Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Bless! The Lord!
Summer is here full and bright with the green leaves and grass all around us. This is the longest sunshine of the year, and after a long and cold Spring, it is quite welcome. Each season does have its own texture and blessing if we will look for it and at it. As it says in Psalm 118:24 KJV “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad.”
Goodness comes from God, and each time has its gifts, and if used properly they have good fruit in time whether pleasant or unpleasant as they might seem to our outward daily life, for as St. James wrote in his Epistle “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) The challenge comes when we are offered to see with a spiritual sight that whatever happens to us can become the good and a blessing if we will actively seek to ask God to let us see it as it truly is each day.
Our Real Current Challenges
From the time of the Covid crisis and its echoes here at the Skete, this has been an especially difficult time affecting us here, especially now in the turnover of critical business employees that left about 14 months ago before new employees could be hired to learn fully their jobs. It left a hole in daily procedures not followed that didn’t allow each day to be closed and tied up to affect our inventory, our production, our shipping, and our ability to bill wholesalers this whole time. Now we are unraveling this and it is hard to do.
Just recently we have found a new key employee who is beginning to unravel what was undone to begin to restore normal function to our icon production and distribution system and are immensely glad at this. This new employee is a real gem and has already closed out and tied down all of the procedures not done for each day for all of the months from May of 2021 to December already and this will restore at least our normal functioning and quick production, and the shipping out of our beautiful icons.
The back valley’s Common Monastic building is still not up and functioning with a problem that came up after the lightning strike over a year ago that also, as it turns out, fried a large and needed electrical inverter and a controller which needs to be up to get the well people to replace the well pump in the ground. We also don’t have the logs for our wood for next year’s heating of this building by the wood fired boiler that keeps this going, and half of the lights and outlets are out from the inverter being down. It will cost about $1,500 for the wood for this season and possibly part of the next, $2,000 to buy and install the electrical system replacements and get all of our newer batteries hooked up for deeper electrical storage for overnight power on the cold and longer nights of Fall and Winter. The well will take about another $5,000 to have the motor pulled and replaced and get the other electrical damage related to the well fully, operational again, and this supplies the water to the boiler jacket to keep the heat going. Please help with this if you can. It is Summer today but the first hard freeze comes here usually the last week of September, now just three months away.
The road to the back valley is in need of serious help and another layer of gravel, especially where the road turns to go back just across the ford of our three-headed spring that comes up in the front Skete valley and then meanders four miles to join the Wisconsin River downstream. This will cost about $2,500 to get the gravel and the grading done. Our finances are very thin and it is hard to keep up on the basics just now. That is the most critical of all of our present needs besides repairs. We can’t yet know which orders were shipped and which are still out there, but hopefully this will continue to be solved in the next few months as it rapidly is completed for each day, but we are still behind now for the six months still to go. Meanwhile we have to keep the lights on and buy our basic supplies to make the icons and eat and all of the daily needs of the monastery too. Please, please help!
Critical Help is Needed Just Now
This is probably our greatest need since we came to these quiet valleys 36 years ago, and so we are turning to our donors and dear friends now for practical help as well as their earnest prayers for the monks here to help get us up back on our feet and be able to meet our financial obligations that are so stretched in this perfect storm. We know that everyone is stretched themselves these days with inflation hurting us all. Yet we can still find some means for what is important to us at times. If you can pray to see if you can help us now in these greatest needs, please do so to see if you can send at least something and may God bless you with an abundant heart in return.
We are just a few monks. We really still need now most of all over $9,000 in donations for our general funds to manage to move more forward before the cooler weather comes again to Southwestern Wisconsin, and our winters here are seriously cold. You have always responded to our past donation appeals and we thank you so much for that. We want to continue to serve you and each part of our larger spiritual community, so please see in prayer whatever you can do to help. Every dollar will count and is a blessing, even the widow’s two mites! Thank you for your help, and may mercy come to you and to all we love from Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the spiritual Sunshine also shine in all of our hearts.
Keep us in your prayers and in your love. We are praying for you. May the Lord bless each and every one of your good and humble hearts.
Your Brothers in Christ,
The Monks of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and the Community of St. Nicholas Church
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