We are staying put this year for Christmas. It feels different knowing we aren’t packing up and heading to the US/Canada to see family and friends. We’re excited to be seeing Broderic our oldest end of the year, but sad our eldest daughter won’t make it as she’ll be in Africa with YWAM outreach Lord willing – she still has to raise a good chunk of money.
Staying through the holidays does have it’s benefits in Ukraine. Life literally does shut down over 2-3 weeks starting in New Year. Makes for more visiting and the Cafe shines downtown even brighter. It gets dark really early, around 4pm. Very little daylight. The day is made even shorter because we live next to a forest that blocks out 2-3 hrs of sunlight over our house. In the dead of Jan/Feb winter, we get up, have breakfast, and then start to think what we need to do before it gets dark 🙂
Yesterday we met Bettina in Kiev. She’s a family friend of Deb’s parents and worked with them for +10yrs with David Wilkerson. She has served in fundraising and logistics for conferences/setup in probably +80 countries. She was in Kiev en route to several other countries helping Gary Wilkerson setup some meetings for next year.
She also has started a non-profit that is really quite cool. Kids can give $5 to specific vetted projects by Bettina around the world – everything from diapers for orphan babies, to widows feeding programs, to bread in the poorest of poor situations. 100% of the income goes to directly to the needs, no overhead, no staff, just an app and connectivity.
We are getting ready to host the students from Minsk on November 6. So far we have some really cool teachers lined up to join us. Andrei Murzin, our long time friend is coming down to teach on the Kingdom of God. Andrei has been traveling quite extensively teaching in Ukraine and Russia the past few years and also at the seminary in Kiev. We also have a YWAM leader and friend coming down to teach a morning.
Our Pellet stove has arrived and is being installed just in the nick of time too. Thankful to family and friends that helped make this purchase possible, it’s going to immediately bless and warm many folks.
The family is doing well. They have been at home on ‘fall break’ (whatever this is!) and been driving poor Deb crazy. Just finished making them clean both our vehicles, after a year they can get pretty dirty!
We’re meeting this weekend with the widows team to pray and discuss next steps for outreach. We take food packages and visit regularly, however the folks really enjoyed gathering at the Cafe last time, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to give testimony of Jesus reality and love. So, we’re expecting to host some more fellowship for the sweet ladies (and one man). Please remember us in prayer, that the Spirit of the living God awakens them to His love.
This Sunday we’ll also be connecting via Skype to our home church Crossroads in Texas. It’s been cool to see friends and have some visitors this past year from Texas, it makes the skype time more fresh and I think more relate-able – so if you haven’t visited us yet, make plans for 2017 folks!
We’re winterizing and preparing. When you know you are here for the winter ahead it’s more work. My chickens have yet to produce an egg and we’re having little conversations each night. They want heat? They need to produce. What comes first.. heat or the egg? Give me something to work with chickens, its been 6 months. I wonder how God feels when we don’t produce fruit.
Skatepark is used everyday if it’s not raining, but kids of all ages. We’ve added our basketball goal to the pad making it even more unique. So far the ball hasn’t been stolen after 2 weeks! This past Wednesday night we had a large crew of +15 boys come out to Club 180, it’s an overwhelming privilege to share weekly of Christ’s suffering and gift to all men freely. Focusing on the gospel exclusively for the past few years has been just what we’ve needed too. Does His grace still amaze you? Are you overwhelmed by His love toward you? Think upon Jesus!
If you’ve made this far, you most likely really do care about our family and pray for us. We treasure this prayer support. You literally reach across the globe and battle with us when you clasp your hands in prayer. Your faith is a gift from God, and for God – and for us!
We all need Him in greater measure this next year. I’ve had a ‘get ready’ in my heart for several months and been trying to prepare as best I can. God is at work, He is stirring, give us all faith Lord for your exceeding abundance, whatever that looks like!
Bruce & Deb
During the week of November 6-12, we have invited a class of Bible College students from Minsk. They will be continuing classes while here, interacting with students and participating in some projects with us. We are really excited about this opportunity!
The students will be staying the week with us as they get to experience firsthand life in rural Ukraine and our ministry. I’ll be teaching in the mornings through the Gospel of John, and we’ll be inviting some friends from Kiev and other missionaries to share their experiences with the students.
This is not only a cool experience for us to host young men and women dedicated to serving Jesus in the former Soviet Union, but a very neat opportunity for the students themselves. I believe it will be a highlight of their school year and a wonderful investment into their lives outside of a traditional classroom.
It will also be amazing for the students we are reaching for Christ to interact closely with a generation that is literally living for God.
The challenge, as usual are finances. The students can not afford this – they live on a food budget of $13 per week and the trip was inserted at our request. The school can’t afford this because they offer the course for at no charge to the students and operate fully by faith in the similarly depressed economic conditions of Belarus.
It’s part of our vision to raise up and send out and will be so cool to have a bible school operating here for a week!
We have invited the team and agreed to sponsor the 14 bus tickets needed. They are $40 each, and will total $560. The bus ride is over +12hrs each way. If you would like to invest with us and sponsor a ticket or two, we’d appreciate it!
We will be additionally helping to feed and bring in some speakers for the week, so anything contributed will go towards this effort. This is a solid investment into hungry hearts.
Think about it.. we are sending 14 young people on a week mission trip for less than $600. Cool.
It’s always shocking how quickly the seasons change in Ukraine. We’re entering our 9th year here, you’d think the shock would wear off! To start the season we all had the flu last week, and now sporting rough voices and runny noses.
By the mercy of God we were able to pile in 15 students and a few friends into our van and truck and head to Kiev for a night of bowling. For 90% of the students, it was the first time the had ever bowled.
Each month we try to take the Club 180 students somewhere, or do something out of the ordinary. One of the colleges randomly closed and sent students home, so we weren’t sure who was going to come. We ended up taking 6-7 of the guitar/drum students that come several times per week with some our Wednesday night regulars. It was a great time to relax and connect as Dima our Studio Enginner and his wife came, as well as Max (posing with his fingers) who’s our new Barista and youth helper.
Max also really loves video and I’ve commissioned him to produce some youth profile videos – short 3-4 minute clips in a biography style, introducing the young people that we are investing in and telling a bit of their story. Coming soon!
I’m now racing to try and launch our new Lighthouse Ukraine website, possibly this weekend. It’s been hard to find reliable internet lately and the time to try and write, upload photos and videos… but it’s going to be cool to finally have a ministry site that houses our various activities.
Please pray for us this week as we have some important meetings with ministry partners and continuing to look to the Lord for guidance for 2017 focus.
Bruce & Deb
“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” Col 1:6
If you are person of faith in Christ, you are living in a revolution. The powers of this present age hold nations in darkness. Human governments, whether forced upon the people or elected by them have and gone into the annuls of history. They cease. They have an end. Even the greatest powers wither like the grass (Isa 40:7).
If you are a person of faith, your Kingdom is not of earth. It’s an eternal, everlasting reign. Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ, and to remain unchallenged by the flowering or withering kingdoms of this earth.
The Gospel, the message of the Kingdom, is love. Love from a supremely gracious, but fiercely righteous King. He transfers us into His Kingdom (Col 1:13) and as adopted ransomed children, commissions us back out to bring His Kingdom to earth. This commission, is not optional. It’s been happening since the day Christ first uttered it to His disciples (Matt 28), and it’s been marching through history since.
“The Gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world..” – the whole world! The Gospel is emerging in it’s power in the most random places, every day, and has been for 2000yrs. It’s not confined to western cultures, or inhibited to the intellectuals. It’s conquering the poor and rich alike, the religious and unbelieving. It’s powerful enough to change every human heart that believes upon Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the suffering Son of God.
I agree with CS Lewis. We live not in redeemed culture, but in enemy occupied territory.
“Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”
America was once a beacon of Gospel light. It influenced nations towards Kingdom values of integrity, freedom and respect. I grieve over the church’s revealed and I believe growing irrelevance in its present form.
While it strives to influence elections, it is compromising it’s moral and spiritual influence not only on itself, but the nations that once looked to her for the eternal light of the Kingdom.
Organized religion as a whole, its people commonly in bed with the culture, has lost it’s mission. It’s a very sad day when salt loses it’s saltiness, but it’s not one without hope.
Salt’s power is in its preservation qualities. The great news is that the salt was never America, or has ever been a physical nation. The salt is the gospel and it’s effect on the human heart – it preserves the influence of the Kingdom of God on a people. The gospel is the hope for every generation – no matter what country you live in, or who becomes president.
This is not to discount the importance of voting, and the incredible influence of democracy in history. Deborah and I are truly in shock over this latest presidential race like many of our friends. However we are equally distraught over many of our Christian friends blatant disregard for morality, ethics and the the Kingdom culture that Christ died to produce in the human heart. In attempting to secure future “christian’ decisions, you’re sacrificing your witness to those we are privileged to reach, at home and abroad. It’s a blind, short-sighted nationalistic view – turn off your TVs, be humbled by the reflected moral image of your mission field and get back in it.
Pledge allegiance to the King, and get back to His work. No matter who becomes President, the answer to the hopelessness is a salty, powerful, preserving Gospel