A report from Doug Brendel to all who support or follow our New Thing ministry in Belarus...
You told them they’re BEAUTIFUL, and
THEY BELIEVE YOU!
Here in Rudensk, Belarus, are 170 children with physical and mental disabilities.
They’ve been orphaned, abandoned, or taken from their parents for their own protection.
I told you about them before here, although I got the numbers wrong: there are actually 170 children, and 120 staff.
And they’re awesome. I mean the kids and the workers.
A few weeks ago I asked you to help New Thing donate 30 new chairs for their auditorium. Friends responded generously, and when we visited again, the place looked great.
Now every time these children present a show on their stage, they’ll see your love in the audience. I wish you could smell this room — it’s the fragrance of dignity. Self-worth. Pride!
The energy in this place is definitely top-down. Director Valentin is effervescent. Non-stop Type A, with a bombastic sense of humor.
When you provide 24/7 year-round care for children, that means schooling too. Instruction has to be tailored to each child’s specific capabilities.
It costs about $400 a month to care for each child. The state is able to provide about $360. What doesn’t get bought? Clothes and shoes, generally, unless caring friends make donations.
Food is an issue too. Because of their various conditions, these children eat 5 times a day. Staff members operate a big farm, complete with livestock, and produce a lot of the food needed.
One major goal: equip each child for adulthood, despite their disabilities. There’s a small apartment where older children live, 90 days at a time, to learn how to function in the real world.
How do you make borsht? What ingredients do you need? How much of each must you buy at the market? How much money will it take?
The children also help with farm chores.
We busted into just about every classroom, distributing chocolates and generally making mayhem.
I hope nobody flunks because of me.
For the big kids, we made it sort of a “chocolate toss.” You get to keep whatever you can catch!
It was naptime when we arrived at the youngest children’s area. Only the deepest snoozers stayed asleep, however.
Little Misha, age 8, was fascinated by my Sharpie.
“I’ll make a picture for you,” I told him. “What would you like me to make? I can make a picture of you. Or a dog. A tree.”
The orphan didn’t hesitate: “Can you make parents?” he asked.
When Misha began correcting my work, I turned the materials over to him. He was more than happy to take over.
What will become of this little artist? I don’t know. He has plenty of disadvantages.
But I want to help Valentin and his dedicated workers give little Misha his best possible shot at life.
More adventures to come!
Thanks for journeying with us!
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