Let's give a warm Axia welcome to our first Woman of the Week of 2021, Christina Andresen! Christina is Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Director of Ministries. We asked her to tell you how she became involved with OCF:
"While I was baptized as an infant, my family were not regular church-goers until I was in middle school. My mom says I started asking questions that she wasn’t sure how to answer, and so my parents decided to put us in Sunday school. I remember being in love from the very beginning. Quite honestly, while I remember details about my childhood prior to our integration into the life of the Church, I remember very little about who I was--what I thought about God, people, and the world.
"My experience in college with Orthodox Christian Fellowship was pivotal for me in many ways. OCF gave me so many first experiences: attending a mission parish, being part of pan-Orthodoxy, meeting young converts, having a spiritual father, sharing fellowship with other young people who loved Jesus and the Church the way I did, serving in a leadership position in the Church. It was also through these experiences that I felt the call to attend seminary and commit myself to a life in ministry. And of course, to top it all off, I met my husband on an OCF Real Break trip. Truly, I don’t know who I would be without my OCF story.
"I’m very grateful for the many people who patiently guided me from adolescence into adulthood, especially those people who provided me with an Orthodox “home” when I was in college and at seminary. It was through loving relationships where I was treated as family and accepted for who I was that I think I internalized what it means to be a Christian. Whether I was having a moment of youthful zeal and being a know-it-all when I really knew nothing, trying to get up after a difficult fall, or suffering because of an unexpected tragedy, God provided for me in His mercy through the hospitality, gentleness, and kindness of others."
Our Woman of the Week, Christina Andresen, is the Director of Ministries for Orthodox Christian Fellowship. We asked here to tell you about her work:
"For the past 9.5 years, I have had the great joy to serve Orthodox college students on staff with Orthodox Christian Fellowship. It is a daily joy for me to hear about what is going on in their lives, pray with and for them, and challenge them to ask tough questions. I especially love working collaboratively with the Student Leadership Board to offer creative and meaningful experiences for their peers. Seeing them inspired to live a life in Jesus Christ and willing to commit their gifts to the Kingdom of Heaven motivates me to wake up every morning. And to see them after they graduate continue to go deeper in their faith and give back to their communities gives me reason to thank God daily.
"And, as many of my former student leaders can tell you, I also love seeing them fall in love and get married and raise families in the Church (if any of them are reading this, they are laughing and rolling their eyes at me right now).
"This year, unsurprisingly, has been such a strange ebb and flow of emotions around the closure of churches and schools, the lack of meaningful human interaction, the fear and anxieties around illness and social unrest, and the constant disappointments that follow every “pivot” as we so euphemistically like to name them. What has given me great hope in a time of turmoil and uncertainty, however, has been the desire I’ve seen in our young people to find their home, their foundation, their haven from the storm of the world, in the Church. With many of the other distractions or options pared away against our will, it’s heartening to realize that the place that most young people seem to be turning for solace and community is the loving embrace of the Church.
"As someone deeply committed to offering young people the chance to encounter Jesus in the Church, this realization has been convicting. We cannot sit by and wait for “this all to be over” so things can “go back to normal”--we absolutely must bring the light of Christ and His love and mercy into the world now in whatever way we can and at whatever cost to our own convenience or worldly comfort. The gospel is a message of hope, it’s the good news we proclaim with great joy, and all of us, our young people perhaps most of all, need to tangibly experience that hope and joy right now."
We asked our Woman of the Week, Christina Andresen, to tell you about her morning routine:
"With three kids, our family morning routines are both very structured and completely unpredictable. In a best-case-scenario, I wake up around 5:15 to work out, get ready for the day, and occasionally have a few minutes to myself. The rest of the family is up around 6:30 for breakfast, getting ready for school, and morning prayers. We have a pretty simple morning prayer rule, and everyone takes a turn. Of course, there are also the mornings we spend half our morning family time looking for someone's shoes or homework or having a silly argument about brushing teeth or wearing a jacket.
"Currently, thanks to COVID, my favorite morning blessing is when the kids get out for school on time and my husband gets back from dropping them off before we both have to start our work days (from home) and we share a pot of coffee and do a crossword together."
Thank you, Christina!