• Doug Brendel

The light has gone out



Liudmila Petrovna Kozovaya

February 25, 1948—April 22, 2020


We awoke this morning to the terrible news that the woman we lovingly call “The Great Kozovaya” died in Belarus last night, about 11 pm Minsk time, 4 pm EDT, after testing positive for COVID-19.


Kristina and I are silent with shock and grief. There are simply no words.

Kozovaya was such a bright light in our lives, and in the lives of so many all across Belarus, and to our New Thing family ... it seems impossible that the light has gone out.

I’m attaching the last photos I took of Kozovaya, on January 29th.

We hadn’t scheduled a visit to this shelter for abused and abandoned children, but Kozovaya added it last-minute.

Sometimes when our photographer Oleg Yarovenko is busy shooting elsewhere, I take out my iPhone and do the amateur thing.

There was Kozovaya, making like a grandma with a little girl named Liza.

It’s the kind of scene I’ve witnessed countless times over the course of many years.

Kozovaya loved people, children and adults alike, in a way that made them glow. The work of New Thing, and our “Response of the Heart” team in Belarus, will go on. 

Lydia Danielevna will carry the work forward, along with the bright new assistant Elena P., whom Kozovaya and Lydia Danielevna brought onto the team a few months ago. But for now, our hearts are simply grieving. Please pray for Kozovaya’s husband, children, and grandchildren, and for the “Response of the Heart” team. All broken-hearted. Much love, Doug Brendel


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New Thing is a 501c3 non-profit organization established by Doug and Kristina Brendel in 2002 to help people in need in the Republic of Belarus, in the former USSR.

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