What Does Mercy Look Like?

Charles David Kelley

If I were to ask you, “What does mercy look like?” how would you answer? I think you would probably think about multiple examples from your own life experiences.

In like manner, I’d like to provide five recent examples of how BBI has extended mercy in recent months.

Sometimes mercy looks like hospitality. When Putin attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, countless millions of Ukrainians fled their homeland. Thousands came to Latvia, including a fine Ukrainian pastor, wife, and daughter – the Maiboroda family. They arrived a week after the war began. We invited them to live in our Riga office and it now serves as a base for ministry to refugees all over the country. And Pastor Slavic Maiboroda now works for us full-time to minister to his fellow countrymen!

Sometimes mercy looks like an evacuation plan. More than 7 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland. Most have exited through Polish border towns. In partnership with ministries like Baltic Global Initiate and Eagle’s Wings Camp, our team has helped evacuate many refugees to Germany, Poland, Finland, and Latvia. We were able to purchase a good Opel passenger van which has since memorized the road to Ukraine from Riga.

Sometimes mercy looks like a feeding program. The war has devastated four cities near Kyiv. One is Bucha, whose citizens were savagely brutalized by attacking soldiers. In April, our team, including Natalie Meeks, Almers Ludviks, and BBI board member, Joshua Masters, went to the border for the purpose of carefully selecting and purchasing 34 pallets of food, which filled 4 large trucks and were driven to these desperate cities. The food arrived safely and was distributed by the local churches.

Sometimes mercy looks like a feast. In the Old Testament, when God instructed Israel regarding foreigners and sojourners, He made it clear that His people were to show extravagant hospitality to them. This included invitations for them to participate in their feasts and festivals. BBI has emulated this principle by supplying food and supplies for several magnificent feasts for refugees and their hosts. Many lambs from the Sheep Farm at Eagle’s Wings have been provided for joyful events of thanksgiving – in Riga, at the camp, and other places in Latvia where refugees are settling. More feasts are planned for this summer.

Sometimes mercy looks like a conference. Every church is called to show mercy and care for its people and regions. But there are some who have special calls to minister in mercy to people with tremendous life struggles and pain. For several years, BBI has invited leaders of mercy ministries to come together for 4 days of friendship, prayer, fellowship, instruction, and vision casting. We call these events Prayer Days for Those Who Work with Those Who Hurt. We rejoiced as leaders of ministries like the Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, orphan transitional care ministries, halfway houses, prison ministries, recovery centers, and Celebrate Recovery ministries came together in April for this event, held in a special old German mansion in a small town. I wish you could have experienced the joyful singing, hearty laughter in the dining room, intimacy in small group prayer, peaceful walks around the lake, and relevant messages from experienced mercy ministry leaders like Joshua Masters, David Sutton, and Bill Specht.

As you well know, when the Ukrainian War began in February, BBI immediately established a Ukrainian Assistance Fund to help in any way possible. Over the next few months, we have received more than $180,000 to be used carefully and strategically to meet as many needs as possible. The various expressions of mercy I mentioned above were costly, but so, so worth it.

I want to thank as many people as possible for their extravagant generosity to our Ukrainian assistance ministry. We hope you will continue to give as the Lord directs your heart.

But I also want you to know that BBI has not asked our extended family for any special gifts or new commitments for the BBI General Fund since Christmas. We have not wanted to burden our dear generous friends by approaching them too often.

However, we have experienced several low-income months since the war began. We are eating into our reserves quickly and we need new special gifts now to continue our ministry through the summer months.

Are you in a position to make a special gift? If so, please respond.

Thank you for your faithfulness and prayers!