A report from Doug Brendel to all who support or follow our New Thing ministry in Belarus...
The homeless will soon be moving on...
Bananas & Bon Voyage
We’ve had the joy of helping, in small ways over the years, a beautiful ministry to homeless people in Minsk.
Valentina is my favorite.
She and I have a tradition: I always bring her the latest photo of my daughter Lydia Charlotte, now almost 14.
(Lydia Charlotte actually visited this soup kitchen with Kristina and me a few years ago.)
Valentina has a prized collection of 6 Lydia Charlotte photos now.
Ruslan volunteered with this ministry at its very beginning.
Years later, he became homeless himself, and came to benefit from the ministry he’d help establish.
“Pastor Sasha” (left) has been feeding the homeless every day for nearly 20 years.
He borrows or rents space in whatever church will let homeless people in for a few hours a day, and allow Sasha’s volunteers to use the kitchen.
A friend occasionally gives Lydia Charlotte a cash gift to invest as she sees fit in helping people in Belarus.
This time, she chose to cover $200 of the food budget for Sasha’s soup kitchen. Valentina wept as I told the group about my daughter’s choice.
But Lydia Charlotte made one stipulation, as she sent me off to Belarus with the cash: There must be dessert!
Good call: Normal fare is baloney-style meat, some kind of oatmeal stuff, bread, and kvas (bread juice).
So I brought a Belarusian fave: bananas! 60 of them! A treat you don’t even need good teeth to enjoy.
Sasha’s homeless ministry has never had a security incident or a cleanup problem; but when a church gets new leaders, they often kick the homeless out.
This church basement has been a lunchroom for the homeless for a couple years, but a new pastor just took over, and he has a “different vision” for the church.
So Sasha’s ministry was ordered to vacate the premises within 2 weeks.
Sasha negotiated to get 4. They have to be out by October 1st.
Soon they’ll be moving on ... I haven’t yet heard where ... driven out to yet another location.
If you pray, pray for the homeless of Minsk.
We’ll keep in touch with Sasha, and connect with these dear homeless ones again ... wherever they’re allowed to light.
More photos to come.
Thanks for journeying with us!
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