July 23, 2020

We had a nice afternoon retreat this week, taking our Lighthouse crew for some horseback riding and lunch. Weather was perfect and was nice to get out of context, and rest together.

Deb and I are growing more deeply these days. Growth comes in valleys, formation through slow incremental and seemingly endless working of the Spirit. To rest, to cease from striving, to embrace the love of Jesus over us as the foundation for living and relatedness towards others is such a difficult task. The discipline of stopping, not starting, of creating space for soul care, the voice of the Spirit, is a daunting task. We are recognizing how deficient our love is for others. It’s easy to love those who love you, or to present the posture of love but the real test of our love is in our capacity to participate in God’s kind of love – the suffering love, the kinds that gives out, but doesn’t expect reciprocating response. The love that this world needs, and our own desperate hearts crave, is an fully accepting, vulnerable and divesting love. A love that comes alongside to help, to encourage, and to journey with those who’ve yet to embrace or know the depths of this eternal, perfect love in Christ.

Our family is growing, Broderic is engaged to Kristen, and will be married soon. The world, or at least democracy seems to be under relentless pressure to conform to the sway of the discontented. Our Cafe is growing as a place of gathering, community and our garage out back is demolished. A lot of movement, in and outside of the heart. Movement is good, but it’s difficult. Movement and the dynamics of change require us to be a malleable people, unlearning and re-learning is a continual releasing of what we are familiar with, for the hope of something more life giving. Life changes, people change, the earth is changing, and our political landscapes are changing. The world, changes, and yet we rest in this foundational reality that the Creator who made all of us, and this world we journey through, is forever the same, good, righteous, just, and seeking even now the change of heart of each of us, to surrender a little more to the Spirit’s work.

We are also mentoring, learning how to mentor individuals in different capacities, in the role of coach, spirirtual campanions, and in sponsoring roles. We are really excited about this trajectory, diving deep in study, books and writing.

Bruce & Deb

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Widows Update

A few sample updates from this past month in Ukraine and Belarus. A taste of reality for those on the edge of forgotten by culture, family, but not the Spirit. Let us move by the impulse of your love kind Jesus.

Widow Name: Xenia
City: Reni, Ukraine

In June, new volunteers Liana and Katerina from the city of Reni, Odessa region joined our mission! God began his work through them. They met with widow Xenia. She lives alone and is very lonely. There is nobody near the relatives, almost all have died. Grandchildren live somewhere far away in Russia and are not interested in her life at all. She is very open to the gospel and was surprised that someone needed it. During the first visit, she admitted that she will soon celebrate her 80th
birthday! Our volunteers decided to make her a pleasant surprise – they came to her for her birthday. They were the only guests and gave this widow a lot of joy and care.

Widow Name: Vera Khomovna
City: Khargalyk, Ukraine

Throughout the period when we connected Vera Khomovna to the Widow for Christ program, we see how for her these meetings and food rations became a testimony to the love of Christ. Although she has 3 daughters and grandchildren, she is left alone. She was deceived by her relatives and left homeless. Nobody comes to see her. Vera Khomovna as a doctor, was a liquidator in Chernobyl, has problems with bones. Almost do not walk. There are not enough pensions to live on. Constantly does not finish. When we come to translate it, it comes to life. We talk about Christ and it encourages her not to think about suicide.

City: Minsk, Belarus
Widow Name: Nadezhda Adamovna

Nadezhda Adamovna – 67 years, no husband. She is open to the Lord, and reads the Gospel and is interested and asks questions about faith. There is a daughter, but she drinks and lives separately, but sometimes because of the unbearable situation at her daughter’s house, a grandson runs to his grandmother, who already graduated from the State Polytechnical University this year, but has not yet been hired, and the border with Russia is still closed. Adamovna lives in a communal uncomfortable apartment, 3 apartment buildings, that’s what the stove was for heating, we helped her with financial repairs and Adamovna was in the second heaven, she thanked us and everyone who was among the widows in this ministry. My wife and I often visit her and help her as much as we can. We pray for such people and talk about the Savior and about HIS children who care for such widows and their souls. Thank you dear co-workers and God bless you!

Widow Name: Elena Kospirovich.
City: Krivoshin, Belarus

She is from an Orthodox family. Has two children: son Denis and daughter Galina. Denis attended a school for children with developmental delays, and a daughter in her teens had an accident and remained disabled. Now only moves in a wheelchair. Galina (daughter) got married and lives separately from her mother. Her husband is disabled without legs. At a young age he lost his legs: he walked through the village in the evening and was hit by drunken people in a car.

We thought that he died and dragged on the rails and threw under the train. The train cut both legs. After that, he did not want to live, but began to engage in ballroom dancing in a wheelchair. After a while I met Galina and got married. The husband of Elena Petrovna died 2 years ago. When her husband died, she was very worried, and on the basis of all the experiences another misfortune came – she became ill with oncology. Lies in the hospital, cut off part of the chest, do chemotherapy.We visit her, support her in prayer. And she is very glad that there are people whom they care about and can help. And he often says that all the same, your faith is correct, because it sees the attitude of Christians and care for them.

This is already a great testimony. Although she always appreciated only her faith, but God does His work in her life and she is very grateful for your help and support.
May the Lord abundantly bless everyone in this work.

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Building Project Update

Check our our first weeks progress! We’re making a beautiful mess with vision in our hearts for something neat. We thank you for your support, we need it!
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Lighthouse Update: New Construction Project Has Begun!

Today we began demolishing the old garage pantry behind Lighthouse Cafe. In the next few days a team of workers will be removing the building, piece by piece, dump-truck by dump-truck. Then, we’ll excavate the foundation area, re-build the foundation towards a new multipurpose, 2 story building!

We need more space, Lighthouse Cafe main buildin is maxed out on both floors. The past few months we’ve witnessed a surge of interested friends and new partners within Ukraine coming alongside our missional community at Lighthouse. These folks come from all kinds of backgrounds and interests, from both within our region and without. I’m enthused to explore together how we can collaborate in providing unique space for touching and forming lives, especially the next generation.

First step today, removal of roof!
Yes, the garage attic was filled with hay. Who knew?
Roof gone. Walls tomorrow.
My unsophisticated conceptual drawing. Bigger, and safer 🙂 Room to facilitate more dreams and gifts among our community. Working on new design now as we collaborate together.

The common theme emerging in our community: a healthy, united, flourishing Ukraine.

I believe our Creator is drawing many talented and creative folks to join with those locally who seek to create culture instead of endlessly fighting systemic issues that prohibit growth. Our family and team are honored to come alongside reflections of Jesus Kingdom and cultivate open non-religious and non-political spaces for experimentation and collaboration. In other words, we are super excited to see how this new space will be used by a multiplicity of souls.

We have yet to finalize the building design, it’s being worked on now and we are thankful for our local building inspector’s help along this often challenging path of stamps and roadblocks. In the next few weeks we hope to show everyone the plans, and in stages reveal our progress. We’d love to have the shell of the building completed by October of this year – but that’s going to take some generous hearts contributing to the cause!

Besides replacing the existing function of our garage pantry which serves as storage for Lighthouse Cafe and our food assembly spot for local widows care program, some of the ideas circulating include:

  • Open hall with kitchen area (larger events, widows gatherings, small concerts.
  • Spaces for cooking lessons, wood working, creative arts, language lessons.
  • First floor tourism center with bicycle rental+ repair, maps and partner info.
  • Second floor prayer/meditation room, much needed office space.
  • Basement multimedia room (photo, video editing), pantry.
We love next generation youth of Ukraine and believe the light that is burning at Lighthouse will continue to grow in new spheres with more space!

We are partnering once again with our sending church in Longview (Grace City) and they’ve agreed to be the conduit for tax-deductible giving on this project.

We are trying to raise $50,000 towards this project. So far, we have raised $5,000 as of July 4th – thus Phase 1 has begun!

Please consider supporting our project! Our team and family truly appreciates your help as we navigate this exciting next chapter in our journey.

US Donations

Grace City Church
Ukraine Building Project
1400 E. Loop 281
Longview, Texas
75605

Online Giving: https://www.gracecitypeople.com/give
*drop down select “Ukraine Building Project”

Canadian Donations:

Great Commission Foundation
FUND #552 (Crowe)
PO Box 14006
Abbotsford, BC
V2T OB4
Canada

Online Giving: https://gcfcanada.com/bruce-and-deborah-crowe/

If you have any questions, ideas, encouragement, please don’t hesitate to reach to me personally! Our hope was initially to host some short-term construction teams as we have in the past. Due to the instability of the world at the moment, that is rather difficult to plan. If you are interested however in joining a team in the near future, handy with a hammer, tiling, plumbing, painting, or generally just enjoy working with a cross-cultural group of believers, let us know! We’d love for you or your church to join us more intentionally, at any level –

Respectfully and behalf of our team,

Bruce & Deb Crowe

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