March 21, 2019

We had a wonderful, formative time in Minsk this past weekend with our Mir Leaders team. We began a study based from the book “The Critical Journey’ on the six stages of faith in the life of a believer. We also study Missio Dei in scripture, creative forms of prayer, and other intentional activities to help internal processing that I’ve adapted from my Fuller Seminary course. We’re already excited for our next retreat in the Carpathian mountains!

Someone else posted this photo so I’m stealing. I felt God’s confirming presence in this moment as we prayed for leaders of LIT, Widows and our new Kickstarter platform coming soon. I believe we have just begun our journey together in becoming more excellent listeners. Our ‘worship’ time this time consisted of no songs (unplanned), it just lingered and we together sought the Lord in the evening. Help us Lord rely increasingly on your wisdom, and Spirit’s power.
Into week three at Lighthouse with a new initiative towards at-risk families in our town. Our team gathers and provides a children’s program for these precious kids. Interestingly, and unplanned by us, a partner orphanage ministry started meeting on the 2nd floor with families together that are really in desperate situations, and many of the same children attend that. Double impact! We’re doing similar project in Minsk now as well, with our new partner Bettina with High5Give5. Children giving to children!
Just returned last night by train from Eastern Ukraine (Slavyanks). A crew of 6, including new partner Dar Draper from aged-out orphan ministry ‘Glow’ (North Carolina) journeyed with us we met again with leaders from “Good News Church”. They are working in many spheres, from orphan, front line war area, to rehab centers and now widows (we have begun partnering with them with our program). Gracious people.

After running a full orphanage for many years and seeing little success in the ‘graduates’ (suicide rates, prison, prostitution etc) they re-structured to focus on all the families that are moving towards having their kids taken away, and work with the parents and children along with the government to see restoration before it’s too late. Their vision is to restore as many biological families as possible – wonderful people serving here, and of course, beautiful little kids!

The orphanage itself was destroyed four years ago during the fighting in this area. It’s recently been restored and moves forward. Can you imagine, tanks purposefully destroying orphanages? The soldiers stole all the material, furniture, and even took the toys, smashing all that remained.
In Slavyansk, we grown to like this young couple here Oleg & Joana. They are worshipers, and musicians who are in the middle of some recording projects. Both super talented and have a passion to see a house of prayer (24/7) emerge. They’ve started but it’s been really difficult out of the gate.
During some time in prayer in Slavyansk with leaders and our team, the Lord moved on some hearts in significant ways. We discussed extending our LIT platform to this area, along with partnering with their own regional worship. We also were encouraged to share social media and production resources which could be very interesting. So much creative talent and vision gathering for something!
We visited several downtown spaces with potential for starting another platform in Slavyansk. This particular one has been sitting for almost two years, and we’ve connected in a very meaningful way with the owner. There’s quite a bit more I could share, but simply ask that you join with us in prayer for wisdom and guidance!

This is the inside of the cafe, it has two floors, and equipped with almost everything needed to get rolling. God is preparing, working and revealing some neat things.

Thanks for checking in – and please do join us in prayer as we are also experiencing, along with the positive movement, some discouraging things as well as we seek to walk the middle ground among churches that don’t have the same vision for Kingdom unity. We’ve been reminded by many that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. Remind us Father of essential unity in the Person of Jesus. Salvation is a Person! We’re not saved by right thinking. I used to think doctrinal unity was super important. I think a healthy doctrine OF unity in Christ is even better. Jesus said the Pharisees searched the scriptures thinking in them could be found eternal life. Not so. Truth is helpful when we know personally Christ, THE truth. We can intellectually know things about the Person we don’t. In fact, the posture of weakness, of a learner, one who sees their own blindness is the pre-requisite for union with God in the first place. To ‘know’ that we don’t know. To know the resurrected Christ puts all else into another category, no matter how essential we try to make it. Be careful, says Apostle Paul, if you think you stand, lest you fall. How can we lose this perspective of salvific essentials? I love the Morvian motto – cooler in Latin – In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas. In essentials unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity. We feel an increased, even focused vision for Kingdom unity in the Slavic world – it’s gonna be a rough ride and perhaps the Lord is shaping us for the difficult path of friendly fire. I’m comforted that He warns us of it, and even tell us to rejoice – not sure I fully grasp that part yet.

We’re also about to receive team of 15 orphans (teens) from GLOW at our guest house tomorrow for the weekend – gracious me we’re a tad busy! We also just started officially developing a new kickstarter platform for Russian speaking world, to attract investment to business and mission projects particularly for next generation. Speaking of platform, we just launched the widows online platform also which helps our volunteers track the budget and social/spiritual/physical needs. It’s taken 4 months, longer than I’d hoped but I’m optimistic that we can now more efficiently train and monitor expanding territory. We are doing this with World Challenge, our main sponsor with Widows.

Good news! Our septic is now working – I am SO thankful for Alyosha our friend and neighbor.

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