Goodbye Natasha! Hello Josh!

IMG_1210Tonight we held an impromptu worship and prayer evening at the Cafe.  It’s neat to rally various worshipers of Christ on demand and seek Him together.  I needed it.  It’s been a difficult week with many problems.  Sometimes problems seems to pounce and come at you in waves.

Entering the prayer time I was feeling pretty empty from various battles.  I was reminded of Psalm 51 in David’s prayer, “A broken and contrite heart you will not despise.”  In times of emptiness, whether from sin or simply beaten down in the battle of life – we can cherish this promise too.

We are always accepted in Christ when we come broken, humble and acknowledging our need for our Savior.

Sometimes we think we need to earn His acceptance.  Bring out the sacrifice, the bulls and rams.  Let’s pat ourselves on the back with some good ole self righteousness before we come into His presence!  Thankfully the instructions are quite the opposite.  If we come broken, hungry, thirsty and we’ll always find the open arms of the Father.

It’s a bittersweet time as we say goodbye to Natasha from Minsk.  She volunteered her time this summer to work with us specifically with the interns.  The 3 girls, along with Natasha just returned from a week together in Western Ukraine’s beautiful Carpathian mountains.  They had an amazing time and some really cool stories of God’s grace.

IMG_1213We were able to pray and send Natasha, along with her freshly sprained ankle back to Minsk.  Incoming, we have Josh Neibert from Crossroads (our home church in Texas) here for the next 6-7 weeks.  Josh is 18 and already fairly traveled among our Crossroads mission locations.  He’ll be serving primarily with youth and currently helping Shane build the halfpipe  – started this morning!

It's been cool to have the "Big House" this summer free to host families, teams and interns! So many cool mixes of nationalities and languages this summer.

It’s been cool to have the “Big House” this summer free to host families, teams and interns! So many cool mixes of nationalities and languages this summer.

We’ve had Andrei & Ira here from Minsk all week.  Andrei c0-pastors in Minsk at CFN Church, both he and Ira are graduates of the bible school there.  It’s been neat to get to know them some more – they don’t speak any English, so it’s been a real solid test of our Russian.  We love their heart and what God is doing in their lives.

The Minsk connection has been a blessing in our little town.  I look forward to seeing how continued networking can infuse more life and friendships among both nationalities.  The church is greatly encouraged when believers unite in mission together.   Deb and I both feel God is doing something special among the Belarussian believers – they have a desire and maturity that is going to bless many more nations beyond Ukraine.

 

Some areas to pray for us:

  • Legal issue: we are taking Pasha to court again for the robberies at our house this past year.  We gave mercy at the last proceeding, but this mercy was repaid with another attempted break-in last month (we have camera footage outside).  Please pray for him, and us as we make difficult decisions towards justice, and safety for our family.
  • Another issue: we had a man come to the cafe a few nights ago and harass our female workers.  It centered around some Russian language on our signage/menu and he took issue (an understatement), yelling at the girls for over 20 minutes and provoking them to tears and argument.  He refused to leave the front counter space of our Cafe, making a spectacle of himself.  We have it on video.  I was called to help, and asked him to leave – thankfully he did but then the next day reported our Cafe to the authorities – claiming he was instead insulted and treated poorly.   We have several witnesses and video to prove otherwise and were already thinking to have our lawyer help us keep him legally from coming again to our peaceful cafe – he threatened to return with ‘more’ patriots.  Anyway, we want to be a people of peace, and the whole situation needs prayer and wisdom please!
  • Park: please pray for our remaining stages of this park.  It’s coming along but so slowly. It’s hard for my American brain to understand why everything here has to be so bulky – the answer for everything in Ukraine is cement, and more cement.  I just want to have some swings and grass..  Pray for patience and help as we’re about $2k over budget, but it’s going to be really a great park and a real attraction for many students and young parents/kids!

Lots of stuff coming up as September hits.  Widows ministry continues, a big pizza party being planned for incoming 1st and 2nd year students, and we’re looking to hire more staff for the fall.   God fill us with your power, your presence, your joy!  We need to believe Him for spiritual victories, and focus on the eternity ahead.   May we learn from the difficulties and become more useful instruments in His hands because of them.

Bruce & Deb

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