UKRAINE-POLICE-GRADUATIONYesterday as the US celebrated Independence Day, 2,000 newly trained Police took oaths in Kiev.  The US, Canada and other western nations have been working with the recruits to replace existing, corrupt forces.  It is a positive sign that less arbitrary ‘shake downs’ will take place in Ukraine, and a return of civic pride hopefully within this visible public service.

We can hope that this shift toward integrity and Christian based ethic will work its way into the interior of the current government, including the utilities.  We still don’t have gas at the Cafe, and we continually work at it every week (+2yrs now).  We’ve paid over $4k in fees, documents, approvals, everything you can think of – wasted months, literally in lines, driving documents from one city to the next, fixing other people’s mistakes.   I lost track about a year ago how many trips, and steps this has taken, but it’s gone beyond insanity, and continues to to bounce around in an abyss of ineptitude.

I’ve considered backtracking and documenting as best we can remember, naming names and publishing a ‘history of activating gas in a private business’, in Ukrainian.  It would reveal, in my opinion a major roadblock for this country to crawl out of this broken economy.  It can’t do the most obvious, useful things for business without bribes still, or threats.  Most non-business owners are oblivious to these things, they see new police force, and other positive things, but there are layers of roadblocks for this stalled economic engine that is Ukraine.  Still very little motivation or incentive for folks to plainly do their job, and so many unnecessary layers of employed government workers – I would guess 60% of the current labor force does nothing but impede economic recovery.   It’s a catch 22, to cut these jobs would create widespread panic, yet continuing to employ them keep a nation locked in this post communistic spiral.

Enough geopolitical blather.  It’s been hot, and Camp 120 is now underway.  110 signed up, mostly believers from the area (and some from Kiev) are headed out to essentially ‘survivor ukraine’.   Shane and Jem oversea the camp, and put lot of work into setting up the island and coordination.  Our older two are going this year again, the rest of us will enjoy a quieter week, and heading out later this week for a little camp/getaway with the little ones to Western Ukraine.  We found a white water rapid camp, with a cottage in the Carpathian Mountains.  For years we’ve heard how beautiful western Ukraine is, but we’ve yet to venture by car, it’s a 10hr or so drive, made shorter in our minds after our US 60hr adventure!  I’m really looking forward to it.  Hopefully we don’t have cell phone coverage!

No real progress on our burglary (that we know of).  We’ve been much more diligent about locking doors and windows, as well as some other security measures.  I think others have learned from our break in, hearing stories of some added measures around town from friends and neighbors.  We need to start a Crime Stoppers Ukraine.. the problem is the local police act very slowly, and even if we caught someone, it might take months before you were able to truly do anything in the area of justice.   The other night there was some hooligans from another town at our beach, some actual gunfire, police showed up, nothing was done.  The problem goes beyond simply catching thieves, we need a revolution, a Christ centered awakening to the gospel  – the reality of God, the fear of God and the love of God.  You see in America the results when this reality fades, we need to see it continue to emerge – and I believe it is emerging as we pray and more boldly represent him in our towns, outside of our spiritual huddles, and embrace a faith of possibility.

Thankful to all of you that have prayed during this past week.  We appreciate as well our home church Crossroads that generously gave this month and lessened the blow to our losses.  God is so kind, and we are very blessed.

We just finished a family study around the table, whiteboard and all.  I don’t do enough of this, and the amount of functioning minds in our family is growing .. we have a real home group now all by ourselves.  We studied ‘what is success’, and looked at what the world defines vs God defines as success.  It boiled down to love.  What do you love?  If you love God, you fear and Him and love your fellow man.  If you love mercy, kindness, humility, you are considered living with success according to scripture.  If you think of others first, if you serve and lay down your agenda for others – you are like God in Christ, and this is winning.  We can enjoy the things of this world, we can gain material things and recognition, none of which are inherently good or evil – the heart’s motives and end game focus are what determine that.  When we love God (heart, soul, mind, strength), we are free from fear of man, bondage of materialism, condemnation.

I love my kids.  I am proud of their pursuits, but recognize a lack of spiritual pursuit and energy in all of us.  We need to be infused lovers of God, lovers of others before ourselves.  We need to do this not because it makes us look spiritual or we are being obedient, but because God is amazing, and amazes us when we think upon Christ.   Motivations matter.  May we all be motivated this week, whatever we are doing, by the immense, and very real love of God – as demonstrated on the Cross, made meaningful daily by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Pray For:

– Gas (we need pizza going by Aug 1 or have to decrease worker hours)

– Permanent Residence (documents in Kiev for Claire/Rodge/Bron, need these so we can get Russian visas).

– Collins (YWAM brother praying about joining us for longer term, pray for this and him!)

– This week trip, a lot of driving, also in mountains.. and in Ukraine 🙂

– Our pastor friend scooter stolen, their only transportation for family.

– Fall/Winter plans – our big focus right now, hopefully time to also pray more this week, join us for God’s wisdom and direction.

Bruce & Deb