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