Very early on the morning of August 13, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, we left St Philip’s for the monastery. It was a long drive up, but it turned out to be totally worth it. Everyone was very welcoming upon our arrival; they almost immediately had us begin working!
The monastery is not what we would call "new," so it needs a lot of work done on it, and unfortunately with our lack of numbers and time we could not help them with as much as we would have liked, and as much as they need. Our first task was to move hundreds of hay bales from two huge wagons into the barn. It was a rough task, but the nuns were very thankful, because they said that it would have taken all of them two days to do that, whereas it took us two to three hours.
After that we got to meet many of their animals, which consist of goats, rams, sheep, chickens, cats, and two guard dogs. Some of us even got the chance to milk goats and bottle-feed baby goats.
Throughout the day we had a few church services, too. All of them were very spiritually beautiful.
Then in the afternoon, we moved all the contents (furniture, icons, etc.), out of a church building down the road and into a trailer. They hope soon to make this building a Bible study meeting place, after a group from Chicago comes and redoes the collapsing floor.
Our day ended with a very nice vigil and delicious dinner.
The next morning, a Sunday, we had liturgy with the nuns and their mission parishioners, and soon after, we left for our long journey home. It was an amazing experience, and we hope that next year we can go again with an even larger group.
By: Rachel Howanetz