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.

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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remembering those in need...

As Christmas approaches here in America, it shows so much of what life here is like compared to  third world countries like Sierra Leone where I come from. 
I can sense the spirit of love, giving and sharing as I visit the malls with everybody wanting to get something for someone, long traffic jams finding their way to these huge market places to buy more gifts for their loved ones.  I am dumbfounded just looking with nothing in my pocket to buy for a friend. So many choices that even if a dollar or two was there, I will would first consider the most pressing issue - that is, feeding a whole family in one of the remote villages in Sierra Leone where it is always difficult for a mother to make a meal for a day.  

Where I come from, there is nothing like all this. Christmas is considered complete if a whole family could at least get one great meal on that particular day with a good amount of fish or meat in it.
 I have seen, tasted and experienced a lot here in America. Let’s say, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.  I expect life to be more challenging and colorful in other States but so far, so good here in Kentucky.  it is a fine world, well planned and good, no taste or sign of the horrible war and bad experiences of hardship that my Country is plunged into.   
Every other day is born to a new experience making me so puzzled at times thinking that I was in a movie, forgetting the fact that it is real.  Not even those driving me around knew what’s in my mind for I sometimes answer a question by just nodding to them without knowing what I was nodding for, being carried away and most times lost trying to compare  where I came from to where I am now.   
 For those living in America, I consider  lucky, very very Lucky. Good roads with thousands of good cars, never in my life had I thought of a single truck carrying ten more vehicles on its head. Good food, no blinking of the electric bulb since I I've been here. Clean running water, Fresh cool air with no sign of a mosquito since I ‘ve been here, going to bed every day with a over filled belly with more in the refrigerator making it no worries for tomorrow. 
 It bothers me thinking  of the fact that it will soon end as a return back home.  People in America enjoy eating habits that I wish were a reality forever, not  only for me,  but the hungry populace in Mama Salone.   
Making do with whatever bit that lands in the hand day by day a term we called “from hand to mouth”. Thanks to Nazareth House for making life much more better for several poor homes in Sierra Leone.
Missing my family, dreams of going back, struggling with the fact that here I am well feed everyday when thousands are  roaming the streets of Freetown with no free soup kitchen to run to,  but still sitting there open handed several hours waiting for a coin to at least buy a packet of water to quench their thirst.  
Kids with no knowledge of what Santa is nor hopes of a Christmas presents instead continuing to help make provision for their family by carrying heavy loads on their heads to the rough markets places under the sun to make a living.
More beggars everyday with no choice but to continue begging in other to making a living.
 Thanks to our handful of donors who with their monthly donations are making it possible for us to buy bags of rice every month to feed those around us. In fact this is one of the more reasons why I have become so accustomed in checking the mail box every day with the hope of finding a gift that could at least save a life back home or send a poor kid to school when I return.  With NHA you can see it happen as more homes are being fed, hundreds of kids getting a good education in a better environment. This will improve if more people continue to support us.

Looking back at what is left there, NHA has some much more to get done. There is no way we can abandon the good work we’ve all started.

Remember those in need, especially in Sierra Leone this Christmas - support Nazareth House Apostolate.  

God bless you all,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Share your stories with us about NHA. We'd love to hear from you.

It is the supporters of Nazareth House Apostolate that make this Nazareth House Team a true loving and caring family.  In all the excitement of James arrival in America, we were delighted to finally meet one of NHA's supporters face to face in person. 

The following letter is her accounting of this meeting:

November 25, 2010

Nazareth House Apostolate   
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071

At 9 p.m. this evening, as I walked distracted through the airport after visiting friends, I was stopped by a banner with the name “James Mansaray” and “Nazareth House Apostolate.”  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Could this be the same organization whose web site I visit regularly? I hesitated to approach the people holding the banner, but am glad I did as they urged me to introduce myself.  I was absolutely thrilled to meet Mama Vicki, Father Seraphim, and James Mansaray – the people whose work I have admired and whose words and photos have touched me for the past couple of years.

I had to write you how much that short meeting meant to me.   A wonderful visit with friends in the days before today and then returning home and seeing you, meeting you, reminded me again that I have much for which to be thankful.  What a great Thanksgiving day!

Your organization shows there are indeed people who care and put their hearts and souls into good works.  I wish I could do more.   If you ever need volunteers in Louisville, please let me know and perhaps I can be some help. 

Again, thank you so very much,
L.B., Louisville, KY 40201

Dear L.B.,
I must tell you that the pleasure of that meeting was all ours, you gave us so much encouragement.  It was a real honor to meet you.  Truly it was a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
God bless you and thank you for your love and support,
-Mama Vicki


Thursday, December 16, 2010

African on ICE.............

Kentucky weather has provided many new experiences for James since his arrival in America.  It truly has been a learning process.  

The very first night of his arrival into America, he woke up to snow...and not just a dusting but a good presentation of the frozen white stuff.  

There are many more experiences to be had and we are taking each moment as it comes.   It is without a doubt that he will return to Sweet Salone enriched with the knowledge of many new things.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Remembering each other this Advent Season

As we prepare for the celebration day of the Nativity of our Lord...

The cooking, the celebrations, the joyous times with family and friends...
NHA Cookies made by our Nazareth House, Bogart (Athens) Georgia

Let's remember to keep going, the work we do in Sierra Leone...

Remembering to provide for our school so that our students at NHA School, Kabala

are fully equipped for a proper education

Remembering to provide the needs for those who depend on us for medical treatment...

Remember the families ....without electricity, without running water ...who look forward to each Supply Distribution received from NHA.

Remember the children who NEED you...
Remember to keep the donations coming in so that the love, the caring so generously given by all of you in NHA can be continued
Feed the mailbox with your donations of love so that NHA can fully serve the people of Sierra Leone.

This Christmas give the gift of bettering another's life, give today.  Don't fall trap to the secular glitz of this time of year, remember... remember what it is really all about.........

Nazareth House Apostolate
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Worlds Collide

Two Worlds Collide
by Ray Akridge, Jr.

There are times when we believe that the world in which we live is the only world. And if you are one of those who believe this, your eyes have been wide shut. Allow me now to awaken you from your dream. 
I have gazed into the eyes of that other world and realized its existence through the story in which they told.
The privilege came on the night of our Thanksgiving. There had only been pictures and stories of this other world. It was a world that I knew but had never known. The two worlds had finally collided. Within this explosion I found kindness, sincerity, innocence, awareness and love. I had found West Africa and Sierra Leone had found me.
A week of friendship grew as our conversations unfolded realities. Both worlds were missing home for neither one were truly there. Therefore our stories claimed there respective worlds. I remember vividly my fondness for a spiritually non-morbid and even mystical place I had come upon while driving the country roads of Kentucky. 
A cemetery that laid upon a hill where sound did not exist. A place serenely beautiful and even awe inspiring among a marble blue sky and crisp temperatures beyond the sensate world. A place of respect and stillness that allowed prayers to live among the resting.
The voice of Sierra Leone speaks of a different cemetery that resonates sounds and acts of the unimaginable. There is not such a place that the resting may rest. The sky is not quite as blue. 
Inspiration is not as abundant. And, within the night, there is no stillness or respect. The sanctity of the living does not exist as the final resting places are violated, personal effects stolen and even the eternal garments of ancestors are worn by the unholy before the sun rises. 
These acts are atrocities of the soul. They do exist within this other world. I have seen them through the eyes of Sierra Leone. 
I have seen this world within the eyes of my dear friend, James Mansaray. And, my world, is of no concern.

Your prayers for sanctity and righteousness as well as your generous donations to Nazareth House Apostolate will only allow these worlds to become one.      -RA

 The above writing by Ray Akridge, Jr., (from our NHA-Athens, GA chapter) reflects the meeting between he and James and the differences in the lives of those living in Sierra Leone and here in America.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

James gets first complete medical physical in his life...

One of the goals of bringing James to America was to give him a complete medical check up since he has been working so hard under not so good conditions.   It is not easy to maintain good health in a country where medical facilities are sparsely supplied and medical staff hindered by the lack.  
James delivering supplies from Nazareth House Apostolate to Kroo Bay Clinic, Freetown, SL

As James waits in the waiting room, he thinks about back home in Sierra Leone.  His wait was short compared to the hours and hours a patient waits to see a doctor in Salone.  ...and then sometimes having not been seen, the patient will have to return tomorrow in hopes of a chance to be attended by a physician.

A bit apprehensive James waits to see what is in store for him.
Yesterday, at Clark County Family Medical Facility in Indiana, the doctor and staff gave James a complete physical including lab work.  
Pulse:  normal
This Medical Clinic has long been supporters of NHA 
and we are most grateful for them.  The doctor checks him out...
a flu shot is ordered

James was not alone in getting a flu shot, Seraphim received one, too. 
James was a very good patient and received a Christmas Lollypop!
Next an ECG was ordered.  James had no idea what this entailed or what it was for.  
A misspell on his name, but James is ready for testing....

Wired and test activated, results proved normal

I was delighted in that at each test, results were normal.   For a young man who has had chronic bouts of malaria, suffered chlorea, had Yellow Fever and Typhoid,  James seems to be considerably healthy.   

From the Clinic in Clarksville we had orders for lab work at the hospital, so it was off to the hospital.   

James was astonished, "This is a hospital, mom?"  "Oh, it looks like a fancy hotel!" 

James got a dose of our "red tape" as we registered him at the hospital, complete with Hospital I.D. bracelet, etc.   He was shocked at how quickly and professional the experience was. 
James was amazed by the friendly, caring, respectful attention he received.

Being a West African, used to sweltering heat, James has suffered from the cold here in Kentucky.   The temperatures have been well below freezing and despite the bright sunshine, James teeth perpetually chatter - even bundled up.   You'll notice during the ECG he kept his gloves on!
During the blood tests, in the coolness of the hospital room, he started shaking with cold. 

His veins kept rolling so the technician could not get a good sample
So, rather than hurting him with multiple sticks, she decided to do a finger prick.
Problem was - ice cold fingers! 
Problem was solved by a heat wrap (the kind they use on baby's feet to warm them up) on James' finger
Then his finger was massaged until the vial was filled, one drop at a time!  A urine sample and we were free to leave.  We'll hear the results in a few days.    Next test was for James was to figure out the revolving doors of the hospital....

"Mama, I don't have to push?  These doors just go round and round by themselves?" 

Mission accomplished, medical tests and merry-go-round doors all completed in one day.... time to go back to the St. Simeon Skete. 

As James ponders the day's events, he again considers the Healthcare in his country.  Such a huge gap in the way things are here and they way they are there...  
No hospital bed or examining table, a child lies on a table.

Being sick is a scary thing in Sierra Leone, simple illnesses without treatment become life threatening. 

Preventative medicine is "out of the question", a rarity.   James and the others that NHA serves and cares for are getting a chance through your kindness, the supplies and donations; but we have so much more to do. many more to help...
We can't pretend to be the only answer in helping out the people by helping out their medical clinics with supplies and assistance....
but we can be a positive contribution towards bettering lives by doing all that we can, changing things one person, one facility,
one life at a time.   Its the Season of Giving....  do we really need another IPOD or electronic gadget
or would we rather give to something that makes a difference?
Isn't that what real giving is all about...........
serving, loving, being there for those who do not have the opportunities as we have?
It doesn't take much, please consider making a donation to Nazareth House Apostolate.  Take it a step further and join in making a monthly donation to NHA.

A $25 per month donation will go a long way in bettering lives of those who suffer daily just to exist.

"Live simply so that others may simply live!"

Donate through the Paypal link on our website

or mail your donations to:

185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071