Random little 'fair' shows up in center - $1 for 10 minutes.

Random little ‘fair’ shows up in center – $1 for 10 minutes.

The count is on.  Deb returns in t-minus 4 days!  I’ve had some fun on facebook posting some random (and oft’ exaggerated) observations over the past week.  It has been a tiring week, but rewarding as well.  Nothing quite like being without your soul mate and logistics partner for more than a few days to awaken the gratitude towards your spouse.

I was thinking today if something happened to Deb, I would immediately begin hunting for a wife.  I’d have to keep my motivations a tad conspicuous out of the gate with the poor new prospect.  This mental taxation is quite interesting to go through solo.  I’d need a spouse fairly quickly to absorb at least a portion of the zillion questions and ridiculous issues that arise as a stay at home dad.  I have a new respect for my wife’s patience – all you mom’s out there that ‘don’t work’, these kids are making you like Jesus – rejoice.

This week we had our 3rd English night.  It was mostly geared toward young people as we played The Incredibles and highlighted keywords to look for (with prizes).  We had about 15 or so.  My new friend Alex came again with his girlfriends daughter and we spent the entire time over coffee getting to know one another – he spoke and practiced his english, I dusting off my Russian which hasn’t been used too much lately.   It seems like God is surrounding me with more english speaking Ukranians, and in some pretty neat circumstances.   I’ve met several new locals that were raised in our town but work during the week in Kiev – school teachers, business owners, even a web project manager – so many unique stories and bridges being built – I’m very encouraged by this.   If they are at the Cafe, I’m able to take them upstairs and share a bit more of our work and testimony – it’s always interesting gauging their reactions, you can tell pretty quickly if they think we are from mars or if God is already at work in their own hearts at some level.

IMG_1204I’m planning to connect again with Alex this next week and visit his club – as well as take him a little road trip to visit some friends I think he will really enjoy.   Alex is a very sharp guy, he reads Richard Dawkins and considers himself an agnostic.  He might be the first Ukrainian I’ve talked with that was a Dawkins fan.  We briefly touched on philosophy and religion, and he admits this is a topic he would enjoy engaging in.  He’s a degreed nuclear engineer, with a very interesting background – pray for him, and for our conversations to produce fruit.  It’s a been a while since I’ve entered the intellectual waters of debate – and I believe the Lord has connected us, using the vehicle of mutual language learning.

Poetry Night

Poetry Night

FullSizeRender-6 IMG_1179This morning I had a neat time over coffee with Natasha – she’s a very creative, artsy/rebel (think Ukrainian Cindy Lauper for those over 35) type that hosted the poetry night a few weeks ago that was a big success.  I immediately felt drawn to pray for her, and asked Sveta to organize a time to chat more (needed translation help).

Without disclosing too much online, as many of our new friends now read our blog, I would ask that you also pray for Natasha – she is hosting a town-wide ‘creative’ event on July 25th and The Lighthouse is going to support her with some prizes/help.  They are going to possibly use our cafe for parts of the all day event which will include crafts, photography/treasure hunt, and concerts into the evening.  We’ve agreed to put together a band and perform at the event.   Anyway, Natasha is an edgy, fringe type personality that reminds me of the kind of people that the traditional church might shy away from and she would never want any part of anyway.   I was able to share with her the love of God over her life, something that today might seem miles away from a reality to her – but we know and believe is here today.  She is an influencer with many social networks, and some really neat gifts – let’s pray for her!

We are also progressing on some things for this fall, which I will share more about later – but appreciate you to be in prayer about with/for us!

Things you can pray for :

– Finances.  The Cafe only has 2 or 3 regular supporters monthly.   We are doing really well considering all things here in Ukraine – but continue to function at a loss each month that takes a large bite into our personal support (which we truly need to keep fed).  We either need some more personal support monthly, or some specifically donated support for the Cafe – in the area of $500/mo to help us stay in the black.  It was $700/mo at the start of the year, so we’re thankful it’s heading in the right direction!   We’re grateful to the YWAM team who left us a generous donation that will help for the next few months, but heading into this fall we appreciate prayer and consideration as we keep biting off more ministry opportunities, hiring more staff, and growing by faith.   We are sponsoring and planning events and retreats this fall, things that we currently don’t have funding for – if you can’t give, you can pray for our faith and for more supporters.

You can give online using our secure Paypal link (all major credit cards accepted): http://www.liftupyoureyes.com/?page_id=877 – if you would like to give by check and like a tax receipt please contact us privately for instructions.

– Broderic.  He is heading into his final ‘season’ of homeschooling and feeling the pressure for the ‘next thing’.  For those of you that know Broderic, you can appreciate his kind, humble personality and I’m so thankful for his genuine love for God and pursuit.   He is the first of the Crowe kids to begin the adventure out into this world and both he and his parents are new at this.  Pray for God’s best to be revealed this year for him.

– Ministry team.  Entering into this year we believed God was putting pieces together towards the formation of a more specific ministry team (beyond just the Cafe staff which was our focus last fall/winter).  God has worked wonders in Sveta’s life and she continues to deepen in her love for Christ, and we have put more ministry/discipleship type opportunities before her.  We are also encouraged to see more believers from various churches hanging out, coming to different events, and desiring to be more active/mobile in their faith.  We are also praying with some others from outside of Ukraine who believe God may be sending them to serve with us in the near future.   All of this to say, our desire to see a discipleship ministry, or school that would impact local to the nations is evolving, and we are humbled and excited  – I would add nervous.   Please pray for faith and vision in our hearts to remain focused on the right things, wisdom and all those good things.  I’ve begun asking a couple respected pastors and churches that we feel God has put into our lives (beyond our sending church) to partner with us in prayer and for counsel/oversight. None of this happens without a spiritual battle, and at times I feel overwhelmed (abnormally so).  If we stay in our comfort zones, we rarely need others.  When we step out in faith, our limitations, weaknesses, and all other insecurities become both exploited (by the enemy) or discouraging personally.  We need your prayers, not just to stay ‘informed’, we NEED your prayers to advance Jesus Christ to the nations, and stay this course!   Pray for God to send us laborers to share this burden with us.

PS-we are invited again to Far East Russian in January to teach at a YWAM DTS.  We are busy getting permanent residence for Claire/Broderic and Bronwyn so we could potentially all travel.  If we went, we’d like to take some of our team, but this would be a huge step and even more costs.  It would be a huge dream come to true for us to lead a team to Russia, whether it’s this January or later – I feel this is God’s heart to mobilize and empower all believers, not just us westerners, to take Christ to the nations.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..” Eph 3:20

Thanks for checking in, and I pray God’s grace amazes you in a fresh way today!

Bruce & Deborah