February 28, 2020

Missionary Jennifer Rice (MTS 2016) Returns to Campus

The HCHC community was delighted to welcome back Jennifer Rice recently while she was on furlough from her work as a missionary in the Guatemalan village of Aguacate under the auspices of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). During her days on campus, Jennifer spoke to students about her experience as a missionary at Vespers and at an evening event hosted by the students’ Missions Committee.

Before enrolling at Holy Cross in the Master of Theological Studies program, Jennifer had been a high school teacher for some years in her native California. Then an Orthodox missionary came to speak at her parish in 2013 and ignited her interest in doing missions work herself. After joining an OCMC short-term mission team in Guatemala the following year, she came to Holy Cross knowing that it was the ideal place to prepare for the next chapter in her life, not only through coursework but through involvement in the HCHC-based Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, founded and headed by Rev. Fr. Luke Veronis. “Fr. Luke’s mentorship was instrumental in guiding me toward my goal. He is so inspiring.”

Once in Aguacate, Jennifer was able to make good use of her teaching experience and training in Byzantine chant in addition to her theological knowledge. “One of our efforts was to introduce the faithful, most of them converts, to the hymns of the Church, so I worked with the choir that chanted for services. I also helped produce publications for the clergy and catechists, did some translating for visiting medical volunteers, and taught in the local seminarian program.”

Furloughs for missionaries allow them to spend time with their families in the US and also spread the word about the many ways that missions support the practical as well as spiritual needs of the communities they serve, in the hope that others will in turn support or join them in the field and/or become donors to the OCMC. Jennifer has been on furlough since mid-January, but hopes to return to Guatemala soon. Asked how long she expects to serve there, she says, “As long as God wills.”