After 10 full days of sore throats coughing, fevers and everything in between our family is starting to stabilize! What a ride. I can’t remember a time since moving to Ukraine that such a sustained sickness took hold of me. It sure makes you appreciate the days you feel even semi-normal!
I ventured into the world of men for the first time today. It was pretty much the way I left it. Still no signs of winter settling in. The days are so short though, you have about 2-3 hrs after lunch before the sun sets – maybe an exaggeration, but it sure feels way too short.
The moment I stepped outside I received a call from a friend that the local police wanted to see me. Turns out our skate-boarding posse upset a local business owner and we had to go and talk with them. We have GOT TO get a team out here in the spring to build a small skate park on our downtown property – please!!! Come before my boys end up in jail! 🙂
The cafe has been increasing in customers and sales weekly. We sold 194 coffee drinks last week. I was curious and searched online for some data on the average coffee shop in the US. Around 230 cups per day seems to be a solid average in the big cities. I can’t imagine taking our weekly volume and squeezing it into one day. I can’t imagine being able to charge more than $1.50 for a latte either – man Starbucks must be making a killing. The average American by the way drinks 3.2 cups of coffee per day. Slow down there fellas.
Anyway, I can’t express the feeling of seeing 30-40 folks come in daily, stay for hours. So many young moms and their kids getting out of the house! Today we saw the town’s former ‘lawyer’ and his wife, I’ve known them a bit for years and had invited many times.. finally came and complimented all we’ve done. Getting to know more people, and encouraging our small team to pray for folks and let our work bring glory to God.
The Ukrainian currency has lost even more against the dollar this week, the highest it has every been (15:1). To give you an idea, when we moved here 6.5 yrs ago, it was 5:1, then it stabilized at 8:1 for over 4yrs. Then, last year when the revolution began and war came in the south, it tumbled to 12:1 for a brief season.. since then, ever few months it’s continually losing ground.
Think about that for a moment, and it will give you a feel for what the country is feeling. Ukraine doesn’t produce a lot by itself, most of it’s goods are imported from meat, dairy, and everything in between. The buying power has lost almost 50% in one year! It is ranked dead last in the WORLD for the most devalued currency over the past 12 months. So the man making an already dismal $400 US per month (which is great for here in the smaller towns), can now only purchase just over $200 worth of goods monthly. Nobody is getting raises, if anything people are losing their jobs as the government reforms.
Today I learned of the local orphanages fate. In January it will close it’s doors. The 6 remaining children will be sent to various places. The government can’t afford to keep all these smaller orphanages open. It’s too bad because even though fostering is much better, many will just end up getting put in larger, less personal orphanages. This is the situation of a country on the brink of economic collapse.
Thankful for many things. Thankful that during this past 10 days I had an amazing group of guys in Texas that ‘getr done’ and require very little of me day to day. This has been a huge answer to prayer as many of you know. To be able to ‘be here’ more mentally/spiritually/physically.. so thankful and looking forward to a new year already with fresh vision.
We are planning a trip to the US/Canada in Jan, more on that very soon. I ask that you please pray for this, for wisdom and the Lord to guide our steps through various opportunities. I feel it’s time to get out and share our story a bit more – what God is doing here, and what I believe He is asking us to do that goes beyond the phase 1 of this Coffee Shop.
Bruce & Deb