While I was in Belarus, I got bad news.
I immediately wondered how to tell you, and whether you could help.
The economy there is in terrible shape — prices have been pushing up for years — inflation was more than 50% in 2012, and prices are still climbing.
Utilities, phone, and rent on our “Response of the Heart” team office went up at the beginning of the year, along with customs services.
Then prices went up yet again on the 1st of April.
The team didn’t tell me. They didn’t want to ask for more funding. They feel the $3500 we send each month is already a lot.
I think it’s an awesome bargain. I can’t imagine another ministry that provides aid to the poor of an entire nation for so little money — the largest humanitarian aid operation in the country, with a staff of just four people, making about $200 a month each.
But now, instead of costing $3500 a month, it takes $4000.
“The Great Kozovaya,” the head of our team, quietly went to area churches, and to the institutions we serve, and asked for help.
But everyone in Belarus is in the same boat. There’s no money.
When I arrived in mid-May, they were already more than $1000 behind, and negotiating with their landlords for more time.
Please understand: They can’t simply move the operation into someone’s home. Charities are so strictly regulated in Belarus, it’s not legal to work from a private dwelling. You must have a registered office.
In fact, in that system, charities there are under all kinds of pressure all the time. If you fall behind on your bills, it’s a convenient excuse to shut you down.
Our entire ministry to the needy ones of Belarus depends on keeping our Response of the Heart team going. They provide our only way in to this country.
But the truth is, even before our costs went up, we were on thin ice.
A total of just 21 households across America pledge a monthly gift to New Thing, providing a total of less than $2000 a month.
Each month, we hope and pray that others give special gifts to keep us going.
So today, I’ve got to ask for your help: Please pledge a monthly gift of support to New Thing, to keep our Response of the Heart team at work among the needy of Belarus.
An anonymous friend has offered to match the first $250 a month in new pledges. This means your monthly donation will be doubled. Your love will go twice as far.
If you prefer to auto-give each month, so you don’t have to remember to mail a check, you can use this link. Or your bank might have a program that auto-mails a check (this is how Kristina and I give).
Any amount you can give each month will help us make up the urgent shortfall and keep the work of compassion going strong in Belarus … among the poor, the homeless, the sick, the orphaned, the widowed, the disabled, the abused, the abandoned.
Please remember: Not one penny of any donation to New Thing comes to me personally. We are entirely volunteer on the U.S. side. This is a labor of love. Everything you give goes into Belarus.
If you have any questions about this need, this opportunity to extend compassion to the needy ones of Belarus, please contact me.
I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for understanding, and for journeying with us.
Six lovable children … at Ushachi.
I think you’ll enjoy this photo report.
Widen your browser to enjoy the photos fully.
Thanks for journeying with us!
These children see with their hearts … and your love is changing their lives.
I suggest you widen your browser to the max to enjoy the photos fully!
Thanks for journeying with us!
Last night in Minsk, I had the joy of attending Lydia Danielevna’s 74th birthday party. She is the hard-working second-in-command of our “Response of the Heart” team in Belarus — and the person who originally introduced us to her longtime friend “The Great Kozovaya.”
I asked our New Thing ministry family to give Lydia Danielevna an unusual birthday gift: a donation to New Thing which she could bestow on any Belarusian institution we serve. Lydia Danielevna was surprised and thrilled to receive a total of $1,076 for the needy!
As soon as she decides where the funds will go, I’ll let you know. Thank you to all who gave so generously!
Doug Brendel on Karl Marx Street