Trip to Texas & NYC

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[Broderic (blue) and Bronwyn climbing AIRQUEST, they didn’t even have to sign a waiver!]

I’m taking a quick trip to Longview, Texas next week.  Feb 27-March 10.   I’ve been planning to take a trip sometime this winter, but the timing hasn’t worked out.  I’ll be speaking at Crossroads on Sunday, March 1, it’ been 10 months since I saw my church family, and I look forward to seeing them again soon.   The trip will allow me to catch up with the guys at work as well.  Daniel is coming with me on this trip, together we’ll be sharing what God seems to be doing here in Rzshyschiv, and the opportunities it’s opening up for outside involvement.   If you are in the area, we hope to see you, and be encouraged by what God is doing in your life as well.

Boy, where do I start.  It’s been 3 weeks since the last post.  I’ll list some bullet points of activity to catch you up with us:

  • Met with Mayor, we have his blessing to pursue a “Family Center” in the town, and disclosed our heart/purpose with him.
  • Mayor encouraged us to consider some of the city owned buildings for use, possibly purchase.  We’ve investigated them, only one is centrally located, and would require significant renovations, might be easier to start over.
  • Visited with the associate of the owner of several buildings in town (lives in Kiev, big businessman), the main building we want is ‘not on the table’, however they showed us 2 others, both viable and recently on the market.  The economic troubles here in Ukraine are substantial, the worst in Europe, opening up more property choices.  They are all in Soviet conditions, plumbing, and substantial renovations necessary to be usable for our purposes.
  • Registering two organizations this month, a Charity “Missions Network Ukraine”, and a business “Economic Business Partnership”.  Many reasons for this, but to purchase property, work with other charities, and run business (cafe, family center etc.), this is necessary.  Svetlana is working hard, so much paperwork, requirements, and loopholes, she is a blessing indeed.
  • We’ll be able to officially ‘invite’ foreigners to work, and serve in various capacities as an officially registered ‘Ukrainian’ organization.   We’ll also sponsor our own family, inviting ourselves and taking more control over our visa situation.
  • My truck is a challenge, it will cost $25k just to register it officially in Ukraine, so we’re forced to drive to Belarus (3 hrs away) every 60 days for a fresh stamp.  We’re hopefully going to get temporary plates in April, they’ll be good for 1 yr, and cost around $1,000.  That won’t be so bad, our truck is such a blessing, we’re able to go everywhere in town, just today I pulled out another lady who was stuck on a hill.
  • We’re going to host a June Strategic Missions Trip- this trip will be for business and civic leaders, to come and stay ‘with’ those of similar positions in town.  They will stay with the locals, and have a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with those we’ve gotten to know.  We will host some events during that week in coordination with the city.  Please pray for this trip, I’m excited about talking to some people in Texas about joining this trip.
  • The Medical Trip from NYC has been postponed until the fall.
  • We’ve been asked to participate in several local events in the spring/summer.
  • Browny turned 10!  Tucker turned 6! Clark turned 3!
  • Our basement is almost finished, another 2 weeks, we have 3 guys working on it.
  • We start “Home Groups” this coming Wed, 2 groups meeting on Wed nights, one in our basement (hurry guys !!).
  • Deb is amazing, she’s cooked all day today with Cassie, they cooked and froze 19 meals… we eat, and feed a lot of people.
  • I’ve reconnected with Chris Bennet, Matt Mason and Bob Stone, and together we’ve formed a monthly Skype call, for prayer and encouragement.  Old friends from CFNI, neat how God has worked in each of our lives.
  • We are transferring our house into our name, this will cost $3-5k, but get everything officially in our name, currently still in our good friends name, Andrei Murzin who saved the day by allowing us to do this last spring.   This process takes several months, and has more paperwork, days in lines, and folks with their hands out (gift please) than you could imagine… but it’s all normal here in Ukraine!
  • Have made some contacts with an orphanage ministry, looking forward to having lunch with them.
  • We had our first public (not in Dan’s house) gathering last week with the church at the restaurant.  The kind owner has donated the use of the room to us, and even donated the coffee/tea, we tried to pay and she declared, “I cannot accept this, for God’s glory.”  She sat in during our meeting/worship.
  • Have developed a master list of available Russian materials for study/personal devotion.  Through that, met some brothers in Chernigiv, that we actually already knew, but didn’t know they started a publication company.  They’ve published several Piper, Grudem, Stott books (or planning to), good authors and material that the church here would really benefit from.  I am excited to help them, they publish and sell everything at cost, there is a great need for evangelical material that is affordable, and available.
  • Russian vocabulary has reached 250-300, we have been told by a professional translator in Moscow, that 800 is the threshold, from there things are much easier.  We need to press in to our studies more.  The kids are doing great with this, fresh young sponge brains!

Pray for a productive week for us, we have a lot to do before our trip, ordering materials in Russian to pick up in the states and bring back.  Also pray our meetings and fellowship are fruitful.  We’ll be stopping in to Times Square Church on our way back, visiting Deb’s parents for a couple of days, and some friends at TSC.

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[Beautiful Deb, not sure about the painting.  Our neighbor Sergei invited us to his gallery opening in Kiev last week, he’s a pretty famous dude I guess, it was packed]

Sorry that was pretty boring, just a list of what’s going on, I’d rather share my heart on a more personal level, maybe next time.  I pray you are staying fervent in your relationship with Christ, and refusing to live a life that is dull.  Put yourself in a position of dependence for Christ, where He has to come through, and you will find life to be more enjoyable then living to please yourself.   We are enjoying life, watching God open doors, motivate hearts and it’s amazing to think how the difficult things here, are becoming less daunting and the peace of God is ruling more of our hearts.  We thank Him for it too, because He is the gas, or petrol they call it in Ukraine, in our tank.

Longing to see you, and eat a steak!

Bruce

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