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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Its back to work for James!

Last Friday, James went to Kroo Bay to distribute some of the medical items that we have acquired at Nazareth House recently from the Family Health Center of Clark County, Indiana and The Willis Family of Louisville.
The supplies arrived in Freetown recently through the USPS Priority Mail. We are thankful that their delivery was not delayed as it is imperative that we do all we can to support the medical staff at Kroo Bay. They are saving lives, doing remarkable work with VERY limited equipment and medical supplies.
The Nazareth House Apostolate Sierra Leone Lenten Mission 2010 will begin in just a few short weeks.
Except for the need for funding, our preparation process is going very well.

For this mission, Pre-Med Student, Emily Raetz, from Virginia will be joining us. James and others in Sierra Leone are already calling her a doctor, but she is the first to clarify that she is just beginning the process. She is, however, an EMT and has emergency first responder knowledge and will be a huge asset to the work. She and I will spend a few days in the Kroo Bay Clinic giving them a hand.
We also plan to work with the children in Kabala at our NHA School and at Kamasorie Village.
Several boxes (8 in total) full of medical supplies, including boxes of 'over-the-counter' medications collected at St. Alban's Church Parish of Sun City, Arizona (Priest in Charge, The Rev. Ron White, the collection drive headed up by Debbie King) are on their way to Freetown currently. We pray their safe arrival to those in need.
We are excited about the upcoming Lenten Mission. The first thing we plan to do is to "refresh" our staff. We found them exhausted last Fall and James told me he is losing more and more weight each week. They (the whole family) work so very hard for Nazareth House. They go over and beyond to plant our love, our gifts, our compassion in every person they meet so that life blooms.

Stepping out in faith, we hope to find housing for our staff (James and his family). Kabala may be a different living area for Nazareth House Headquarters but it is not a stranger by any means to any of us. It is where James and Kadijah were born and raised. Our school in Kabala is blossoming and a good friend of NHA is the new Chief in office. There is much to accomplish and NHA will be very active this Spring. Please keep all this in your prayers, there are so many avenues in which this particular mission is vitally important.

2 Corinthians 6: 1-10 (The Message)

Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

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Nazareth House Apostolate
2216 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40218

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

6th February, 2010: Accident Report

Ash Wednesday, 17 February, 2010
By James Mansaray, NHA

Today it seems unreal, like a vision or a dream, the accident on the 6th February 2010. But it was real, very real and I am still trying to come to grips with the impact of all that happened. It seems fitting to me to begin Lent, rehashing the events. The struggles, the outcome - all of it gives me a deeper focus for God this Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season.

It was a windy, dusty Saturday morning in Kabala. Everything was going well, I had a long phone chat with Mama Vicki and a brief time with the newly elected Paramount Chief of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom.
He had a little break in his busy schedule so we both had time together in his office. A good friend but since his election, his availability is limited.

There was not much to be done at all that day so instead of being idle, I decided to take a bag of salt to a family who have not had salt in their sauce for a whole week. I took rice and couple of shoes to a village about eighteen miles from Kabala. I always have a few shoes in my possession every where I go
for there is always the possibility of meeting more bare feet in these villages.

A strange morning indeed with so much confusion in the air. Had I been told to stay back, I would have boldly said "NO" to the person for I was in Kabala on a purpose - so it was my duty to make use of every minute.

Bashiru, the owner and driver of the car was in a haste...... so I asked him if I could drive since I know this road better but he refused. He had allowed me to drive it before so I was not that pushy to have another try. Instead, I sat beside him with a young man called Alie, who always help and escorts me when doing NHA errands in Kabala and the surroundings areas.

As usual, my cameras in my back pack, some spending money and couple of other stuffs in an extra bag and my old laptop that I always take around to help me do my work. These are things that keep NHA connected and I never part with them.

4:30 PM we were off and it only took us 45minutes to get there. We did make few stops as usual greeting NHA friends, checking their needs and giving few medications. I love being around the villagers so I always feel happy doing this.
At the village, I surprised the family with not just a handful of salt but a whole bag that will last them for weeks. It is always good to help the poor and this is what NHA has been doing for so long for these people.

Few hours later we were on our way back to Kabala and it was getting dark making it more difficult for Bash to drive through the pot holes and gutters. I still made a second request to drive but he again turned me down.

At exactly 8:15 PM that evening, we met a group of people (mostly women and their young babies) struggling to make their way to Kabala after their loaded vehicle ran out of gas in a dangerous curve about ten miles to Kabala. It was very cold and most of the babies were without proper clothing. Bash's car was empty with just three of us in it. I asked him to stop and help some of the struggling passengers especially those with young babies. Luckily this time he listened to me.

Four women in all, two babies plus three of us making it a total of nine of us all in that small car. They were all so thankful and appreciated the ride. I decided to move to the back carrying one of the babies in my hand for there was not enough room for her mother at the front sit.

Bash continued to dash on and I kept cautioning him to be careful every minute but he was just stubborn. It was just five minutes away to Kabala so I decided to hold on to my breathe and be quiet sensing the stubborness in this man, I just held on tight to the fast sleeping baby. There was no way for me to read the speedometer from where I sat but he was at a high speed sneaking through several vehicles and unfortunately for us I heard a loud disturbing sound like thunder, he was off the track with a busted tire heading to a fierce bush with cries from the women "Jesus" , "fire", "accident", "we are dead" From here I knew we are heading for a crash. I could not say a word but just held on tight to the baby till we crashed in this ditch.

It all happened in space of five seconds, at least that is how fast it seemed in my mind. I was still conscious, dust every where, the vehicle upside down. All nine of us struggling to find a way out, there was no baby in my hand as if it was a dream. I asked myself, " Did this really happened'? Am I dead or alive? Why did this happen to me? Then I heard Alie crying "fire, fire fire" . That was the worst thing that would have happened. I looked right - no way out! On my left there were a bunch of people stepping on each other. I then noticed an opening at the other end. Here I struggled to make my way out with sharp ends of the glass tearing my head and several parts of my body. All I was keen about was for everyone to get out of that wreck before it caught fire.

Villagers rushed in to help us, some to steal our stuffs. My back pack firmly in my hands with no shoes on - just socks . I was the first to come out followed by a woman crying for her baby. We got everyone out of the vehicle, safely, even the babies. I was thirsty and asked for water from the villagers so that I can drink and wash the blood off of my hands.
My fear was, "where was this blood coming from?" "Maybe my end has come in this village without my beautiful wife and kids around,
especially my innocent
young boy ROO,
and my daughters, would I cease to exist without my parents by my side, or my family members... Oh how will Mama Vicki be aware of what had happened to me?
I was so troubled and wished for nothing but to be at the hospital so that I couldn't be treated and not die. The pain was severe and I was stiffening up in my back. I began to walk towards the hospital. A friend in another vehicle coming from the same direction noticed me so he started shouting "James, James, James, are you ok?". He wasted no time to take me, together with the other women and children to the hospital.

Even though I was struggling, I managed to crawl out of his car into the first ward crying for help. There was this young nurse that I met and I told her "Please save my life" thinking of all that I have left undone on planet earth. She too called my name in tears and I didn't even know that she knew me. Yet, in Kabala I am known because of the work of NHA.

A beautiful and well painted hospital but no medication at all. Friends and people that I had never met had to run down town to get the necessary medications needed. At that moment,Mako, my brother surfaces in tears.
I managed to make a phone call to Mama Vicki so that she be aware of my situation in case any thing happened. I knew that Fr. Seraphim would already be in prayer -
he just enters things into the flowing stream of his prayers.
I was in tears and pain all night long but luckily for me, I was able to see another day! Tons of people -
women and children filing in to see if I was okay and alive.
Even the NHA school kids came to check out my health.

Seeing all this love and concern around me encouraged me and gave me strength and zeal to never part from what I am doing: walking this NHA path! Praying the path we walk, walking the path we pray. I know it was God and his hand in the scene that spared my life, I also know I see that same hand working in NHA and all of you.

Later, I met a few poor kids with no clothes and no shoes, going to fish at a nearby stream. They were sorrowfully staring at me.
Their eyes remind me of how lucky I was to make it alive with no severe damage. I only suffered just a whiplash, broken laptop and some missing money and items. To God be the glory.
Seeing these kids made me want to bounce back quickly so I can do my work - giving to those in need.

I was transported to Freetown the following day and as I write this whole ordeal, I am again in tears. I thank God for being alive, I thank Him for giving me a new lease on my life. I thank Him for sending his angels to grab on to all of us as we tumbled in the car. I thank Him him that no one had life threatening injuries, especially the two young babies and their mothers.

I thank you all for your continued prayers and support of Nazareth House Apostolate.
Praise God, I am still the same me! and am ready to go full force ahead to continue the work of Nazareth House. We have so much to do, lets pool together and provide for the NHA compound and the work that is begging for our attention. Give today.

I love you all,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

General Motors Garage, Kabala, Sierra Leone

A few weeks ago, before James suffered the car crash, he was (yet again) in Kabala delivering shoes.
He visited the General Motors Garage
and spent some time with the mechanics.
He told me that this garage is the BEST in Kabala.
I am happy to see that they do have equipment/tools
(maybe not updated as we have in America - but certainly more than most garages have to fix cars in Salone.). Even in the areas in which they lack tools, these guys have the talent to fix an engine by making do with whatever they have.

After spending a good bit of time
with the guys at the garage,
watching them work,
investigating the cars
and enjoying his time
at General Motors Garage
- James handed out more shoes
to the mechanics.
And once again, James, through your generosity,
spread around a little more
Nazareth House good will,
& love.
...and we've increased our family with a few more smiling faces.
Keep up the great work!

Please give to Nazareth House today!

You can contribute through the Paypal link on our website or mail your donation to:
Nazareth House Apostolate
2216 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40218 USA

To see some of our work and what your donations are doing for others - please check our website photos, revisit previous blog posts and see us in action on our SaloneNHA Youtube Channel.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nazareth House looks towards Kabala.

For years now, Nazareth House Apostolate has made Freetown the home of its West African Headquarters in Sierra Leone. Year after year, we struggle with the muchness and busy-ness of the city.
Although, we have been very productive in our humanitarian aid work in Freetown,
we find that our work in the Northern Province of Kabala is growing
and flourishing.

Not only do we have a fully functioning, accredited school serving the Community,
we also support a farm worked by Pa Foday that feeds the family and villagers.

You've not seen or heard much from Pa Foday lately,
and that's because he is quietly doing his work on the farm,
unnoticed but depended upon by many.
With the loss of our lease of our Operations Center in Freetown known as St. Laurence House, we are forced to find a new residence.
We've tried to prepare for this, year after year, but the money has never been raised to purchase a compound in Freetown. All the while, the real estate prices are increasing to levels that are beyond obtainable for us at Nazareth House.
Fr. Seraphim and I return in March, 2010 to make arrangements for housing our staff, supplies and operations of Nazareth House.

Every year at this time, Nazareth House is frantically collecting funds to pay the $10,000 annual rent for the small rental house we are using currently (lease expires March 2010).

This year we are in the same position, we need to raise money immediately, but this time it is to relocate and purchase our own property -- In Kabala.
Kabala, is an up and coming community,
yet maintains quiet, stillness and is family oriented. This is a good environment for our work.
The people of Kabala, including neighboring villages are very welcoming and friendly.

As you look through these pictures of the Farm in Kabala, and you see the people working together as one big family
- I believe you will agree, Kabala is where we need to be.
Last week, when James' suffered the horrific automobile accident, he was in Kabala to do just that - look for some available property.
This year, instead of raising $10,000 for annual rent (which continues to rise every year and leaves us with no stability or ownership); we are raising money to purchase land and build in Kabala, instead.

Nazareth House must continue, you can see on this blog, youtube and our website the documentation of the work being done. The lives changed.
There is no doubt where contributions go - you see the progress, you see the donations in action. This is your work, all of us together - The board members, staff and advisors of Nazareth House take no claim over the labor, it is all done in God's Name as he expresses Himself through you.

It is a global family working together.
For our trip to Sierra Leone this March 2010, we are escorting a pre-med student to help with some of the medical clinic work in Kroo Bay and in Kabala.

The airline tickets have been arranged and paid.

However, we would be wasting the opportunity if we didn't provide the same "on the ground" humanitarian aid we give every mission trip.
We must raise funds for needs as we work our way through the villages
from Freetown to Kabala. We cannot be in the country and not do the work we are called to do,
therefore we are setting a goal of $6,000 to perform these duties during this Lenten Mission in March.
We must also raise another $10,000 (minimum) for a down payment for a facility to set up our work in Kabala. We'll need to raise much more for completion of the compound, but far less than we would have had to pay in Freetown. We built the entire school for $55,000 in Kabala... we are expecting we can do as well with the compound.

This would provide housing for James, Kadijah, Lucy, Ann Marie and Roo as well. Remember, by the end of March, they will be in the streets. Our hands are tied without your financial assistance, there is nothing we can do.

Many people, especially James and his family, have put much effort and taken risk to perform and continue the work of Nazareth House.
Now is not the time to back off from what God has commanded of us
- "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in..." Matthew 25:35.

Please pour out of your bounty, the love expressed through your financial giving. As always, every donation to Nazareth House is tax deductible.
Tell your friends, family, co-workers - get the word out. Invite them to join in something real, something bigger than ourselves. --giving life to those in need. Don't keep it to yourself, this is an experience that should be shared.
Nazareth House is all about love, a place where you belong.