You may remember we hosted a Pizza night at the start of the school year, specifically for 1st and 2nd year incoming college students. The following week we started Club 180, a new student club focused on ‘Living for God’, with the prayer of God giving us a nucleus to invest in.
By the grace of God, an immediate core of 15-20 young people started attending each Wednesday night. I felt the Lord direct me to take 4 weeks to outline the Gospel, not concern myself entertaining, but lifting up Jesus Christ as passionately as I know how.
At the end of the 4 weeks, after dealing with the nature of man (sin!), the grace of God (Jesus!), and faith, we challenged the students to take personal inventory, and express outwardly (or not) their faith and desire to trust in Jesus for eternal life.
All but 2 students took that step – and encouraged us greatly to continue sowing, building on that precious seed of faith.
God has given us the ‘core’ we believed Him for. Since then we’ve met several more times, teaching on “How to live WITH” God. We’ve started with prayer, it’s power and simplicity, and in the coming weeks we will move to role of God’s written Word in our journey of faith. Each week I am continually amazed at how open the students are – their Christian heritage has already embedded within it a basic understanding of Christian truth. Many know the Lord’s Prayer. However there is a tremendous amount of mixed paganism and superstition.
Most of the girls are from the local teachers college, and several of them can speak English really well. The boys are from another technical school. All but a couple live in nearby villages and return home every weekend. The past two weeks we’ve started getting some older visitors, friends of friends. I’m looking forward to this coming Christmas season – so many natural themes to explore and challenge with.
I was cleaning my office at the Cafe last week and stumbled upon a poster we made the year before we found and purchased the Cafe property (5yrs ago). It took me back to the ‘dream’ of having a functional Cafe and how far away that seemed. The poster listed several bullet points, reasons why we felt burdened to head into this direction. Student ministry was a key, seeing a generation raised up and sent out.
For the past 2yrs so many resources spent on becoming a functional, consistent light as a Christian operated business. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to finally get to more of our heart, the 2nd floor of the Cafe has always brought joy to my heart.. ‘seeing’ worship take place, ‘seeing’ young people come to Christ in awakening moments, ‘seeing’ Christianity extend into villages and touch even nations!
This little 180 core, like any small group of believers, has the potential to reshape culture for Jesus. Please pray for all these young people in our town. There are many young hearts hungry for spiritual reality, rightly uninterested in religion for it’s own sake. Believe with us, pray with us for more of Jesus touching hearts in Ukraine!
We have been hosting Poetry Nights at the Cafe more regularly, and it’s been neat to see other creative folks in the area utilize the Cafe for things like this. Entire networks of people we would never otherwise get to know pack in the Cafe and express various talents – plus it’s great for business, which can use all the help it can get. The hryvnia has just slipped to 24:1 – our Coffees are now less than $1 but 2-3x more than what folks can really afford.. the Cafe is a true luxury outing for most families and couples.
This past week the Cafe sponsored ‘Students Day’ for the town. The winners of a ‘Quest’, a group of 7, won each a free menu item. They all visited last night, with the town’s rep. Currently our town is completely without cash. There’s nothing available in the budget for schools, roads, hospitals.. it’s causing fresh infighting and stress. Such small ‘donations’ like this are having significant impacts.
This weekend we are hosting a small Thanksgiving meal at our house, and inviting some Ukrainian couples we’ve recently met and want to know more.
Deb and I are considering hosting a 4 week ‘Marriage & Family’ seminar at the Cafe this December. This is another area we see our family and the Cafe becoming more involved in, particularly as we naturally build on these relationships via the kids school and the business. I’m still wrestling through the format.. I want things to be so informal.. yet the culture really reacts well to more ‘formal’ stuff.. they are really into ‘seminars’ and things feeling more official. I would be delighted to never again wear a fancy jacket or tie, but alas we may have to become ‘all things to all men’ 🙂
We are excited to announce a new Widow Ministry that will be starting Jan 1. Together with World Challenge, we will be operating a food pantry (storehouse) for the poorest of the poor. We’re currently connecting with area church reps and organizing a relational based ‘sponsorship’ with Widows in need, and implementing a system. Please pray for wisdom and for God to lead us to those who would be most blessed, and also the willing hearts that will make themselves available for loving on these folks.
Next week we’ll be informing folks on Facebook and our partner churches of a Spring trip taking place, an ‘Awaken 2’ week. It’s going to be amazing – we have some friends from Minsk planning to come as well and perhaps you will want to pray about coming too!
Wow, I wrote way too much! Haven’t gotten to our family. Everyone is healthy, Deb is amazing and we’re enjoying doing more dreaming/planning together. Our trip to Minsk was a fresh reminder of God’s Spirit working in this part of the world.. we’re not alone, and there are many fresh dreamers out there believing God for above and beyond what we can ask or think!
As the ministry grows and God entrusts us with more, we do ask you to pray for us – our marriage, our kids. We’ve experienced specific seasons of attack. We rely on prayers, we rely on financial support as well. We are now entering the costly winter months – heating homes (now 2), and a business will require God’s help. If you’d like to contribute and help us this coming year, or specifically through the winter, we’d love the help! We currently have only 3 monthly supporters outside our home church, and those funds go directly to the Lighthouse Cafe and all we do thru it. Even $25/mo is a huge blessing to minimize our expenses.
You can click here to donate securely online. If you would like to send a check, please send to our home church in Texas:
Crossroads Community Church
c/o Ukraine Missions
1400 East Loop 281
Stay tuned, and thank you for reading 🙂 We are sad we won’t get to see many of you this Christmas season like the previous 2yrs. Things are bound to get crazy for everyone now with the mass commercialism. Keep it simple folks, love, give, and pray now for 2016.. for vision, and God’s leading.
Bruce & Deb