I just sent out our private newsletter from Minsk.  If you didn’t get it, feel free to message me on FB or email me at bruce@liftupyoureyes.org to be added to the list!  I think I have most of you but the email has much more detailed information.  

This week I returned from Kiev scouting trip and checking on things in Rz.  It was so cool to see the Cafe again!  I was happy to see that they have added a few new menu items and have been actively trying to save money as well.  It’s still such a challenge to serve our community and also not lose our shirts.  I have to admit it was AMAZING to sleep in my own bed for 2 nights.

During the trip I attended one evening at Steiger’s missions conference for youth in Kiev.  It’s amazing to see so many familiar faces from Minsk among this crew of 70 or so leaders.  After we flew back to Minsk, the entire Steiger team, including leaders from +5 countries used our houses in Rz (ours and Deb’s dad’s) for their planning and prayer times.

Although Rz is over an hour from Kiev, these guys were super thankful to have a place to house poor college students and young adults that live as missionaries in Ukraine.  Over 50 stayed somehow between the two houses – It was surreal to see Instagram blow up with photos from our kitchen and neighborhood.  Cool to serve this emerging ministry.

We spent an evening with our friend Zhenya from Hope for Orphans in the University area of Kiev looking at possible Spring ‘creative space’ spots to reach the +30k students there.  We are praying and believing God to take active steps to start a base there that can work alongside and expand the ministries in Minsk into the Russian speaking world.  If you’d like more information on this, as we are also praying for partners (not just money), email me.

Deb and I were able a few weeks ago to take a 30 min flight over to Vilnius, Lithuania.  Hopping out of the country help us save valuable ‘visa days’ which are limited to only 90 per year in Belarus.  I’ve already used 70.  I love this girl.  Isn’t it amazing that no matter how long you are married, you still feel you are married to the one you met?  Thankful to journey with an adventurer and free thinker, even if it gets me into all sorts of un-requested situations.

Kids are good, but they are asking about ‘home’.  The other day Abbey asked, “How much longer until we go home to Ukraine.”  I said, “3 weeks”.  “Is 3 weeks long?” she asked.  “For you Abbey, it’s really long yes.”  Time.  Subjective thing it is.

Speaking of time, it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow.  We decided to bite the bullet and attempt do make some traditional things tomorrow and invite over our kids (the older ones in Minsk apartments) and Adrienne from PA.  It’s not a holiday here so not quiet as cool, but I’m thankful there isn’t any Black Friday insanity.

Open Door!  This Friday I’ll be speaking in a City 3hrs to the East called “Mogilev” which is near the Russian border.  The State University there has permitted a team to do music and speak to their English students on business.  Collins and Broderic, as well as a few other YFM students are there now – and I’ve been given the topic and sub-points of my topic by the professor before hand.  It’s very controlled.  I’m thankful one of the bullet points however stated, “your personal story’.   I shall follow the teachers instructions!

Thanks for checking in, blessings from Belarus – 3 weeks to go!

Bruce & Deb