En route back to Canada we detoured thru North Carolina to visit a new friend, and end up meeting old friends from Ukraine at the CRM Conference. This group of missional pioneers has grown over the past few years to represent quite an international network of resources and encouragement. From books, training, coaching, as well as missionary support/pastoral care, I respect the leaders and heart to champion the emerging church around the world.
Arriving back in Canada, we had only a few days to hug the kids, enjoy some family meals and swimming – then hit the road for 16hrs of driving to Harrisburg, PA and back. Life Center, and in particular the Stock family has been an infusion of love, support and influence on our lives and ministry. Their laid back approach to leadership, their focus on spiritual life that breeds freedom and joy is contagious. We were met with a suite at the nearby hotel, complete with a fridge full of food and drink, as well as a coupon for the restaurant next door.
Due to some changes in Bronwyn’s world this past week, she was able to board a plane and visit us in Harrisburg! Such a joy to love on our eldest daughter, proud of her love for Christ, and the deep roots growing in her faith – the kind that come through difficulty, and her embracing of life’s challenges as nothing less than opportunity to be formed in character for the journey ahead. Our girls came with us, so for a brief moment, daddy had all his ladies in one spot – tears in the goodbyes.
In Harrisburg, the continued “God is doing something cool” theme was affirmed in times of prayer with the leadership, as well as visiting with friends who continue to believe God is leading them closer to journeying with us in Ukraine.
We also had a young lady come up after the service and like in Texas, shared how God is stirring her heart to connect and possibly serve. Please pray for the emerging core community around us, that we will faithfully nourish one another with encouragement, love and wisdom collectively. It’s a journey of faith we know very well when God calls, and yet His journey isn’t always revealed as our desired path.
Now back in Canada, with only 2 days left, we will be sharing tomorrow at Emmanuel Church, our only Canadian church that supports us and our work in Ukraine. I agreed to play piano tomorrow during worship, something I haven’t done in years, and in Canada perhaps 15yrs? I have to admit, I said yes for selfish reasons – I SO MISS playing daily in Ukraine for my devotional time – for me, it’s an easy way for my heart to connect with the grace of God – something about a few soft chords to awaken my soul and move my heart to a more intimate place – even if for but a few minutes, I am parched for some emoting worship moments thru this instrument.
Deb is going to take the lead this time, we’re working on some new dynamics there and I’m excited she’s willing – we need both our voices to share what God is doing.
We embark on Monday morning back to Ukraine. Mixed feelings, but mostly gratitude. I intend to post more of my heart in this next post – this is for the kids, God continually connects, refreshes, and encourages us in the journey through unexpected people and times. We can count on Christ for this.
Widows ministry budgets and plan looming – pray for me! It’s due next week. Also several critical decision for the property in Minsk and needing the favor of Christ as we migrate legacy ministries to new places and also calibrate for what God has in store this new season.
Bruce & Deb