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Choosing Between Food and Medicine

God sends many good people who take care of us

Lev Kovalyov is nine years old and lives in the city of Berezovka in western Belarus with his parents and older brother. While his knowledge of the gospel is still limited, he understands that God is the reason that members from the local church visit his home. What Lev loves most about these visits are the interesting stories the people share and—of course—the food, since that means he won’t have to go to bed hungry.

But things weren’t always this way for Lev.

Until recently, Lev’s mother, Inessa, worked as a kindergarten teacher. That was before the doctors identified a tumor in her brain. While the surgery that followed was able to remove the tumor, she was left with a disability that prevented her from returning to her job. Inessa now relies on expensive medication to manage her condition.

Lev’s father, Timur, receives a pension, but this was not enough to cover the cost of their greater expenses. The choice between buying medicine for his wife and food for his active boys was not one Timur was prepared to make.

Living in a small town, Pastor Anatoly had met the Kovalyov family before. While Timur was less receptive, Inessa accepted the invitation to come to church a few times.

After Inessa’s surgery, Pastor Anatoly began visiting the family, the Food Paks he brought with him helping to meet the need their small income couldn’t cover.

Over the months that followed, Pastor Anatoly and members of his church in Berezovka spent time getting to know the Kovalyov family. The family has begun to open up about their situation and asked for prayer.

Lev and his mother came to church a few times, but his father and brother stayed home. Although Inessa has not made a declaration of faith, she is open to the gospel and asked for prayer, specifically for Lev’s older brother, who attends a school in another town. Inessa is concerned over the bad influence some of the other students are having on her son.

Pastor Anatoly is encouraged with how the Kovalyov family has begun to trust him and other volunteers from the church. He knows that change is possible for this family, but he recognizes that God alone can bring about that change.

Seeing the work of God’s grace in the lives of people in need, I am more and more strengthened in faith in my Lord.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Pastor Anatoly has noticed a considerable change in his community. Several schools and businesses have closed, the standard of living has dropped, and there is a clear lack of hope. “People are in great need of physical help, and I see their great need for God,” he shared.

Pastor Anatoly’s church in Berezovka is one of thirty-six churches throughout the country of Belarus that make up the Children’s Hunger Fund Mercy Network. The faithful pastors and volunteers belonging to these churches continue to use their gifts and the Food Paks provided by Children’s Hunger Fund to minister to families in need in their communities, even while the price of food rises and jobs become scarce.

We are grateful for every one of these faithful servants and the friends and donors who have donated their time and resources to make this ministry possible.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for every and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:10-11


Recipients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy.



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