Hitting the Ground Running

The local Pentecostal Church had their grand opening of their building while we were gone - so we visited this Sunday. Wine from one Chalice for communion - who's first! They've been working on this building for several years - so happy for them, we know what that is like.

The local Pentecostal Church had their grand opening of their building while we were gone – so we visited this Sunday. Wine from one Chalice for communion – who’s first! They’ve been working on this building for several years – so happy for them, we know what that is like.

It’s amazing to me how much we lean on Idioms and Metaphors.  It would take me a while to explain to my Ukrainian friends what ‘hitting the ground running’ even means.  They share some more common metaphors, but also have an entire set of their own.  This becomes a challenge when public speaking – I avoid them like the plague, especially when using a translator.

Language is particularly on my mind as I gear up for an intense week of teaching in Minsk.  Stripping away our metaphors is like removing instruments from a band.. left only with a voice.   Did you notice I just wrote “gear up.”  Sigh.

It has been an emotional start to the week back.  I’ve felt both excited to be back, and nervous at the storm of activity (another metaphor) ahead.   We’ve met with our Widow Ministry team – they are amazing, and shared several wonderful testimonies as they take care packages around and meet new friends.  Some really difficult scenarios as well, such as one Widow lost her daughter recently, and now at age 70 is caring for 3 small children – the youngest is only 1!  We are going to help them out in extra measure.

The Cafe team is doing great – I’m so proud of their growth and willingness to be stretched.  It was not easy to leave them with the burden of a non-profit Cafe but they really owned it.

I am legitimately pumped at our home church coming to minister alongside us in March.  There’s quite a bit to plan for however – and I have to remind myself that I’m back in Ukraine, where lists take at least 4x longer to complete.  We’re thankful that the Lord has provided Collins in a few weeks to help carry the load.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.15.59 PMAs many of you know, last year we started hosting worship nights.  These were relaxed, laid back but purposeful times of worship, prayer and ministry to one another.  I’ve felt the Lord encourage us to continue hosting them in 2016.  Last spring they lasted for 4-5 weeks, but this particular one in March will be just for one week.  We have the Pentecostal church lined up if we run out of room at the Cafe – which isn’t hard to do, we can only comfortably sit about 50 so we’ll see.

I was so encouraged last night when I received a text from a friend in nearby Khargalyk, Dima.  He asked if their worship team, whom attended many of our worship evenings last year, could come and lead a night of worship sometime.

Dima unveiled his drum kit at work! What a guy :)

Dima unveiled his drum kit at work! What a guy 🙂

We met this morning and they will be hosting additional evenings of worship after the team leaves.  One will be for area believers on a Sunday evening, the other will be in combination with our Club 180 Youth Ministry.  How cool that God is now bringing Ukrainian area believers together, instigated BY Ukrainians – sweet!

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 6.25.04 PMOn another note, we are asking for continued prayer regarding our break-in.  As most of you know, the young man has confessed, and has been booked by the police.  He remains at home and going to school (he’s 19), but not allowed to leave the town.   Our next step is to sign documents essentially saying ‘yes’ we want the justice system to operate.  It’s not quite like the US system – and this becomes an “Us vs Them” even though he’s broken clear laws, and even confessed.  It’s a pressure packed situation as the very real result will be prison.  There is additional pressure because he is part of a larger gang of thieves.  I don’t want to post too much online, but I do ask you to pray for this young man Pasha – and also for myself as I weigh through this situation and seek God’s heart in this.  We intend to meet with him this week.

Boys return to Ukraine and begin the detox of Canada - Carrots all round says the wife!

Boys return to Ukraine and begin the detox of Canada – Carrots all round says the wife!

This is a nation that in many ways is seeking a better path.  Yet the godless generation has little respect for the rule of law.  His friends thought it was hilarious he was caught on camera and could now face years in prison.  Nice friends.  Yet, opportunities like this don’t present themselves very often either – and we have many spectators in this small town as you could imagine.

Kids have returned to school – mostly clicking their heels.  It’s been a joy to hear our kids speak excitingly of being ‘home’.   Temperatures have been hovering around zero and dipping below at night – but not too bad.   We have the fireplace going most days.  Claire is taking steps in between things.  Brent is playing bass in his room most nights as we’ve confiscated all gadgets – teaching what it means to quit something ‘cold turkey’.. love the metaphors.

Please pray for:

  • Pasha, myself, and this police situation.
  • Logistics and the myriad of lists in preparation for the Team arriving.
  • This week in Minsk – stamina and grace!  Bron and Sveta are coming and we’ve booked them some studio time to record a song – I’m jealous 🙂
  • Youth – we are excited to meet again with the core of young people from Club 180, but many are home because schools have closed with this Swine flu scare.

Book Review:

banner_blog2If you have a heart for expanding the Kingdom of God, locally or abroad, you need to read this book!  It’s framed for me several years of wrestling with my own personal calling to ‘pioneer’ something new for the Kingdom, yet often feeling incubated within the western traditional church structure.   I’ve never liked the term ‘para-church’, and yet found myself feeling compelled to seemingly start one.

This author heads up a CRM (http://www.crmleaders.org) and a diverse network of essentially “Lighthouse Cafe’s’ around the world, creating movements that impact communities and cultures.  He challenges the term ‘para’ by refreshingly affirming the apostolic, pioneering efforts throughout history AS THE CHURCH in it’s most effective evangelistic mode (Sodality).  For years I believed, because I was told, that para – church orgs were nice, but only a result of the local church (Modality) not ‘doing it’s job’.   I don’t believe that anymore, and neither do many of the leaders/pastors that are wrestling through how to truly impact a community and culture for Christ.   Anyway, it’s the most refreshing PRO-CHURCH book I’ve read in a long time – one that embraces both expressions of pioneering and settling.  Get it, read it.  Be inspired to take risks and use your giftings in and out of gathered communities.   I’ve had a nice exchange with the Author recently, he lived for a short time in Ukraine and knows some friends of ours 3hrs south – small world.

Thanks for checking in,

Bruce & Deb

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