St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

The outreach of Nazareth House Apostolate is in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Matthew 25:31-46. For more information see our website at

Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kabala Hospital Reality

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Dear Friends,

Nazareth House Apostolate continues to push ahead to raise the money to send the hospital beds and supplies to Sierra Leone where James and the doctors desperately wait their arrival.  James went to the doctor at the Kabala Hospital to reassure him that he was not forgotten.  

The hospital was fairly empty, there were people being treated and James was so sad to see what they were contending with. Lying sick with no good equipment to be used to comfort them. 
small child in bed (far left), adult male in next bed.  No mattress, no sheets 

  Fears of #Ebola keep people away from hospitals these days.   What James saw was the soiled and rusted beds, no mattresses and broken and outdated equipment.  

Ebola is pressing closer and closer to Kabala Town.   19 more cases reported earlier this week, inching its way towards our NHA School and Compound. 

The Ebola Holding Center is open but needs beds and equipment.  We have them right here in Louisville, waiting for the funding to pay for them so we can ship them. 

In the meantime this is what you see at the Kabala Government Hospital.  These pictures were taken on Monday, November 17, 2014 - yesterday.    This is what they are equipped with to fight Ebola! 

And this is what we have waiting to send them!

Please give today to help us get what they need to them.  I know you hear it all the time but this is true and not said matter of factly -this is a matter of life and death! 

You can donate by clicking here: Click here to DONATE 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Face of Ebola

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On November 11 this video was aired in the UK. At the same time NHA is desperately trying to get as many hospital beds as possible to Sierra Leone.  The inventory of surplus hospital beds is here, right before our eyes, waiting for us to send, we only need to pay $25,000.  This is an excellent price for the over $700,000 worth of equipment we expect to ship.  We've raised $8,000 already and are pushing ahead.  We need your help to meet our goal and get these urgently needed beds to Sierra Leone.

Kathy Webb remarks of the video "A very sobering video to watch. A women writhes in the dirt as she dies of Ebola in the hot sun. No bed. No wet washcloth to cool her brow. No touch to make her feel less alone. In a warehouse in Louisville there are a hundred beds. Nazareth House Apostolate will get those beds and other desperately needed medical supplies to this stricken country with our help. Also in the video: A man is sick; an ambulance has been called but they know it will never come. The man faces the same fate as the woman who lay dying in the dirt. His wife looks on, I'm sure wondering if she is next."

On Monday night, I couldn't sleep.  Its one of those things that happens frequently to us at the skete.  Up all night praying and many times - weeping.  This night I was so concerned with the overwhelming crisis in Sierra Leone and the abundance we have here that is sitting in a warehouse waiting to be used.  Surplus to Need.

Earlier that day, James had attended the opening of the Ebola Holding Center just 20 minutes from our NHA School where we have 300 students enrolled.  

The school is closed these days - ebola.  The students are with their families dispersed out in the villages.  Ebola is spreading fast in the district and the authorities expect it to reach the center of the Koinudugu District, Kabala Town very soon.
As the Ebola Holding Center opens, James informs me  via Whatsapp that there are only 7 beds and no supplies at the new center.  There is not even a box of gloves.   We have the beds, we have the gloves, masks, we have it all -  we simply must raise the money to pay for them.

Early on in the Summer, NHA began to plan this shipment and we've made all the proper preparations.  We've been in contact with the Sierra Leone Government and the Ministers of Health and Sanitations have granted it a Duty-Free Waiver.  We've applied through USAid for free shipping and have other back up arrangements to get this flown over.  We have the doctors at the Kabala Hospital ready and waiting to accept the supplies at the hospital and holding center.  James is set to receive and help the doctors sort and distribute.  Colonel Brima and the S L Army are ready to accept and transport.  We've done the necessary leg work and security measures.  Yet, the beds sit in Louisville, stacked up at a warehouse waiting for their journey.  For information on how to give to this project click here.   For more information about this project  click here 

As the needs become more critical and more and more lives in danger, especially that of our staff, students and loved ones in Kabala, I look at Lucy sitting in my living room.  We brought her here in June with her father, James, so that she can meet with the board and we can prepare the necessary sponsorship for her Medical Schooling.  She's going to be a doctor in her country, Sierra Leone.

One month after arriving on American soil, she has received unexpected heart surgery in Louisville, Kentucky

and within another month her father makes the return trip back to Sierra Leone (straight into the midst of Ebola) without her.   Lucy came here to prepare for Medical School in Sierra Leone.  She thought she was returning home with her father.  Her life goal is to save lives.  She didn't know that she'd be working on this end to raise money to save the lives of her people in Kabala.  She didn't know that Ebola would invade her country like it has.  And now her dad and mom are in the midst of it.

James was given every opportunity to stay in America but he chose to be with his wife and Lucy's small siblings and to be there through the crisis for his country.

James doesn't flee from danger.

He didn't during the war and he's not doing it now.  He stays and does what he always does - helps others.

Nazareth House Apostolate's work in Sierra Leone is simple - we run and operate a school for over 300 students, we feed people, we provide seed to grow crops, we fix roofs, we provide jobs for people, we are family - a part of the community.

We don't go to Sierra Leone to change culture or practices for anyone, we simply go to love.  Through that love we help one another.

James is on the ground in Kabala trying to save lives by preparing the acceptance of this shipment of beds.  Lucy is here in Kentucky trying to raise money to get the beds and supplies to her father so that the lives of her family and friends have a chance to survive the Ebola creeping their way.

The night before last, I had my "meltdown".  The needs are so great and overwhelming.  This is a huge task for us at Nazareth House Apostolate - trying to raise $25,000 in such a short amount of time is daunting.  But not doing it, knowing the beds are right here and available while doctors beg for them in Sierra Leone is unthinkable.

And now as I look at my phone this morning I see a text from Lucy.   She is talking about the beds, a sweet reassuring encouragement from a very courageous young lady.

So I say with Lucy.  "Let's do this thing, okay?"   Give to Nazareth House Apostolate today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Surplus to Need

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As I sit before this computer to write this blog, my heart is racing.  My adrenaline is up and  I feel the  extreme urgency to move our Surplus to Need project quickly to completion.

All morning I have been chatting with Medical Doctors in Kabala via whatsapp to find out their exact needs to prepare for Ebola and maintain health care in the district.

In Kabala, these sacrificial doctors are trying to brace for approaching Ebola and they have very very little to work with.  I am calling on each and everyone of you to stand in the gap where there is no separation and do what you can to give these doctors the tools they so desperately need.  In life there are those moments when we can make a huge difference in the lives of others and in order to do so we put away our petty prejudices, dissolve divisions and become one - this crisis is one of those moments.  What a beautiful way to help each other and forget our differences by an outpouring of love.

Yesterday while reviewing the process for shipping at Supplies Over Seas in Louisville, Kentucky, I investigated the Protection Suits we plan to send.

I was nonchalantly fiddling with the hood and gloves, when Melissa Mershon of SOS showed me the boots that must be worn.  The boot was heavy.  As I held this heavy boot, I stopped fiddling with the equipment as my heart sunk and my eyes welled up with tears.  I pictured the medical workers in the scorching heat and drenching humidity of Sierra Leone trying to save lives in this sauna suit of shiny plastic.  I can't imagine.  

Nazareth House Apostolate is preparing through Supplies Over Seas to ship up to 100 hospital beds,
The beds that are available for shipping once we raise the funding
Lucy and Melissa Mershon of SOS with the mattresses for the beds to be shipped. 

Ebola specific treatment and preventative equipment and dress,

Melissa Mershon of SOS with Ebola Suit Hood

and much needed health care supplies to the Kabala Government Hospital in Kabala, Sierra Leone. 

The 300 students, their parents, our teachers and our staff living in our compound, namely James and Kadijah and family, are the responsibility of NHA.   It is up to us to provide them with the protection and means to survive.   The Government of Sierra Leone is doing all they can to combat this Ebola Outbreak but they need our help.

There are other groups waiting to raise the money like us in order to send these supplies to Liberia.  The situation is, whoever raises the money first sends the available supplies faster.  More supplies will come available, but I'm hoping to be in the first run before supplies run out.   There is no competition,  of course, the need is great everywhere.  Sadly the fact of the matter is --  it is the funding that is holding back the surplus we have access to here in Kentucky and keeping it from meeting the need they have in Kabala.  With Liberia in the news,  shipments are arriving.   There have been many shipments to Freetown and also Kailahun District in Sierra Leone.  But Kabala is late in registering Ebola cases and nothing has been sent their way.  We are the first responders, so to speak.  We need $25,000 to send this shipment on and we are on very limited time.

We ask you to give and give generously.  Lives are at stake.  Your financial donation may be made to us through this link: or directly to Supplies Over Seas at this link:  --make sure to indicate NHA EBOLA - Sierra Leone on your donation.

The enemy Ebola is an adversary to all humankind.  It makes no distinctions of race, creed, sex, social status, Nationalities, or economies.  To combat this enemy we must unite not divide ourselves.  Stopping Ebola in its tracks in West Africa prevents the spread globally.  This is an opportunity where the people rise to the occasion to make a difference   ...and the difference is life and death.

It is our duty as humankind to help those in need.  Your response to this plea gives way to a blessing.

Deuteronomy 15:10
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

The much repeated verse:  "God helps those who help themselves" is nowhere in the Bible.  Besides, there is nothing available after the terrible war fueled by former Liberian President Charles Taylor for Sierra Leone to use to "help themselves". Instead the Bible says in 1John 3:17

New International Version
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
New Living Translation
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?
English Standard Version
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
New American Standard Bible 
But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
King James Bible
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Thank you!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Note from James

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Written by James B. Mansaray, NHA Director - West Africa Division; NHA School Headmaster - Kabala.

Greetings from Kabala, Sierra Leone!

It has been a long while since I last wrote on this blog. Yes, I am anxious to say a word or two as there have been so many miracles since June 16th 2014.  

James and Lucy at the chapel of St. Simeon Skete 
On that day, my dear daughter Lucy and I made a trip to the U.S.A. - most especially St. Simeon Skete in Taylorsville, Kentucky.  Lucy was visiting for her very first time and met all our NHA Board Members and many sponsors at St. Simeon Skete.  Then she met even even more sponsors as we traveled to La Grange, Georgia, West Point and then South Carolina. It was a wonderful trip and we got to see  a lot of America.

Thanks to Mama Vicki for all the hard work and long drive through thick and thin to get  us to meet a host of NHA family. I must confess, it was the best trip ever. Lots of wonderful  people I met on this trip. Wish I could name everyone individually but you know who you are and how much you mean to NHA.  And so does God. 

The miracles of this trip were everywhere but most especially in the diagnosis 

and treatment of Lucy's heart condition.  

She is now perfectly healthy and we are all so very thankful.

As my time drew nearer for the return to my beloved homeland, the deadly EBOLA disease
outbreak raised its ugly and foul head trying to control of my Country; killing hundreds and spreading rapidly like a plague. My heart was broken and I was terrified. But the question was should I let my beloved family suffer and be in danger alone and I sit back in the U.S. and enjoy more food, access easy internet and sleep in a warm bed or go and be with them? My answer was, of course, without hesitation "go be with my family". Mama Vicki and I battled a bit about this for she was worried about me going in to the Ebola's war front.  But as much as she and Seraphim worried for me, they worry for Kadijah and my kids as well.  They know that my place is with my beautiful bride and young children. But they did give me the option to stay.  

Finally the day came for my departure and I was ready for it more than anything else. 

I always cry when leaving them but this time I was smiling wanting nothing but to be on that plane and return to my homeland and my wife and kids. 

Off we go and at my first stop I noticed only a few Sierra Leoneans. These people got guts like me so am not the only one making the attempt to return to our Ebola ridden towns and villages.

In Brussels I noticed lesser people in the aircraft. I stretched my body out well on different seats -  making the aircraft mine for few hours.   Forty-five minutes before landing my eyes were drawn to the small TV in front of my seat.  

I noticed we are flying through Kindia, the home of Pa Barrie. That was an honor for me to do. 

Going home to help my family and friends be safe from the deadly disease and at the same  time seeing this noble, honorable and prayerful man’s home gave me such courage.  

I prayed and asked Pa Barrie to pray me home safe.  Seems as if he was there looking on the airplane.

Upon arrival I noticed fear in most of the people I met. I know Sierra Leoneans to be warm and always smiling with a welcoming hand to all.  This time around, the smiles were there but you could see and feel the fear.

Back again on the broken ferry. It brought to mind all the new cool boats on Taylorsville lake. The ferry  is old and scary but its all we got to take people back and forth.

Back in rainy Freetown. Excited and happy I greeted my wife and kids well with tight hugs.
The following day, we were on the road to Kabala for I learned from a friend that all movement in and out of Kabala will be stopped for it’s the only town with no Ebola case yet. Tons of people wanting to go in to Kabala that night.

From the airport in Louisville Kentucky and now back in my beloved hometown Kabala.  As we drove through the broken road down the hill to the Compound, I noticed several NHA school kids. I guess they expect me to open school for them the following day. But with the Government ban on all school openings and fears of the spread of the disease;  our students are doing their best to stay with their families at home for now till the disease is

It was easy for me to notice more suffering and difficulties amongst people in Kabala. More beggars around, and a whole lot asking for job and finding ways to help feed themselves in the midst of this crisis. More  people being asked to take leave from their jobs.  

With businesses and schools shut down employers can't pay employees.    It brings memories of our ten years war. This time the disease seems even more scary.  You don't know where it is hiding and there is no good guy or bad guy like with the rebels.  The disease just hits on anyone. 
Children receiving rice from NHA in Kabala 

As I type this, Kabala is still safe but you never know. Even without any cases of Ebola in Kabala, the disease is still taking a toll. 

Family receiving a rice distribution from James in Kabala

We cant afford it as the price of local commodities continue to take a step higher every other day. Now the word that the whole Country will be shut down for few days makes it even worse. Yesterday I had to pay more than I ever had for  bags of rice to help feed some people and getting them ready with clean water etc.

Roo, Sia & Vicki sitting on bags of rice for villagers 

No word yet on schools but we are ahead of the game, making preparations. We are repairing and fixing the school so that we will be ready to start school when the government gives the okay.  Now would be the perfect time to build the much needed expansion of the school as people are so desperate for work.  But NHA is having difficult time meeting needs now.  So we wait for the funding.  It needs to happen, there are 200 students waiting to enroll.  Education brings independence.  

Right now your NHA in Sierra Leone are doing their best to help all those around us during this Ebola Outbreak Crisis.  

We especially are trying to reach the aged and young who can't get help on their own. 

It is my pleasure to write this blog. I promise to write more from time to time. The internet is slow and intermittent so I have difficulties communicating.  Our generator has broke so charging my laptop and phone can be a chore.  But we are getting along.  We have flashlights and candles enough.  

My gratitude and love to all. Thanks being there and supporting NHA, me, my family here in Kabala and in Taylorsville, Kentucky.  Kadijah and I miss Lucy a lot but we know she is being cared for good.  Thanks for giving life back to my
people, they need you now very much.
Love ,