Yep, you read that title correctly. I (this is Bria writing, by the way) am planning my first trip to the States since moving back to Lviv 2 1/2 years ago!!! (Nashville, here I come (woohoo!)!!!!!) But, more about that later.
First thing’s first: I owe y’all a massive apology. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a blog. And I’m too scared to go back and look to see when my last one was, ’cause then I’ll be even more embarrassed than I already am. So, consider this my formal apology to all of you who support me & God’s calling on my life. There is no excuse…so I won’t bother trying to come up with anything (that whole “the dog ate it” thing doesn’t really stand a chance in the digital age). Y’all deserve better in the way of communication from me. I am sorry. And I will [try to] do better.
Now to make an effort to sum up the happenings of the last 5 years (thank God it hasn’t actually been THAT long since my last blog…has it?). The holiday season was beautiful & bright, just as it should be. November & December were busy, busy, busy (but in a good, joyful, let’s-celebrate-Jesus kinda way). The usual ministries continued – English club, worship ministry, abolition group meeting (more on that later), young women’s ministry, Bethel House, etc. Add to that all of the Christmas preparations/celebrations with our church, our English clubbers, and family and friends. Then top all of that with an ever-increasing rehearsal schedule for 3 large city-wide concerts I was asked to be a part of (more on that later, also). And the cherry on the very tip-top was Krista’s return home on Dec. 20th, just in-time for Christmas. And just in-time for me to get sick. Yeah, I was sick for a total of about 3 weeks – all during the holidays, and all during the concerts in January. It definitely didn’t turn-out to be the holiday season I’d expected. Then again, life doesn’t typically turn-out to be what we expect…at least, mine doesn’t. But, I like to think that all the grey hairs on my head aren’t for nothing…that with age has also come some degree of wisdom…and that part of that wisdom has been learning from the Holy Spirit how to be content in all things. Despite the sickness & the busyness, God reminded us all-throughout the holiday season that in His presence (and NOWHERE else…and based on NOTHING else) is absolute, perfect, & complete joy.
So yes, I have now started up an abolition group in Lviv, made-up of people from different churches, who are all committed to taking personal responsibility for the slavery that still is allowed to exist in every country of our world, and are passionate about finding ways we can individually & together help stop the injustices that are happening around us. Our first project, as a group, was gathering gifts & Christmas cards from our respective churches, and sending it all to 2 young ladies who were rescued from sexual slavery & are now being loved & cared for at a shelter in Kyiv. Neither one of them had ever celebrated Christmas before, and as new believers in Jesus (they have both decided to follow Him since being rescued!) we wanted to help make this the most amazing & unforgettable Christmas they would ever experience. Our 4 church families joyfully poured out so many blessings for those 2 girls (many of them, even giving out of places of their own need). Our little abolition group was blown away & just overwhelmed at how God blessed the efforts of our first project. We’re now working on putting together our second project – an awareness day in Lviv’s city center at the beginning of March, for which we are working to get permission to set up a tent & distribute TONS of awareness materials, and possibly recruit new volunteers to join us in our work. Please pray for our little group. None of us are professionals. None of us really even have much experience or knows exactly what we’re doing. But, we realize that if someone doesn’t do something then nothing will change. Thank God, though, The A21 Campaign, which has an office in Kyiv, is helping us along in our ambitions, and providing any support & guidance we need.
The concerts, in January, were great! It had been so long since I’d really gotten an opportunity to perform; I’d forgotten how much I love it – the crazy-talented musicians, the energy of the audience. Not to mention, because of these concerts, I was able to give 2 television interviews and tell about my wonderful Lord and His work in my life! And at one of the concerts I had the amazing gift of getting to pray for healing for a beautiful young lady & tell her about God’s great love for her!
The first concert was on January 10 with my friends, Shockolad, at their annual Christmas concert.
And the next performances were at the Lviv Philharmonic – part of a 2-night show called “A Christmas Extravaganza“, produced & directed by Mykola Orach – a man in our Living Word Church family, who also happens to be well-known & respected in the music world of Lviv.
And that brings us to now – entering into month #2 of 2013. I’ve been thinking & praying about what the next steps are that God has planned for me, and at this point, what is on my heart, is to return to Nashville to finish up my first full-length album, as well as (hopefully) start work on the second one.
Surprise #2: Because you are being so wonderful to read this extremely-belated-and-extremely-long blog, you get to be the first to know the name of my upcoming album. Are you ready for this? Wait for it…wait for it…(crescendoing drumroll)…Chapter 1: Of Flying and Falling!!!!!! (yay! woohoo! yippee!)
I’ve got people in-place who, I am confident, can carry on my areas of ministry while I’m gone (Lindsay can carry the English Club & young women’s group amazingly, there are a couple of passionate members of our abolition group whom I am certain will keep things rockin’ & rollin’, and I have some wonderful worship leaders who can lead the worship ministry at church). So, everything is set up and ready for my trip on this end…now I just need a ticket. (I thought about swimming it, but I’m a bit out-of-shape.)
Let’s be honest, though, the ticket’s not the only expense I’m looking at. I’ll need a car while I’m there, and even if God provides a car through a benevolent soul, I’ll still have the expenses of insurance, fuel, up-keep, etc. Then there’s food (wouldn’t it be so great if we could survive without eating???); printing costs of the album (my producer has unbelievably volunteered his work to me at no charge, so I won’t have studio expenses!); etc. God has continuously provided & made it possible for me (& my sisters) to live & serve where He’s called us through the generous giving of our few, faithful supporters. But at around $200 a month, it’s enough to keep gas in our car for the endless trips to-and-from town, to cover a few other ministry expenses, a few personal ones, and if we’re extra-blessed in a certain month, even have a bit left-over. There is no savings, though. Nothing stashed away in a bank account for a rainy (or travel) day. We just don’t have enough for that.
…But God does. It’s like Krista said: we work for God. He’s our Boss. We follow Him, do what He says…every day. And like any earthly boss, when He sends us on “business trips”, He takes care of all our expenses. So, I am confident that if this trip is His idea, then He’s going to provide for every single expense – and He just might do it through you?
If you would like to be a part of this adventure, here are some of the (approximate) needs (for 3(?) months):
- Airfare – $1200
- Car care – $1000
- Food/Personal – $1000
- Travel (I have family/supporters in Texas, as well, which warrants an in-person “howdy”) – $350
- CD mixing/mastering – $1600
- CD printing – $600
I know that so many people are having a hard time of it right now. It’s a crazy world, in a crazy time. And if you have nothing to give, I understand (but could I ask you to pray for full provision?). If you want to help, but don’t have much (psst…neither did the boy with the 5 loaves & 2 fish), your gift of $10, $15, $20…it’s so much more important and helpful than you can even imagine. I’ve personally seen God take $5 and multiply it into $500. Everything is a seed, in His hands. Even the smallest seed can produce an overwhelming harvest! 🙂 And last but not least, if you happen to have one of those amazing money trees in your backyard and would like to cover one of the expenses listed above in its entirety…well, I will probably just do a little happy jig right here and right now.
Surprise #3: Let me tell you, it is not easy being a “faith missionary” & having to ask for help, and lean on other people. I have always been a bit of the independent-type (I think it’s a first-born thing) – it’s not easy for me to have to ask anyone for anything. But Lord knows, it’s good for me – to learn to trust Him, and learn that this is exactly what His family is for – leaning on & supporting each other. Normally, when I (or my sisters) have to ask for help, it’s with completely empty hands – meaning that we have nothing to give to you, in exchange. But this time!… 🙂 This time, since this trip is being planned with the goal of having a completed & published album by the end of it, I would like to offer to anyone who donates $20 or more, I will send you one of the first cd’s that comes off the presses, with a handwritten note of thanks inside! Yay! (It makes me so happy to be able to give something back.)
So, let’s do this thing!!!
To be a part of the financial provision, you can make a tax-deductible donation by:
Mailing a check made out to “Blessing Ministry to Ukraine” (do NOT put my name on the check).
Please include a note with your check, on a separate piece of paper, indicating that it is for “Bria’s trip”.
And mail to:
Blessing Ministry to Ukraine
P.O. Box 1944
Stafford, TX 77497-1944
Donating online through Blessing Ministry’s blog site at:
If it’s your first time donating to us through PayPal, please send us an email at:
letting us know that your donation is for “Bria’s trip”.
If you have any trouble with either of these options, just let me know & we’ll figure something out.
Also, don’t forget: if you donate at least $20, make sure to include somewhere (with your donation or in a separate email) the mailing address where I should send your first-edition cd! 🙂
Have a beautiful weekend! Thanks for spending a little bit of time with me, reading this blog. And thanks for helping me walk in the steps God’s planned for me (either with your donations or your prayers). You’re wonderful!
Many blessings from all 3 of us Blessing girls to you.
And all because of Jesus.