July 6, 2009

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The Texas group arrived on Friday, everyone is doing well and healthy.  It’s funny to watch “americans” come over, with all their gadgets, watches, laptops… I have them too, not quite as attached anymore.  I’ve been thinking about unplugging the wireless modem for a few days, as a controlled experiment.   It’s been great to talk in Texan again, my kids have asked if I’m going to keep talking ‘that way’ once they leave:).  We’ve attended a regional festival, complete with ceremonial dancing and cheesy trinkets.  The war museum, two orphanages.  Today the group went to Kiev, led by Cassie and Andrei Murzin – they will be touring the city center and some museums, which has given me a moment to catch my breath and check my own email.

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Pray for us tomorrow, the main part of the trip consists of the business seminar from 9am-2pm.  The city has 28 confirmed attendees, these are business owners or directors in our town.  Together with our group and a few extras we’ve invited it should be around 40 folks.  This morning I met with the Mayors office and they asked me again (for the 4th time?) why we are doing this, what was the purpose?  They are very appreciative, but have very little experience or concept of collaboration, private + local government partnership, training etc.  I am anticipating that they will really enjoy this type of event, and hopefully we can do something more regular, the beginnings of a ‘chamber of commerce’ perhaps.   We are bringing together local business ‘with’ city government and hoping that through our speakers from Texas, they will begin to see how honest partnership and looking out for the long term best interest of the ‘community’ (not just your own pocket book) can impact postively.  As a secondary goal, we are presenting a testimony of real faith in Jesus Christ, how this works its way (or should) into our business ethics and how principles from the Bible are the best principles to follow.  This is a huge challenge in Ukraine, the corruption is clearly, and unashamedly on display from top to bottom.  From students required to pay ‘gifts’ for better grades, to our beloved policemen lining the streets with their ‘tolls’, a serious revolution of the knowledge of God will have to shake things up for anything to really transpire on a cultural basis.  For our little part with the church here, we are loving our town, serving our officials, and hopefully through prayer and God’s grace finding soil that is prepared and ready for truth.

Wednesday we are being ‘hosted’ by the city, they are taking the group around to see the schools and a few other things.  They are also preparing a picnic of some kind, which means they’ll finally get some local cuisine (they’ve been spoiled thus far with comfortable american style food.. though they think it’s unique i’m sure… just wait!).

Thank you for any prayer you can offer up in faith with us.

Bruce & Deb

PS – Cheryl and Pris have been amazing blessings, serving with cooking and cleaning, they make it look effortless.. but we know it’s not, especially not in this country.   Praise God for the servant hearted.

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