I thank my God upon every remembrance of you… (Philippians 1:3)
The faithful of Kosovo/Metohija send their heartfelt thanks for making their Paschal meals joyous this year. Through your generosity, the Decani Fund provided 125 pork roasts for local families. If only you could have seen their grateful faces!
Remember the nearly 1000 seed packets you sent with me to Kosovo last fall? They are being sown and tended by those who pray to God for a bountiful harvest! Your kindness and love have helped sustain some people who would otherwise have lost hope by now. What can I say to you except THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU—the Lord bless and reward you! Your prayers, love and practical gifts mean more to the faithful than you’ll ever know.
Now, may I ask you a question? What would you do in this situation…
What would you do…if there was not enough food to feed your family more than once a day? What if the one meal consisted of bread and soup? What if you had growing children in your home? “Mom, dad, I’m hungry! Why don’t we go to the shop and buy?” What if you had an elderly person in the home? Even though the elder is hungry, the person insists on sharing their small portion to feed someone younger. And you watch them grown frailer by the day. Perhaps it is your beloved mother or father or your spouse’s.
Would you risk going to a local shop to buy food if you knew it would mean harassment? Harassment —in the form of verbal, emotional or even physical abuse from a shop owner, staff or other shoppers? Hatred and hostility simply because you are Serbian living in Kosovo? What would it be worth to get food to eat? To feed your family? What would you do?
The Serbian Orthodox Christians living in Kosovo face this situation daily. Most of them do not go to local shops for these reasons. And if they decide to chance it, they never go alone. It’s dangerous. It’s oppressive. It’s a form of Christian persecution. The people in power want them gone from the area. They respect neither them nor their God. Their goal is to make their lives miserable. And, to a large extent, they succeed.
Serbian Orthodox now facing
acute food shortages in Kosovo
acute food shortages in Kosovo
A recent phone call with the Decani fathers prompted me to write to you today. They report that food shortages in the area are truly acute right now. They have asked me to ask you, our beloved brethren, if you would help them avoid a humanitarian crisis by de-escalating the current condition.
You’re probably aware that the Decani Monastery Relief Fund operates six soup kitchens in Kosovo/Metohija. Due to lack of funds to purchase enough food in recent months, the soup kitchens had to scale back to offering just one meal a day—bread and soup. Many families rely strongly on this supplementation. Believe me, the kitchen staff would be overjoyed to be able to serve two meals a day again. God willing, it will happen.
People need nourishing food and the Fund’s goal is to provide enough food for those being served. During the school year, the kitchens provided a hot lunch meal at local schools. This was a plus for every student. Now that school is out, the students no longer have this meal. And they miss it—as do the families who want their children to be healthy. The children miss that lunch meal—they feel extra hungry and parents feel hard pressed to meet their needs.
Some Serbs have fled cities for safety’s sake. They now live in remote mountain areas where shops are non-existent. They, too, feel the lack of food. But there are no soup kitchens there. The Decani fathers purchase food and deliver it to these villages to sustain those living there. Fear and desperation sent people to these areas. The fathers routinely bring comfort and sustenance to these out of the way villagers.
The Decani fathers grow food on monastery lands and share it with local people. They also regularly take a truck across the border to buy food and supplies from outside the province. This sustains the soup kitchens, other local monasteries and people who dare not brave the local shops. The Decani fathers are God's hands and feet on the ground. You and I are their co-laborers and God’s channel for these sustaining ministries.
Hostility against the Orthodox Christians of Kosovo is something that God is allowing for a time. The Providence of God allows the faithful to continue pressing forward with faith, despite hardships. They pray for their oppressors and for us, their benefactors. They thank God for you and ask that your hearts remain open to them in their oppressive situation. Their circumstances are not ours, but in today’s world, someday they could be. Let us relieve the suffering of our faithful brothers and sisters while we are able. Believe that God will eternally remember your faithful works done out of love.
Are you able to help us avert a pending food crisis there?
Will you help the Decani Fund de-escalate the growing food shortages in Kosovo? Would you send a gift to the Fund today? Together, let us alleviate this growing humanitarian crisis as soon as possible.
Kindly send a check of any amount payable to: Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Write “Food” in the memo. Mail to:
c/o Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund also accepts donations via Paypal. Please visit our web site http://www.thedecanifund.org/ and use the “donate” button near the top of the page. The Decani Fund is a 501c3 tax exempt charity.
God bless and keep your kind and loving hearts!
Humbly in Christ our Lord,
+ Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, President DMRF
+ Very Reverend Archimandrite Sava, Second Vice President
Irene Panagopoulos, Exec. Director/Secretary
Joseph Sarigianopulos, Treasurer/Web Design
+ Reverend Father John Behr, Member
Ariane Trifunovic Montemuro, Member
Thomas Bohm, Member
Presbytera Candace Schefe, Member