Off to Ukraine!

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone 3 weeks without blogging before.  I hope someone is still out there!

We have been so jammed packed busy with daily college routine, classes, guest speakers, events, kids, uber’s and yes, late night hockey games.  We feel very blessed, and thankful for the many new friends here in Minsk – it’s been a really cool time, and opportunity to grow in new ways too.  New context always brings new fresh perspective doesn’t it?

The kids tonight found us on the couch, a rarity the past few weeks.. so they decided to give us a hairdo. I’m supposed to be ‘DanTDM’ and look much younger per Noah.

I’ll be sending out an exciting email update soon!  Some cool news coming down the pipe for worship platform LIT, and also some new creative spaces for growing what God is doing in the Russian & Ukrainian speaking world.

Deb did NOT want this photo posted, but I figure our blog is fine right? Abbey is her stylist.

So, for now, just a note that we’d appreciate prayer for Deb and kids as I leave them for the next 4 days on a quick trip to Ukraine.  I’ll be taking Brent with me, visiting the team and friends there, also Steiger Conference and making sure our house is still there – winter is closing in.. time to make sure things are good to go!  I’m really excited to connect tomorrow night with our Club 180 youth as well.  Miss them a lot.

We have snow here, here’s a few from our window at the house we are renting.

Each week we pose with the YFM students and speaker… this Monday we had Jan and Sally with us!

This past month so many things have happened.  Some really great weeks with guest speakers.  God is doing amazing things in hearts, and we’re really growing in community with this crew of 12-14.  We are saying goodbye to Elsa from Vladivostock tomorrow, she’s been a real asset as my ‘PA’ (our little joke, but she has been a great personal assistant).

Two teams, two stories, two writers, producers, and actors.. videos coming soon! Tonight a crew showed up forcing me to be an ‘angry’ dad. Easy.

The students are currently making a series of video projects which they’ve written, and are producing under the tutelage of our good french friend Jeremy from Heroic Nation.  This week we have a wonderful professor of theology teaching Hermeneutics (how to read/interpret the bible).  God has really blessed these YFM students with so many different topics but more importantly, teachers that genuinely connect and care.

Our partner Peter just hosted another event last weekend at the Philharmonic, a personal concert that showcased Christian artists from around the Russian speaking world, including more famous Russian songs and personalities that many knew.  Even Elsa sitting next to us was surprised to recognize some of the songs that were written by the team here at XDH.

We have some plans in the works for some more music production and prayerfully moving in that area, as well as some more cafes in the works – we will need God to touch hearts and fuel this, walking on water in some real ways.  There’s such an opportunity to impact culture for Christ, reach youth with hope and vision for their lives –  we can do so much for so little compared to the west right now – this is good soil for sowing folks.  Take it to prayer and join us if you aren’t already involved financially.

At least 600 showed up to enjoy Christian concert at the very same place we hosted LIT – we’re jumping in there now every chance we can 🙂

During this time, we had the honor of hosting Jan Brunk and Sally Knox.  Jan obviously for those that follow our journey is the widow of Dave, they both pioneered the ministry here that we are stepping into for this next season.  There was a neat moment in the night that honored their investment and moved many people.  Also Nona, who is another board member for MIR was there – and we had a number of long, and fruitful meeting mapping out trajectories, what we feel God is showing us, and all left anticipating this coming year.

Noah’s 2nd client.. the coolest little girl on the planet.

There are many challenges, but God is unstoppable.

Love and miss y’all.  Happy Thanksgiving.. is that over or still coming.. I have no idea.. but someone fed me turkey the other night.. it was a pleasant surprise.. don’t see that bird too often ’round these parts.

Email us if you don’t get our monthly email with more specifics.

Bruce & Deb

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Освещать, часть 5 – Он наше убежище

“Господь — твердыня моя и прибежище мое, Избавитель мой, Бог мой, — скала моя; на Него я уповаю; щит мой, рог спасения моего и убежище мое” (Пс. 17:3).

Жизнь – это буря трудностей. Порой тяжелые времена кажутся бесконечными. Буря надвигается на нас волнами, и часто пытается залить водой и раздавить. Жизнь раскрывает нашу человеческую природу, нашу слабость.

Мы крошечные корабли в бесконечном океане. Утомленные временем, событиями, и даже трагедией, мы носим наши переживания в глубине души, скрывая от других. Постоянное движение утомляет, мы желаем отдохнуть.

Что значит “Господь – моя твердыня, мое прибежище, мое убежище?” Разве Он не наша гавань, покой, безопасность? Бури и бесконечные надвигающиеся волны не могут противостоять Ему. Он сильный, в Нем защита, Он непоколебим.

Чрез Христа как через врата мы выходим на открытую дорогу к гавани для наших душ.

Вы знаете, что удивительного в благодати? Для того, чтобы войти в это место тихого и настоящего покоя для души не обязательно обладать духовной силой. Для этого не обязательно достигать определенного уровня развития характера или проходить специальную трехступенчатую программу по снятию стресса.

Напротив, в противоположность человеческим усилиям это означает просто сдаться. Признайте свою потребность в этой гавани, поднимите белый флаг и припадите к Иисусу Христу!

Слово Божие учит нас, что раскаяние, смирение, сокрушенность являются необходимыми условиями для вхождения в эту гавань. Не здоровые имеют нужду во враче. Те, кто плывут, полагаясь на свои собственные силы, никогда не смогут узнать исцеляющей и восстанавливающей силы Христа. Настоящая слабость состоит в том, что вы не обращаете внимания на урон и стресс, который обрушился на вас.

В то время, как мы возвращаемся к бурям нашей жизни, Он хочет, чтобы мы были исполнены Его Духом, Его присутствием, и находили радость в Его силе.

Я благодарен за то, что могу прийти к Богу, который знает все, который заботится обо мне и стремится к тому, чтобы снять груз с моего сердца.

Он мой тайный портовый город, мои ресурсы я получаю даром, и в любое время я могу прийти туда и обрести покой.

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Lit Worship Recap

What an incredible night!  Final count, 1280 (mostly youth) showed up to worship Christ in the center of Minsk this past weekend.  Only 860 were allowed in, max seating capacity in the Philharmonic.

The evening started with Collins and Angela opening up with an acoustic set.  Beautiful to hear the voices echo in this historic place.  Then, Sergei and Taras (500km runner) shared for a few minutes, welcoming everyone and reading the Prodigal Son parable from the book of Luke – in commemoration of the 500yr anniversary of the Belorussian Bible.  These were incredible moments.

Yan and the XDH crew led the main time.  It’s hard to put into words.  Even the short video (from my iphone, more coming from better camera soon), doesn’t do justice to the sense of awe, unity, and faith encouragement that took place.

I got messages from Ukraine over the next 24hrs how LIT literally ‘lit up’ social media in Russian speaking world.  So cool to scroll through and see the many photos and comments from this generation – they are thirsty for God’s reality.  Many commented on how amazing this could be done in the center of their city.

My favorite comment was from the ‘grandmothers’ that work at the Philharmonic – they were greatly impressed with the audience of young people, and said how polite and respectful everyone was.  An important testimony.

You can look at more pictures and coming video over at www.litworship.com if you’d like.  Our prayer is that God would open up doors in Russia next, we’re praying about St. Petersburg as a location for Lit Russia.  We don’t have the resources for this yet, contact us if you’d like to help see more worship in more places – Let’s do this!

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Illuminate Part 5 – He is our Refuge

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.   Psalm 18:2

Life is a storm of difficulty. At times, the stressful seasons seem to be unending.  It comes at us in waves, and often pounding, grinding.  Life reveals our humanity, our weakness.

We’re tiny ships in an endless ocean. Weathered with time, events, even tragedy. We wear this journey within the depths of our soul, hidden from the masses.  The constant movement is tiring, we long for rest.

What does it mean, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my refuge?”  Does He not offer harbor, rest, safety?  The storms and unending pounding waves cannot stand against Him.  He is strong, protective, a stable place.

Through Christ there’s a gate, a clear path into this harbor for our souls.

You know what is so amazing about grace?  Entrance to this place of calm and true soul rest does not require spiritual strength.  It doesn’t require some level of character development or special 3 step stress relief program.  It’s just the opposite of human effort – it’s surrender.  Embrace your need for this harbor, raise the white flag and fall on Jesus Christ!

God’s Word teaches us that contrition, humility, brokenness, these are the preconditions for harbor access.  The healthy need not a physician. Those sailing along just fine in their own power will never know the healing and restorative power of Christ.  True weakness is ignoring the damage and stress you are taking on.

When we head back out into the storms of life, He wants us to be full of His Spirit, His presence filling, His joy our strength.

I’m thankful that I can come to a God who knows, who cares, and who is more than willing to unload the cargo in my heart.

He is my hidden port City, my supplies are free of charge, I can come anytime and find rest.

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Week 3

I don’t like not having time to blog.  You’ll have to trust there is a lot going on keeping me from it!  🙂  Here are some photo updates from the past couple of weeks.  I’m not able to share much specifically, but please do be praying for the upcoming worship event!

Brent turned 16.. he’s at the gym next to the campus almost daily. Making new friends as well which is great.

Claire turned 3yrs old. What a joy, she was very excited to blow out the candles.

We have begun connecting with university students and doing some cultural and language activities.

We are required to do some cultural ‘tours’ as part of our visa. It’s interesting, and also sad the amount of tragedy and events in their history.

Excited for Vova and Nadya, they were married last week! They are both serving with us at Lighthouse with the youth.

Incredible building, atmosphere and acoustics. The Minsk Philharmonic.

I love all the statues and art around the City. This is outside a Catholic Church.

Clark hurt his foot, he was days hopping around, thankfully it was not broken – but we got an afternoon in our first hospital here… um.

 

Cool news:
– I’m off to pick up Bo for a visit this week.
– International Russian night was a huge hit, over 60 turned out.
– We’re enjoying seeing some creative things begin, and relationships with YFM students deepen.

Prayer Requests:
– Upcoming worship event.  Still some needs there.
– My US business, for wisdom as we’re considering some big decisions.
– For continued safety and health.
– For Lighthouse Cafe and staff – we need some wisdom there too with some things.

Thanks for checking in!

 

For more specific updates, email us your address 🙂
Bruce & Deb

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