A Heartwarming Encounter at St Irenes

On a Tuesday night, the warmth of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport welcomed Anna Blakicka, who embarked on a journey that would create lasting memories at St Irene Orthodox Mission Centre and Orphanage. Even with her flight being an hour late, I patiently waited for her arrival, knowing that the moments ahead held the promise of something truly special.

As fate would have it, I had the privilege of picking her up and driving her to my home where she was to stay during her visit. The delay in her arrival seemed insignificant in comparison to the anticipation of the meaningful days that lay ahead.

The evening unfolded with a shared dinner, creating a sense of familial connection. Little did we know that the upcoming days would be filled with joy, laughter, and a sense of deep purpose.

Wednesday arrived, marking Anna’s participation in the daily lives of the children at St Irene’s. An extraordinary gift adorned her hands – the St Irene icon, a sacred symbol originating from a dear friend named Irene in Poland. This icon will find its eternal place within the St Irene church iconostasis, becoming a perpetual reminder of the profound connection between St Irene and the mission.

The atmosphere at St Irene’s was transformed as the children jubilantly engaged with Anna. Laughter echoed, songs resonated, and dances painted the air with pure joy. The palpable love exchanged between Anna and the children formed an indelible bond, making St Irene’s a haven of happiness.

Reflecting on this special day, Anna shared her profound experience of being embraced by the children. Each child’s desire to touch and hold her left a deep, lasting impression. “The feeling was so deep,” she expressed, capturing the essence of the genuine connection forged at St Irene Orthodox Mission Centre and Orphanage.

Anna’s visit extended beyond the vibrant interactions with the children. She explored the classrooms, which temporarily transformed into spaces for Divine Liturgies during her previous  visit. A significant moment unfolded as she visited the newly constructed St Irene Orthodox church, witnessing the tangible progress of a shared vision.

Anna’s words resonate with gratitude and a sense of duty, as she expresses why returning to St Irene Orthodox Mission Centre and Orphanage became an indebted commitment.

In the heart of St Irene, a story of connection, love, and purpose unfolded, leaving an everlasting mark on those involved. The St Irene icon will stand as a silent witness to this beautiful chapter, symbolizing the enduring spirit of St Irene and the radiant joy found within the walls of the mission.