Today we hosted +30 widows at the Cafe for an ice cream party. These special ladies (and one man) are part of our feeding program which involves leaders from the local churches here who sponsor, visit, pray with, and take them each a food package monthly. It was the first time we brought them all together.
We had several folks sing, some elderly believers share their faith, and provide them with a special gift at the end. Here’s some photos!
The gift was a package consisting of some special soaps, a craft the interns had made (a wooden cross necklace) and a large letter New Testament in Ukrainian. At the end I was able to share about the gift of Christ – and we turned to Matt 28 and Jesus last words to the disciples “and I will be with you until the end of the age”.
It was a special time! I overheard several conversations relating to ‘who we all were’, that we weren’t “Orthodox” but that “there is only one God”.. Da, Da, one lady affirmed. They have been raised since childhood to be extremely wary of anyone speaking spiritual truths, especially from the Bible if they aren’t a Priest.
I didn’t preach per say, but with my most special gift sitting on my lap (Claire), talked with them about the nature of a gift, what makes it so special – that it’s a piece of someone’s heart to you, and it’s free! It was interactive and I believe many, including our entire team were encouraged by the time together. Our staff and interns served excellently as well, such perfect opportunity to practically disciple young people to serve as well.
Many asked when the next meeting would be – it was a lot of work, but we need to pray about continuing with some regularity. The fact that it’s a cafe, and that we are simply extending God’s love and affirming it, seems to be a perfect vehicle to help them fully trust in Christ together. There were several “amens” and sincere thanks as we drove them all home – which took 90 minutes each time to collect and return them just from our small town!
Tomorrow we receive friends from Minsk, a family with 3 older kids (11-15) that have become dear friends over the past year and administrate the Bible School there. Then, Thursday we receive a team of 7-8 from Minsk to join our Rz team of volunteers and leaders from local churches to host a Kids VBS type camp in the center of town August 1-5. We are expecting up to 100 kids, and have been graciously given a huge blow up slide for 3 days from Zhenya’s team, and have a pretty cool schedule each morning including singing, games, crafts and food!
We’ll be posting an update hopefully next week – We are thankful for the Mayor of Rz, the interim Mayor (our old one was voted away unexpectedly last month), has visited our Cafe and we were able to get permission for the use of the center stage for the Kids Camp – and also able to show her our Studio and other ministries we are engaged in locally.
This Friday we are joining with Khargalyk church family as they host a 24hr Worship Marathon. Bronwyn will be leading a portion, and several from our staff/interns going to some/all of it. I don’t think I can do 24hrs, that’s some serious commitment that requires no other commitments. It speaks however to the hunger and passion that is growing, these are Ukrainians that are leading it, their idea, and this is what it’s all about – indigenous faith taking root, God is the God of impossibles, we can and should look to Him to change our hearts, our cities and even the nations! We are excited to try something new, we will be streaming Lord willing from Periscope App, and linking to our Awaken page! Not only this, our friends in Texas, Dave and Dana Huber are going to open their home Friday evening for worship as well, and we’ll simultaneously be worshipping JEsus together and posting our streams on the same page!
So, if you are in Ukraine, from 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday, you can watch online and join in! Tell your friends! If you want to open your home, or even your youth group for Worship, you can stream to the Awaken page too! For Americans, the 24hr period starts 10am CST Friday, and ends Saturday 10am CST.
Skatepark is stalling a bit, we have a problem with our asphalt pad being too high, and causing some concern that our fence wall needs to act more like a retaining STRONG wall to keep the pad from shifting or cracking.. we think we’re back on track, but it’s cost us another $500 unfortunately that we didn’t want to spend. The playground equipment is coming along in Vova’s garage, but soon need to transport it to our property and start working on the surface of the yard.. I’d love grass, but I’ve had very little luck here with grass.. It might have to be a combination of small stones, and grass area.. we’ll see! The park that is being built on the fly, it’s the only way here in Ukraine so we smile and go with it!
On a difficult note, we have some dear friends that just found out the wife has a later stage cancer. In all of our rejoicing for what God is doing, we pause and remember how fragile life is – and have begun bearing this in prayer. Our theology seems to come out rather quickly in times of urgency – does God heal? Does he answer prayer? Are we scared to step out and trust Him sometimes for fear of our theology being rocked? Do we play it safe when we simply ascribe to “Whatever happens is God’s will?” – I believe God still does miracles, we are witnessing this with one of our interns specifically as God awakens a heart, breathes life and old things become new. It’s the greatest miracle on this side of eternity, if he can resurrect the dead in spirit, surely He can restore a young mothers health. Please join with us in believing for ‘above and beyond’ type results, that He would heal and restore.
In family news – Brent is in Canada for 3 more weeks with Broderic, who is about to start this fall an intense apologetic course in Ottawa, Canada. I built my first chicken coupe, Deb and short hair (and I love it!) and our pizza is still selling strongly – we have gone from $700 per month losses, to $200-300 losses since getting gas at the Cafe – that’s a huge answer to prayer and allows us to tackle more projects locally.
Speaking of projects – the Kids camp is being sponsored by Lighthouse, which means our family as we’re still not profitable as a business… we haven’t as of yet asked for any help. The total budget for the week, which includes feeding the kids (70-100) and staff of 20, is around $800. This also includes renting a tent for the week ($400). If you have it on your heart to contribute something towards this, it would be gratefully received:) You can support our efforts on this site by clicking on the Donate link above or here.
Thanks for checking in, sorry this is once again so long – we need to post shorter updates, but it seems to take weeks to sit down and write. We need the spirit of God, we need prayers sent this way, it’s a battle, we are not without an enemy that seeks to destroy even the littlest seeds sown for the Kingdom. I pray victory and the grace of God to win in your life and struggles this day as well. Be encouraged, you are loved by the King!
Bruce & Deb