The weather here at St. Simeon Skete currently remains unseasonably warm, albeit, the winds are escorting in the first very cold air of the Winter.
The first sunrise of 2012 majestically peeks through the clouds, a new day....a new year.
2011 proved to be a remarkable year for us at Nazareth House Apostolate.
St. Simeon Skete newly acquired, we began 2011 realizing there would be a lot of work to do, but also understanding it was purposeful work and we were excited to get started.
The Nazareth House Apostolate Compound in Kabala Sierra Leone was a pressing necessity and we needed to get the construction contract paid and the cost of the land.
St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church in Chico California organized a Walk-a-thon on New Years Day last year and helped to jumpstart the funding for this project.
Our director of operations in Sierra Leone, James Mansaray had arrived in America after years of denied visas and was able to participate in the walk.
We are happy to report that we paid off the Contractor and the building is complete (except for the well which we will complete as rainy season ends and weather permits) and the need for a generator. Individuals, small businesses and churches came together to see the Compound completed.
NHA now owns not only the land the school sits on but also that which the compound is built on and the structures.
We continue to strive for 1000 supporters giving $25 a month to keep the work of Nazareth House in operations both in Sierra Leone and at the skete in the United States.
As of this post, we have 30 supporters giving monthly.
The circumstances requiring our attention in Sierra Leone are overwhelming, yet,
we have been able to make the immediate necessities each month -
such as paying the teachers
at our Kabala school
and caring for those who could not make it without our help.
Some months we were late getting the funding in, but we made it every month - all the while paying down the Compound Fund.
The first year at the skete, has been both rewarding and very challenging.
There is (and remains) much to do in transforming the place into a skete
as well as maintain the property and the 6 buildings on the grounds.
The manual work is heavy, yet, the daily Mass, the 11 Prayer Offices nor the daily Rosary have been missed, to the contrary they have been deepened.
There have been many that have arrived here as visitors but left as family, feeling a bond through the prayer.
As 2011 closed, the Sunday School Students of the parish of St. Mark’s Anglican Church
provided, packed and shipped the Annual Candy Canes (along with personal hand-made Christmas greeting cards)
for the students of Nazareth House Apostolate School.
This is for most of them, their only Christmas gift.
And, as always, you can see by the smiles on their face - its enough, they are not only satisfied but delighted.
We will be featuring this joy with our students this week,
as the final days of Christmas come to a close.
Check this blog often this week for updates.
As the first sunset of 2012 blazes behind the lake at St. Simeon Skete, and we celebrate this last week of Christmas
we send you our love and thanksgiving. Thank you for teaming together to be there for others both in prayer and deed. From Nazareth House Apostolate, its board members, our staff in Sierra Leone, our students, teachers and the people we serve, we thank you for your love and support. You are held daily in our hearts and prayers. God bless you all.