Caring for the Elderly

Danka

The Bread of Life organization was founded in the 1990s to provide humanitarian help for thousands of refugees who fled to the city from different parts of the former Yugoslavia during the Balkans war.

After the war it became apparent that there was still a great need, especially among elderly refugees. Younger family members were leaving the country to find work and the elderly were left to fend for themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. As well as needing material assistance, these elderly people had to overcome loneliness and find and form friendships. With a bankrupt economy and one of the highest proportion of elderly people in Europe, the Serbian government was unable to help.

Bread of Life’s ministry to the elderly continues to this day. Eight Bread of Life carers look after 100 people in need. Help comes in a variety of forms. The frail and immobile are visited in their homes. Bread of Life carers help with such tasks as cleaning, washing, shopping and caring for medical and physical needs. They also visit residential homes, providing mental and physical stimulation for residents there through creative activities, education programmes and entertainment. A group of carers has formed a choir and sings to the residents in national costumes! Where necessary BOL also tries to improve facilities, providing beds, blankets and helping with gardening work.

Mira with Zorka

Dragan Stankovic explains, “Our final goal, behind all we do for people in a material sense, is to share the Gospel.” Carers pray for and share the Gospel with those under their care. Christmas and Easter provide opportunities to invite those who are mobile to special events. However, the Orthodox background of many of these elderly people presents a barrier to true faith. They are bound in spiritual darkness but are unaware of their plight. Many will readily give verbal assent to the Gospel, but see no need for personal repentance and baptism.

Nevertheless, praise God that there are encouragements! Danka, a 96-year-old Bosnian lady (see video below), lost her home and livestock when she fled in 1995. Sadly, her husband died 15 years ago, and she survives on a pension of just €120 per month. Biljana, her carer, visits regularly and helps with shopping and provides other support. Bread of Life also pays for the electricity she relies on for heating. She is so thankful for the care of Bread of Life, but more importantly, she has received Jesus as her Saviour.

Danka’s story

Bread of Life continues to reach out with material and spiritual help to very needy elderly people in Belgrade. SGA supports them in this ministry. Please pray for fruit from this vital work.