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.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Act of Faith

This NHA Blog post is written by Cassandra Sever Faith of Chico, California:

A few years ago our family had the opportunity, along with our church; St. Augustine’s in Chico, to meet James from Nazareth House Apostolate, Sierra Leone.  He and Seraphim and Vicki joined us in a fundraiser for their work in Africa we called Pray, Love, Walk. (For details click here: Pray, Love, Walk: NHA Blog Post) It was a walk around beautiful Bidwell Park in Chico on January first to raise funds for NHA. 

 I enjoyed the entire morning… from the first cold, rainy step till the final scoop of scrambled eggs at the finish.  And a devotion to a cause was born.  

I had been praying and waiting for something bigger than ourselves and our familiar circumstances to connect to; something that directly impacts children and families; something with which my own children could build a personal connection: with NHA, I had found what I was looking for.  But I didn’t want to organize another walk, I wanted to build thoughts about NHA into our lives, to cause my children in one breath to look around them and be grateful for their lot in life, and in the next breath to recognize that maybe we have too much – that it’s overflowing, and how our overflow can benefit those who need so much.  (2 Corinthians 9: 6-15) 

But why Africa?  That’s easy.  It’s because I wonder what Africa can do once the basic needs of that continent have been met.  What is the overflow of its people???  What is this world missing out on because Africa is lacking water? Or food?  Or safety?  We need them, and we don’t even know it yet.

So we started last Christmas by sending $10.00 per family member to NHA instead of buying another gift.  Counting the exchange student living with us that meant $60.00.  We typically only give our children three gifts each at Christmas because that is how many Jesus got… and who needs more than that?  But the third gift this year was one we gave away. 

 I had no idea how much can be done with $60.00! (See details at this link  

James managed to buy chickens for his son to raise to donate eggs to villagers; and dishes for an entire village so each family can have its own bowl.  An ENTIRE VILLAGE!  

The ironic thing is that the next week our family was given tickets to Disneyland for Christmas and we spent $60.00 there for one meal!  One meal for one family cost $60.00.  And we were not really hungry.  This got our wheels turning.  How much do we have that we truly don’t need…?  It’s fun to go to Disneyland of course, but is there another place we are truly, excessively blessed that we can use to bless others?

When we returned home from Disneyland, I started clearing out the clutter.  I hate clutter.  And as the ‘donation to goodwill’ pile got bigger and bigger, we realized we had quite a bit to donate – we’d been excessively blessed.  What if, instead of giving this clutter away, we put out a little effort and have a yard sale?  Then we could donate the money instead to NHA!  So that’s what we did.  Some friends who were moving found out what we were doing, and donated their unwanted clutter too.  My oldest son is a Sea Cadet and needs to put in community service hours for promotion.  

So he got up at 6 a.m. (and he’s a teenager) to help us set up and sell until noon.   In all we raised $200.00.  $200.00 from things we no longer wanted (again, our overflow); things we were just going to give away anyway.  

I’m excited to see what James will do with it.  Our children requested one or two soccer balls be given to the school, but other than that, James is free to fill the biggest need he sees!

And when people saw our little handwritten sign that all profits were going to help children in Africa, many people gave more than the asking price.  Our neighbor across the street bought an item and took it home.  But he returned a few minutes later with a few more dollars because it was going to a good cause.  Another neighbor also bought some toys and paid more than the asking price to help NHA.  A family of several daughters walked up and saw our sign.  They asked about NHA, and then proceeded to give an extra $20.00!  Who does THAT at a yard sale?  And then last week while we were talking about the yard sale, my 7 year old said he had heard a boy walk up, read our sign and then turn to his family and say, “they look like Christians!”  I’ll take that any day.

There was still plenty left over at the end of the day to donate to ‘goodwill’.  Many of our local needs will still get met.  But we were able to incorporate the needs of an entire village thousands of miles away, into our daily lives too.  I was also reminded that there are many good people in this world.  People who will see a sign like ours and give.  They had no proof that the money would make it to the organization we were promoting.  Yet they gave anyway.  I am humbled by the generosity of many, and by the trust people placed in us that day... all because of a yard sale.

Nazareth House Apostolate is happy to report
that the money has been received and spent 
in Sierra Leone.  

YES, Faith Boys, we did indeed purchase two soccer balls 
(or footballs as we call them at the NHA School) 

and we are positive you will be totally delighted when
you see how the remaining money from 
the Faith Family Yard Sale 
was spent. 

For details see tomorrow's NHA blog post