Sunday, September 16

Fall is here and the apples are falling.  Our baby Abbey is 5 1/2 months old and a joy to us. The kids are entering their 3rd week of school in Kuzmenci. We’re not sure how they are doing but one things for sure, it’s an adjustment for everyone. Poor Deb has spent at least 5 full days in doctors offices around the area, been yelled at and generally treated like an ignoramus for refusing the shots they offer (not required by law). Our kids have now had psychiatric evaluations to add to the list, and still need a few more signatures to allow them to do physical exercise..

It’s political season here in Ukraine as well leading up to the October elections. This week I was approached by a local representative of a conservative party UDAR that is gaining ground here led by the reigning WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitchko. He is also running for Mayor of Kiev. They want to hang a banner outside our Cafe, they realize our location is great, right in front of the bus station. I’m still considering it, and asking around locally to get a feel for any potential backlash. It’s not like putting a sign in your yard in the US, there are real considerations to be had particularly for foreigners. Real change however won’t come from being silent, especially in this environment of intimidation. The party does have Christian influence and financial backing from outside Ukraine. As far as I can tell is the only one campaigning on morality and ethics specifically. Klitchko is supposed to be stopping around our town in October.. if I had a sign up maybe he’d come in for some coffee, I would love to meet and grab a shot of him pretending to punch me!

Speaking of the Cafe, last night I was reminded just how invaluable having a place downtown will be in our effort to be salt and light in this community. Celebrating it’s 841 birthday, Rzhyshchiv was once again downtown lighting fireworks, selling popcorn and шашлык. Don’t forget the blaring music from their outdoor stage, they love to really crank it. It seems this town is becoming more of a party town in the summer. We like to stroll down with the kids and be a part of the community more, recognizing friends and sharing a quick chat with folks. Yet, there’s nowhere to go and sit for a coffee, only alcohol and the youth are found walking around each with beer in hand. It’s a sad reality that most of these young people will grow up all too familiar with alcoholism, a wasted life. The town tries to look the part of a happy community with it’s many growing festival. When I go down there during these events I leave hurting inside, the broken heart of God for all those that settle for a life without Him!

Click here for short clip of last night’s festivities

Tomorrow my mom is coming for a visit! We’re all very excited to see her and receive her acts of service:) My dad won’t be coming this visit, he’s busy farming.

Our four school boyz looking dapper.

Russian lessons have been wonderful! Nine of us have been enjoying Irina’s classes every Tuesday and Friday at the Cafe. She travels from Kiev on the bus each time, it’s quite a day for her but so far I think she’s enjoying it too. The challenge is for October she may not be able to continue coming down twice per month, we’re hoping she can at least continue them at some level, she’s an amazing teacher and we’re all gaining ground.. Lord God please keep us progressing! We’re all studying again, flash cards all around the house, kids and parents, let’s go!

Deb and the ladies hosted their wives meeting at the Cafe yesterday. They only had 10 ladies come, and I believe all were Christians. A bit disappointed that more didn’t come but Deb said they all had a good time and will start planning for the next one.

The Orphanage in Kuzmenci just received 3 more kids. Interestingly they are children that Tom was picking up and bringing to Sunday school for a while. Their parents have been forced to enter a 1yr treatment program for drinking and the kids were taken away. They are also in school there with our kids, and in Clark and Brents class I believe. We’ll be hanging out with the kids there next weekend and continuing to love on them, and practice Russian. We’ve delivered two pairs of shoes but still need to get 2 more pair (for those that gave thank you!!).

Thanks for checking in-
Bruce & Deb

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