Arrived in Canada!

So we’re re-packing, adjusting to time-zone, and getting ready to begin the first leg of our family tour.  The kids are absolutely loving Nana’s house with the large backyard wonderland and perfect weather!

We still haven’t seen Broderic, he’s 3hrs north in Ottawa and set to graduate from his course at Augustine College tomorrow.   We can’t wait to re-unite our family, first time in 16 months.

Tucker designed the #YFMGO logo 🙂

We are launching officially our new MIR website on Monday, May 1st, as well as kicking off our social media campaign for the new YFM – Year for Missions course in Minsk.   Youth can get a sneak peak at yfmgo.org!

We have rubber bracelets, stickers, t-shirts to give away during our trip to prospective youth along the way – in an effort to raise awareness of what God is doing in our world, and the new opportunities for youth to be trained for missional living in a very unique setting overseas (in Minsk, Belarus).

We have lots of stickers, just ask for some!

I’m really excited about how we’re approaching this new program.  It’s designed by missionaries, for the type of culturally relevant ministries that are hungry to receive laborers, even crying out to God for them.

The course will not be for the faint of heart, or western individual thinking it will be a cool Jesus adventure.  It will strike to the heart of the Gospel, it’s simplicity, and brutal transparency.  We want to raise up a generation that is gripped by the grace of God, compelled intellectually and emotionally to care because they dwell in the love of God themselves.

We’re excited to announce that in Texas, Collins ODwyer will be flying in to lead us in worship.  Will be cool to see Collins again and believe God will use him in our times with our sending church and MIR legacy supporters and friends.   Several Dallas, Austin and San Antonio friends are planning to make the trek to Longview as well.  Cool!

We are currently looking at options for Yan, the worship leader in Minsk at the church/school to fly to Harrisburg and join us for the weekend there.  I have felt the Lord push me on this, to make the steps for it, that He wants to connect hearts and expand the Kingdom through some connections there at Life Center and through worship.  Yan is in studio the past two weeks as we have (MIR) sponsored the production of his first worship album in Russian – we are entirely excited, I know the Lord is going to greatly use this tool.

Thanks for checking in – We just heard that 20 Steiger youth leaders are headed to our place in Rz tomorrow for a 2 day retreat.  May God refresh and encourage them and our Lighthouse team continue to serve without us well!

Bruce & Deb

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Preparing to Launch.. Ourselves!

Some of the youth of Club 180 that meet regularly at the Cafe, studying the Gospel of John, the life of Christ – Pray for Vova (red shirt) as he leads the next 2 months, and these amazing young hearts.

Ready or not.. here we come!

In less than 5 days, our family will embark on a 2 month journey around the US and Canada!  We are busy cleaning, packing (well at least the suitcases are out), and tending to various ministries for our departure.  This the only the 2nd time in 10 years we’ve all journey together to the US – and we are hungry!

Quick update on Lighthouse.

The Cafe is enjoying a spring ‘bump’ in business as folks are out in their gardens, getting supplies downtown, and more students are generally outdoors.  The park is open but without grass so the kids mostly playing on the half-pipe (creating all sorts of games with it).

The economy is still in really rough shape though, and we all feel it at some level.  The average salary for our area is down under $200 US per month and those with jobs all feel very fortunate. As the ministry side flourishes, the business side is still rather terrible, but God is providing.

We continue to feed +35 widows and visit them each month.  Our youth continues to occupy the 2nd floor with music lessons daily, Club 180, and a mix of many other things through the week.

Our forest next to the house is a sanctuary for me, especially in the spring. When burdens mount, I meet the One who takes them in this place.

Our younger kids are ultra excited for the trip, especially those in Ukrainian school who get to leave a month early!

Bronwyn and Broderic, our two eldest haven’t seen one another for 16 months, it’s been neat to see their anticipation growing for the reunion.  Broderic will be graduating from the apologetics and church history course in Ottawa, Canada – we arrive a couple days before it and hope to go.

After his graduation on the 29th of this month, the next day we fly to British Columbia to visit my sister’s family.  It works out really well because they are just a few hours north of Seattle where our first ‘weekend’ will be with MIR Ministries as we share to a founding church and begin our ‘tour’.

US Family Tour – May 1-22

Lock your doors… here we come!

Our ‘tour’ will take us from Seattle (May 5-8), back to Toronto where we drive down to Longview, Texas (May 12-16), then back up to Harrisburg, PA (May 20-22) before we complete our month of travel and connections back up in my hometown of Picton, Ontario, Canada for a couple weeks of rest Lord willing.

We also intend on trying to fly Deb and a couple kids out to her parents somehow who are currently in Florida.  Neil is still recovering from surgery and unable to travel like they had hoped.  We’re also praying we can connect with some ministry partners in Minnesota in early June.

I detail the above in hopes that some of you who are in areas we mentioned will make an effort to come see us.  Our ultimate desire during this trip is to re-connect with hearts, to encourage, and allow God to work as He desires.  We would love to tell the story of what God is doing in the Russian speaking world with anyone who is interested, we would love to hear what He is doing in your life too.  So give us a shout and try to connect!

We are already receiving emails from friends who feel a burden growing to plant a Coffee Shop, to get their churches involved, to join what God is doing over here – it’s really cool.  As we direct MIR as a US Charity, we now have the means to bring in other missionaries, to grow a team and platform for others to connect to their mission.  It’s so cool to see friends step onto the water in faith and begin to say, “Yes” to whatever God has.

New International Missions Program!

We are about to launch some new ministry plans that are daunting, but exciting.  One is a new missions program in Minsk starting this fall.  We have been busy planning the logistics, the course curriculum, and media development for recruitment.

We have a new website, some video, social media and some goodies to spread around the US/Canada among youth – here we come!   Look for it May 1 as we launch – please pray for us and the new missions program called, ‘YFM – Year for Missions’

We’ll be targeted both English and Russian speaking world, which makes creating the content more tricky, as well as many political hurdles but we are moving ahead by faith to pioneer a new form of discipleship in our part of the world.

I’m most excited about a few of our own youth who have begun to walk with God, that this course would be a huge blessing to their spiritual growth – but we’ll need sponsors from the West as none of them have more than a few bucks to their name, neither do their parents.  Amazing investment opportunities for the Kingdom.

Vikente recording drums for new Worship Album this week!

We’re also sponsoring a new Worship Project in Russian, the guys are in studio this week – it’s going to be amazing and I believe truly impact the youth in the Russian speaking world.  It will launch as well online and in iTunes, and we hope to raise some fund for taking the team on tour this summer as we use this vehicle to promote YFM and attract students.

The school by the way is for all nations, not just Russian speaking – so if you know someone 17-25 age range with a missional heart, help us tell the news once you see it come online!

We are currently fundraising for help sponsoring the band to go on outreach this summer around Belarus and Ukraine – we are partnering with Steiger Worship Ukraine, and need around $2,000 for the team to travel, do 4-5 concerts and reach 300-500 youth if you’d like to contribute.  Outside our trip/personal costs to visit churches, it’s probably our most pressing financial need for ministry – visit www.mirministries.org (the donation system is live, you’ll see ‘worship’ as a category and all giving is tax deductible).

Please pray with us?

  1. Jesus watch over Lighthouse Cafe, our students, leaders in place.  Guide and grow the fruit that you have made, and provide for all their needs!
  2. Jesus watch over our properties, our home, vehicles, all that you have blessed us with.
  3. Jesus keep us in health as we travel, grace us with joy, patience, love.  Let us be salt and light everywhere we go, to see you, to be bold, humble, and walk through every door you provide.
  4. Provide for us as we travel, housing, gas, food, and fuel your mission for the awakening we are experiencing in the Russian speaking world.  Connect us to your Kingdom, the people, the callings, the resources.

Meet Zhenya, he’s from Kiev, serves with Steiger youth ministry and is a humble, gifted musically young man. He and several others are joining us this July as we host our 2nd Intern program.

Thank you everyone for your love and support… look for the launch of the new MIR Website May 1, the launch of the new YFM Missions Course, the new Worship Album – and look for us, we’re coming for you!

We’ll be contacting our Texas friends for more information on a dinner and weekend plans – we so look forward to that!

If you’d like to donate and support us for our trip, please click here. 

With Love,

Bruce & Deb

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Worship Nights – Video Promo

One of the most anticipated events in the area for young believers especially, is our monthly worship nights.  It’s become a mixture of area youth groups from other villages, and our own Club180 youth, any of whom are still taking small steps of faith in Christ.

This video, by our friend Ivan, captures some of the spirit of the evenings. Thank you Steiger Ukraine for leading us in worship and for coming all the way from Kiev and other distant locations!

 

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Oh for more hours in the day!

Would love to blog more about the progress and many things taking place the past few weeks.  I can’t remember a day in the past 2 weeks that I stopped to take a breath.  There are so many things we are racing to prepare for, including:

  • Our Canada/US trip in 3 weeks.
  • Fall 2017 new “YFM-Year for Mission”program.
  • MIR new website, social media, videos, telling our story.
  • Developing new Media team (starting to form up!)

Added to the mix, our US business is once again going through some restructuring.  It’s been an amazing conduit of blessing for many families over the years, not the least being our family and ministry.  However, again much needed changes to allow it to continue.  Amazing guys, but some will need to move on.

I love their heart though, we have all grown so much together, as men, fathers, husbands.  Please pray for us as we make difficult decisions.  From our end, the timing couldn’t be ‘worse’ in the sense that I’m fully engaged here – but we daily trust and move forward.

We meet tonight with Club 180 youth for the first time since the concert.  We hope to see some new faces, but realize it’s a big step for folks to do new things.  We continually pray for the seeds and response from last week.  We have sent all attendees an encouraging text this week, and pray we can connect together with more hearts.

Vikente is here this week.  He’s the eldest son of Peter and Inessa in Minsk, directors of the Bible College and ministry there.  He’s a center piece of several musical elements, including the band there, he works at the studio, and is one of the main leaders of the emerging church that meets in the building.

He and I are reforming all social media, website, processes for the new missions program and for MIR Ministries the US Charity.  We’re also bringing in Vova (designer and youth helper here) to help us.  There’s so many moving parts, but God is adding, directing, and next week I hope to fly again to Minsk to finalize some important ‘directional’ decisions, and implement our plan for communication and casting the ‘net’ for incoming new students into the program.

Thank you for praying!  We need energy.  Our family has been under the weather, Claire is almost healed from a nasty fall which gave her two black eyes.  The weather outside is beaming with Spring newness, and with that, it’s allergy season!

Get ready for some new exciting updates soon for the School and ministry efforts as we bridge Lighthouse Cafe, the College, and provide really cool opportunities for young people in and outside of the Russian/Ukrainian speaking world.

Bless y’all!

Bruce & Deb

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Concert Debrief!

Jeremy & his sister Lidia lead singers from Heroic Nation by our famous cliffs over looking Dnepr River.

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind past few days.  Thank you everyone for praying with us!  I believe the concert was a huge success, with resulting impact to be seen the coming weeks.  Up until the final moments of the concert, I wasn’t sure if many would come.  We didn’t go out of our way to invite the community, we focused on the technical colleges and wanted to keep this a focused ‘youth’ event.

+250 flowed into the community center, I believe around 75% were under 25yrs old.  They were treated to something out of this world for our small rural town.  I credit our students for really encouraging friends to come.

As I sat on the upper balcony watching youth flow in, I was reminded of the situation just a few years ago in this same town.  Stamps, council permissions, even bribes would be required to host such an event in the past, if approved at all.

Before the fall of communism, it would be impossible if not life threatening.  However now, Ukraine is bursting with new freedoms but embracing a dynamic of Christianity – a living hope, a generation is hungry for more than tradition, but an experiential faith that brings those traditions to life.

Snapped this with my iPhone, pretty good timing and color, no editing!

 

The team of 20 stayed at the ‘big house’ again, Deb’s parents house which has been on the market for +2yrs without any possibility of sale in this market.  Yet, this house has become host central for incoming teams, new friends, not only from international guests but now Ukrainian mission groups that see the potential with us to see a new generation emerge.

Deb, the amazing Deb, cooked up a storm with the help of Bronwyn and some of her YWAM friends that are also here, fresh from their Africa 3-month outreach.   We fed around 30 each meal, and at one point counted 7 nationalities represented during dinner.

The evening started with B:pm a local Ukrainian new band, formed out of the mega-talented youth ministry called “Steiger”.  I am continually amazed at the amount of creative talent, I mean professional grade studio talent, guys and gals that play multi-instruments.  They are pooling their talents together quickly, around the Russian speaking world, to reach the lost and hurting with the Gospel – music is key, I don’t know why just yet, but God is, I believe, going to reach masses here through these creative young people.   It’s incredibly fun to be a part of it, even if we are the oldest of the crew.  Someone needs to be the ‘wise’ old parents right?

We really enjoyed getting to know Jeremy and his sister Lidia from France, they form the lead parts of Heroic Nation.  They are producing a really unique sound, part thematic classical and part electronic dance.  Their message is clear, Jesus is the hope of every heart, and though they sang in French and English, the heart of their music was felt, and their times of testimony poignant.

At the end of the evening was a moment where I was able to share for 10 minutes.  We had been praying the past few weeks specifically for this moment, it was on my heart the entire past few days, and all through the concert.  I believe God wanted to speak towards the fear in the hearts of the young people.   Fear of being alone, of approaching their ‘future’ without hope, without options, particularly in this economy, in war, and so much brokenness.

I had a flashlight and talked about walking through the woods at night – the dangers around, and how the Light reveals a path, and that path to our destination.  I brought it back to Jesus, who was no mere man, but the God-man in flesh, the Light of the world who God sent for us, not only to suffer and die for our sin, but to shout for all eternity, that we are not alone – we are known, we are created, we are loved.

We had a moment for a response, for those who wanted to take a step of faith.    This was the moment.  It’s always a moment I walk in trepidation, I want to be used by the Lord, but I don’t want to manipulate.  I want to give opportunity for steps of faith before God, but I realize every day is a journey of faith.

I remember being a 14yr old, hearing the Gospel, sitting in my chair, glued to the chair.  The guy invited a response, and everything in my spirit wanted to go forward, I knew I needed Jesus, I just couldn’t move!  In the end, I did take one, then two, and eventually found myself on my knees at the front being prayed for.  Last night between 30-50, mostly youth, but not all, came forward for prayer.  It was incredible.

The teams surrounded, prayed for folks,and then we sang one last song.  Afterward, around 100 stuck around, and I believe some significant moments took place.  All through the building, we saw groups of prayer and discussion.  It was a moment where God touched hearts, there were some tears, there was a lot of love being shown and received.  We even had some town officials involved meeting and enjoying this moment.

In the end, only Christ knows the ultimate impact.  I know God touched hearts.  I know our youth and others already walking with Jesus were incredibly encouraged, and that may ultimately be the greatest fruit in the end as they catch the missionary heart of God.

We now pray for and prepare for some text/social media follow up and moments to connect with these precious individuals. Please pray for them with us.  I’ve seen already several attempts to discredit what took place last night among some folks, and we know the enemy of our souls does not sit silently.

Thank you Steiger Ukraine, Heroic Nation, our entire family of supporters in prayer.  Thank you as well for the generous unnamed donor who blessed us with the $1k needed to make this evening incredible with the sound/media/logistics which we had ordered completely in faith, without the ability to do on our own.

With full hearts, now time to enjoy family before receiving some more guests next week and final preparation for our May trip, MIR Ministry new website, and a host of other things I don’t want to think about right now, I just want to enjoy God’s goodness and take a breath.

Bruce & Deb

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