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.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcomed well by Freetown

WOW! We can feel the prayers, keep them up, this certainly has been the smoothest travel to Freetown we've ever had! Definitely, there must be more people praying us through because we're seeing the response. Praise be to God. We keep telling you guys - it is prayer that brought us to Sierra Leone from day one, it is prayer from which Nazareth House Apostolate was created and it is prayer that will carry it through and beyond.

The flight over was uneventful except that it was very easy. Unusual and quite a surprise for us - normal for us is one distraction, interruption, problem after another on these trips. Neither of us slept, and having left Louisville under conditions without sleep for days, I must admit we are very tired. However, we are well and very happy to be here.

As is are usual custom, last minute we changed all travel plans and told James to meet us at Lungi at the airport. It was our plan to stay in Lungi overnight with James and then take the ferry home to Freetown on Thursday (today) during daylight.

But Africa is Africa and well laid plans... well... you've heard the story. Poor James spent all day at the Ferry Port of Freetown trying to get on the Ferry which delayed and delayed travel to Lungi. James started at 11 AM Wednesday to make his way to Lungi. As it was, we beat him there - traveling faster from London then he did cross bay in Freetown.

James hearing news that we had landed as he was still on the ferry crossing the bay, called his cousin Lt. James Brima Koroma to meet us at the airport. Much to our surprise, he escorted through customs with VIP treatment and cleared baggage without out any hesitation. Then escorted us out to the curb to wait for James who was just pulling up as we exited the airport. Perfect timing, smooth sailing. Awesome!

Next we had to make quick decision, should stay overnight in Lungi or take the ferry back over in the night? I must admit, I was frightened by the thought of a night travel on that rickety old ferry, but also dreaded the thought of all day delays on Thursday. We opted to take the night cruise and again, things went very smooth. I am telling you guys, we are feeling the prayers...

On the Ferry, a young man noticed Fr. Seraphim's prayer beads and asked him about them. Fr. Seraphim explained their use and taught him the Jesus Prayer. Then a woman asked the young man what Fr. Seraphim had said to him. This man taught the Jesus Prayer and the use of the beads to the lady perfectly, word for word. It is so good to be in a place where there is interest to learn and receive. Thanks be to God.

We told you about the recent Armed Robberies and because of this the SL Police and SL Army have set up MANY road blocks. We hit them all, AK47 in hand, the police investigated every car passing. Fortunately, we were quickly granted permission to continue at all stops. At one road block it seemed that things may not go so good, but just as the policeman was trying to show authority, a higher up security person recognized James and motioned us on through. James smiled as we passed through and said "It is good that we at Nazareth House give things to the poor, people like us and let us pass".

Finally we made it to St. Laurence House and were first greeted by Simba, the Naz House crazy dingo. He greeted us well and allowed us entrance through the gate. Next, finally we were all united - Lucy, Ann Marie & Roo all were awakened to greet us (they had been in bed sleeping since they must leave so early for school in the morning) and of course, dear sweet Kadijah was there with her giant smile and loving heart. Oh my gosh, it is good to be here. I've missed our family so much. They are not simply staff to us or to you, they are our family!

The night was a normal Freetown Night, rioting noises from the street, demon-possessed dogs screaming all night...ahhhh the night sounds of Freetown. Early this morning, Fr. Seraphim and I finally fell asleep just as the neighbor began sweeping and washing her steps and preparing her fire the days' cooking. Then it was time for her to shout at her kids to move faster as they were getting ready for school. I think we will forget sleep, that will come ...for now we are in Freetown... much more things to do.

Oh yes, and I've had my first cold shower and yes... it shocked me again... don't think I will ever get used to not having hot water in a shower, but I will deal with it.

More soon. Love to you all.