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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Last minute gift ideas? How about a gift that keeps on giving?

Dear Friends,
As it happens about this time every year, we’ve received several inquiries asking if we have a catalog or any special needs and ways that gifts can be given to help the work of NHA in Sierra Leone and at the skete. We are very small and do not have the means to put out fancy and expensive catalogs, the best we can do is to make you aware of the needs and leave the rest up to you.

We DO accept and encourage you to give a donation to NHA in honor of someone as their Christmas Gift. This way, the love given in your gift spreads from your hands to the one you gave it to and on to the recipient - the one who benefits the most from it. We are prepared to send your loved one an acknowledgement of your gift - even down to the last minute.  We'll send a paper copy via USPS but we as time ticks away, we can send an email acknowledgement down to the very last minute. 

We have many opportunities for you to provide for others. I will list them below.

Just this week we lost a student of our Nazareth House Apostolate School in Kabala.  It was probably her heart that failed and she died suddenly.  Her father tells us that her last words to him were "When will my set of uniforms come in?"  The breaks my heart.  

Emily & Vicki tend to Mateneh's infected leg in 2010

We have been working since before school started in September to furnish a uniform for every student in our school in Sierra Leone.  We have 300 students.  As of this writing we still had 90 students without uniforms.  At the time of her death, Mateneh Mansaray was one of those students lacking a uniform so we actually now need only 89 sets of uniforms.  (James reports that upon visitation to Mateneh's family he found the cupboards bare.  no. food. at. all.   He returned with a bag of rice for them - a $720 gift assure this family with a bag of rice each month for a year).

On Giving Tuesday we began a campaign to get this project completed by the time the students return to school from Christmas break in January.  It would be best if we could raise the funding by December 31st to give the seamstresses time to sew up the uniforms.  You see, we use all local materials and labor therefore stimulating local economy.    

A set of uniforms costs $25 which allows a student two uniforms.  For many of these students this is the only decent set of clothing they have.   And since they must laundry their uniforms in streams, beating them on rocks to get them clean having at least two to make it through the school year is a necessity.   I wish each child could have more than two sets but I'll be happy if we can simply get them all clothed.  After Mateneh's death, it is more urgent than ever to see to it they all have uniforms. This is our current focus, to get all these students who have no uniforms suited up before school starts again in January.  What a great Christmas gift to these students this would be.

Why uniforms?  As I said, most children in Kabala live in tattered clothing at best.  Although they wear their tattered clothes with dignity (I've seen children carefully washing out shirts that  were nothing but shreds and laying them neatly on rocks to dry.  Clothing that we in America wouldn't even save to use as cleaning rags, but to these kids it is what they have and they take the best care of it they can) - in a uniform a child's self-esteem increases.  A uniform gives them a sense of belonging, a "being a part of something", a community.  There is very little to belong to in Kabala but struggle, work and the fight for existence.   in a time and place for them where there is little to belong to.  It makes everyone the same, no differences, no levels, no "haves" or "have nots".  

St. Simeon Skete is the center, the heart of Nazareth House Apostolate. Without the ongoing prayer rising in its eleven daily offices and its constant attention and focus -- none of the other work would take place. The skete is the most important factor in the Nazareth House mission. Those of you who have been to the skete know the value of its existence. The front four acres is available for purchase and the owners have agreed to hold it for us until we raise the money. It is commercial property, they have been kind, but they cannot wait forever. Should we not be able to secure this property and a commercial entity develops there, it would be disastrous to the atmosphere of prayer found at St. Simeon Skete. There have been so many other pressing needs this project has been pushed aside but  we seriously to buy this property quickly. We need $40,000 to secure the land. If you’d like to make a gift in someone’s honor or simply give for this project please make note “Skete’s Front Land” on your donation.   The general upkeep and maintenance of the property is a huge undertaking.  We appreciate any donations you have to enable the continuation of ongoing prayer for you, your loved ones and the world.  We take all prayer requests seriously.  Click here for Story of Prayer at the Skete

very sick child lies on grass waiting to be seen in the village clinic 

Many of you are aware of the extreme lack of proper healthcare in Sierra Leone. Not only do we need the means to practice medicine - we need those who practice medicine - correctly, compassionately and honestly!

 James daughter, Lucy Mansaray is working to become a doctor. She is pressing hard in her studies and excels in all that she does. It will take six years to get Lucy through all the schooling but that means we are only six years away from our own homegrown doctor in Kabala.  

Lucy has pledged to do all she can as a NHA Doctor in Sierra Leone.  NO brain-drain* here, Lucy has pledged to remain in her beloved country and help those in need. Knowing the integrity of this young lady and the relationship to NHA via her father, James, I have no doubt of her intentions to remain in Salone.

College tuition will run about $3,000 per year including books, etc.  If you'd like to make a donation to her medical education please mark your donation "Dr. Lucy Ed"  (introduction to Lucy from old blog post: Click here to read more about Lucy )

The need for a Medical Clinic for Kabala and the outlying areas is imperative.   

James has recently brought back the items he gathered in the States and distributed them in Ami's Clinic.  Ami is a nurse that serves eleven villages.  

She spends long days tending to hundreds of people mostly women and children.  

The sick line up for hours, days - waiting to be seen by Ami.  There are no doctors, there is only a few volunteers and Ami must do all she can for all these people with very little medicine and equipment.  

We have been providing her with what we can through Supplies Over Seas here in Louisville but she needs more.  

Purchasing medical supplies from Supplies Over Seas 

The building is dilapidated with many many repairs needed.  It is our desire to rebuild a more functional clinic and stock it well for her and those she serves.  

Our plans are to build this NHA Medical Clinic in memory of Cindy Peterson.  

To give towards building this clinic or supplying medical supplies to the area note on your donation "Medical Clinic" 

Ami clapping in receipt of our medical supplies.  The women and children around her are waiting for healthcare

The highly rated NHA School is growing by leaps and bounds.  We are unable to accommodate all the requests for enrollment.  Since we are the only free school and other school charge tuition, many would be students are left out to work the farms and fend for themselves without the benefit of education if we do not have room for them.  Therefore we must expand the building to make room for these children that so desperately want to go to school but are now left out.  To give to this project simply note your donation "School expansion". 

NHA plans to help the family who recently lost their home to fire.  (scroll through past NHA Blog posts last week to read about this tragedy.)  We want to rebuild the home. We invite you to help us do this by donating financially. 

Other items you may wish to provide for the people we serve in Kabala are: (These are the items James suggested for us to ask for during the Christmas season):
  • A bag of rice for a family of four: $60
  • A Care Packet: (Soap, Sugar, Milk, Paste, Maggi, Nescafe, Butter, Bug Spray, Eggs, Small bag of Rice, Oil, Vaseline, Locally made packet of water, etc: $139
  • Clothes for cold/rainy days during the Wet Season for the elderly and very young: $25
  • A pair of ducks for eggs, etc. $25

  • A pair of hens for eggs, food, etc. $25 •A pair of goats $ 95

  • Bag of salt $ 35
  • blanket $ 20
  • used bed spread $12
  • pair of pillows $17
  • bowls, drinking buckets, drinking cups run $2 each. The families in the village have been asking us for these items quite often. They usually share the meal from one large bowl. Generally $35 will buy a family of 6 enough dishes.

These needs are ongoing and not simply necessitating your attention at Christmas.  They demand consideration always - 24/7.   

NHA continues to strive and hope to reach our goal of reaching 1000 supporters giving at least $25 per month. This would provide the operating budget needed to do all of the work in Sierra Leone and also at the skete. From time to time, in some years, there will be large projects which may cost over and above that - special construction costs for clinics, chapels and such, but for the basic needs and growth (additions to the NHA School, uniforms, etc) this would cover it and we’d not have to beg for donations with every crisis or emergency that arises. We have 35 regular monthly donors at this time.

If you have not joined the monthly donation program and would like to do so, please contact us through the website at this link: or write to us for details.

For those of you who would like to provide all or a partial funding of any of the above listed needs you may send a check to Nazareth House at 185 Captains Cove Dr, Taylorsville, KY 40071 (if the gift is designated please mark it on your check or in an enclosed note) or you can make your tax deductible charitable contribution through Paypal via our website: Remember to mark your requests on the section that says “Note to Seller”. We aren’t selling anything but this is how Paypal lists itself on our website.

On second thought, we are selling something.  We have 2014 Calendars that feature those crazy St. Skete Chickens.  A calendar is $25 which benefits NHA.   You can purchase a calendar through this link: Purchase a 2014 Calendar Chicks

If you are making a donation as a gift in honor of someone please indicate this as well on either your check or your paypal donation. Please provide the person’s name in which you are making a gift as well as an address to send a card of acknowledgement of your gift.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support. 

We consider you, 
the people you’ve helped in Sierra Leone consider you,
our staff in Sierra Leone considers you 

We’re all in this together trying to hold each other up.
Blessings to you this Advent, ... Being absorbed into His mercy,