Wintry Wonderland

These guys couldn't pass up decorating a Christmas tree - we had a merry old time.

These guys couldn’t pass up decorating a Christmas tree – we had a merry old time.

I love how Ukrainians still pull their kids around on sleds.  If you squint a bit, our downtown can feel like a 50’s Christmas card around 3pm as parents tow their kids from daycare on old wooden, steel runner sleds.

They rarely plow the streets, you just follow the ruts.  I like my town, it’s become much smaller in my mind since opening the Cafe.  There’s only a handful of business owners, and the rest work for the town.  It’s amazing how many government paid positions exist here in a small little town – remnants of socialism hard to shake when it employs the masses.

We’ve decided to close for the winter on Tuesdays.  Our students still come and hang out in the afternoons, but the Cafe itself is closed to the public.  It’s seems like a random thing, but our Tuesdays are continually the worst business days for us and we’re looking to trim down for the wintry months as our losses increase with higher heating costs.   We love providing a cozy warm, fire lit haven for the snow-trodder.

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Our Cafe Tree! Decorated by students, well, Deb helped too.

Our Cafe Tree! Decorated by students, well, Deb helped too, ok a lot.

Max and Vlad had the front light honors. Vlad has been coming to Club 180 for a couple months, cool guy, speaks a little english - He's a thinker.

Max and Vlad had the front light honors. Vlad has been coming to Club 180 for a couple months, a thinker, I like him.

Today, while closed, Deb, Lana and several students who were lured in by the Christmas spirit on the main floor helped decorate the Cafe.

This is our 3rd Christmas downtown.   It may not seem much to the westerner, but in our cold and rather colorless town, it’s like stepping into a wonderland to most.  We’ll be spending a lot of time down there this winter – it’s warmer than our house and has more food!

This year we’re thinking about setting up a photography area as so many already make the Cafe a ‘selfie-center’, so take some photos professionally and use that to connect with more people – plus we have several aspiring photographers and some online courses started.

This little snowman tried to snag a cookie - caught him, ate the cookie.

This little snowman tried to snag a cookie – caught him, ate the cookie.

We received several nice comments from our Belarus update video.  Thank you for praying with us.  It’s been a challenging season, up and down emotions, some days feeling even under attack with odd feelings of depression.  We put together a proposal, outlining how we envision moving forward as we potentially meld together two worlds – we’ve submitted it for prayer and consideration with our friends in the US.

We have peace, not with our plan, but in Christ who is our hope – without His Spirit, His nearness, His joy, the best laid plans won’t accomplish anything eternal.

We, like you, simply want to position ourselves for God’s work – we want to be near the River in Ezekiel 47 where life flow, trees forge and healing leaves go to the Nations.   If that is sipping a hot chocolate with a friend who needs a listening ear, or launching out into something considered foolish – Jesus leads, we follow right?

These sweeties can't wait to see their sister come home.. they probably won't remember their brother.

These sweeties can’t wait to see their sister come home.. they probably won’t remember their brother.

Quick family update!  Bronwyn is doing well in Ethiopia.  She’s emailed a couple of time letting us know she’s doing well, loving the culture, people, and fresh fruit.  She is now about to embark on a journey to Kenya with a smaller group of 12.  They will leaving the comfort of their larger team and gone for 6-7 weeks.   They are ministering life in Jesus to Muslim communities, and she has never felt so out of place (being white).   She and her friend have been leading various worship events as well, God’s using our little girl, sweet!   Her little sisters really miss her.

Broderic is entering finals week at Augustine College.  He’s been reading a lot, writing even more.  We’ve not talked a lot, but few nights ago were able to Skype.  He’s been learning Church history, pre-reformation first semester, visiting various Catholic, and Orthodox churches, even Coptic.  He was telling me about the many stimulating discussions, he really loves his professors.   He’s been studying the history of ‘veneration of saints’, Latin, theological traditions and his classes.  It’s been a perfect place for our logical, mindful son – feeding his faith, giving him some theological chops, but in a tight knit relational environment.   He arrives Dec 18, and will stay with us for 3 weeks, yeah!

We started laying down ice for our rink in the backyard – two fire truck loads and still no ice, it leaked through our cement.. we shall overcome.

Upcoming Events for Prayer:

  • Widows Outreach, Dec 20th
  • Club 180 Christmas Outreach, Dec 21st
  • January we are hosting another Widows outreach from another town in partnership with friends from Kiev, cool!

A few have asked about year end giving and if tax deductible.  Yes!  By using our new Lighthouse Ukraine website for donations (Any Credit Card or Paypal) it goes directly to our sending church for registered charitable giving.

If you don’t care about the tax receipt, you can use give right here on our blog site.

Thank you for partnering with us!

Bruce & Deb

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