End of July

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We’ve been crazy busy this past week, and I’ve got about 5 minutes so here’s a few pictures from the weekend. Off to meet Alex our lawyer who has ‘saved the day’ by helping me complete the documentation for the OVIR registration. What an answer to prayer folks, I’m going now to purchase the required health insurance for Deb and I. Then all that is left is some more paperwork to pick up and a rental agreement (on my own house). I wonder how much I should charge myself?

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Here’s a church in Kiev, probably one of the biggest charasmatic chuches in Ukraine. I wanted to check it out this past Sunday. I heard people talking about it negatively and I left actually quite encouraged. It was the first time I’ve seen joy, hope and emotional expression on the faces and body language of Ukrainian Christians since I’ve been here. I was reminded of the verse in Mark where Jesus warns His disciples to embrace those that preach Christ, if they are not ‘against’ us they are with us. I’m pretty conservative these days, but finding the desire to be around those that radiate enthusiasm for Jesus, even if they hold some goofy doctrine. We as believers (limited in number and influence) here in Ukraine cannot allow secondary issues like “the role of the holy spirit” and “the gifts” divide and conquer us. I left a bit angry at the enemy, how even in a culture so spiritually dry as this he’s done a number on the body, keeping them in their safe little camps. The worst part is, we evangelicals think this is spiritual, to split hairs and in the guise of ‘unity’ we hang out with those that think like us. For those that know this church (readers from Ukraine), I’m not condoning the theology of the leadership in all areas, I’m commenting on the actual believers there… their Christianity was ATTRACTIVE and their gathering full of life. If we are to err, let us err being over enthusiastic about Jesus.
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This is a Marshrutka, a small bus. If you don’t want to pay for the taxi cost, you grab one of these. I actually prefer the larger buses (more roomy) but they aren’t as fast. You have to pay attention to two things (at least) when riding, the upper left sheet shows the cost for the ride, this one is 1,50, which is roughly $0.50. They travel in 2-3 kilometer routes all over the city. The other number is the front right, the bus number, this is 45. I made the mistake of hopping on the 445 yesterday in haste, I figured it took the same route, woops. You also have to yell out when you want off, “Na Ostanovka”… at first when we arrived I would yell “Stop” and “hey whooo” but the driver didn’t seam to acknowledge. After missing a few stops I quickly learned this word.

Had some issues at work this week which caused me to want to defend our company and character. I was pretty upset as some potential ‘rumors’ had circulated among competing business concerning my departure (I had ‘fled’ the country).. and were swooping in on a client like a vulture. I spent some time in prayer asking God to help me manage these emotions.  Why is it that we (or maybe this is just me) are so quick to defend our imperfect reputation and go on the offense when someone attempts to bring our character into question? I couldn’t help but think of Christ who was led like a lamb to the slaughter, innocent yet charged as a criminal. How did He keep so silent? Was He not concerned about His own reputation? What if history remembered Him as a criminal?  

I think this is important to learn to trust and be quiet in these situations even though it is very difficult.  Some people may find it hard to stand up and challenge folks (hold them accountable for what they say), but I find this easy… it’s the being quiet and trusting God part that I need to learn. 

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” Prov 27:2

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