Orthodox Basic Training Program
Orthodox Basic Training, or OBT, is part of our Project Mexico Homebuilding program. Just like the traditional Project Mexico Work Trip in which upwards of 20-30 volunteers come together to build a home for a family in need, upwards of 200 volunteers give their time and effort to build multiple houses during our OBT weeks.The need for OBTs arose from an ever-increasing waiting list, as some parishes were scheduling their trips 2-3 years in advance.“The largest group we had ever hosted at the orphanage was 50 volunteers – that was several summers ago when we experimented with building two houses in one week. That was a stretch for our staff” says Mike Applegate, former Project Mexico Work Trip Coordinator, “but we knew we had to find a way to accommodate the increasing requests from parish groups to come on mission trips, particularly in mid-summer, when most young people are available.”
Thank God the need arose because the OBT weeks were born! These weeks include constant fellowship, daily prayers, evening speakers, and a chance to speak with clergy, monastics, and people currently working in the mission field. Gregory Yova, our founder, explains it this way, “Our goal was to offer a slightly more rigorous experience, both physically and spiritually, to a much larger group of volunteers. We knew this experience wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but we hoped it would help us to shorten the summer waiting list for mission teams by accommodating at least five times the usual number of people in one week. If kids are excited about coming on a mission trip, we don’t want to have to tell them to wait two years!”
Based on the comments of staff and participants, the Orthodox Basic Training weeks have been a resounding success, and even more importantly, we have been able to provide relief to more families in need than ever before. They allow us to continue to strengthen our mission of involving Pan-Orthodox Christians in works of mercy.