Last night we joined Calvary Chapel Church in nearby Khargalyk for a concert outreach out front of their church building. There’s something so refreshing and healthy when the body of Christ shines together outside of those four walls we call church.
It had rained off and on all day, and was quite windy. We were very tempted to cancel, but faithful Yura (known as ‘big Yura’ to everyone around here) held firm – they had made advertisements and put them around town. It was a step of faith for him, and those desiring to reach their community in a new way. God blessed us with perfect weather at the perfect time, and drew dozens of unchurched folks to listen, and even play with us!
Broderic’s 18th birthday was this week – we sure love this young man. He’s a thinker, kind, humble, and a man of integrity. I’m so thankful for the trail he’s blazed for his younger siblings. We’ll enjoy this last year before he embarks on his own journey – something he’s still considering and would appreciate prayer for! He’s got his buddy Jesse back from Australia this week, for two months, happy he gets to hang out and catch up with his ‘old mate’.
Today if the weather holds we’ll be doing a beach outreach with the YWAM team, then heading out to a new campground with our friends with ‘Hope for Orphans’ to share to their leadership group before they head out on summer youth camps.
Tonight there’s a poetry reading at the Cafe. I haven’t met these people, but apparently there’s a group that gathers and reads poems and they came to the cafe last week and asked if they could do this at our venue. We’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂 Yesterday was our biggest volume day ever at the Cafe, we had literally both floors packed, from graduation parties (little kids), birthday parties, you name it. It was raining so we were the only clean/nice spot I think in town for folks. Over 50 were packed in, and it stayed that way for 3-4 hours. Our poor staff wasn’t used to, or ready for that. We’ll know next year to be ready for graduation day in town!
The best news of the week however goes to Alyosha who returned officially after serving en entire year in the army as a cook. Natasha, my assistant who handles accounting/taxes and many personal things for our family logically, has been a single mom essentially the past year. Alyosha we plan to meet with next week and talk some more about starting as cook at the Cafe. Please pray for Alyosha, he has witnessed a lot of evil, death, and personal trauma during his tour in the southeast of Ukraine. He will need healing and help over the next coming season to adjust back to ‘normal’, as well as for their marriage as they readjust to life.
Speaking of adjusting, please also keep praying for Vlad. He’s continued to go to prisons and share food and hope with inmates at prisons he formerly was in. He comes out very shaken, even visibly. However by faith, and with conviction he continues to labor in this area. He went again last week by himself. Please pray for his wife and son as well as they continue to readjust and also face their own struggles.
Many Ukrainians are struggling right now. For us with nice houses, cars, and food daily (without worry), it’s easy to overlook and go untouched by the suffering. The nice weather and general cheerfulness downtown at the Cafe is surely a light, and yet we want to be relevant and genuine with the gospel – God is near the broken hearted – God give us your heart and keep us sensitive to the many opportunities, caring about people as an end, not a means.
Thanks for checking in,
Bruce & Deb