Two years after its dedication, the House of Mercy at Zhemchuzhinka, Kobrin, Belarus, has opened its doors to six elderly women in June.
The plan began in 2005 because of Belarusian Stepan Trubchik's vision and the approval of Baptist Union President Nikolay Sinkovets. By spring 2012, Vladimir Vandich, Zhemchuzhinka camp director, moved the transition from construction to operations. Now under a new administrator, Igor Miklyaev, these women have moved into their new home with more residents to follow.
"When The Baptist Home embarked with our Belarusian friends on this wonderful journey toward providing a loving, caring ministry to the aging population of Belarus, we were fortunate enough to catch their vision and to believe with them that a House of Mercy could become a reality," noted Margaret Woolley, who has traveled to Belarus several times since 1994 and who now resides with husband Bob at The Baptist Home-Ozark.
"We are now rejoicing that the doors are open. We give thanks again to God who is 'able to do immeasurably more than we ever ask,' and to the faithful people in Missouri and beyond who have prayed, given and worked toward this worthy cause."
Greg Morrow, pastor of First Baptist Church, California, the largest donor church in the state, said, "It has been a great privilege to partner with The Baptist Home in ministering to the needs of some of God's great saints. We are especially grateful The Baptist Home asked us to give to the House of Mercy in Belarus. Truly, our participation with The Baptist Home has brought home the reality of Acts 20:35 -- 'In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
"We continue our ministry in the House of Mercy...," Vandich recently wrote. "(These) six persons in the House of Mercy...are very satisfied. One granny said 'I live here, like in paradise.' For a long time she begged other people about [sic] some food for herself. We work hard to attract additional funding: we talk with churches, relatives and other organizations. This is a new job and we believe that people will understand the significance of this service and will donate. Now we are preparing the website of the House of Mercy in English."
"God's plan for this ministry has a bright future," The Baptist Home President Steve Jones said. "I am grateful for donors and prayer warriors who answered the call of God to turn this opportunity into reality. The smiles on the residents' faces reflect the love of God on the aged of Eastern Europe. Our hope and prayer is that more opportunities will arise to demonstrate God's love to aging humanity."
Consistent with its mission and core values, The Baptist Home has commitments and ongoing strategic plans beyond Missouri and the United States. Training senior adult ministry leaders and seminarians as well as developing ministries with national leaders continue in Belarus but also in Moldova, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.