Opportunity?

Today the director of the 28th Technical College, just up the street from the Cafe, informed me that the school is temporarily closing due to its inability to pay for Electricity. This represents around 300 young people in our town, as well as teachers and workers.

We have a small core of young people form this college that come every week to Club 180, and we’ve been investing in. They are really excited about the team coming next week, and we’re just starting to see real traction in this particular school – the directors are very willing and open to just about anything we want to do.

As of this week, the students will be placed on 2 weeks ‘holidays’ as the school attempts to find $2,500US – which is close to an impossibility in our local economy. The local city is now responsible for funding the schools, and this particular school (which focuses on farming, mechanics and cooking) is at the lowest end of the totem pole. The federal government is broke, the local economies are broke, and now the students are going to feel it. Most of the students actually live in remote villages, and come in to our town for college during the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, these students are actually 10-12th grade age (in the US/Canada). They leave their homes and live in old soviet style dorms at the age of 15yrs!

While this unfortunate turn of events impacts our ability to reach these particular students next week for our “Awaken’ week, the larger area of concern is the trickle down effect on all the students, families, and workers. Is this an opportunity for us? Could we leverage our strong US dollar (currently 27:1), for the Gospels influence?

Here’s my point – and I lay this out to all our readers for prayer.

$2,500 provides enough electricity to keep the school open thru the end of the Spring semester. That’s 8-9 more weeks of school. The Ukrainian economy has, and continuing to tank, hard. The Ukrainian currency has lost over 320% of it’s value in the past 2yrs. The sanctions intended for Russia (which has lost only 200% in comparison) have decimated Ukraine as well. The war continues to provide the instability which investors run from. So many out of work, and so many working for increasingly less.   Imagine your family trying to live on $150 per month, that’s the reality here.

If the Lord provided us with $2,500, I am praying about the impact we could have keeping this school open – the healthy leverage this gives us to continue working in, and increasingly influencing students (and teachers) for God. There was a time, in the not too distant past, when these same schools were under the strict control of communism, and the thought of sharing the Great News of Jesus Christ in any form, was an impossibility. Now, we enjoy relationships with the leaders, the leaders of the schools have open hearts and want to see this next generation rise up above the standards they inherited.

This is a small community, and we treat financial contributions very seriously. We do not randomly hand out money, we understand the need to contextualize and think long term. We can’t fix Ukraine’s issues with money – nor can we sustain the schools forever. However, we can use money to secure gospel influence perhaps for an extended time, by caring and giving to very real needs in our community – the kind of needs that shout Jesus cares, that we’re not just trying to built organizations, we want to see this next generation follow God and willing to invest in their education as part of that.

So – if you would pray with us about it that would be amazing. If you would like to contribute towards it – I would ask you first contact me. I don’t want to create a campaign or publicly state we are going to help. I simply cast out this opportunity like a net – and if someone has the capacity to give and feels the impulse of the Lord – to let me know!

Either way we are super blessed in these schools. All three have opened their doors for concerts next week where we can share in song and testimony with the incoming team. We had a really cool evening last night with our 180 kids. They were working, cleaning, registering students for next week – it warmed the heart! However, there are so many more, I believe potentially 100’s that will respond to the Gospel if they are given opportunity to really hear and understand it. The challenge is creating avenues for that understanding and conviction to take place. Perhaps by investing/blessing this particular college it could provide us the kind of avenue where God could work in greater capacity?

Thank you for listening, praying and believing with us!
Bruce

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