Last night we hosted our 3rd Club 180 evening, each week building on the previous. All week I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to throw out a net – to offer and require an act of faith among the students who have been drawn by the Lord these past few weeks. They’ve heard about sin, how it’s broken fellowship with God. They’ve heard about the gift of salvation, Christ coming as a ransom. We’ve used visuals, videos, and attempted to deliver the core of the gospel in a concise and clear format.
In the past I’ve chosen to be more patient in specifically a ‘call to action’ with the Gospel. Particularly in relational evangelism, bridges must be secured and the Holy Spirit given liberty to choose the times and seasons which will bring the most effect. I’ve been compelled however this past season to see the Gospel in action, as “the power of God unto salvation.” It’s God that draws the broken, convicts hearts, and it’s the communicated message of Jesus incarnate reconciling the world that lifts Him up – gives the Holy Spirit ammo to work with.
With cold and drizzly rain outside, and each student walking around 1km to the center, I was pleasantly surprised that 15 showed up, and almost all from previous weeks. There’s something unique taking place around us. I believe God is answering prayer, hearts are awakening to His love and reality. We shared last night on the nature of faith, it’s risk taking nature, yet it’s substance – God hasn’t asked us to leap into the dark, but provided us evidence in Christ, His loving nature on display – we can trust Him with our lives and our eternity.
I laid out a white board at the end, which had two distinct sides – one was for those desiring to put their faith in Christ, the other for those interested, but wanting to learn more. I appealed for them to ask themselves this serious question, where or in what/whom were they putting their faith today? In themselves? In Jesus Christ? I left the marker and the board in the middle of the room and asked them to, if they desired as an act of faith, to write their names. In the back of mind I figured if nobody came up, at least they would (and I would) see where they stood with God, but something has been pushing me to ‘assume’ they are open, and assume they are ready to follow God.
13 of the 15 came to the middle to express faith in Christ. One was interested but not yet ready (which is very exciting because we are getting to know this person specifically each week). One bolted for the stairs (which is also neat because they’ve come each week, yet definitely can sense a wrestling/conviction in this person).
Our mission is not to make converts, but to grow disciples. Yet, our family rejoices in this unashamed embracing of Christ as a critical step. Whether it was truly the first time they’ve publicly expressed their faith, or they were already doing so, we praise Him! Deb, Broderic, Brent and Bronwyn joined in last night, great to have Broderic back for a season. Kolya has been helping as well translate and work behind the scenes. He’s had a difficult past year in his life and walk with God – but been starting to catch a vision again for His purpose.
We’ve prayed in faith for a core of unreached students to invest into, there’s so many in and around the Cafe each week. This was our intention all along with our Pizza night. God has given us vision to ‘see’ a generation living for God, not just here in Rz, but all around this part of the world. From this little group we are now excited to see how the Lord works in their lives, and grows their faith. We have 7-8 now signed up for a new project that will start in two weeks. Another student has been helping with Jr. English Club. They are attracted to love, to Christ, to hope. We also have a few musical folks among them, another avenue to see God work in their lives. We will continue to step out and trust God to guide us and these precious lives.
I recently met with Shane who’s led local student outreach in Rz for the past 5yrs, he’s also seeing a growth in the students openness, particularly the younger ones. We’ll be looking at ways to work together down the road, both he and his wife Jemimah have been faithfully plowing in this area for a while now, and experiencing a new measure of fruit as well. We all pray for God to do ‘above and beyond’ what this area has experienced to date, the harvest is wide open and we continue to pray for laborers to be divinely inspired to serve, give, and invest alongside us.
Speaking of laborers, this is a primary motivation for our trip tomorrow to Belarus. We will be visiting a Bible School in Minsk, visiting their church and music studio 🙂 I’ve never driven outside of the country with a Ukrainian registered vehicle, so it will be interesting. I’m hoping it doesn’t snow. It’s about a 9hr drive I think. We will be gone for 4-5 days and looking forward to meeting some new contacts and seeing how the Lord might be working with this connection. In the capital City they speak Russian mostly, and it will be great to have a break from Ukrainian which we are hearing and also speaking (without knowing) more and more. Our heart continues to push us towards the Russian speaking population – many Ukrainians don’t understand this, we have nothing against their language.. we just feel a burden to stay on track with Russian for the long haul.. although I think it would have been easier perhaps to learn Ukrainian first full out, then Russian at this pace – sigh.
Family is doing great, Claire just turned one. She’s still very tiny and her development progress is definitely delayed in other areas as well. We rejoice in her little steps… and hope one day she takes actual steps, still wiggling around.
Please pray this week:
- Travel safety and favor at customs
- Week of God connections!
- Vova our friend who has just been diagnosed (90%) with cancer – we are helping in some ways this week and Lord willing next week as this progresses. You can donate if you would like, they have zero funds and it’s quite serious he gets attention immediately.
- Students that have expressed faith in Christ – for wisdom for us, for God to fill their hearts with His love – pray for those seeds!
Thank you for checking in, be encouraged in God’s love, He is pursuing each of us today – allow Him near.
Bruce & Deb