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.

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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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

From My Heart to Your Heart: by James Mansaray

Valentine's Day Reflections by James Mansaray, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

Its all Valentine's day here again 2009. So much love in the air here in Mama Salone for lovers and best friends, dear mommy's and daddy's, friendly phone chats and love text messages, flowers to all those who had played a significant role in your life. In few hours time, night clubs, like Old School, Lagoonda and Paddys to name but a few will hit it hard in merry. This sounds good.............. and this is all that life wants, love happiness and sharing in both hard and good times. Having someone around you through thick and thin is important. For many in Sierra Leone, Nazareth House and our work of love have been the only thing sticking around them, especially in the bad times.

Today, I met an old man down town. He was buying a piece of candy and a flower. I asked "who are you giving it to?" and he said, "Young man, I saw most people buying it so I thought it wise to get one for myself too so that I be part of it, myself." It was a bit sad he had no-one to share his Valentine Day with, but I loved his attitude that he would not despair, he'd enjoy the day with himself!. This was very funny and it did make my day.

Here in Sierra Leone, all of us, one way or the other, have been a victim of bad times and good times. There are those times we cringe when we consider the bad times, but time has made us so we cannot remember how all these pains pierced us and it fades out. That leaves us with fresh smiles that aids us in reaching our goals, leaving the darkness behind and reaching our goals, focusing toward the Light.

The truth is, as we take a look at the course of Nazareth House Apostolate and its projects in Sierra Leone, you can see that it is a bright light. You are seeing it all right? I guess you like my pictures and real life stories? I love it too. I consider my self lucky doing this to help people. I must admit that most times I am so uncomfortable when I cant meet to all their needs. I had been through thorns working with these dusty kids you see everyday on the blog but it is worth it. Those shiny and lovely kids you now see in full school uniforms today at our school in Kabala were like those suffering now in the dust just a short time ago. See what the joint effort can do, see the big change in these kids life?

The loving, selfless spirituality of Nazareth House Apostolate has taught me to fall in love doing this, helping them out. At first I didn't know what I was doing till I got a taste of it. This is the same way that Alie felt just after a single days tour with me up country. Seeing how hard life is like for these kids you saw with candy canes in the trees and the continuous joy in their eyes made him feel like being a part of NHA and working and helping us out. The same goes for you out there to see a reason for this. You see the needs, you know the work of NHA, so may we all come up strong and join in this cause - make a future for these faces you see everyday on the blog. If many people only contributed a small amount we can do this. I also know there are people out there that are able to give more and still eat 3 meals a day.

I for one, have been up since 4:30 AM local Freetown time with mixed feelings about what and what is at hand for NHA like the pressing need for a COMPOUND of ours where we could operate from. The present task of securing another years rent for St. Laurence house so that we can buy enough time to raise COMPOUND money, the suffering and burning needs around us, those to help get good medication, enough food for a day and better education for those we are mingling with. All this is making my head very heavy and my heart is stressed. March 1st is coming quickly.

Thoughts of this brings me back to this special St. Valentine's day --which those who knows book reading tell me it goes back as early as 270 A.D. preaching nothing but love. Even that it is not a new statement, God is and has always been LOVE. Looking back were I grew up and the situation in which I find my self in I set this special day in honor of those I love around me and the work that am involved in. My goal is to see it grow and to help those kids feel much confident and hopeful for a brighter future. I want to see NHA continue making available the tools for these kids to grow, to succeed, to make a difference not only in their own lives but also their community. This is my Valentine Hope. .....

.....But this does not mean that I did not get a flower or something for the one I cherish in my whole life. SMILE! See the love of my life, Kadijah in picture below:

Before I close this one, I have a little girl at heart suffering with an eye problem that needs surgery or she goes blind someday. See what am talking about. Several months back, I noticed a white spot on one eye and now another tiny spot on the other. She is only 10 years old and knows nothing but going to the farm, fetching wood or carry palm wine and nothing like school and attention from her mom and dad on how to deal with it. At the end of the day you wont blame the parents for there is no way out for good food lest talking about a scar on the eye. I saw this and placed it in my heart. I know NHA is there to do something for her or else her eyes will soon go bad. We all can make this happen. This is just one case , there are tons of it out there suffering the same fate or the other.

I am writing this straight from the heart to your heart, hoping to put word in your heart to open up and keep St. Laurence House alive. I thank you for your attention. See you soon.

Our "Keep St Laurence House in Operation" Drive has now raised $2,000 (a good start but not nearly enough). We must pay the landlord a year's rent (prepaid) of $10,000 by March 1st, 2009. Please understand, the landlord agreed to extend our lease one more year, but really wants the place for his personal use. If we don't pay him March 1st, we're out the door. That means our staff, our supplies, our medical equipment... all of it! Donations can be sent to NHA at 2216 Goldsmith Lane, Louisville, KY 40218 USA, or made using a credit card through paypal account. A paypal donation link is on the left side panel of our website You can change the denomination of contribution amount to whatever you like before clicking on the paypal link. Thank you. God bless you all.