May the great peace and love of our Lord God always be with you!
I recently returned from a two week trip to the region of Kosovo/Metohija. As president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, it is my privilege to represent the love of Christ, made possible through your care, when visiting the region.
First, I’d like you to know that there was such an outpouring of thanksgiving over the 1,000 packages of seeds that were distributed. People were both amazed and grateful for the generosity and provision received. We gave out icons everywhere we went (again, thanks to you) and sensed a great deal of encouragement despite on-going situations of deterioration and difficulty. During my visit, the Fund also distributed over $12,000.00 and another $6,000.00 was distributed before my arrival in the region to help cover the costs of firewood, electricity, food & medicine, new chain saws, as well as water repairs for schools.
Having said this, I will speak candidly: the needs in the area remain significant. And, we are entering the coldest season of the year.
Many churches in the region are often without heat. I attended one Church that simply does not have heat--not even on Sunday. Winter temperatures are often in the single digits and sometimes below 0. With scant or no heat, this is no small hardship.
Fuel is desperately needed, not only for churches and monasteries, but for family homes as well. Fuel = firewood. $125 will keep a home warm for a month. $125 will also heat a church or monastery for services. $400 will heat one family’s home throughout the winter months. Sadly, many do not have $125.00 or $400.00 to even purchase fuel and depend on the Decani Monastery’s Fund to help. This is one reason why the Fund exists, to provide practical assistance.
Family receives firewood on behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Firewood arrives at Decani Monastery to help families and monasteries
Fuel and electricity is also an issue for local schools and hospitals. On one visit to a school, I learned that for three hours at a time, daily, the school’s electricity is turned off. I asked a teacher what happens at the school when this occurs? She matter-of-factly remarked that the children put on their coats, because it means we’ve lost heat and lights. Of course! Can you imagine having your own child educated in this environment?
Food supplies remain a serious problem throughout the region. Six soup kitchens exist with limited food to feed those who are destitute. One soup kitchen visited feeds two thousand families a day at lunch only—that is all the food that is available for one day. They could cook for more than just the lunch meal, but there isn’t enough money to buy additional food.
This kitchen also supplies a meal to students from a local school. Oftentimes the meal is soup and bread. Previously, the local soup kitchens used to feed children at some of the schools a breakfast, but due to food provisions, the meal has been cut back to once a day—a lunch.
The truth is some people eat only once a day—youth, elderly, entire families. The situation regarding limited food and lack of fuel is oppressive. Sadly, it is the Serbian population that is being oppressed in this manner. Non-Serbs in the region appear to have plenty of heat and food.
The Decani Monastery is attempting to help as many families as possible through the winter months obtain needed firewood and food. We can continue helping our brethren who live in hardship through our donations to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.
The Feast of our Lord’s Nativity is celebrated on January 7 in Kosovo/Metohija. It’s a custom among many families to roast a pig for this great celebration. Every Christmas, the Decani Fund helps as many families as possible obtain a pig to roast. One roast will provide a week’s worth of meals for a family. This is a special provision for people who eat meagerly otherwise. Each pig costs over $100, but it’s money well spent—people receive hot, substantial nourishment! The abundance is also a sign of God’s merciful watch and care for them. Last year we helped over one hundred families by providing pigs for the Feast. We would love to do that and more this year. Will you joyfully help us feed these dear people again this season?
Prayers are offered daily in the region that others still care about their sufferings and struggles. Prayers of thanksgiving are being offered daily for you!
Through your support of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, there will be joyful faces and hearts in Kosovo and Metohija this season! One person cannot provide everything needed, but many people doing what they can will make a huge difference for the Christian brethren there. We count on you as we have in the past, and, frankly, I stand amazed at what God has done and continue to do through you all.
Would you be willing to provide firewood fuel for a home or church? Or, pay a school’s electric bill? Would you prefer to bolster the food supplies of a soup kitchen? Would you like to provide a pork roast for someone’s Nativity celebration? When donating, feel free to designate how you would like your gift to be used. You can send me an email at email@example.com and let me know how you’d like your gift applied.
Donate easily by using Paypal option at this link http://www.thedecanifund.org/ or by writing a check:
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
c/o Very Reverend Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
The Decani Fund Board of Directors joins me in offering our sincere thanks and prayers for your kind-hearted generosity—the Lord bless you!
Peace to your soul!
Humbly in our Lord,
+Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios SerfesPresident of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund
P.S. I just received word today from the school in Osojane. They now have a new refrigerator and oven which was donated in behalf of our Fund. Lunches will now be served at this school daily! Icons were donated, too, for the classrooms and enough resources for a new PE room. Also, the hospital in Lapje village received 22 sets of complete linens for the beds there, thanks to the DMFR. Thank God for all of you who make this possible—thank you, O Lord!