for a few years. It grew worse with each passing month. When I went to Greece, however, after a few weeks I was able to be free of symptoms and medicine. However, as soon as I returned to Nepal, the asthma returned and is even worse now than before. I am back on medication and yet struggling to breathe during the day and even more so at night. In fact, I had the first “asthma attack” in years just a few nights ago. In spite of the medication, the asthma attack is getting worse with each passing day and night.
Thus as I wrote at the beginning of this post, I am sad and regretful that I have to leave. I pray that one day someone else, better yet, a team of younger, healthier Orthodox believers will come to Nepal to enter upon longterm mission work here. Nepal is actually very open to the Gospel and the Orthodox Faith is a far better fit to the culture than the American version of Charismatic Protestantism that is being reproduced throughout the country. But as yet, Orthodoxy is virtually unknown here. The fields are ready for the harvest. Please pray that the Lord of the harvest will raise up workers.
To those of you who have been faithful to pray for me and to support me financially, I am so grateful and I thank you. Forgive me for being unable to complete the work that we all helped to begin here. Some small seeds have been planted. My Nepali language teacher says that he wants to meet me in Greece in order to learn more about the Church and the monastic life there. By your prayers and God’s grace may these small seeds yet spring up to bear some fruit.
What to do after I return to America is an open question. I ask your continued prayers that God would go before me and prepare the way and reveal that way to me. Thank you so very much.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Seraphim

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11 Responses to The End of a Chapter

  1. Thank you, Father, for your service to Christ and your commitment to bring the Gospel to all peoples. Your situation is why we must make our offering to Almighty God and let Him judge. St. Paul said to the Corinthians (did he not?) that he does not even judge himself. This is one of the great mysteries of life; our concepts of success and failure must be laid aside as we simply (!) live a life of repentance and service to our Lord. May the Lord guide your steps!

  2. Dear Father, Thank you for all your work especially your visit to Tobabao, Philippines. May Saint John watch over you and with the hand of Christ, guide you in your future endeavours. God Bless you.
    Nikita Gileff.

  3. Donna Caldwell says:

    Dear Father, May you return to find refreshing knowing that you are loved. Try not to think of leaving Nepal as a failure. 1 Corinthians 3:16 comes to mind, I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. You have been the planter and our gracious Lord will bring the growth in Nepal.
    With love and gratitude for you and all of your work,

  4. elizabeth s. says:

    Dearest Father,
    In deed how sad, but we know He works all things together for good to those who love Him. Your return home (at least until you have a new assignment) will be so welcome to me personally. I have followed the path like a drunken sailor and am in need of your hand. May God watch over you that you return safely to us.

    a sinner,

  5. Lucia Garner says:

    Dear Fr. Seraphim,
    I hear your disappointment and discouragement, but it seems pretty clear that God has something else for you to do. You never know what impact your presence has been in Nepal. You may not directly experience the fruit of your labor, but God will give the increase and others will know. May the Lord give you peace and direct your steps and bring you safely back to the United States for now. We are praying for you. Pray for us.

    Love in Christ,

  6. fr.silouan says:

    God bless you Father Seraphim. It was a monumental undertaking to do alone and having to learn the language was no small feat. It will be good to have you back. May it be blessed. fr.silouan

  7. Toni G. says:

    Dear Father, you have always followed God’s leading and have been directed by situations that have been hard but God’s goodness always follows. I believe this is another of those times and hope to see what comes from your obedience in my lifetime. He called and you went. In selfish gratitude, I am happy you are home. Your spiritual daughter, Johanna

  8. The Lord sustained you there alone for a reason even if you cannot see it and you remain in our prayers. Sr Margaret.

  9. Kristine Corey says:

    Dear Father Seraphim,
    You had a mission in mind when you left to go to Nepal. You never expected to do the work there alone and yet it appears you were not even met halfway by those you were hoping to work with. It sounds like you were left in a desert, if you will, to do everything on your own.I know that God will honor the work that you began and in the future I’m sure that those young people that you hope for will show up and carry on with the work you started. Once again, you have planted seeds and it matters not how big or small they are. For even the tiniest of the mustard seeds thrived and so shall the seeds which you have planted.
    Now you need to take time to allow yourself to heal spiritually and physically. For you can not take care of others or help others until you are well yourself. I too will selfishly say I’m glad you’re home. It will be very interesting to see what God has in store for you next. I pray I will get to see you soon.
    In Christ and with love,
    Kristine C.

  10. fr. radu from cluj says:

    Dear Fr.Seraphim!

    Mayby itS come a time for you to rest, a time dedicate to preyer, fast, reading the Scripture and the Holy Fathers. prayers for Nepal, for Phillipines and others parts where Christ throught You planted seeds, smalls or bigs, no mether.

    not all missions of even the apostols had laures, some national groups are more open to Gosple then others, or in ather times athers

    think to St. Andrew he had a little succes with the slavic tribes, but after 1000 yeas russians and others slavic nations convert to Christ and bring to Church a lots of saints. we have to preach Chirist not ourself and we have to let Holy Spirit to work.

    like a sugestion take a sabatic year in Romania, for example, one year in an orthodox church will halp you in the next missions.

    and one more think, u depart from Nepal, but the Holy Spirit dosent!!!


  11. janie pyle (Magdalena) says:

    Praying your breathing is better is better. I have recently moved to an apartment and am selling my house…..more time for prayer and I am closer to church. as ever, Magdalena (Janie Pyle)

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