Catholic Church, one of MANY in downtown Vilnius, Lithuania.

Deb & I just returned from Lithuania.  We were trying to get away for a few days, but having problems finding a babysitter.  Our older kids all working in North America this summer.  Grocery bill has been significantly less, but less freedom…

Last minute, Elsa, a YWAM friend from Vladivostock came to visit and was happy to take up the challenge.  So off we went, it was a wonderful break.  Lithuania is just north of Ukraine, west of Belarus.

Vilnius, the capital City, is a beautiful, historical City full of natural and architectural beauty.  Many shops, cafes, and narrow cobblestone streets.

It was fun to rent a small car and cruise around the narrow streets fit for horses – think Bourne Identity – I tried to drive like him but it was hard with so many tourists.

You can drive the entire length of the country in about 4hrs, so we headed to the northern tip, the Baltic Sea for a few days.  The countryside was full of tractors, fields, harvesting was fully underway.  I couldn’t help but think of my dad, harvesting with his grandsons (my boys) this summer.

Lithuanian Harvest Fields, looks like Canada eh?

Speaking of our older kids, they all return in the next 2 weeks.  Brent returns tomorrow, then Collins (not our kid, but still family!), then Broderic next week, followed by Bronwyn, then Adrienne (YFM student).  It’s about to get real as we head into the final weeks left in Ukraine.

We are continuing to prep for YFM this fall.  Ordering final materials, receiving final applications (we’re up to 10 registered students), and communicating regularly with Minsk regarding possible rental properties and decisions.

We’ve found housing for girls, and we think we’ve found two good apartments for our family… they don’t make apartments large enough for a family our size, so we’ll need two.  We’re unsure how we’ll divide up our family, but I told Deb she gets Claire and Abbey.

Deb was the life Skype video girl for Larissa, a close friend of the bride who got married last year and now lives in America.

We were happy to witness the marriage yesterday of a special sister in Christ, Sveta.  She’s such a neat girl. We couldn’t quite figure out why she wasn’t married all these years – she just patiently (or so it seemed to us) was waiting, and trusting God would provide.

Well, He did provide.  God provided tremendous heat as well, middle of August, middle of day, middle of a grassy knoll… but all survived.

Side note – I will be updating more specific prayer request, and some quite serious challenges that lay before us this fall by email – if you don’t get our emails and would like to, send me a note with your address.  We leave Lord willing Sept 12-14 for Belarus.

September 2nd & 3rd, we’re hosting worship evenings for youth in the center of Kiev! Pray for this!

As mentioned in previous post, we are sponsoring a really cool worship event this September 2-3 in Kiev.  God was in the connections, the dates, and I give Him thanks.

I love when you see God’s fingerprints on stuff.  It is time to lead youth in deeper expressions of corporate prayer and worship.

It’s a big step for the ministry in Minsk as well, as they cross borders and begin to engage in mission more.  We’ll be fishing one last time for any YFM students at the event, I’m asking the Lord for 2-3 more guys.

We are also potentially (this is a faith step), going to take on a couple padawans for planting new Cafe’s in their respective countries.  God has drawn them to us over the past month, they were already on our hearts as we knew their desire was a similar Lighthouse platform.  They each came to us, literally to our homes, with the request for us to consider helping them.  They are open, willing, and serious believers.  We’ve asked them to pray about coming to YFM this fall, not as normal students (they are each already leaders in their respective worlds), but as a time to build business plan, strategy, and together approach investors for new Coffee Shops.  I feel God all over this, He’s doing it, I’m along for the ride.  Pray for us.

Speaking of God being involved in stuff, we are also engaging more directly the topic of starting a Music College this Spring in Belarus.  This is in connection with our friend already mentioned in previous posts.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and in the natural seems impossible.. the kind of stuff God could be doing.

At some point, you stop trying to juggle, and you just say come Lord Jesus, have your way.

A key word in my heart lately has been ‘divest’.. and it can be a negative word if you are trying to take power, or rights from someone.  However, as believers, when we look to ‘divest’ responsibility, which can actually be opportunity for others, to release them into their calling – this can be a powerful thing.

So often, I think, we are so hungry for approval ourselves, or legitimacy, identity.. that we hold onto roles and things that make us feel validated.  We may be leading out front, or serving behind the scenes.. but if our heart is to advance the Kingdom of God, to see His love come down and change lives, if that’s really our motivation, we will embrace a self-divesting and empowering of others.

The joy of doing this will outweigh the very real joy of ‘doing’ things ourselves.  I want to be a conduit, it may look like delegation, or even laziness like I don’t want to ‘be the guy’ for certain things, but in actuality, it’s quite hard to let go sometimes, particularly when you thing it would be more enjoyable than what you are currently saddled with. Self divesting.. empowering others, be a conduit of God’s grace and resources.

Hold things loosely, find identity in Christ alone, rest in that and run your race for the good of Christ’s Kingdom.  This is something I need to grow in.  It’s scary at times, because many things you need to entrust to others quicker than you’d like, you feel a sense of protection and need to control. Yet, discipleship is more than intellectual infusion of ideas, it’s about trying, failing, allowing others the opportunity to grow this way too.

Hey leaders, don’t hog the lessons of faith and failure to yourself.  Give others a shot.

Pray for:

  1. God to draw 100’s of youth to the worship evenings in Kiev!
  2. YFM remaining housing, logistics, travel, favor, financial needs.
  3. Lighthouse team prep, wisdom, ministry planning for fall.

Thanks for checking in!