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.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Catch-up isn't always a condiment... and so it is this month for NHA

Nazareth House Apostolate wants to thank those that came to our "rescue" (in prayer and monetarily) this past week when James suddenly found himself without food - not just for those we serve, but for himself and his family as well.   It was an eye opening experience for him and a reminder of how life is for those around him.  James knows the needs of the people of his country better than all of us, but this has given him a greater sense of our work and its importance and urgency to carry it out. 
 He also, now understands what I mean by "save a reserve for emergencies".  James eagerly gave all that he had to One Hut in their tragic fire situation, forgetting that he must also tend to his own family's needs.  

Let me explain why we have experienced a bit of a "lean" time during the first few months of 2011.  It is not a lack of support, our supporters are growing in prayer, numbers and in enthusiasm.   

The trouble came in that our donors are real life, hard working people and when they are hit by these unstable economic pains, naturally it limits their ability to continue their giving standards.  
We understand this. Two rather larger donations we expected each month have been suspended due to the donors financial troubles.  This amount totaled 3/4 of what we give each month to provide food & supplies for those in need.  With NHA being a small organization, if a particularly large monthly donation is lost, it limits us.  This is why we are so emphatically working to establish a dependable budget by asking everyone we know (and those that we are yet to meet)  to commit to a minimum of $25 per month.  Our hope is to reach 1000 people doing this.   This limits our  "down times" when a particular large monthly supporter runs into financial woes.  If many give a little, there is not a large burden placed on one entity to carry us, there are many to back up.   Therefore, if you haven't committed to a monthly donation, please consider doing so.   We aren't asking a lot of you - just a little each month.   And a little does so much for those without.

There are many ways to contribute to NHA; check out the website for details:  If you have specific questions click here to email us. 

As we stand right now, we have sent some "catch up" money to James for his family needs and those immediately around him.   Even with the reduced donations this year, we were only behind in our full support for the Month of March and April.  With the emergency appeal funds coming in, it looks as though by week ending we will have the teachers salaries caught up.  By Month end we should be back on track... but remember... we still must complete the vitally important Compound in Kabala.

In the meantime, James has continued to do the work of NHA.   He stumbled upon a situation that appalled him.  Here are his words: 

By James Mansaray, NHA Freetown:

Never in my mind had I imagined a place like this here in Freetown. It was purposely built several years back to help take care of the forgotten old men and women who have little or no chance to take care of themselves. Situated at the Eastern part of town, the ... home of the elderly is a pity. 
"Inmates" comprised of both men and women, old, middle aged, some ok and others mentally distorted are housed here. Either from the stress of their present life, or the way things are for them, or otherwise; their needs are so tremendous.  Human contact, a smile, a touch would do them good, but it is not their lot at this place.  
Fact is, they are in an isolated corner with no or only a few cares about their welfare.
 Looking at the whole setup starting from the building and on to the stuffs in it, things were once happening here but seems as if all has been forgotten for ages.  
 These poor old people needs attention. 
Seeing this reminds me of what NHA has been doing, caring for the neglected and forgotten.  
Those in the cracks of civilization who don't fit into the norm - those teased and pushed aside. 

  I see the need and I pray that NHA can do something to help them, even if it is only for me and/or my family to visit them and hold their hands. 
 Fr. Seraphim, I know will love to stop here and pray with these old people. 
 He is at home most with those who are rejected and suffering.  

These people have no hope of peace in this life 
and bide their time waiting for their transition to the next. 
 Their present world is considered a failure, yet they carry on with as much dignity as they can scrounge up and make the best of life as it is given to them. 

 In the hall as we walked through we could hear cries for help, some moans, and some just breathing in and out.   
 You can tell they had to fix the beds all by themselves, no nurses or medical professions to care for them. 
Few organizations do stop by once and a while but please look what pictures still shows. 
 No improvement, neglect remains the highlighted sight.
  It takes only a strong hearted, deep faithed person to be in one of these rooms for a minute, and this is their everyday life. 
No food, if they are getting medical attention, I'm not sure how often if at all, no bedding, its terrible here.
  I noticed an old sick man going out to fetch water for himself. 
You can tell he is weak but he has no choice. 

 Another is joyously singing hymns from the Bible Stories calling for help as we drove in. 
Tears streaming from the eyes asking for help. 

An old amputated woman sitting quietly reminds me of the cruelty of mankind 
to even older people who had no opinions or cares about politics - all they wanted to do was provide for their families and enjoy life. 
I experienced this past week giving out all that I have and putting myself and my family in great need.  Doing this raises eyebrows and rightly so.  Mama Vicki pressed on me to save for "a rainy" day.  I have learned well and pray that others will give to Nazareth House so that we are not pushed in that position again.  

When I see a situation such as what I am looking at today in these pictures, the same pictures that you are looking at, I cannot say "No" and walk away.  

Something has to be done to help these people and if I have a anything, I must consider them. I will do my best to make sure that those of us doing the work are cared for so that we can take care of others but I cannot neglect those in need. 
There is a saying “seeing is believing”. A whole lot of people only give when they see the need; this is all the more reason why we always document our work in pictures. I am filling your eyes today with needs.  These poor people need prayers, a decent meal and medication every day. 

NHA can’t always be physically there at a persons worst time 

but this is why St. Simeon Skete is important - 
there is always someone in prayer.  
When we are unable or unwilling to  be in prayer, 
there is someone there doing it.  
Out of that prayer, I hope a physical answer to their needs come - maybe a meal, maybe some medicines, maybe a smile. I know we can do this.  

Thanks to friends that escorted me to visit this place; my eyes were opened.  To one of the inmates, I promised that I will bring NHA here someday. Maybe with food or medication. I wonder if he would be alive by the time I make the next visit. He was covered from the chest to his toes which I guess signifies nothing left there  - but he was bold enough to talk to me, and asking questions. 

You can tell he was in pain but he was still smiling stretching his hands towards me for a hand shake….


Note to our Supporters & Potential Supporters:
     As we strive to recover and maintain our monthly commitments to those we serve in Sierra Leone, the urgency of completing the Compound in Kabala looms overhead.  It is important to know and understand that come May 1st our staff must move from the current rented premises and make the journey to Kabala.  The importance of the compound to the continuance of our work makes this the most vital goal to accomplish immediately.  Please give accordingly.   We are seeing much need everywhere, but we cannot detract from the path from which we began.  
Jeremiah: 6,16 Halt at the cross-roads, look well and ask yourselves which path it was that stood you in good stead long ago. That path follow, and you shall find rest for your souls.  (Thanks for this Scripture, Fr. Gabriel)

One more note to James from Mama Vicki: 
     Remember on the airplane to and from America?  The flight attendant gave instructions about  "putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others"?  This is not a selfish act. The reason for putting your mask on first is if you pass out from lack of oxygen, you'll be no good to others.   Once you have your mask on you able to help others, by putting their masks on for them.  You will not be weakened & gasping for breath, but instead guiding others out of the distress - you become their oxygen line.  So taking care of yourself is in itself a selfless act of a giving person.  Got it, my son?