It’s Cold And Very Clean In Ruzhany!
Last year, Richard (my husband) and I, visited a foster family in a little village called Ruzhany. It’s just north of Kobryn and south of Minsk in Belarus. We had heard about an extraordinary couple there, and we wanted to meet them.
Yuri and Olga Bokumenko are pastors of a local Protestant church and are great examples of God’s love in action. They have adopted nineteen kids, many of whom have disabilities.
Before becoming pastors, Yuri served in Afganistan and was a military attorney. Olga was deputy director of a company in the service sector. This couple is bright, resourceful and caring.
One day, while talking about the increasing number of abandoned children in their village, (mostly due to alcohol abuse), Olga’s mother made a statement that would change the focus of their lives and impact an entire community.
“You are wealthy; you have enough to make a child happy, you could take at least one child.”
That was the beginning. God called them to take in an orphaned child, but not just one... twenty-three. They have adopted a total of twenty-three children. Currently, nineteen kids are living with them.
Olga and Yuri have a farm and live in a military barracks that have been remodeled to house their adopted family. They have a garden to provide vegetables, pigs, chickens, and a milk cow. While the land and animals provide some food for this large family, Yuri and Olga must still rely on outside sources to provide additional food and clothing for these children.
After our return to the U.S., I received an email from our Belarusian translator telling me that a man from their village had offered to hunt elk and deer for them to provide meat for the winter as a thank you for caring for the village’s homeless kids. What a great gift, except for one thing - they didn't have a freezer.
I asked the translator to gather costs for me, and she went to work on it. A day later I received another email stating that in her conversation with Olga she had discovered that their washer had been broken for quite some time and was past repair. They have been doing laundry for twenty-one people by hand.
So, because we know that everything, including the cattle on a thousand hills belongs to our Father, we were confident that He would provide a way for us to purchase both. We committed to ordering the freezer AND large capacity washing machine. God graciously provided through the generosity of one of our friends!
After much wrangling, the washer and freezer arrived this past week. These pictures are of the kids who were home when the appliances were delivered. The Bokumenkos are following Jesus call on their lives to care for the orphaned children of their village, and we are blessed to support their mission.
What an exciting day in Ruzhany!
Because of the prayers and financial support of our friends, we can respond quickly with much needed practical help in Jesus' name to people who fall through the cracks in Belarus.
Thank you for your friendship, prayers, financial support as we continue the journey in Belarus.
More help is on the way for this family --- stay tuned!!