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mercy missions

Caring for the Homeless in Lithuania

Rachel Chimits
June 12, 2019

One woman is working hard to make sure that those often neglected by her hometown have somewhere safe to go. 

Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is the country’s largest city and famous for its historical architecture. Mark Buzzetta, Director of World Challenge’s Mercy Missions, wasn’t there to see castles and museums, though. Instead, he was looking for a food kitchen.

Larisa is the founder of Charity Kitchen and one of World Challenge’s partners. She has a huge heart for the neglected elderly and homeless in a city that often has little time for either.

1 Corinthians 1:18 has motivated her to carry on in the face of criticism for feeding the homeless: “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” 

Kenyan Widow Finding Freedom

Rachel Chimits
May 7, 2019

One woman refused to allow tradition to separate her and her grandchildren, and God made a way for them.

A woman in Kenya who has just lost her husband is immediately faced with a terrible choice: To be “cleansed” or not.

A widow in Kenya is generally considered to be at best cursed and at worst a witch. “Cleansing” supposedly frees them from evil magic, or at least from their neighbors’ suspicion and vitriol.

This process can range anywhere from being forced to sleep beside their husband’s dead body for three days all the way to being forced to have sex with a strange man and having their clothes burned.

The Widows of Guatemala

Rachel Chimits
April 18, 2019

Those who have lost loved ones need extra compassion, and sometimes that love can take very practical forms.

In the United States, there are nearly 14 million widows and widowers, and over 11 million of these are women.

Beatrice Schwartz, a healthcare professional and widow, commented to The Guardian, “The world is not sympathetic to what you’re going through. They don’t give you any time to grieve properly.”

Guardian writer Carla Stockton points out, “The moment a woman is at her most vulnerable, she must make choices that will have an enduring impact on her wellbeing.” Piles of paperwork and legal action face a new widow to make sure assets are taken care of or properly put in her name.

Building for Burundi’s Mothers

Rachel Chimits
April 23, 2019

A group of churches in Bujumbura are working to help widowed women achieve economic independence and a new life in Christ.

The Baptist Union of Churches was founded in 1928 and is the oldest evangelic and one of the most respected groups in Burundi. 

In 1972, during a surge of tribal conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi, churches’ pastors were either killed or fled the country. Despite the terrible devastation, the church has recovered. 

Today, there are 97 main churches and 147 satellite churches across the country with about 75,000 members. The fallout of Burundi’s civil war has led to a widespread struggle with poverty for many of the country’s people, so the church has set up programs to help many of the local widows. 

The Orphans of Romania

Rachel Chimits
March 29, 2019

God moved one man’s heart in a way that has now saved over one hundred abandoned children.

In the 1980’s, Romania was one of the most tightly controlled Communist nations in Eastern Europe under the iron fist of Nicolae Ceaușescu. During his rule, he decided to increase the population in order to build his tax base, and all forms of birth control were outlawed.   

As families grew, they often couldn’t afford to feed or care for the new babies. Thousands of parents abandoned their children every year, swamping state hospitals or orphanages. 

Wards of the State were frequently abused and living in horrendous conditions. In 1989, the Ceaușescu regime was overthrown in a violent revolution, and aid groups were finally allowed into the country. 

Unseen in the Middle East

Rachel Chimits
March 19, 2019

God is reaching out and caring for those who are considered a burden by their society.

You are driving down a rural backroad in the Middle East. To pass through a check-point on the road, you must have cigarettes and spare change.

The soldiers are friendly, smiling and waving through the car windows. They’ll accept the cigarettes and coins as ‘gifts’ and not ask too many questions as you drive through, especially if your car has a license plate from the right countries. 

In town there are no sidewalks, no traffic signs, no lanes or parking rules. A faded yellow cab barrels down your side of the road as the driver lays on the horn and swerves around a donkey-drawn cart. Children dart between the cars like dragonflies. 

“I Cried Out to God for These Children . . .”

Mark Buzzetta
December 17, 2018


Armenian children living in rubble. Please help us reach them. “A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9, HCSB).

“Driving along a desolate road, we came to a building in rubble, an abandoned house, which is home to a family of six. The husband/father is an alcoholic . . . the wife is mentally handicapped, and the four children live in the worst conditions I’ve seen.” — Armenia, June 2018