Stories in the Missional Journey of Bruce & Deborah Crowe

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

indexI grew up watching Cheers. It was a show my parents used to watch regularly on Thursday nights. It wasn’t until later in life that I understood the theme song, which most of us could sing in our sleep.

Life has taught us this; Everyone wants to be accepted, a place where you are welcome and folks know you by name.

It’s been challenging 2 months with the opening of the Lighthouse Cafe.  For most of our readers it will be difficult to explain the realities we are facing economically and culturally.  The challenges are more than just layers of bureaucracy and corruption.  There are very real cultural challenges.  Going ‘out’ in these smaller towns and villages means going to the bar and finding refuge in the bottom of a cheap bottle of vodka.  Vodka is cheaper to put in your car than antifreeze.

Here’s a little video I made this week.  I need to get some more live shots but have admittedly been shy to take photo/videos of folks until they are more comfortable.  Some folks however have been asking to be posted on our facebook page – which we encourage you to ‘like’ if you haven’t already!

We’re not in the big city, and paying more than $1.00 for a coffee for many is unheard of.  However for a good section of the community it’s quickly become a haven, and I believe a place of hope.  Hope that this country doesn’t have to settle for cheap vodka.  I’m not on an anti-alcohol crusade, but in this country it’s hard to deny the effects of it.

A cup of coffee isn’t going to save anyone’s soul, but it’s an immediate alternative in our town to reckless behavior and drowning sorrows.  The Lighthouse Cafe, I think, is creating a new culture and atmosphere of respect – where meaningful conversations and genuine relationships are forged.

Some of the other bar owners in town mocked at the idea of a non-alcoholic place.  Granted, they are making money and we aren’t breaking even yet.   It’s still cheaper to get wasted in our town than drink a decent cup of coffee, but we’re making a statement and I hope a difference.  Today we were packed at lunch, serving up some simple sandwiches and serving all ages.  It was pretty cool!

photo 2-1Enough Cafe.  Baby Claire is doing well, and Deb is somehow managing to live on a few hrs of sleep every night.  Deb’s parents returned back to the States a few days ago, so we’re on our own again.  We’ve met as a family and started working on some more structure – for our collective sanity and physical well being!  Eight kids, it’s sinking in… table for 10 please!

We are planning to stick it out this winter as the gas/utilities seem to be in a more stable place with the war in the southeast on hold.   Things could flare up however quickly, and we’re still reading of casualties on both sides daily.  Ukraine isn’t on the front page news anymore, but over here folks are watching closely now the newly elected parliament and relations with big Russian brother.

Still trying to sell our truck, appreciate some prayer for that.  Sort of in a pickle as it needs some major work if we keep it, and our van is rear wheel drive – I already slid down the hill by our house and it was only a bit frosty out!   We have about 3 weeks I think to either fix our truck or sell and get something else – every year this time I think a horse would be cool to have.  Like Bananza, each kids gets their own ride, problem solved!

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. – Karl Barth

I’ve been encouraged recently, I think by God, to seek Him more.  It’s one thing when you pull up your bootstraps and spend time in prayer because you know it works, or just know it’s a good thing to do.  It’s extra special when you feel God drawing you.  It adds a sense of anticipation, and peace that He is with you, and working.  I fail too often when He beckons me to come to Him.  I don’t know why, but it feels like the greatest battle in this life is getting to a quiet place of prayer.  That should tell me something.

Missing our friends and family.  Coveting your prayers and support in the journey.   Hoping you too sense God’s love towards you, and beckoning to come.   Praying you answer that call too!

Bruce & Deb Crowe
Missionaries – Eastern Europe | Ukraine


  1. Merryl Squair

    Hey there Bruce Debs and 8 kiddo’s, I so enjoy your updates, especially about all the children and what you are up to. Your cafe looks great, wish I could get a cup of hot tea/coffee and one of those awesome looking cookies. Just love the photo of all of you, but my goodness I hardly recognized Broderic, so grown up, and Bronwyn with baby Claire, she looks so comfortable with her, then I look at that special little face of Abby, I just love her to bits. A very friendly little girl and I would so dearly love to give her a big hug and love on her. All the boys are growing so quickly, then I look at Noah and how casually he stands – definitely a Rhodes in that little one.
    I love you all and will continue to keep you in my prayers. May our dear Lord and Saviour continue to shine upon you all. God bless.

  2. mom

    Love the updates, a little glimpse into your lives over there. Disappointed you may not come home this winter but understand. Would love to see the café stay open, I’m sure it would be a blessing to your little town over the long cold winter ahead. So want to hold baby Claire…love you all…

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