Click Here to read our newsletter!
Click Here to read our newsletter!
- to rest
- to surrender
- to receive
- to trust
We just returned from a week, a full week of uninterrupted time with Deb and Jesus. We went to sunny Egypt. Found direct flight from Kiev, on our first charter flight for $300. It took three days to truly remember how to detach and enter true rest of body and soul.
Physical rest is the easy part. Spiritual rest is a bit more tricky. For that, we need a vision of Christ as sabbath, of death to striving, and life in Him. I’m thankful for the refreshing nature of God, He makes old things new, and restores our soul.
Upon returning, I’ve got a clearer pathway for Lighthouse moving into the winter. Specifically, of creating space for our staff together under more intentional discipleship. I’ve made some staffing changes, and God has brought some new hearts as well. Nobody likes change, we like our rhythms and routines. That noise you hear is some of our staff groaning as we strip away the comforts that keep us from growing, and the light of Christ starting to shine on hearts that need it. We all need to be uncomfortable, it’s the place of growth particularly in relationships. It’s the leaders role, I’m learning, to allow others to be uncomfortable when necessary as it relates to their growth, but still intentionally communicating love, and acceptance not based on perfection, but willingness to continue in the light of God’s pruning rays.
I’m trying to finish my final paper for the year at Fuller. Still plenty of semesters ahead on this journey on my MA, but really looking forward to this Christmas break – to set down books, to receive back Brownyn and Broderic from America and be present.
Rattling around in my heart is a needed trip to Slavyansk, Ukraine. It’s closer to Donetsk, and a region that was devistated by the war initially with Russia, and continues to struggle to get back on it’s feet. We have partners in this area for worship, widows ministry and now a potential Cafe platform. The timing, and unrelated connections that have come together point to God’s sovereign design. I’m unsure of our families role specifically right now beyond walking by faith, and being available for the Kingdom’s influence in this region. Please pray with us about that! It’s quite far away, and an overnight train, much closer to the problem areas, compared to our comfortable region near Kiev.
We have teams planning some widows expansion trips to partners in both Ukraine and Belarus. With this Russia issue currently in the Azov sea, it makes working there a bit more tricky. I haven’t blogged in several weeks and I’m realizing as I type just how poor of a job I’ve done documenting what God is doing in and around us in this season. I feel less of a need to detail things, or even promote – We have legit needs, but God knows them, and He knows my limitations. I’m focusing more on people, hearts, community and team development – and also 2019 prayer, direction with our Mir crew of about 15-20 right now. As we go deeper in community and personal formation in Christ, may God’s mission naturally extend through us, and whatever resources we need may the King provide – He has plenty! I’m thankful some more people are helping us communicate and in a week or so we do plan an end of the year promotion to help communicate our needs, and thankful we have a matching pledge coming!
Kids are sweet, healthy. It’s dark and snowy, fire is on, warm house. Thanks for checking in.
Bruce & Deb
Concert & Outreaches
I can’t believe the month is almost over! Our friends from France have just left for the airport. We hosted a couple outreaches in Rzyschiv this week, one at Lighthouse, and the other in our culture building. Between the two events around 150, mostly youth, came out.
I was hoping for more at our main concert, we could have done a better job inside the actual colleges drawing out the hundreds of youth that sit in their dorms. Always learning for next time! A lot of new faces however came out to both events. Our Mayor was so supportive as well, actually helping us advertise.
Those that came were treated to various artists from Ukraine, US and France. We shared a couple of short videos, and sewed seeds of hope in God’s love. A couple things specifically blessed me:
- An official from the City has asked us to help organize the artists/bands for the town’s annual outdoor festival. It’s a great opportunity to reach +1k hearts with Christ-centered music.
- It was cool to see young believers from different churches slowly growing in number, together dancing & enjoying one another.
- One family came to me afterwards and the husband looked fairly serious, I was a bit nervous. He thanked me for hosting the concert and explained that although he was Orthodox, he accepts that we are all serving the same God. It touched me, he was very sincere.
- Sveta, who is on staff with us now as creative and admin help organized the entire event herself. She did a great job taking the vision and organizing talent, logistics, the schedule, advertising. I’m so amazed by the capabilities of this next generation.
Next Event: LIT Minsk, November 16
In a few weeks we’ll be gathering with 100’s of thirsty youth in Minsk for an evening of worship. For those of you that receive our newsletter, we will update you on the challenges and requests for prayer. We don’t post specifics on our blog. We have our friend Charisah again joining us, as well as Collins, and the XDN band from Minsk. Pray for Belarus!
- Christ for the Nations Texas missions director Bryan McLemore & his wife arriving tonight at 3am for a two day visit. We are networking to receive 3rd year missions graduates for intern placement.
- We have hired two new staff at Lighthouse and prayerfully transitioning our business to integrate more with our mission.
- Mir Ministry budgeting for 2019. We need more partners if we’re to continue to reach this generation for Christ – pray about monthly support please! Tax deductible giving at www.mirministries.org
- I want to take the train to Slavyansk, Ukraine in Eastern Ukraine (towards the war zone). We have some open doors for worship, orphan / widows care program. Additionally, it’s a place a new partner is dreaming of of possibly opening a Cafe platform like Lighthouse. Pray for this! I am waiting for my shoulder to heal a bit more.
- Widows Care, so much is happening! We are building an online database and system with World Challenge, and piloting for Russian speaking world. This ministry will double in 2019 and include Russia!
- Continuing to look at Kiev housing for hosting mid week events for leadership community. Found one place we are praying about near YWAM base.
- Speaking of YWAM, will be teaching at the Kiev base in a couple of weeks, first time!
- LIT first worship album is about 50% finished, we have 2 songs left to record in the Minsk studio. We hope to release it in the new year.
- Visible Music certificate program has hit some snags as we register our Ukrainian students. The international requirements are costing our students $150 more than expected, which is a huge expense for them. We have 5 students, if you’d like to help sponsor one or two, please let us know! This is a Christian discipleship course as well.
We have a series of Mir Leadership weekends planned quarterly and “Refresh” weekends through the New Year. They are similar ‘getaways’ targeting next generation leaders, with focused teaching on rest, grace, learning together and listening to the Holy Spirit. Whether leaders are working with us directly or indirect, our growing desire is to see the Church in the Russian/Ukrainian speaking world led by healthy, vulnerable, flourishing men and women.
“The church is not made up of spiritual giants; only broken men can lead others to the cross” (Bosch)
Enjoy some quotes from my past few months reading on character formation and leadership:
“Creating an emotionally healthy culture and building a healthy team are among the primary tasks for every leader” (Scazzero).
“When we release control, we entrust others to act in ways that may not fit with our idea of how they should act. We take the risk that whatever task or responsibility we have released will not be done in accord with our design” (Lingenfelter)
“Christian community is made of people who gather around the transforming presence of Christ so they can do the will of God” (Barton)
As a leader, our focus should be “Attending to the spiritual formation of each individual leader” (Barton 2012, 37) and “to make sure that each individual is on the journey from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight” (Barton)
“In the deepest mystery of his being God is an intimate relationship, a fellowship, a community of love” (Johnson)
“A spiritual mind is one that rejects all forms of deceit such as pretense, exaggeration, misinformation and lying” (Fryling)
“We often pray for wisdom while we are already attached to some outcome we think is best… Cultivating the habit of discernment means we are always seeking the movement of God’s Spirit so we can abandon ourselves to it” (Barton)
“Spiritual formation actually happens as each essential dimension of the self is transformed to Christlikeness under the direction of a regenerate will interacting with constant overtures of grace from God” (Willard)