Our week in Minsk, Belarus was great! We got up each morning, took a Trolly-bus to the school, and lectured through the Gospel of John. What made this experience intense was we only had 5 days to work through the entire book with about 15 students (and a few visitors). Twenty-one chapters on the life and ministry of Jesus from the perspective of the ‘disciple Jesus loved.’
I had previously studied this incredible letter, in a weekly bible study format, verse by verse over 22 weeks a couple years ago. Fortunately a lot of groundwork was already laid during that study time. However, truncating that into five class was entirely new challenge, and surprising blessing.
I say surprising because the scriptures came alive once again and in even newer ways I hadn’t seen before. We often read our Bibles in smaller segments, either because we don’t have enough time, or the truth we are digesting is so rich, we tend to ruminate and savor in our soul.
Reading, slowly, contextually, in 4-5hr increments, start to finish in five days revealed new, and emphasized known revelation. Themes are more easily picked up (Eg. the I am’s of Jesus), the thematic hatred of the religious towards the Son of God built with intensity, and the writers primary desire for his audience to ‘believe’ in the One who is Himself eternal life reaches through the pages and grabs your heart well before he actually states it near the end of the book.
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31
The Gospel of John is saturated with visuals and miracles. Good vs Evil, Light vs Darkness, Life vs Death. Powerful allegorical teachings from wine, bread, sheep, shepherds, branches. Truly He was and is the Son of God, and there is eternal life in Him!
I’ve been praying for God to open doors into Russian speaking populations. It’s where our heart lies. We were invited to a new Russian speaking Bible School in Spain of all places. I guess Russians are migrating all over Europe en mass with the economic situation worsening – and so are Belorussians and Ukrainians (if they can get out). Entire Russian speaking communities are emerging around us – and with that opportunity. We also were encouraged to meet a fellow missionary, from Belarus, who are church planting in Poland – neat family.
We believe Ukraine holds a unique position in this part of the world as God raises up a generation with the intent to live for Him, and take His Gospel to these Nations. After my second trip to Belarus in the past year, I believe Belarus is also on the brim of something special in the Kingdom of God. A Gospel movement is taking place.
We witnessed young people with a hunger for God to move. Many young people gather in Minsk even publicly to pray for their nation regularly. This is an illegal activity without proper permits. They take risks, they fear God more than men. After being around some of them, I thanked God we are where we are. God is raising up a generation in this part of the world – just you wait and see. The economic and political conditions are driving His people to united prayer – and nothing will stop God’s work when that happens.
Upon returning to Ukraine we enjoyed a couple days of family, caught a terrible flu, and now on the mend. We’re happy to have received Collins this week! We spent the day visiting directors at local colleges, and preparing some things for the upcoming Texas Team which arrives in 8 days!
Wednesday night Club 180 met once again – I love these kids! They continue to surprise me with their attitudes, attentiveness towards spiritual lessons, and desire to serve. God is going to do some great things in their hearts over this upcoming Awakening week. Please continue to pray for them with us. They are going to be key during this week coming up, serving in different areas and catching a taste of more of the Kingdom and God’s heart.
We went ahead and bought the beds we needed for the group. Bought them before we knew anyone had donated. Also went ahead and purchased 3 loads of gravel, without having the money. Thankful to hear that a supporting church in Canada, Emmanuel Baptist will be sending us funds shortly which we can use for this – I was a bit nervous because we usually wait until some folks donate (when we don’t have money for things), but I felt we needed to step out and move on things anyway. I was getting in trouble every day for the mud our customers were dragging into the street – and it’s not fun cleaning the roads.
Thank you God for your generous church!
We have been praying each morning at the Cafe, and I’m excited to see more continuous, united prayer for the area, churches, students, and for greater faith. We believe that unless the Lord genuinely moves in hearts (including ours), all the outward obedience and effort lacks eternal value. God is the Lord of the harvest, he beckons us to lift up our eyes and see the harvest. When we feel the Holy Spirit move us towards loving action, it makes all the difference in the world.
We ask you to pray with and for us, especially the next 2 weeks as we seek to damage to the Kingdom of darkness. We don’t battle flesh and blood, God wants to work and move – our job is unite in prayer, and step out in faith.
God move in our area, upon hearts, minds, draw your people to the cross of Jesus where spiritual life is found. Increase your footprint, the Kingdom of God come in Ukraine as it is in heaven! Awaken us to your heart, your reality, the greatness of your Gospel.
Sorry, it’s been a long update – when I regularly blog I don’t feel I need to say as much! Lately I haven’t had the time to sit and type. Deb is doing well – she has a new fitbit and is walking more than normally. I’m glad I didn’t get one. I sure do love this woman. Kids are back in school and getting ready for ‘Women’s Day’ – it’s coming up soon and it’s a big deal here – schools actually shut down for a few days, poems, ceremonies, flowers – it’s the Ukrainian way.
So next Saturday, March 5th begins a full week for us. More than full. 20 will be here with our teams from Minsk and Texas – and to add to the wonderful chaos in our little town, another team of 15 from the US is here that same week with an orphan house (The Ewings partner ministry) doing things with children. They will be at the Cafe during that week, and attending some of our worship nights too! That means before we even have any Ukrainian participants, there will be more than 40 foreigners, all believers, in our little town – get ready folks for the invasion!
Our cafe workers are nervous. They should be.
Thanks for checking in, for prayer and friendship.
Bruce & Deborah Crowe