Wednesday, Feb 3

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Some of us gathered downtown this Sunday to pray for our Mayor, the local authorities, and for land.  The sign in the background says, “bus station Rzhsychiv.”  This is where we have been inquiring about land for a ‘Family Center’ as well, just off to the right of this photo is a piece of property for sale.  After investigating further we found that the building on it is owned by a family, but the land is being seized by the town (the family lost their documents they say).  We met with the Mayor and have some decisions to make how to proceed with this.  The town plans to extend the bus station on to this particular lot, ignoring the rights of the family.  The family thinks they can take this to court and win… We can go before the city council and present our plan, and go from there.  Or, we can sit back and see how things transpire.  Everything about Ukraine so far has taught me not to sit back, things could take years.. but if we move forward and press things, it creates room for all sorts of issues as well.  Pray for us!  It could be a very good opportunity to share our heart, plans, and put some healthy moral pressure on the situation.. even if we don’t get this particular land, may God be glorified through our prayer and efforts.

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Last week Dan, Tom and I visited the bi-monthly meeting of the “Association of Missionary Churches.”  Some of you will recognize Andrei to the left on the picture.  This is a national Ukrainian organization that acts as an umbrella of sorts for independent churches.  They are not a denomination, but provide many of the positive benefits of one, such as legal covering, relational accountability among leaders, and collective project efforts.  There are 50-60 churches in the association in Ukraine, and we are investigation and praying about possibly joining in the future.  I really like these guys, they are humble, sincere, and have some maturity among them (we can feel young again!).  We had lunch, got to know some new pastors, and debated on the topic of ‘biblically defining heresy.’   This is the association that originally helped us get our visas, and they have a desire to develop more of a missions thrust, which could incorporate helping out missionaries logistically as well.  Another item to pray for us about.

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Broderic hauling some wood from our forest.  We have had even more snow recently.  I haven’t been blogging much lately because of our heating problems.  Our pipes froze, we lost hot water and our Kotyol (heating boiler for the radiators which heat our house) went kaput.  Kaput is a word that Ukrainians understand!  Our house dropped below freezing and the family moved up to the Gollans for 4-5 days.  It was very stressful to say the least, and all of this came during our prayer advance.. so it was a good time to turn to God in prayer personally.  We quickly started installing a fireplace, last winter was so mild otherwise I would have thought to do this sooner. It has been a very cold and snowy winter, the most snow many locals have seen in 10 yrs.  Anyway, this past weekend we were able to unfreeze the pipes with about 10000 watts of electric heat and a fireplace going.  As soon as it melted, I poured 100 liters of antifreeze in the system, and it felt wonderful to do it!!  Gas shuts off occasionally here, you never know when Russia may just pull the plug.  The electricity is not very stable either, usually 1-2 times per week it will randomly shut off, especially during heavy snow or winds.  Sometimes it’s off for 10 minutes, or recently 3 days.  We’re learning all of the fail safes, redundancies we would say in technical terms.  So we have a generator now, a fireplace, and have been chopping up dead trees in the forest for wood.  Thus, my son looking all cool in his winter gear:)  Our house is now warm again, and we’re praying it stays that way until spring.. then we’ll deal with the leaky roof which pours into our kitchen.

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Thank you Tom for building our fireplace out, we ran out of stone but it’s functional and looking really nice.  It took him about 3 days.  I finished installing the insulated piping outside for the chimney, I almost killed myself a few times towering above the balcony securing that silly thing.  I hope it stays up, I didn’t even use duct tape!

Other misc items to keep you up to date:

– Ireland Group is coming along nicely.  They have 8 signed up, a construction group and have donated $ to go toward their week.  They’ve asked to help finish Neil and Noline’s house, which will be great.  We’ll hopefully have some land for the ministry center by then (May) and could use them there as well.  This is why I’m really hoping for land, we could use 2-3 US groups to come over and pitch in the construction phase over the summer/fall.. but we need land people!

– Deb’s dad is flying in Feb 23, for good!  Her mom is coming in March, after visiting Deb’s sister in Colorado. You can pray for their container, they are bringing their truck.. much to my many warnings!  🙂 Their house is far from ready, we’ve been at a stand still with this weather.  They will be living with us for a few months, and we will be enjoying free babysitting services.. who hoo!

– Prayer time went really well for our first as a church.  We hope that it spring boards even more prayer and personal devotion with the Lord.  We have started to see God work on some people, and though I don’t want to make too much public, I do ask you to pray for a young man that is not a believer, but is making significant strides toward repentance.  It is truly an amazing thing to watch when God gets a hold of a life.

– Pray for UTSIM, Jono’s english school.  They are still without a permanent home after being relocated by force.  They are currently working out of Gaven’s house, who is in Australia for another few months.  They have many decisions to make.

– Our elections.  Only God knows what will happen over here, but things are fairly unpredictable and with such corruption anything can happen.  Locally I am told things will probably change as well, our Mayors term is up and the previous Mayor is gunning for his old job.  I really like our current Mayor, but regardless of who wins, pray that our efforts and favor shown would not be in vain but only grow for God’s Kingdom here.

– Pray for our marriage.  The past few weeks have been rough mentally, physically, and emotionally.  We also were talking the other day about some areas of our marriage that seem to be simultaneously under attack.  It was a sobering wake up call to me personally that we have to be proactive to keep our marriage protected from the evil one who sows lies and knows only deceit.   Pray for us would you?  We are not alone over here, we have an enemy that would love to see us running in retreat, and will stop at nothing to discourage both us, and the work God is calling many of us too here.  Pray for the other marriages in this church body as well, that we would shine bright for the young singles and couples in the community.

– Just want to say thank you to the guys at Cypress, we couldn’t be doing this without your hard work and involvement in our lives.  Thank you to CCC for prayer the past few weeks as well.  We have seen momentum personally increase in prayer, and I believe many of your prayers for this church and community are having an impact.  Keep it up!

For His Glory & Renown-

Bruce & Deb

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