After settling in well in Lviv, we are now hitting our stride and in a good rhythm here in our work and play.
Thursday and Friday, we had good work days at the new student center space. After tearing lots of plaster from a few walls, we got to the fun part of wall demolishing, knocking down the wall brick by brick. First David, the pastor/missionary/contractor jack of all trades began with the bricks at the top do the wall, gently pulling them down one by one, but once we got the wall down to head height we could take sledgehammers and beat the rest of it down, which was probably the most entertaining part of our 2nd and 3rd work days here. Nobody got hurt, thank goodness, and we made a very visible improvement to the space, opening up the floor plan of what will by the foyer of the church.
This photo was after Patrick and I demolished the first major wall. The next day Todd, David, Volodia (one of the leaders of the ministry, as well as a newly appointed local pastor here in Lviv), and Katie (one of the mission interns here in Lviv) demolished various other walls in the space, really opening it up the space more so than it has been up to now. When we aren’t knocking down bricks, we are cleaning the mortar off of them so they may be reused to build a few future walls in the space. Also, we have been carrying lots of debris from the space on the 4th floor down to the ground level to be carried away, but toward the end of Friday that job got much easier as the crew we are working with installed a cable driven lift out of our window, which helps move sand for concrete up to the space and move trash down, while saving our backs, legs, and arms. We are incredibly grateful for this new labor-saver and for our friends who installed and welded it together. We are tired at the end of each long laborious day, but we know we are truly making a big impact in the ministry and it’s future here in Lviv, please pray for our work to continue smoothly, for safety, for our masks to continue to keep us from breathing in the dust that is so thick from the ruble we’re creating, and for our friends who we’re working with (Ihor, Rusalan, Orest) that God will continue to bless them and their work here long after we are gone.
Apart from the construction part of our ministry here, things are going great as we build relationships with and find ways to minister to our Ukrainian friends. On Thursday night we joined Molod Do Isusa (the campus ministry) for their worship service called “Pilgrims”, much like Overflow at the Texas Wesley, and had a great time worshiping together with them. Though we didn’t always understand the words to the music we sang, the movement of the Holy Spirit was evident as we sang together, worshiping this great God who created us and loves us. that night David preached about the Holy Spirit and the disciples receiving and being empowered by it at Pentecost. It was an inspiring message, challenging us to go forth and make disciples, in the power of the Holy Spirit, which has been given to all of us who believe. It just left me humbled that though we don’t speak the same language, we could all worship this wonderful God together as a family. We had a good time conversing with students after the service and got to build more friendships there. Pray for us as our team prepares to lead Pilgrims this next week, especially for Todd as he preaches.
This weekend we enjoyed the first few Euro Cup games and got some much needed rest. On Saturday, we went out to the suburb of Seeheve, where my old apartment is from the last time I lived in Lviv, and helped with a church event picking up trash in a nearby forrest. It was not quite the most relaxing thing to do on a Saturday, but it was still fun to do with friends and great to be outside in the cool forrest on a nice sunny day. We had a picnic lunch with our friends from church, went home and rested, and then prepared to host a game watching party for the first Euro game to take place in Lviv, Germany vs. Portugal.
Saturday night we hosted the first of 3 game watching parties for the students at Molod Do Isusa and the church, complete with homemade Texas style food. The first dish we served was Tex Mex: tacos and nachos, compete with all the fixins’. Though it was a foreign food to the folks at the party, they loved the food all the same, devouring it all. We were able to make most of the food from scratch, though we did import HEB taco seasoning to help us make the tacos properly. We had a very festive time and had fun making the food, eating it, conversing with new friends, and cheering on the respective teams (I didn’t really pick a side in the Germany vs. Portugal game however).
That brings us up to the going on from last night, I’ll try my best to keep up with this week more closely than last on the blog. So, please pray for our work at the site, for our leading of English Club and Pilgrims this week, and for my preaching at Church here in Lviv next Sunday. Thank you so much for supporting us by reading the blog and praying for us in our ministry, I am incredibly grateful for your support.