Stoneworks International supports the work of Spring of Revival in Belarus. Please keep them in your prayers as they face times of trials and fruit-bearing. Here is a report from Olga Goncharenko, the director of SOR.
Greetings dear friends and supporters,
As we celebrated Thanksgiving we counted our blessings and thought of you as one of them. Thank you for being with us and for all your prayers. We are alive and well despite all the pressures, and we are blessed because we have Jesus.
This fall was very fruitful in friendship and things we did. First of all, the pigs made it to Stankovo orphanage barn with pig food for the year. And the orphans were blessed with potatoes, carrots and cabbage as well for the whole year. We presented orphans at Slytsk with a washing machine, so now they can do laundry themselves in their group area.
Three times we did a “cutting project”. A group of Christian ladies from a different town, Mogilev, asked us to share our experience of how to start a ministry to orphans. Our staff members shared some things and we wanted to follow with practice, so we took them to the orphanages with us and since all of them are hairdressers, they did hair cuts for kids and shared about their faith too. Moreover, we found a contact person in the orphanage in their town (that’s where my parents live) and made a connection for the ladies to visit the orphans there.
Also, we did a cooking class at Slytsk orphanage for one family group of kids (brothers and sisters of different ages). We like this project as it’s very practical and helps orphans a lot. We had a girl Ira in our group this time, and I asked her to boil eggs for the sandwiches but she didn’t know how to do it. And Ira will graduate this coming May. After our lesson, I asked her if she knew how to do it and she said “yes”. And while we are eating, we like to talk about their future and help them to build self-esteem, as many of them think that they are not worthy or not able to go to college for further studies.
Twice a month or so, we sit around the table, having tea and cakes, with a group of orphans. We discuss different topics and give a Christian view on them. And in between all the visits to orphanages, we try not to forget those orphans who are in the hospitals. Andrey, 11 years old from Stankovo, had surgery on his leg (it was 2 inches shorter) and now he has to spend a long time in bed.
We continue to open the doors of our home for orphans and graduate orphans. During the Fall break we had an orphan, Masha, who is in her last year of the orphanage, stay with us for a week. She made good friends with my kids and really enjoyed family stay, rather than staying at the orphanage. Also, it’s a great opportunity to disciple. Besides, we have graduate orphan girls come to our home and church.
This month we have a special praise report as after one of our visits to Stankovo, the teacher has asked us if they may visit our church with the kids. And they did. We took them to children’s Bible school and after that we went to McDonald’s. It was 15 kids and two teachers. It was a double blessing for us at this time as our government is trying to put down the work of all organizations that have connections with Christianity (as you know they have turned down many foreign missionaries and now Belorussians are pressed), but despite all of that we see good results from our work, and we are ready to go on for as long as there is a way.
We ask you to continue to pray for SOR and for us personally as we continue to have pressure from the authorities: they have made a determination to shut us down. They have done everything possible to do it. We have had all sorts of check ups, starting from local tax police and ending with the General Prosecutor’s office trying to find a way to shut us down. But nothing was found, so we are still on. So, a few weeks ago they went to the owner of the building we rent an office from (it’s a private place) and talked to him for three hours trying to make him kick us out, and if we were to lose our address they were going to close us. Usually a 30 day period is given to find a new place, but they use a date that has passed (like a month ago) and shut you down immediately. The guy is tough and didn’t do it their way. It helps at least for a while, but they may try to do something else. And we do not know what they will do next. It’s really very serious and we need prayers. A lot of them, and especially for protection.
Also, we ask you to pray for our Christmas projects, and we are still looking for Christmas gift donations. Thank you dear friends and may you be specially blessed this season.
We continue to put our trust in Jesus and let him rule our lives and SOR.
Olga Goncharenko and the Spring of Revival Staff
Spring of Revival, Belarus