Worship Weekend & Preparations!

#LIT_Kiev Report

What a cool weekend! Around 200 gathered over two evenings for our “LIT Worship” event in Kiev. Mir Ministries sponsored the event financially from funds we raised together this summer.  We have another worship event planned for October 21 in Minsk!

Tucker, Broderic and Brent. So cool to have the men back!

We’ve been hosting various worship gatherings at Lighthouse in our little town of Rzhyschiv for the past 2yrs.  Times of refreshing, of open ended pauses, prayer, declaration.  It will continue this fall under Dima & Lena’s leadership on a monthly basis.

Sometimes 20 show up, sometimes +60 and we can’t physically fit another person.  It’s almost all youth, from several villages.  Each evening has been so unique.  Those that come, most come out of hunger and want, not a sense of duty or obedience.  I think that plays a huge role in expectation and result.  If you anticipate in faith to hear from the Lord, to meet with Him in a special way, well, He doesn’t disappoint.

We’ve specifically felt led to create space for the Holy Spirit, that often awkward silence where those singing along to memorized chorus are forced to take inventory.  God wants us to be healthy there in that quiet place, He meets us in those moments.

For me, corporate worship times are most powerful when they aren’t rehearsed to the ‘letter’ (or I should say chord). Where Christ exalting and heartfelt lyrics to melody are vehicles of posturing our hearts in prayer, they are taking us somewhere – where we can both cry out to the Lord and hear His loving voice.

Yan and the XDH band joined with our Steiger Ukraine partners to host two main worship times.  We also had YGS Church, Collins, Bronwyn, & Elsa join in for some sets.

I love seeing this generation, the 15-25y olds gathering in Ukraine and Belarus.  They are seriously hungry for more.  Religion has left the heart wanting, but the heart of faith is alive – like a heat seeking missile I see this generation open but active.

I think of this Quote from Augustine:

‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.’

We are the weathered boat in a tireless storm. Yet, He has a harbor prepared for us, His name is Jesus.  We can, at any moment, access the safe shores of rest and inner calm.  I spend too much time in the open waters, I need repairs, I need restoration.  The Lord has been speaking this to me all week.  Worship, alone, with others, is like the wind that guides our sails to the places we need to be.  Home.

I woke up this morning to the Jason Upton song, “Home to me”.   There’s nothing my heart longs for more than this place.  We taste His presence and nearness in moments, but soon, we will forever rest in this Harbor.  I feel God pushing us to create more worship, in more places.  He’s brought us Mir Ministries, XDH in Minsk, the DNA of worship is in place, partners emerging with similar vision – let’s do this.

Things are moving at a hectic pace as we head into our final week in Ukraine.  It’s harder to sit down and write when your to-do list seems to be increasing exponentially.  Yet, as time move from present to past, so our memory of the things God has done.  Writing, posting- a stake in the ground, a testimony that Jesus is alive, working in and around us.

Final Preparations

We have a few challenges along the way, as always.  Broderic & Bronwyn visas were not accepted last week by the consulate.  We have an appointment to re-apply tomorrow. We are hopeful, but time is very short.  There are some other hurdles in front of us that I won’t name as we need to keep things generic publicly as we move into this next season, but they are real, and we really appreciate prayer.

We’ve been gathering each Tuesday with our Lighthouse team.  I’m growing to appreciate them more as we head in different directions.  I love their hearts, their willingness, please pray for Lighthouse.  Tonight we will have our first Club 180 youth meeting of the new school year.  We’re prepping for our ‘free pizza’ day for incoming students on the 13th – which is always fun.

Olya is also one of our best Lighthouse workers – she is a barista and pizza chef and works after school.

I look back at many unassuming simple connections made with students. Like Olya, whom I first met at our first Club 180.

She was stranded in Rz without a ride home to her village, but to me was just a group of kids on the side of the road. I drove past her then felt the Lord tug my heart to circle around and ask her and the guys she was with if they needed anything. We gave her a simple ride home.

From there she began a journey of faith, started coming every Wednesday night and wrestling through her own faith. 2yrs later the transformation, the love for others and Christ – she’s like a daughter to Deb and I. We are going to miss her and several other students this fall.

Elsa from Vladivostok is with us still, she decided to come at our invitation to YFM.  She, along with two other guys from Belarus are interested in starting Coffee Shops.  They have connected and excited how their visions are so similar, and I intend to spend several days a week helping them form a business plan, outline their vision, and together prayerfully look for sponsors to help us build more platforms like Lighthouse.  We feel the Lord has divinely connected us for this season.

We found a house to live in for 3 months! I can’t say too much about this, but I am really excited how it turned out.  It’s about 30 minutes from the campus, which is more than we planned, but it has a yard, trampoline, and plenty of beds for our family.  We are still looking for boys/girls apartments but have a few good options.

Deb is amazing.  My poor wife is not only caring for 8 kids again (the older ones returned and shocking us again with how much they eat!), not only is packing and preparing for a move – but has happily (somehow) taken on the reading/schedule for YFM and organizing all of that.  I’ve had to urge her on a few times because she is enjoying reading the books too much, she is such an academic style learner – thankful for her because I am NOT.

Kids all returned from the Dentist yesterday, cavities, and all kinds of fun stuff.  It took them 10hrs to leave the house, and have 3 appointments, and return to the house.  Be thankful America.  Deb and the kids returned just in time for a house full of guests, worship and prayer.  Nice way to end my birthday, I turned 43.

Asking for prayer for:

  • Visas Broderic & Bronwyn
  • Final Interviews YFM – we have a couple late applicants, both older guys (late 20s).
  • Finances for the students, all of them are extremely challenged financially to the point that $500 for the school year would be a large step of faith.   Thankfully we have sponsorship fund (thank you givers!), but we had aimed for a bit more. It’s healthy that they all trust the Lord and I’m impressed by their faith to come, some neat stories.  If you feel led to sponsor a student with any size gift, click here! 
  • Remember to sign up for our private newsletter if you don’t already get it, just email me (bruce@liftupyoureyes.org) or fb message me.  It’s the best source for transparent updates.
  • Health – we seem to really get sick more often here.  Every week somebody is ill, then spreads it around.

Sincerely,

Bruce & Deb

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