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, June 26, 2012

There is Water; There is Room

Genesis 26: 17-18 (The Message) "So Isaac left. He camped in the valley of Gerar and settled down there. Isaac dug again the wells which were dug in the days of his father Abraham but had been clogged up by the Philistines after Abraham's death. And he renamed them, using the original names his father had given them".

It's been over a year in the making and "remaking" of the well at the Nazareth House Apostolate Compound on the way to Ismaia in Kabala, Sierra Leone.   But today, there is water - fresh, clean water.  

All of us at NHA - The NHA Board of Directors, the Staff in Sierra Leone, the beautiful people we serve, and especially  Pa Foday, James, Seraphim and I want to thank everyone for the combined effort to make this very important project a functioning reality.  

Pa Foday shows Mama Fatu the newly finished well! 

This is big! and you are all such a huge part of its accomplishment.   

Thank You!  Tenki! Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.  God bless you all. 

James draws fresh water from the NHA Well of Rehoboth 

During the Rebel Attacks, many of the wells of Kabala were destroyed.  So, like Isaac, we have to reestablish the wells.    

The well that we rejoice over today, is vital to the survival of the people in the area near our NHA Compound and NHA School.   

As it was Isaac's top priority, it is also ours at NHA.  Hagar saw a well in the desert, so she was able to quench the thirst of Ishmael.  

We now have a working well where there was none, where the waters were dry and now we are able to quench the thirst of  Ismaia (Ishmael) Road (The name of the dirt pathway in which our compound and school reside).  

Genesis 26:19-24 (The Message) "One day, as Isaac's servants were digging in the valley, they came on a well of spring water. The shepherds of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's shepherds, claiming, "This water is ours." So Isaac named the well Esek (Quarrel) because they quarreled over it. They dug another well and there was a difference over that one also, so he named it Sitnah (Accusation). He went on from there and dug yet another well. But there was no fighting over this one so he named it Rehoboth (Wide-Open Spaces), saying, "Now God has given us plenty of space to spread out in the land." From there he went up to Beersheba. That very night God appeared to him and said,

   I am the God of Abraham your father;
      don't fear a thing because I'm with you.
   I'll bless you and make your children flourish
      because of Abraham my servant."

In honor of Abraham and Isaac, we name this well at the NHA Compound and School:  The Well of Rehoboth, Kabala, Sierra Leone - for there is room, "wide open spaces" - the access is no longer restricted.  

We do so because the well was not built in a selfish manner, for there were many who participated in making it happen.  

It was not built for NHA's private use only but for all of us - those living in the area - along with the school and compound. 

Community means "fellowship with others, a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals; a group of people living together in one place, esp. one practicing common ownership attitudes".  This is what NHA is - community, not only at St. Simeon Skete but also here in Kabala. 

Wells in the Bible are linked with a long history of Grace.  The Biblical wells are not only reservoirs of indispensable refreshment but places where charity comes into play and where union of souls begins to take shape.  (Genesis 24: 11-20; 62; Ex. 2:16-21; Jn 4:6; etc.)

As we take joy in the digging, completion, and functioning of this well, we should also consider reestablishing many of the wells our forefathers dug in order to survive spiritually.  We must first consider the well of ongoing prayer in our lives.  It is the most powerful force around us, providing God the space to intervene in the affairs of our lives, yet... and yet,  it is the most unused and neglected source of strength around us.   God doesn't work apart from prayer.   If the well of prayer is not freely flowing in our life, we must re-open it.  Martin Luther said, “If I neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” Isaac re-dug the wells of his father. Let us do the same in our own lives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chickens it is...

Last week we obtained 10 laying hens and a rooster for a total of Eleven chickens at St. Simeon Skete.  

Our chicken coup arrived last Tuesday.  

Made by local Amish,

 it is solid and secure against the area scavengers - raccoons, coyote and fox.  

With a little shifting around;


the coup was finally in place. 

Its really a nice coup and we all did our share of  "checking it out", especially Chase! 

I was worried I may lose the coup to Seraphim who found it to be a quite nice small hermitage...

But Andrew explains to Seraphim that its made to contain  things a little smaller than he is.  

Claudio arrived from Georgia and helped get the wire around the window to keep the scavengers out.  

Its definitely been a team effort arranging for all of this.

On Wednesday Denny brought the lovely birds...

We caged them only briefly in order to embed them into their new surroundings.   

At night we placed them into the coup. 

After their brief embedding, we allowed them to be Free Ranged, however, 
they seem to be truly identified with the skete life - preferring not to go into the world, rather they are more comfortable to stay in their “cell”.   
Denny did a great job in picking out this batch of fowl, as they are extremely friendly.  

We leave the door open and they have access to all the acreage at the skete, 
instead they hang out in the coup until a human comes by.  

Then they run up to you and wind in between your legs like a cat wanting attention.   

Once you leave, they go back into their coup.  
Linda and I have little to no experience with chickens, 
so we are googling our way through the learning process 

of this adventure, enjoying it all the while.   
Linda has even tried to blend the skete's African Connection by carrying the water back and forth from the Kellia on her head. 

We look forward to that first fresh egg!  
That should happen in about a month.  

In the meantime, life goes on at the skete.   Just about every night 

we are relocating another raccoon who has wandered onto the deck of the Kellia and wreaked havoc.  

After many nights with no sleep we began trapping them in a critter-friendly "have-a-heart" cage and driving to a relocation destination several miles away.  We chose an area in the wildlife conservation sections of the lake.  There are dumpsters there for them to pick through and lots of woodland by the lake.   I hope they stay there!  We've tried to convince Linda to paint the toenails bright red of the captured raccoons so that we will notice whether or not they are returning.   So far, she hasn't bought it.   

James is recovering from a terrible stomach flue along with malaria in Sierra Leone.  The work there continues strong.  

Pa Bah is improving but weak.  Please keep him and the mission work of NHA in your prayers - always.  And your tax-deductible donations would be very helpful as well.  hint, hint...

Wishing you all a wonderful week, we hold you in our prayers.  God bless you.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Urgent Prayer Request

Dear Friends,

We ask your prayers for this man, Pa Bah.   
Pa Bah a few days ago

Living in Kabala, he was stricken with sudden illness this week

 and has been unable to empty either his bladder or his bowels for several days. 

He is currently in the hospital in Kabala and James is seeing to it that his needs are met.   However, hospitals in Sierra Leone are lacking in supplies, skilled staff and equipment.  Please pray. 

This man is a favorite friend of Seraphim and I.  He is such  a gentle and caring soul, always ready to serve.   

When we were last in Kabala, he was so gracious, 

bringing his chairs out of his house for us to sit.   

We are looking forward to seeing him on our next visit to Sierra Leone.