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That is His Nature: A Visit from Bishop Neophytos
Isabelle Dom

Bishop Neophytos, Bishop of Nyeri and Mount Kenya, came to Houston last September to visit Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. AOS was fortunate to also have him preside over one of our chapel services and share his love and wisdom with our entire community. He began his homily the same way he begins with the children at an orphanage school in Kenya by saying:

God is good all the time,
And all the time God is good.
That is His nature.
WOW!

The students remember his warm smile and strong accent but also the story he told them about when he was a young boy. He said that sugar was expensive, and they did not have it very often. His mother always kept the sugar on a high shelf. One day she left the sugar on the table and told him not to eat the sugar. He was very tempted and ate it even though his mother told him not to eat it. To make the sugar bowl look like it was still full he put salt under the sugar in the bowl. When she came home she asked him if he had eaten any sugar, and he said no. His mother could see sugar on his lips and could have become very angry at him but instead showed him love and forgiveness. She told him, “I pray you love God as much as you love your sugar.”

Bishop Neophytos’ wisdom was embraced by all members of our community, and you could hear children reciting his greeting in classrooms throughout the first eight months of the school year. However, none of us could have guessed how much we would need this reminder and guidance as our world turned upside down with the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With our campus
closing, we lost the capability to gather and worship together as a community. With this new world of social distancing, we truly had to turn inward to find God’s strength and love where we were reminded:

God is good all the time,
And all the time God is good.
That is His nature.
WOW!

Having His Eminence speak to the entire school was truly a blessing. Our students and faculty were able to hear from someone worthy of the title of Bishop who came from the humblest origins just as our Lord did. Hearing about the challenges he faced as a child, such as not having a pair of shoes until he went to high school, and the challenges the people in his flock face on a daily basis in remote villages of Kenya, caused one to reflect. Yet he was full of such pure joy and happiness. His abiding love in Christ radiated throughout his entire being, and everyone left the room feeling
uplifted and with gratitude for the blessings we have to be here in the United States. Bishop Neophytos left a lasting impression with a motto that is inspiring in any circumstance. Children in an orphanage school in Kenya say it every day, and children at Annunciation Orthodox School say it as well. This is such a beautiful connection between children of God an ocean apart.

“I like how he used repetition to get his point across. I like how he used the word ‘WOW’ to describe how great God’s love is. He seemed so full of love and eager to share that with us.”
- Robert W. ’20

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