A humbling Christmas


As Christmas approaches, I am humbled by the generosity of New Thing’s friends.

We received generous gifts to provide up-to-date food system containers for the hospital in Ushachi, and another heartwarming wave of support to provide care for Yuri’s widow and son for the foreseeable future.

December has been a hard month this year — losing Yuri was a blow that we’ll feel for a long time — but I’m deeply grateful for everyone who gave in response to these serious needs.

Your compassion has brought joy to the workers at Ushachi, who can now care for their patients far more effectively.

And when I told Vadim, Yuri’s son, of your great response to their need, he was stunned. They couldn’t conceive of such an outpouring of generosity.

“We have no words,” he said.

There’s a lot of junk in the world, but I thank you for being part of something so gratifying and good.

Much love, and a wonderful Christmas, to you and those you love.

Doug Brendel

Yuri Smirnov, 1960-2015

Yuri & Doug

It grieves me to report that my dear friend and longtime translator Yuri died this evening on his way to church in Minsk. He leaves his wife Elena and his college-student son Vadim. He also leaves a huge hole in our lives, where his passion, his humor, his brilliant talent for language, and his enormous love for God made such a wonderful impact in the world. Rest in peace, beautiful friend.


Buckets of food


“Buckets of food” sounds like a good thing … until you realize they’re actual buckets. Old enameled buckets.

That’s no way to carry food. Especially not in a hospital. Especially not when you’re feeding children with infectious diseases.

But that’s how it is in Ushachi, Belarus, 45 miles from the Russian border.

At the old hospital there, the “infectious diseases” ward is a separate building. Staffers carry food from the kitchen in buckets. The food gets cold (the workers wrap the buckets in cloth to try to keep them warm), the liquids spill, if a worker loses her footing on the icy path, whole meals can be lost in an instant.

In fact, they’re using the same buckets to carry food to the children’s wing, the maternity ward, and even ICU.

Because buckets are all they have.

They need safe, modern, insulated food containers — for a hospital this size, they really need a system of multiple containers.

A big, sealable, temperature-controlled food-system container — washable, high-strength, microwave-safe, designed for easy carrying — costs $249.22.

For a hospital this size, they really need 12 such containers — head doctor Sergey says their truly urgent need is for seven — but could we provide at least one, this Christmas?

Maybe you could help. I hope so.

If three friends each give a special “New Thing” Christmas gift $83.07, we can buy one container.

Or maybe you could provide half the cost of a container, with a gift of $124.61.

But anything you’re able to do will be a real help.

Please get back to me right away on this. I’d love to send a message from New Thing to Dr. Sergey that says, “Merry Christmas! Order the containers!”

Thanks for journeying with us!
Much love,
Doug Brendel