Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, December 13, 2013

Your gift will be as to Christ Himself

Beloved readers,

I hope you were able to take time to read the recent posting “Holy New Martyrs of Serbia, pray for us!”  The article detailed a rather breath-taking martyric witness of the Serbian Orthodox Church that has taken place within the recent past century. 
The Orthodox of Serbia have and continue to suffer as witnesses for Christ’s sake.  Today a faithful population continues living, with much hardship, in the war-ravaged areas of Kosovo-Metohija. 

I thank our father and brother in Christ, Fr. Nektarios Serfes (Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Boise) who keeps the suffering Serbs under his eye and in his heart.  As president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, he keeps us apprised of the current situation.  The Fund provides assistance to those in significant hardship in Kosovo-Metohija, of whom there are many. 

In this war-torn area, there are routinely shortages of food, electricity, heat, medical assistance and farm equipment.  The latter affects the livelihoods of the Serbian populace.  Think of this equation:  harsh winter weather + lack of basics = a life of cold, painful hardship.  Families with children and the elderly feel the deprivations acutely.   

Can you imagine sending your child to a school with little to no heat in the midst of harsh winter weather?  How would you maintain your family’s health when they are poorly nourished?  What if someone gets sick and you can’t buy medicine?  What to do when a dental problem or emergency arises?  What’s it like to live in a home without hot water, limited heat and lack of firewood?  What’s it like to live without sufficient electricity to wash or dry clothing in the dead of winter?  How do the elderly or otherwise infirm manage?  When war has visited a land, many of the conveniences once had are no more.  People survive these conditions, but it is extremely difficult.   

We Christians who live in countries of abundance may not even have a cognizance of these things as we hustle and bustle to make our lives merry this winter season.  We may not even connect that these people are the “neighbor” spoken of in the New Testament.  The majority of these sufferers are brethren in Christ, part of the family of God who look to Him in faith to fulfill their many needs.  Most of these people have no options left except their hardship position which they endure with faith. 

Please, if you would consider this request—Fr. Nektarios is doing his best to raise enough money to purchase pigs that will feed 200 needy families in Kosovo-Metohija this Christmas.  One pig costs $100 and will feed a family for two weeks.  When there is hardship and someone comes alongside to help, those benefitted give thanks to God for their benefactor.  And, the Lord in His goodness does not forget the beneficence done in His Name.  He rewards it eternally. 

Here, beloveds, is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those whom you will never likely meet in this life, nor will they be able to repay you.  But you will sense their thanks resounding in your heart.  You may well meet them in the next life and receive an eternal reward for blessed benevolence.   

With this in mind, would you be willing to provide a Christmas meal that will last some days for the needy in Kosovo-Metohija this season?  Can you fund one or more pig roasts?  Can you fund part of a pig roast?  Would you and a relative or a handful of friends combine resources to buy a roast?  One person cannot do everything but many joining together can accomplish a lot.  You can be the cause of much rejoicing and thanksgiving to God this Christmas.  Your gift will be as to Christ Himself. 

Here’s how to make a donation: 

Decani Monastery Relief Fund
C/O Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702-4705

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund collects monies throughout the year to meet on-going needs.  If you can donate toward a holiday meal or to meet other on-going needs throughout the year, God bless and reward you! 

Some of the ministries of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund include: support of six soup kitchens and four schools, provisions for local homeless shelters, churches, and monasteries; direct assistance for needy families, children and elderly through payment for medical care/surgical procedures, and funding for the purchase of necessary utilities and food.  The Fund assists in purchasing firewood during winter months for homes & schools and seeks to provide a whole pig (i.e., pork roast, meat which will last a couple weeks) for needy families during the festive holiday seasons of Christmas and Pascha.  

Fr. Nektarios Serfes, on behalf of The Decani Monastery Relief Fund, thanks you all from the depths of his heart. 

Your sister in Christ,
Presbytera Candace

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