Our family has 1yr multi-entry visas to Belarus!

Today, like every year it seems, Ukrainians remind me of July 4th – they are keenly aware of the holiday.

They really enjoy their own summer holidays, they have around 20, including the entire month of August.  Independence however is fresh on everyone’s mind here.

When they congratulate me on the day, it’s with a type of sincere envy that convicts me – my generation knows very little of freedoms cost.

We’ve been back now a week.  I was in Kiev today picking up your visas for Belarus and taking Noah to the clinic – he’s developed some sort of rash since arriving back.

We’ve been given such favor with our business visas, and developed some friends along the way.  When I pull out our stack of passports for processing, people think I’m a tourist agent.

Our plan is to be in Minsk for the start of YFM in September, at least for a couple of months.  Until then we have several trips happening – next week flying to Minsk for some planning, then first of August again with Roger Jonker with World Challenge.  Roger is the husband of David Wilkerson’s daughter and overseas the widows feeding programs worldwide.

This year we have 5 full time interns, some part timers showing up for 1 week stints, 4 staff and many visitors coming!

We’re also organizing several projects in July, one for Widow’s and one for a children’s camp (special needs) up north potentially as an outreach for our interns.

Yesterday the summer Interns from Club 180 started arriving.  We have 5 so far full time, 16-17yrs old from surrounding villages.

Serving with us this July are a mix of Ukrainian, American and Belorussian friends coming at various stages to share, lead morning worship. Our ultimate desire is to see the Holy Spirit work, move on all hearts, illuminate Jesus.

After being back for a week, I’m looking at a lot of things that need attention.  Our park didn’t finish itself when I was gone.. and now weeds have overwhelmed the playground area.  We weren’t able to buy sod last fall, nor this spring, so unfortunately under the forest of weeks is just top soil – we don’t have tools like the west to spread/roll & pack the ground.

People don’t grow grass here, it’s a waste of gardening space and they live off their gardens – so not a lot of knowledge to help either.  It’s pretty bad when I might know as much as anyone here about grass.. if you saw my own yard, you’d pray for us.   I’d still love to lay down sod, but it’s around $1,200 (we got a quote from Kiev in the fall).  We don’t have that kind of money, it may take a while to get something use-able and open it.

If you’d like to help contribute towards our grass, which will help us open the kids area.. please click here!

Please pray and thank you for your continued support – God is so gracious to allow us to be away for 2 months, and things still moving ahead… but several things we need to see God do before we leave.  We love our team, the young and old (widows) hearts He’s allowing us to engage with the love of Christ – we pray it will only leap forward in the fall, not take any steps back.

In the meantime, the Skatepark area is used every day, kids playing b-ball and learning how to skate.  I was watching a mom and her little toddler the other day trying to skate up the ramp – the kid fell, was crying, the mom was like, “Get up, be a man…”  The Cafe has amazing reviews (4.5 out of 5) on Google, and so many tourists on the weekend.  May was our best month of the year, we only lost $200-300 – however June/July look to be challenging again.

Interestingly, they tore down the local bus station across from the Cafe while we are gone.. guess what they are building?  We hear a new bus station, with a hotel and, wait for it.. pizza cafe!  If it’s true, imitation is the biggest form of flattery right?  I rejoice in the continued changes in our town – the families hanging out together, the bars less full if open at all – so much more light downtown.  It’s cool to be a part of that.

We’ve been cleaning our yards, cutting grass, and survived 2-3 days of +85F weather, it was legit hot.  It’s cooled down now, gorgeous.  Tucker’s luggage (box of his computer parts) arrived yesterday after getting lost en route – he’s happily assembling!

Bruce & Deb