We left California, started making our way north, and, you know, mulled things over. At this point we have already been saying Orthodox prayers, crossing ourselves, and observing fasting guidelines. Catechism was on our mind and some point we just decided to get on board. After we arrived in Oregon we made plans to go back to California by September to make it in time for the start of catechism.
I had thought that we would go through catechism, become Orthodox, and hit the road again after Pascha in April. However, I learned that particular plan didn't make much sense in the Orthodox ethos. In Orthodoxy, you have a spiritual father who gets to know through conversation and confession and you are also a part of your church community. Both require a connection to be maintained. It doesn't make sense to become members of the church and then a week later, split with no intention of coming back for 3 years. That being the case, our priest at St. Barnabas advised that we not join the church until we were ready to settle down.
Now what? This part was a hard decision for us. We loved the church. We loved traveling. We came to the realization that church was a priority, so we decided we would stop traveling, but we didn't want to live in Orange County. Maybe we should continue to travel after all? We could find a place where we wanted to live that had an Orthodox church, but how long would that take? Would we be years on the road before we found that place? We were prepared to stop traveling and live in Orange County, despite the fact that we don't like it at all and couldn't afford it.
Then we remembered Prescott, Arizona. There was an Orthodox church there. They had trees, and lakes, and four seasons. It had a large artist community with a small town atmosphere. It is only a 6 hour drive to St. Barnabas so we could visit from time to time. And they had an In-N-Out! We could live there. We might not stay forever, but we could be a part of the church there and honestly not intend to leave.
So we finished catechism at St. Barnabas and watched our fellow catechumens become Orthodox. We very much wanted to be joining with them, but it was not the right time. We stayed for Holy Week and Pascha and shortly after left for Prescott with no money, jobs, or a place to live. We left dear friends behind in hopes that we would fine new ones.
And we have. We love our new church home, St. George Orthodox Church of Prescott, its parishioners, our two priests, Father John and Father Bill, and the Prescott community. We plan to not travel for a year and then later travel during non-fasting seasons and maintain Prescott as our hometown. We started catechism right away with Father John and in less than 40 days we will officially become members of the Orthodox church.
We are blessed.