The past week has been so relaxing and enjoyable I’ve tried to stay off the computer as much as possible. I need to update everyone on the outreach, and thank everyone that participated in prayer and financial support. It was a frantic final few days with everyone pulling together for the evening. We made the costumes from scratch, ladies from church spent many evenings sewing away! We made the desserts, decorations (well, we bought some decorations and assembled them), stage props, Neil even painted huge backdrops of Jerusalem, the manager scenes etc.
In the end, we had over 100 guest show up, literally a perfect amount of people squeezed in to the old cold (but not too cold!) building. We had heaters purchased (in exchange for rental of the building next year) that worked well enough for folks not to be uncomfortably cold. We replaced light bulbs on stage that were probably out for a decade it looked like, the biggest bulbs I’ve ever seen, and they worked! The electricity held up and we had a wonderful evening. I believe God was pleased with our efforts, we’re reaching out, building relationships and sharing about our faith in God. The Christmas ‘message’ is really the message of the gospel, God’s rescue plan for lost sinners like us. Neil shared at the end of the message and emphasized a personal relationship with this God who has become flesh. We had Micah from Kharg and my neighbor Vica play some Christmas music, and everyone served the crowd with coffee and desserts.
The students are back home on break, but church was still nice and full this past Sunday. We are going to have some space challenges soon, if we continue to meet up at Dan’s. We will be starting home groups in Jan, and I will be leading a new believers type class, using the book of John. Pray that we continue to see God drawing young people, and that we have listening hearts to how best to ‘keep it real.’ I have a concern that what has worked in the past (eg. cafe nights) gets driven into the ground. We need to be agile in our obedience, unconventional if necessary, and avoid becoming a predictable religious group doing ‘things’. We desire to see Jesus Christ revolutionize hearts, not for a church program, but for His Kingdom. Lord keep us from becoming impressed with ourselves, or satisfied with seemingly small victories.
This week we are trying to get heat working in the Cafe building. The kotyols (we have two old Ukrainian hot water heaters) aren’t working, one is actually dead and needs serious repair or replacement. We also found some of the water wasn’t fully drained out of the house pipes, and some radiators burst. We do have electricity working, just not heat making it a huge freezer, you can last about 10 minutes inside before your face loses feeling:)
Wrapping up end of year business with Cypress & EDsuite. God has been so gracious the past few months, lining up some really great work, and building more unity among the guys. We have a series of changes coming up in the company in order to prepare and handle potential growth we are anticipating. The acquisition of another company this fall was a big undertaking, and is already starting to produce fruit we were hoping for. I’m praying about possibly going back in Jan to work with the guys on some strategy and planning. I don’t want to go personally, but it may be necessary. Pray for me in this if you would, I want to trust God but I also realize sometimes trusting Him means pressing and working hard.
Deb and I are enjoying one another, refreshed in our marriage over the past few weeks. We are spending more time in prayer together, and believe God is strengthening our marriage. I have mentioned before how the previous year was probably the most difficult for us, all the challenges we were facing took their toll on our marriage. God has revealed areas of hardness in both of us, and by His Spirit opened our eyes to areas we each have been lacking in focus. Many of our friends and church in Texas have prayed for us, and our family. I want to thank you seriously, we have felt the support and believe your prayers have had an absolute effect in keeping this most important building block strong. Praise God for that too!
In the next few weeks I’ll be posting some construction trip dates, you can pray about coming! You can also pray about helping support financially the cafe building construction, we are going to need the body of Christ see this through together!
Bruce & Deb
I was talking with Troy yesterday and realized he was the first of my brothers that I had actually spoken with this Christmas! So, it was good to read your blog and hear the latest. Hope someday our families will be able to be together again before our kids are all grown up 🙂 Have a happy New Year!