(can you guess who this masked man is?)
Our two year anniversary passed us by last week. It was Bronwyn that reminded us. Amazing to look back now, even after such a short time and realize how much has happened in our lives, how helpless we were and faithful God has been to our family. Some people might think we had a clear road map directing us to uproot our family and plant ourselves here in a rural Ukrainian village.. but I can assure you, it was a leap of faith. Have you ever looked back at some decisions you made and thought, “what was I thinking!?” but in a good way? It is evidence of God’s grace in our lives when we can’t imagine making the same decision again, in light of what we know now! We have plenty of challenges still before us, burdens on our hearts with obstacles in the way. The goal now is to look for the next opportunity, the next step of faith that will keep us from growing comfortable and complacent. I can’t believe I typed that, comfortable in Ukraine.. it is possible though, especially if you stick to your garden and stay off the roads!
How are you all doing out there? I’ve been thinking of our brothers & sisters in Texas, we miss you guys. It’s pretty easy to get so familiar with close fellowship and start taking these things for granted. Don’t! Hard to replace history. Dear friends seem to be forged through life experiences which take time. We are slowly getting to know more people here, even in Kiev where most of the missionary community seems to reside. Without knowing the language well enough for ‘deep’ friendship among the Ukrainians, we rely on mostly westerners for closer fellowship. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. Language is such a powerful thing, even through the best interpreter something is lost that you get with direct communication. I’m hoping Google comes out with some sort of voice encoder that we put on like a miniature harmonica, like something out of star trek, and you simply punch in the language you want to come out the other side. “Oh, you’re from Germany, one second, Wie geht es Ihnen?”. Until then, I’m praying about some more intensive options for language this fall. They will require some lifestyle/scheduling changes, but I’m discontent with my language level, and have a growing desire to push myself. I appreciate prayer toward this, for God’s guidance and a listening heart to prioritize the thing God wants in my life and day.
We only had 3 Ukrainians show up to our Passion follow up, with some of our leaders. We drove around the schools and invited but couldn’t find any of them. It’s disappointing to not see more of a turn out after the evening, but I’m encouraged with the heart of a few young men that did come, definitely leadership quality. This past weekend the ladies hosted an outreach, “Garden Tea Party’, they had a good turnout of local ladies.
Pray for our potential property situation. As it turns out (surprise!) the property we were offered is actually a complicated issue. We’ve uncovered more than we wanted to know, and decided to stop the purchase for the time being as we investigate more. Essentially corruption is at every turn here, it’s becoming apparent that if you engage with money, there are going to be problems. I’ve decided that the unspoken motto in Ukraine business and politics is, “He who most creatively cheats, wins.” The many gray areas on the law here are exploited with greed, too often I’m afraid on the backs of the innocent. The average Ukrainian wants a civil, justice based government, but the bullies, the crafty, the schemers, the cheaters rule the courts, the legal system, the land. I’m thankful for God’s guidance, diligent workers like Svetlana and friends like Alex the lawyer to give advice along the way. Pray for wisdom please, we don’t want to be mixed up in something that would color us this way. I keep thinking of Jesus own words to the disciples..
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. ” Matt 10:16
Bruce & Deb