May 3, 2011

Us with eldest 3 boys

Enjoying the spring weather, getting our first serious rains this week, it’s a nice change from the long winter.  I tried to turn our heat on in the house yesterday as temps have dropped back down, but something is broken.  It’s nice to not be in emergency mode, we can just dress a bit warmer and keep going while we wait for the repairman.

This week we are helping our baptist brothers host a group of 10 German workers on a building team.  They are here helping to build a church building which has not progressed beyond a foundation for a few years now.  We have 4 guys staying with us for 12 days.  We’re truly rejoicing that this town will have another physical ‘christian’ presence downtown.  In a way it will make things easier for us with the cafe, hopefully deferring the  attention of our very strong orthodox community.  In Ukraine, if you aren’t part of the Orthodox Church, you are considered a sect along the lines of a JW or Mormon.  So to see the Ukrainian brothers being bold downtown with a ‘house of prayer’ just a block down from the Cafe is very cool, we praise God for the German church.

This weekend we are taking a group of 30 guys to Ivankiv, about 80km north of Kiev, to a Christian Camp run by our friends the Andrew & Jenny Kelly from Texas.  Our church is hosting a Men’s Retreat, first of it’s kind I think.  The group is about 50% believers and 50% students we’ve been reaching out to at some level.  We’re spending two nights there, and plan to have a few sessions to talk about the gospel and application.  The theme is ‘no compromise’, we have a guest speaker for part of it, a bold ukrainian brother who runs a business and enjoys to challenge people for Christ, as well as Dan and I will both share.  Pray for us, it’s quite an opportunity to have this group of guys, together for a time of fun and potentially life changing spiritual awakening.  I’ll be sharing Saturday night.  We’re also driving in our paintball guys from Khagarlyk, which is obviously a major draw.

Enjoyed having my good friend Dave Huber last week for a visit.  Dave’s been my accountability partner for many years, it’s always great to visit and relax with someone you have a long history with.  He took notes is now going to help us come up with remaining materials for the cafe, right Dave! 🙂

Aloysha is forced to pose with me during work today

Speaking of the cafe, it’s coming along nicely.  We have decided to tear down some extra walls, it’s really opening up into a nice space.

Vitalik, Alyoshas brother-in-law is a fine cement mixer!

Deb and Neil have been putting together some creative layout for the area, measuring and deciding where everything will go.  We are getting close to laying tile, then we’ll move to wiring/ceiling/lightning.  We’re basically moving week to week as we have funds, God is and we know He will provide.

FAMILY UPDATE (for the grandparents!)

Kids are well, Clark is working hard to save up for a bike.  He has a jar with ‘greevnas” for various chores, which he keeps losing:)  Noah loves to sing, Deb and I catch him humming along in his own unique language.  Brent is still the popular kid on the block, doorbell rings and kids want to play.  Our neighbor boy (notice we call him ‘our’ now?) Svyatik is officially fluent, unbelievable how he can speak English so well after living beside us for 3yrs.  His parents seriously owe us some tuition or something!  I was listening to him the other day though and noticed he has some of the exact same phrases (that don’t always make sense) as our boys, his teachers aren’t exactly award winning linguists.  Bronwyn is as tall as Deb, she is blossoming into a fine young lady / lawyer. She is quick on her feet and loves a good debate, watch out whoever gets my daughter.  Broderic has found a new friend to add to his collection of one (Jessie) that is his age, his name is Troy and he is from Canada, son of a lovely Mennonite couple that moved here around the same time we did.  They are farming (with about 6-8 employees) 30 minutes from here, great to meet like-minded believers with kids our age.  Who did I forget?  Tucker!  What can you say about the tuckster, he’s the quietest kid in public, just like his mom, sweet and thoughtful, but behind the scenes in the security of home, he is a chatty cathy!  The boy loves an audience, fortunately there always seems to be someone around to listen:)

Wow, haven’t blogged in a while, busy with family, church, work and everything else that pops up in between.  This past week Pastor David Wilkerson passed away, it was a shock to everyone obviously, but on a very technical level threw my company into an emergency mode.  We host their websites (World Challenge, Times Square Church) and the news spread across all social media, driving over 250k visitors in just 24hrs to their site.  While everyone was clicking away in shock, we were racing to add CPU power to servers and keep them from crashing, a testament to the man’s faithfulness and lives he touched while on earth.  Here’s a video that WC just put online, it’s about 9 minutes, I found it inspiring to see how God can use anyone that is willing.

I pray you are doing well, I pray God is helping you keep your mind steadfast on things that are pure, good, true.  I’ve been meditating on Phil 4:8, give it a try.  It’s harder than it seems to continually keep our minds on truth, on those things that reflect the Kingdom of God, and not of this world.  I want to be a man of peace, who knows where and Who to go to in times of anxiety or fear, and to do it quickly, early.  God help us all to be faithfully focused on Him, trusting with thoughts, to the outflow of our actions.   Despising religious-ness for it’s own outward sake more and more.  Why in the world do people pretend to have a form of Christianity that they really don’t?  The more I see this in Christianity, the more I recognize areas of inconsistency in my own life and come to Him for help.  God rip out those things that could prove to be a stone of stumbling for others. Help me to bridge the gap between what I wish I was, and what I really am.  Where I’ve grown complacent, bring progress! There’s enough hypocrites running around, you don’t need another one. Help me to die to all pretense, what I want others to see… but don’t leave me there! I don’t want to be sincere for its own sake. We can all be sincere in our carnality, or sincerely dead! What do I desire? Probably the same thing you do, I want to be sincerely like Christ, the image of our incorruptable God, and I’m pretty sure it’s what He wants too. Mold us kind Savior, inside first, then out.  Let your grace transform us!

Bruce & Deb

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