Family News

My gorgeous daughter and her new dreads inspired me. We’ll miss our brown pony.

So America, look out.

Our spunky, lip pierced, Jesus loving, newly dreaded 19yr old is heading your way next week.  Bronwyn will be landing in the Orlando, FL area to work this summer with her brother, staying at her grandparents.

Bronwyn beginning her goodbyes – See you later Collins ;(

This isn’t just a summer thing though- she’s in process of applying to an art school in the sunshine state. It was super cool to have her in Minsk with us this past fall and rejoin the family for a season after her African safari. I think she reconnected with some of her ‘roots.’  Hair joke, sorry.

I need to keep this light, because inside, this daddy is holding back the tears. These things sneak up on you, right?

I thought I would be better at firing off these arrows.  It’s Deb, who’s admittedly more anxious than I to empty the nest, who keeps us anchored in parenting reality – they do need to leave.  I think “The Walton’s” was my dad’s hope- that we’d all stay ‘home’ and wish each other goodnight. I get it now.

The only thing I’m excited about at the moment is sharing less of my potato chips.  Bronwyn inherited my weakness for them – she’s a gifted snack thief.

We will miss her piano playing and watching her little sisters adore her.  Whoa, tears welling up, I best move on.

Claire was inspired (by what we aren’t sure) to visit Tuckers room, find his passport, and rip the most important pages.

This past year I’ve been writing primarily around missions activity, and promoting projects, fundraising (which is particularly a favorite of mine).  I’ve missed connecting with friends across the pond on a more personal level.

Deb and I were talking the other day about how dramatically the world via the internet has changed things over the past 10 yrs.  When we moved here, our ‘blog’ was cutting edge, the iPhone was just announced by Steve Jobs, and President Obama was taking office.  Yeah, I think a lot has changed for everyone.

For missionaries like us, who rely exclusively on communication to ‘connect’ and provide meaningful spiritual and financial resources, today’s glut of information overload is a real challenge.

Up until a few years ago, sending out a newsletter, email, or blog update was fairly unique.  Today we’re bombarded with social media 24/7 – everyone posting anything. I was noticing a friend (a few hours north of us), who runs an orphanage and their only ministry vehicle is dead – they need a new van. Their post for this incredible need was sandwiched between marketing ads and “7yrs ago today” photos.

Like the printed newsletter 30yrs ago, social media is becoming an ineffective conduit for missionaries to fuel mission.  We need wisdom.

Meet Leera, sharp next generation Ukrainian leader running her own Temp Agency. She’s from war-torn Donetsk. I’m praying about how we can help her grow her business in the context of missions.

There’s just too much information to wade through.

I’m exhausted after the unending scroll of facebook and I know you are too.  Instagram is completely run by the emerging generation under 30. They left facebook a while ago (normal when parents show up).  Yet, even Instagram is now dominated by the ultra A.D.D. format of 5 second daily snapshots.

To insert legitimate prayer requests, or promote missional activity in these spheres is increasingly inappropriate and counterproductive.  People are looking for dopamine hits and here we are, reminding them of spiritual realities – unfriend.

How did I start this post about Bronwyn leaving and end up here?  Our family, like yours, is changing.  Deb and I are entering mid 40’s, actually Deb is already there 😉  As you get older, you increasingly treasure meaningful connection.  Shallow ‘likes’ and voyeur like spectating of each-other’s lives is lame.

Wes & Kim Janzen, Kiev Symphony Orchestra & Choir conductors – Missionaries from BC Canada!

I’m getting back to blogging to update those who continue to care, love and support our journey. I need to be more personal and vulnerable.

I want to apologize if some of our promoting and ‘ministry’ stuff has left you less interested and even disconnected. Our blog still gets cool readership levels, over 60 will read it within 24hrs.  Of those, a majority we’ve known for many years. That relationship means more to us than a donation or a like on fb.

I’m realizing I want to write for those that have been more wise than I and have already made healthy disconnects from the use of technology. So if you notice some more edgy updates, frustrations, or more gory details of broken society, this is why.

If you have any suggestions, thoughts, please write me!  I want to know how to best stay connected.

Prayer Request March/April:

– Bronwyn: she leaves Tuesday, for her re-entry into the foreign land that is America – I think there will be some genuine culture shock coming her way.

– YWAM Trip Russia: we didn’t receive the funds we need for Deb’s ticket, so only I will go. Pray for safety, for all the youth and leaders who will travel great distances to be encouraged and taught.

– Fuller Seminary Begun!  I have begun a graduate course (MAGL Masters Global Leadership).  It’s 90% online and about 15hrs per week for the next few years.  How I was accepted is an incredible story and I praise Him for putting this on my heart and flinging wide these doors. Pray for me please.

– Spring/Summer Trips & Mission: We have a lot of changes taking place. I think it’s just the beginning! As International Director with our charity Mir Ministries, we have a new board and exciting new plans for advancing Jesus Christ in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Deep breath. Please pray for all of us and unity as we move forward into this next chapter.  So thankful for the oversight & experience surrounding our families in Kiev & Minsk!

– July 15-August 15 we hope to be in Canada/US (required for my program).  My family in Canada has offered to help bring the family, but we’re not sure if we’ll be able to pull it off yet. Regardless who comes, we would love to potentially visit you in person and enjoy your fellowship.  Invite us!

Was cool to see Kiril, our Club 180 youth on a Steiger Video during a conference in Kiev! He’s an orphan that is serving God and really neat dude.  Lighthouse fruit on display in big ole Kiev – sweet!

Things we’ve been studying/learning:

– Rhythm of ‘working’ to enter regular spiritual rest – how the Sabbath ultimate goal was to help bring our souls to genuine peace and rest (from works) with Christ.  (Heb 4).

– Books: Leadership Elipse (Fryling), Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places (Peterson), Life You Always Wanted (Ortberg).

– If you want something substantive, thought provoking & completely antagonistic towards today’s humanistic dialogue, check out Dr. Jordan Peterson on Youtube.

With love,

Bruce & Deborah Crowe

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False Starts : Lessons in Pioneering

Spring is here.. hold that thought!

It’s March 24th and my kids just finished building a snowman. We’ll take it over the mud, but I’m admittedly weary of the never ending winter.

I like to start things, but I’m often jumping the gun.

Learning to allow for more reflection, discussion and prayer. I get frustrated around impulsive people, yet I find the opposite extreme of debilitating caution the worst of the two extremes.

Spring tried to start. It wasn’t time. It will try again.

When pioneering something ‘new’, whether in your family, business or ministry, we ultimately need to take steps. I realize we’re all wired differently and the process won’t be the same for everyone, but God loves appropriately placed faith.

When we are actively trusting Jesus for justification and union NOW (like today), we let go of so much fear.

Contrary to the world, a believers value shouldn’t rest in whether our ideas work or fail, but in Jesus alone.

This has been a hard lesson for me.  I admittedly care too much what people think.  Who wants to be known as the one that failed or had to start over?

Yet, when free from this performance, we’re emboldened to take risks, even leap into adventurous new chapters.

Don’t be afraid of false starts. Don’t be afraid if you have to stop and re-calibrate a ministry or business. Don’t listen to judging attitudes of others.  Easier said than done.

The world needs to see that the Gospel actualized in more than Sunday sermons. The fact that Jesus is alive today proves we are perfectly loved by a perfect God.  If we believe that, we’re more free to step out in faith and impact our world.

So get out there and start, even if you need to start again.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us – Eph 3:20

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YWAM Russia Conference

I have been asked to speak at the upcoming Annual Conference for YWAM Russia this April 16-20, 2018 in Vladivostok, far east Russia.

I would really love for Deb to join me, but it will cost an extra $830.  I’m already scrambling to fund my own flight.

I looked into sending her by train, it’s only $400, but would take an astounding 14 days of travel.  Sounds like a dream to Deb, isolated with tea and books… but no.

This will be my third trip to Vlad.  Deb has yet to join me. We have several friends that would love to see her as well.

Bronwyn reluctantly offers her last hrvnya (est value $0.04)

We have a week to get her ticket, if she’s to come.  If you’d like to contribute towards it, click here

Thank you for considering!

Please pray for me regardless, for the conference teaching times, the worship, safety of the missionaries traveling from all corners.

Bruce & Deb

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InterVarsity Mission Week

Yulia is the director of CCX Ukraine and has served with them for 11 years. She came to Christ through this ministry. It was cool to meet up for lunch!

This coming week in Kiev there will be 4 days of on campus discussion and teaching related to the Gospel.  The theme is ‘Myth Busters’ and incoming speakers will share on common misconceptions of Christianity.

Our YFM team will be connecting and serving, and possibly playing at some evening Cafe outreaches.

As many of you know, we worked with Katya and CCX Belarus, which is unofficially serving students.  It’s much harder to do public events and outreach in Belarus compared to Ukraine.  Ukraine for example, has 28 full time staff/missionaries, Belarus only a couple.   In Russia, once had dozens of staff is down to only 8 as the government clamps down on western influence.

Pray for CCX/InterVarsity, they bring solid evangelical teaching, apologetic and relevant opportunities directly to the next generation on the campuses here.

Bruce & Deb


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Why Kiev and Why Now?

It was one of those milestone type events.  For some, a group of new and old friends gathering for dinner.  For me, the beginning of some visible, significant Kingdom synergy.

A shared space, with common vision.  So many gifted, and energetic leaders emerging.  The physical ‘space’ we desire represents a no-less real spiritual ‘space’ opening up before us in Ukraine.

As a collective set of ministries, we represent a wide range of experience and expertise in areas of evangelism and discipleship.  With our connections outside of Ukraine as well, we’re able to, we believe, draw in potential resources together and make this a reality.

There are more partners to come, and some couldn’t make the dinner.  It was nonetheless a wonderfully encouraging time and as one leader said, “I don’t even know some of you, and it’s like I’ve known you all for years.”

It’s difficult to describe the complexity of Ukraine right now.  From my perspective, in light of our desire for a new platform in the capital, I’d like to try.

I feel it’s important for the western Church to grasp the opportunity in Ukraine.

The culture is experiencing, I believe, something very unique in it’s recent history. There was the initial fall of communism in the early 90’s. Ukraine, like all Soviet-block countries experienced an almost immediate breakdown of systems and services.  Some countries stabilized better then others. Countries like Poland & Latvia began to develop fairly quickly, seeing fruitful results economically, politically, and socially rather quickly.

We gathered first for a time of food and fellowship.

Others, like Belarus, immediately incubated themselves from sweeping changes and maintained a socialistic iron fist.  Russia, the enigma that it is, seemed to open up for a season, only to regroup and lock down.

Ukraine however, has continuously been leveraged against, hampered and kept from it’s potential.  Through forced dependence on natural resources, antiquated laws which deterred serious foreign investment, and puppet regimes, Ukraine has continued in an endless state of instability.  I believe instability was by design, the end game ultimately as displayed with the continuous fighting in the East.

A strong united Ukraine, in any regard, is a serious threat to suppressed people.  I believe the greatest fear of the closed countries next door is the embedded ideologies in Christendom, basically this;

There is a Creator and ultimate authority.  His values displayed in Jesus are humanities ultimate rule.

For the first time in our 10yr journey, we sense hope in this emerging crop of youth. For one, they recognize the world has changed. That they are part of a global youth culture, without borders.  The struggles are real, but so are the opportunities.

Our Bible College interns on their 2nd month in Ukraine, visiting with Peter and I.



In an unstable environment, we look for anchors to hold us secure.  For Ukraine, the next generation is starting to believe God not only exists, but knows and cares.

This is a powerful combination.  The good news mixed with faith.

As I type, 170 youth are gathering in Kiev for 5 days for a conference on impacting their culture for Christ.  Some of my own kids are there, as well as our YFM team.  There’s one thing you can’t say about Ukrainian new believers – that they are apathetic.  They will launch themselves en mass into the streets of Kiev this Saturday, to declare Jesus in all sorts of creative forms.

They can do this, without fear.  They will be rejected by individuals, but they will also be received.  They don’t  however fear police, cameras or government agents – it’s their country, it’s their generation. This cannot be understated the boldness rising up among next generation youth in Ukraine.

For the first time in generations, Christianity can breath on the streets of Ukraine.

Believers here who’s parents only knew incubation and fear, are exploring fresh and innovative ways to communicate and share the eternal unchanging message of hope in Jesus. They are, as a whole, uninterested in riches of this world, partly because those riches with their temptations are so far out of reach.  They aim for higher things, like meaning and purpose. They are content with so little, yet can do so much with what they have.

They don’t need huge budgets to pull of impact events.  They ‘get’ their generation is looking for answers, and personal connections are currency.

Side note and sort of off topic – really well done artist animation of the ‘rat race’ on the opposite extremes of capitalism, we showed our youth last week and sparked some interesting discussions:

Back to Ukraine.

Older, established western funded mission organizations would be wise to recognize a major shift in the Russian speaking world.  I’d encourage them to recognizing that something even more legitimate and potentially lasting than the fall of communism – an indigenous church is rising up – and it’s not content with impacting inside it’s borders.

Already, we’re seeing Ukrainian young adults venture into other countries as short term missionaries.  They are landing in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Brazil, even the US!

The challenge for our generation as existing leaders is to lay down foundations of life giving theology, teaching from scripture the things that will sustain them for life.

They are so energetic, sprinting in evangelism they haven’t the tools or perspectives to run effectively the marathon of life.  This goes for their leaders as well who are often only a few years ahead of them and just as green.

Many youth are lacking concepts of biblical marriage, family, work, and managing of money.  Most still live with their parents, as the economy around them is unable to support independence.

We have, I believe, an opportunity and mandate as the family of God to share our resources, to fuel where the Gospel is flourishing.

We can’t do this without significant financial help. We need more church partners, businesses, those that God has blessed with resources to impact for Christ.

When I talk about a new creative platform in Kiev, please realize we aren’t speaking about a fun place, or even a place that already exists.

There’s nothing like this in Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus.  We believe it could be a model to take into these countries however, so we are proceeding with great faith, and believing God for great things.

To  jump in and donate (all giving is tax deductible) please visit our US Charity HERE.

Bruce & Deb

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