Good-bye November!

Still without snow in Ukraine, however I have a feeling it’s not too far away.  This Sunday we met for our once-per-month “All Church Gathering” downtown.  We had a very good turnout, around 90 persons in total.  It was about 40 F in the building, maybe colder.  No heat, so we were all nicely snuggling our spouses and children.  I remember being in Mexico during sweltering 100 F August church services, I used to think how there was nothing worse than being sweaty and hot during church, but when you lose the feeling in your toes and fingers during church.. you start to wish you were back in Mexico!  Can’t quite call that suffering, but next time I’m bringing some heaters, put them up at the altar:)Here’s a picture of us from this Sunday:

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Last week we were invited to Ivankiv, which is an hour north of Kiev for an American Thanksgiving meal for missionaries.  We had real turkey, which was snagged from the embassy ‘stash’ and met some new friends.

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I spent a couple of hours with the director of Kiev Christian Academy, it was an encouraging time to speak lots of english and listen to a man who’s further along in the journey of life.  It’s always refreshing to hear the stories of how God calls, then directs, and the events that transpire along the way when we follow Christ.  Our great God really has it figured out.  What perspective God must have!  We’re so often fixated on the minutia, the bark from a tree, when He sees the entire forest.  Are you anxious?  Do you question God’s timing, or that He’s left you behind?  Step away from the tree, and surrender your anxious heart dear friend, He’s more than able!

Proof we had real turkey – Met a very lovely Korean family, missionaries serving as pastors of a church in Kiev.  Amazing that God calls all nations and peoples to His great cause.. there were about 4 of us gathered around taking a photo, it was quite an event:)

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Many exciting things happening starting to happen as we wrap up the year, here’s a taste.. man that bird still looks good.

  • A young missionary couple in our church has recently received a large donation from England to help towards the purchase/building of an orphan house.  This is exciting and brings with it some necessary decisions to be made for the future.  We are looking forward to helping them see God’s plan continue to unfold.
  • Another couple from the US has decided to move to our area next year.  He is Russian, she is Ukrainian, and have one small boy.  They believe God is directing them back to Ukraine to work with children and serve with us.  (more translators yeah!)
  •  We have settled on dates for a Leadership Conference next fall for this area of Ukraine.  I am working with two other brothers on planning and marketing this event to strategic US churches that we hope will get behind this event and help translate some books into Russian and sponsor the event.  A lot of work to do still but we’re excited about the impact it will have on the marriages and lives of the pastors and leaders that come.
  • Met some neat contacts and friends from our Thanksgiving meal.  Andrew & Jenny Kelly are from Texas, they’ve been here for several years and have been working with orphans on a number of levels.  They’ve just completed building a Christian camp north of Kiev, you can see their ministry efforts and pictures here: www.jeremiahshope.org.  They have experience ‘running’ a charity and maneuvering within the ‘almost’ impossible set of Ukrainian laws.
  • We may be receiving a number of Summer/Fall interns from a Christian bible college next year, the most interesting part of this opportunity (both for them and us) is that they are Ukrainian, or at least speak Russian.
  • We have our first church group lined up for 2010, Donnybrook Church from Cork, Ireland.  The group will be focusing on construction and coming in May.
  • Family possibly coming to visit us in Jan, come and help fatten us up for the winter months!
  • All Church group is planning a Christmas outreach, a “Christmas Carol” time for the community.  I’m terribly excited not to be leading this, and will be serving and possibly sharing the gospel at the event.  We want to continue to promote Christ as the motive for true celebration among men!
  • Prayer Advance:  As elders we’ve felt the need to increase the priority of prayer in the church body.  We are getting busy, but that doesn’t always translate into productive Kingdom work.  So, with that in mind we will be promoting and coordinating 2 weeks of prayer Jan 17-31.  If you are from RZ and reading, “what?”, just sit tight, more information coming Sunday:).

Deb and I have started back with some Russian lessons.  The kids are full throttle into school and now Russian lessons as well.  It’s nice to have Svetlana back in action!

Please prayer for:

– guidance and help (wise counsel) for the registration of a charity.
– our political elections coming up.  If you read the news, the general ‘feeling’ is one of apathy among the country, people are disappointed that ‘democracy’ hasn’t worked here, and are leaning towards voting in a ‘strong’ authoritarian leader that will get things done.  That is a scary concept for Ukraine and the freedoms we posses at present time.

Sincerely,

Bruce & Deb

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