A report from Doug Brendel to all who support or follow our New Thing ministry in Belarus...
RESCUE is crucial, but the work in Zhodino is also
REBUILDING children’s lives
An hour north of Minsk, a shelter takes in children who have been abused or abandoned.
The generous friends of New Thing have supported this shelter for more than 10 years.
Every time we go, I pray it will be a “wasted trip,” with no children in the shelter.
But some new family agony has always occurred since our last visit.
Of course it’s hard for a child when the authorities take them away from their family, even if their family is dangerous....
But the workers at Zhodino work hard to make this a place of love and joy.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, professionals on the staff are working with each child’s family to make the home safe for the child’s return.
Under the law, they have six months to succeed. Otherwise, the child is placed with relatives, or in foster care.
We always bring candies and toys. And pretty soon...
Even the most cautious little ones warm up!
My wife Kristina had a great idea: She sent me with a collection of brand-new cars and trucks.
Each child — starting with the youngest — got to choose his or her own.
With the support of New Thing’s friends, we’ve also built a “Domik,” or “little house,” on one end of the shelter.
It’s an after-school program where staffers can connect with at-risk families.
The goal is to keep children from ever being placed in the shelter.
This was the first-ever such program in the nation, and it has been a tremendous success: more children in Domik, fewer children in the shelter.
The Roma — often known as gypsies — are a tiny minority in Belarus, and often regarded with suspicion.
This little darling is one of several Roma siblings in the “Domik” after-school program.
Upstairs from the “Domik,” we’ve added a “Zontik” (little umbrella), where psychologists work with children who have been traumatized.
Staffers also help new parents learn to care for their children, and counsel young people at risk of suicide.
Our childlike photographer-genius Oleg was smitten by the sandbox that the psychologist uses in therapy.
Eventually she started bringing out other toys for him to play with!
Thank you to every person who has given so generously to New Thing.
The work at Zhodino is your work. The love at Zhodino is your love.
Thanks for journeying with us!
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