Robbie*, serving with OM in Montenegro, always says that an 80-year-old called Ruzica* is his favourite Montenegrin lady. She used to live in Bar, where Robbie and his wife Angela* are based, but when she could no longer care for herself and needed to find a state-funded care home, she had to move about two hours away, since there is no such facility in Bar. Robbie and Angela try to visit her every month.
The home’s head manager (director) and staff really care for the home’s residents, and the director is very open to Robbie and Angela’s visits as well as the possibility of them organising activities and socials for the elderly people.
The outside of the buildings and the courtyard area look quite attractive, though the inside is rather dated. “One time we arrived at lunchtime. …Have you ever smelled boiled cabbage for 150? Not a good smell!” Robbie laughs.
After the first few visits to the home, Robbie and Angela realised sadly that most of the residents had no family or friends who visited them. “We really wanted to try and bring a little companionship into their lives,” says Robbie. “So we thought, ‘Let’s have a party!’ But how?”
In November 2017 a seven-member team from the UK came to help the couple with ministry. Since Ruzica had lived in London when she was younger, Robbie thought she would enjoy meeting the British people. So they planned a proper English tea party. The British team brought tea and made scones, special cakes and biscuits. About 30 of the residents attended; they had a great time eating sweets and seeing friendly faces.
English wasn’t the only language that got practised that day—a young lady on the UK team who knew sign language was introduced to a deaf resident called Zorica*. Zorica was so happy that she and her new British friend could sign a little together.
“It was really one of our favourite days in ministry here in Montenegro,” Robbie shares. The OMers and the visiting UK team all left with hearts full of joy and love for these elderly people who have been somewhat forgotten. “I think many of the residents were overjoyed, too,” he concludes, “since the home’s director said no one has ever come before to do anything like this for them. We hope and pray we can stage a special event at least every other month.”
Praise God for this amazing opportunity, and pray for Robbie and Angela as they bring His love to the people others tend to forget.
*Name changed for security