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Belarus families welcomed at area church

July 04, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

MAUGANSVILLE - Separated by language but brought together by faith, two congregations of Assembly of God members - one Belarus and one American - are now worshipping in the same house of God.

On Sunday, the group held its second worship service at Zion Assembly of God, said Lois Quesenberry, wife of Pastor Joseph Quesenberry. The group, which numbers between 35 and 40 men, women and children, holds fellowship services at 2 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the church at 13814 Village Mill Drive.

At the pulpit is Eugene Brodov, newly ordained in the Assemblies of God denomination in May, Lois Quesenberry said. He speaks only Russian but through his two children, it was learned that the Brodov family emigrated to America two years ago from Belarus.

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"We came here July 7, 2003, with no English," said Slava Brodov, 18, who will be a senior at Williamsport High School in the fall. He and his sister, Emma, 12, who attends Western Heights, both learned English after arriving in America.

Slava, who plays drums during the spirited services, said his religion is very important to him so he is happy to have a place to worship again.

"Here we are accepted," said Ilona Grinevich, 13, who came to America three years ago.

Before coming to Zion, the Brodovs had been attending services at Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren with others from their homeland. But because they and others were affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, they had been looking for a place to call home.

"We learned of their need and our hearts just knit," Lois Quesenberry said. Because they were all Assemblies of God members, the Quesenberrys said the local congregation decided to let them use the facilities without cost.

Recently, the Brodovs and the Quesenberrys got together for dinner so they could learn more about each other. Eugene and his wife, Lyubov, speak very little Russian, so Emma and Slava were busy translating.

"The two children hardly got anything to eat," Lois Quesenberry said.

Several other families who gravitated to the church echoed that religious freedom was their reason for coming to America and now to Zion Assembly of God in Maugansville.

"Our religion wasn't well accepted where we were before," said Yelena Guk of her homeland. Yelena, 15, and her parents, Tamara and Dmitriy, came to America six years ago.

For more information about the Russian language services, call 301-739-3888 or 301-733-3790.

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