Dan Koski -22/4/21
..Jesus told her, “Your brother (Lazarus) will rise again.” – John 11:23
Nearly two years ago, I was blessed to have an overnight stay in the old city of Larnaca, five minutes from his second tomb and current resting place. Like Lazarus, my journey brought me out of the Holy Land and into new lands with new purpose. Now as we approach the second Lazarus Saturday celebrated in the shadow of the COVID 19 pandemic, I can be both grateful that I have a measure of stability in unstable times, and that I have been able to continue my work for Bethany School.
In the past 14 months, the Bethany Orthodox School for Girls has suffered an unprecedented level of financial and logistical difficulties. At present, the School includes 361 non-residential students, 43 staff, 6 boarders, 5 monastic community members, and 1 residential long-term volunteer. Lockdowns, financial pressure on the families of students, non-existent donations from visiting pilgrims and a drop in international donations from parishes and individuals within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia have all taken a toll. The challenges are many and the need to support has never been greater. But with these challenges, there has been encouraging signs of hope, with people, parishes and communities coming forward and giving generously. This past year, we both successfully completed fundraising $15,000 for the renovation of one of three boarding rooms and reached a target goal of $7,500 to pay off outstanding debts for the new School playground completed in 2019. This means that since January of 2015, we have been able to coordinate raising raised over $25,000 in cash and received over $55,000 in infrastructure grants through two Polish Aid projects awards through the Polish Representative Office in Ramallah, working with my colleagues and partners across the world. This is not just my work but rather the work of hundreds of individuals who donated, volunteered and supported Bethany School through giving their time, talent and treasure.
Our Present Call to Action
Our work is not done. Working with my partners through Steps for Christianity, we have set a new fundraising goal of raising $30,000 for immediate infrastructure needs. Mother Maria, Principal of the Bethany Orthodox School for Girls and head of the Community of the Resurrection of Christ in Bethany, has requested these funds be put towards the construction of a new gate and rebuilding of the Community and School perimeter wall, both located on the northern side of their property. The immediate need to protect both the people and property of the School is both clear and urgent.
How to Help
•Make a donation to Bethany School through Steps for Christianity. https://towardsjerusalem.org/. Our website accepts Paypal. All proceeds raised from this coming Lazarus Saturday to Pentecost will go directly towards Bethany School.
•From the United States, make a donation to Bethany School through the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
Write your check to the Orthodox School of Bethany with a notation of Infrastructure.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before sending a check.
Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
Attn: Nicholas Ohotin
75 E 93rd St.
New York, NY
• Make a pledge towards my 2021 Fundraising Hike or Christmas. In the late summer or autumn of this year, I will setting aside a day to do a charity hike with friends through the mountains and hills of Transylvania. Make a pledge as we climb a peak and pray for Bethany.
• Host me for an online Zoom lecture about the Holy Land with your parish, school or community. I will ask for a $100 USD honorarium plus a goodwill donation per lecture, to be earmarked covering wire transfer and Paypal fees and the cost of running the Steps website.
This spring, remember that even in the darkest moments within the tomb in Bethany, Christ did not abandon his friend Lazarus, but raised him from the dead so that he could complete his mission before earning a more blessed rest. May we follow this example and raise hope for Bethany School!