Singing & Serving in the Sun

Felis Mubibya, from Congo Africa, via Tanzania, via America.

We hosted a concert at Lighthouse last night on the patio. It was quite hot, felt like August. Nice little crowd, several guests we didn’t know.¬† Felis, a connection through Visible Music College in the US swinging through Ukraine to join LIT Worship this weekend – snagged him town to our famous little Rzhyschiv ūüôā¬† He share some of his original music as well as his faith in the God who changed his life.

Brent and some young men chilling at the back. Brent leaves us on Saturday for summer farming work in Canada.

Our first outdoor concert of the year. Hopefully some more coming!

This week is pretty packed as we are hosting simultaneously a big 2 day worship event in Kiev, as well as the new director of World Challenge Widows Ministry, Mark Buzzetta.¬† Tomorrow night 100’s of next generation believers will gather in the heart of the Ukrainian capital for a time of celebrating God’s grace, and declaring His goodness.¬† Please pray for every musician, all the protection and favor needed to host such an event and see more lives impacted by the presence of Holy Spirit.

New contemporary band “BPM”, along with 10 other artists will play Saturday afternoon in a festival format – we’re testing something out, showcasing taste of the emerging Christian talent.

It’s been nice having Mark here to discuss and Lord willing discover more ways¬† we can effectively serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the widow.¬† God has done some miraculous things in his life to bring him to this new vocation and I love his intentionality and desire to be all in for Christ.

God has blessed and is deepening our Lighthouse ministry to widows in our area. We want to continue developing our methods, but also look for ways to be a catalyst in other parts of the Russian and Ukrainian world – we feel His pleasure as we serve those who can’t help themselves. Therein lies the Gospel itself in each of our lives.

We will be traveling together to Belarus next week and visiting our partners and visiting some areas we’re working in with widows. Pray for us, for wisdom and the Spirit’s leading to be heeded.

For 10yrs, Mark was the CFO with Focus on the Family and now heads up the Widows Ministry efforts with World Challenge.

Visiting this sweet grandmother widow. She had just fell and hurt her back in the garden – we were able to pray and hear some stories.

Thanks for checking in. Please pray for our weekend events and travel coming up next week. I’ve felt an inordinate amount of weight this week, a heavy burden. We’re piercing the darkness with spiritual worship in physical spaces this weekend. I think this is so much more than simply a physical social event. This, along with the hands and feet of Jesus with seemingly harmless widows visitation, these are Kingdom works that work against the enemies plan to silence the Gospel.

I don’t know how it all works, but I believe we have an enemy who prefers we stay indoors and otherwise entertained. There will be a day we will all come to appreciate the struggles and times of oppression we couldn’t understand. Until then, we stand in the name and person of Jesus and move ahead holding His hand.

Comfort there beyond this life.

Bruce & Deb

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Lit Kiev Promo

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Beauty & Bark

Thankful for 3 days in Western Ukraine with Deb and the two little girls.  We took with us Dima & Lena who have served with at at Lighthouse for now 2 years.  They love hiking and have been a huge blessing particular with our Club 180 students this past year as our family has become more mobile with projects and ministry outside of Rzyschiv.

Deb training Claire to overcome fear – problem is that Claire has none.

It takes about 12hrs to drive from our house to the campsite we like to visit.¬† About 10 of the 12hrs you can drive normally, then for about 50km it’s treacherous and preferable by horse or tank!

The end is worth the journey as gorgeous, untouched nature impresses, and blesses your soul.

I was captured by the inner beauty of wood.

The outer bark, not so much. Bark’s role of protection from the elements has literally a weathered look.¬† What is developing inside however is something beautiful – the rich, pleasant and useful hard wood lies inside the aged tree.¬† While the youthful, green trees sway around the mountain side, its the anchored, tried and true trees that hold the real treasure.

Love this sweet Abigail Jane 6yrs old.

I am still recovering from a shoulder injury from this spring (hockey).¬† It’s taking forever to heal – and I keep re-injuring it.¬† For those that have aged before us, they warned me of this.¬† As bark like wrinkles form around our weathered bodies, so too our muscles, organs and systems slowly give way to father time.¬† What lies underneath however, the very character shaped through adversity, the real treasure on earth.

In our narcissistic, ‘selfie’ world, we focus on the shallow, the surface.¬† There’s a certain attractiveness no doubt to youthfulness, in all it’s mid-twenties glory.¬† The seeming unending energy, limitless creativity and zeal.¬† Trimmed with abounding greenery the youth frolik about in the wind, traveling to and fro with blissful ignorance.¬† With youth, what you see it typically what you get.

Like a car, youth possess a shiny exterior.  Open the hood however, and you find an underdeveloped, rather unimpressive engine.

Conversely, those who’ve traveled the difficult miles of life, who’s exterior bears witness to the inner toil, possess an impressive thing.¬† Character.¬† Some serious RPM’s.¬† One of life’s ironies, that we possess energy and vitality when we know very little how to use it well.

Character, particularly that which is has been shaped through the hope that is in Jesus Christ, is a powerful thing.  The mighty, steely reservoir of purpose, determination and wisdom hides nestled beneath the bark.

I was amazed at the quality furniture, houses, and general purposefulness of wood this trip.¬† In a world of old soviet ‘cement’ surrounding us, so refreshing!

The swaying youthful trees chuckle at aged immobility.  They scoff in complete ignorance.  The night is falling, the winds and storms will rage, and not all trees will survive the difficulties of life Рmany will fall.  It will be those that develop roots, who focus on inner growth who will survive.

I wanted to kayak, but I couldn’t.¬† Not this time, not with one arm.¬† Instead, I gazed upon the forests with book in hand.¬† I became mindful that the journey ahead has more difficulty, but more promises too.¬† We are called to become like Christ, to build lives that stand in hope and provide shade for others to find the same Savior’s joy.¬† We rejoice in the youth around us, we champion them on¬† – but we embrace our bark and deepening roots.

Look in the mirror, spot your bark, and rejoice with us in the goodness of God!

Bruce & Deb

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Update from Bronwyn!

Always cool when you click online and see one of your kids!  Proud of Broderic and Brownyn as they settle into new rhythms in central Florida.  Broderic is working with his Uncle and Grandfather in their new business, learning new accounting and practical life skills.  Bronwyn is secretary at a church, and diving into various creative opportunities.

Thank you to all that love, feed, and give opportunity to next generation!

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YFM Highlight Video

Thank you Adrienne for putting this video together!¬† It was a new challenge for our family to ‘go back to school’ last fall in Belarus.¬† We then took some of the students back with us to Ukraine this past February and created opportunities for them to engage with people, ministry partners, and practice sharing the love of God in real ways.

What’s next for YFM Year for Mission?¬† Stay tuned!¬† We are continuing to pray, talk to perspective new students and considering a similar program this fall based out of Ukraine (with mission projects to the Russian speaking world).

We live in a globalized context, the challenges and opportunities are daunting.¬† Traditional forms of academic teaching, classroom and ‘diplomas’ are increasingly undesirable among¬†Millennials/GenZ simply for ‘academics sake.’¬† They understand a piece of paper isn’t going to secure much of anything, and in particular in the Russian education system where you can still pay for your grades, it’s little more than a way out of army duty.

Within Christendom, as it emerges here, we need spirit-led, life-giving forms of relational, engaging and spiritually formation.¬† It needs to be affordable, if possible sustainable with little to to western aid.¬† Like we raise our own kids, doing ‘training’ with an eye towards releasing people of character over charisma, work ethic over good luck.

We are prayerfully considering a new intern program, which has more intentional focus on character formation.¬† It will be somewhat like YFM with academic and missional elements, but I’m hungry for more.¬† This culture is suffering from massive alcoholism, unemployment, high mortality rates, and a fatherless culture.¬† They only know authority, power, and only this form of leadership.¬† They look for instructions too easily, are often without specific orders, fail to see the massive opportunities to love and serve around them.¬†¬† The local churches feed into this problem with clear clergy/laity divide, they are easily shepherded, but not easily raised to impact culture and make new disciples.

I’m praying for new models we, and other leaders around us can walk alongside youth daily with, teaching them vicariously practical, spiritually and missional ethics.¬† To form the whole person, inside out.¬† This is the heart of Jesus education to His own disciples, it’s the style of parenting we employ as Christian parents – why do we consider other possibilities when approaching education for youth? The ‘sage on the stage’ is not how young adults learn best, they need ‘guides on the side’, follow me as I follow Christ Pauline style – but how?¬† What can this look like in our setting?¬† We have some houses, we have new believers, we have plenty of harvest field, we have many partners – and we have you!¬† Pray for us!

Less is more, more is less, and we move ahead asking for the mercy and favor of Jesus!

Bruce & Deborah

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