Whew! It’s been a whirlwind past few days. Thank you everyone for praying with us! I believe the concert was a huge success, with resulting impact to be seen the coming weeks. Up until the final moments of the concert, I wasn’t sure if many would come. We didn’t go out of our way to invite the community, we focused on the technical colleges and wanted to keep this a focused ‘youth’ event.
+250 flowed into the community center, I believe around 75% were under 25yrs old. They were treated to something out of this world for our small rural town. I credit our students for really encouraging friends to come.
As I sat on the upper balcony watching youth flow in, I was reminded of the situation just a few years ago in this same town. Stamps, council permissions, even bribes would be required to host such an event in the past, if approved at all.
Before the fall of communism, it would be impossible if not life threatening. However now, Ukraine is bursting with new freedoms but embracing a dynamic of Christianity – a living hope, a generation is hungry for more than tradition, but an experiential faith that brings those traditions to life.
The team of 20 stayed at the ‘big house’ again, Deb’s parents house which has been on the market for +2yrs without any possibility of sale in this market. Yet, this house has become host central for incoming teams, new friends, not only from international guests but now Ukrainian mission groups that see the potential with us to see a new generation emerge.
Deb, the amazing Deb, cooked up a storm with the help of Bronwyn and some of her YWAM friends that are also here, fresh from their Africa 3-month outreach. We fed around 30 each meal, and at one point counted 7 nationalities represented during dinner.
The evening started with B:pm a local Ukrainian new band, formed out of the mega-talented youth ministry called “Steiger”. I am continually amazed at the amount of creative talent, I mean professional grade studio talent, guys and gals that play multi-instruments. They are pooling their talents together quickly, around the Russian speaking world, to reach the lost and hurting with the Gospel – music is key, I don’t know why just yet, but God is, I believe, going to reach masses here through these creative young people. It’s incredibly fun to be a part of it, even if we are the oldest of the crew. Someone needs to be the ‘wise’ old parents right?
We really enjoyed getting to know Jeremy and his sister Lidia from France, they form the lead parts of Heroic Nation. They are producing a really unique sound, part thematic classical and part electronic dance. Their message is clear, Jesus is the hope of every heart, and though they sang in French and English, the heart of their music was felt, and their times of testimony poignant.
At the end of the evening was a moment where I was able to share for 10 minutes. We had been praying the past few weeks specifically for this moment, it was on my heart the entire past few days, and all through the concert. I believe God wanted to speak towards the fear in the hearts of the young people. Fear of being alone, of approaching their ‘future’ without hope, without options, particularly in this economy, in war, and so much brokenness.
I had a flashlight and talked about walking through the woods at night – the dangers around, and how the Light reveals a path, and that path to our destination. I brought it back to Jesus, who was no mere man, but the God-man in flesh, the Light of the world who God sent for us, not only to suffer and die for our sin, but to shout for all eternity, that we are not alone – we are known, we are created, we are loved.
We had a moment for a response, for those who wanted to take a step of faith. This was the moment. It’s always a moment I walk in trepidation, I want to be used by the Lord, but I don’t want to manipulate. I want to give opportunity for steps of faith before God, but I realize every day is a journey of faith.
I remember being a 14yr old, hearing the Gospel, sitting in my chair, glued to the chair. The guy invited a response, and everything in my spirit wanted to go forward, I knew I needed Jesus, I just couldn’t move! In the end, I did take one, then two, and eventually found myself on my knees at the front being prayed for. Last night between 30-50, mostly youth, but not all, came forward for prayer. It was incredible.
The teams surrounded, prayed for folks,and then we sang one last song. Afterward, around 100 stuck around, and I believe some significant moments took place. All through the building, we saw groups of prayer and discussion. It was a moment where God touched hearts, there were some tears, there was a lot of love being shown and received. We even had some town officials involved meeting and enjoying this moment.
In the end, only Christ knows the ultimate impact. I know God touched hearts. I know our youth and others already walking with Jesus were incredibly encouraged, and that may ultimately be the greatest fruit in the end as they catch the missionary heart of God.
We now pray for and prepare for some text/social media follow up and moments to connect with these precious individuals. Please pray for them with us. I’ve seen already several attempts to discredit what took place last night among some folks, and we know the enemy of our souls does not sit silently.
Thank you Steiger Ukraine, Heroic Nation, our entire family of supporters in prayer. Thank you as well for the generous unnamed donor who blessed us with the $1k needed to make this evening incredible with the sound/media/logistics which we had ordered completely in faith, without the ability to do on our own.
With full hearts, now time to enjoy family before receiving some more guests next week and final preparation for our May trip, MIR Ministry new website, and a host of other things I don’t want to think about right now, I just want to enjoy God’s goodness and take a breath.
Bruce & Deb