This past week we continued to host creative workshops at the Cafe.   Some of the classes had very little attendance due to holiday week and a lot of students home for holidays.  May is definitely not the best month to plan events in Ukraine – there are literally holidays every week it seems.

The smaller classes have actually made for some more focused tutoring and relationship building.   My favorite class to ‘hear’ is the vocal lesson class.  Anywhere from 10-20 participate and Liz is an excellent instructor.  She has them doing all sorts of collective training exercises and practically learning a few songs as a choir.  I can’t wait to hear their final performance.

We’ll be hosting a showcase event on the 19th or 20th, where all Awaken students can come, see the paintings, hear some songs and the team will perform a bit.  We hope to share some testimonies as well, and deposit some truth into their hearts in a meaningful way – please pray for this!  We were blessed with a few donations this past week that allows us to provide a custom ‘awaken’ t-shirt to each student as well – I know they will really love that.

Our evening worship and prayer have been really good.  Each night a different group has come.  Last night I wasn’t sure if anyone would come as it was rainy, colder, and the start of another long weekend.  Yet, another mixed group came for some worship and prayer.  It was a shorter evening as we prayed for the Myers family, who just left this morning back to the US.  They were here for the first month only, the rest of the team (7 adults and one child) will remain for the 2nd month.   We have only one full week left of classes and evening worship.  I’m leaning towards mixing up the last week of worship and prayer to be something more public, perhaps even out on our Cafe deck – It’s been a wonderful time of focused prayer and personal ‘filling’ through worship, but there comes a point after 12 or so evenings that you really want to turn outward and proclaim more in public.  Please pray for this too!

The next few weeks we’re praying and asking the Lord to lead the team.  We desire to strengthen/bless the local body, both here in Rz and in Khargalyk where many folks have come from during our evenings and even workshops.   This weekend we’re all going to Khargalyk to worship with the Calvary Chapel there.  The following Sunday night we’ll be doing evening worship and prayer there as well as some evangelism/concert with their church (dates TBD).

We’ll then be looking to spread out in and around RZ, worshipping/playing in the parks during market days each week, and joining various home groups and studies from primarily the two churches here that have been involved.   We’re considering a worship ‘workshop’ for area musicians and singers specifically for practical training and engagement in their local assemblies.  Please pray for continued unity and for vision/passion among the indigenous body here.  It’s been so cool to mix and match various groups, ages and churches – in the context of simple worship.  It’s so easy to get huddled in comfortable groups and the body of Christ being so small in number here, organic type gatherings really strengthens the faith of everyone, especially new believers.

We also have some out of area outreaches you can pray with us about.  One is possibly a small team going with another ministry down to Dnipropetrovsk, which is down towards the front of the battle in the south east of Ukraine.  The purpose would be to encourage the Soldiers and military personnel – as well as possibly some concerts.    Another is connecting with YWAM Kiev base for worship and encouragement of their team/students in a couple weeks over a weekend – which would also include city evangelism which the team is itching to do more of.

In the context of a small town, where relationships are key, we’ve been thankful this team ‘gets it’, that people are not gospel fodder.  God’s mandate is not to simply speak to unknown masses on the street in ‘shot gun’ style, but to build bridges, trust and showcase the life of Jesus through love and message.  This often takes time, building reputation in a hard to reach part of the world, stumped in traditions of men.   A short term team that comes to aid, support and strengthen the existing long term efforts is always the best approach I think.  While it may not seem that ‘exciting’ to the starry eyed, passionate short term tripper, we have witnessed significant encouragement in many hearts, and their gifts/love for God have made a difference on this first month of ministry through the Cafe/2nd Floor.

Thankful, and enthusiastic for the 2nd month as continued ministry desires evolve personally, and fall partnerships come together.   We’d love to see more Kingdom resources flow through our little town, strengthening hope, vision and passion for God’s desires among the emerging body of faith.

Please pray for our family as we feel led to pray and work towards a possible 2-3 month Russian stint, somewhere.  We want to emerge our family in Russian culture and language.  We aren’t intending to move to Russia at this time, but believe God is leading us to pray about something radical (for us) potentially even this year still.   We feel burdened to trust Him for much more than we see – for a network of like minded believers and disciple – makers to emerge, sending teams back and forth, growing the influence of Jesus Kingdom – a missional community.. we’re not sure if that will be specifically through YWAM, or a combination of something new and a partnership with them, but we definitely feel a unity and peace about working with our friends that God has brought into our lives.

We can see the Cafe being the building block from which continued discipleship and ministry (inside and outside of Ukraine) takes place.  May He supply all the needs and receive all the glory!

Enough for now.   I know I write too much, but remember I write this for our children and a history of God’s work on this journey of faith as much anything.

Bruce & Deb