International Missions

Alvord, Bruce and Aimee

Alvord, Bruce and Aimee image

Alvord, Bruce and Aimee

Ukraine image

Serving in Ukraine

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Bruce was raised in a Mormon family in southern California. He was saved after a Christian won his mother to Christ, and she in turn shared the true gospel with him. Bruce graduated from USC and the Master's Seminary, and met Aimee, the love of his life, at Trader Joe's market. They have been serving the Lord in Ukraine since 1992 and have been blessed with three cute kids.

Bruce's main ministry is mentoring pastors at Irpin Biblical Seminary; he also serves in their church as a teacher, elder and discipler. Aimee is a worker at home who is concentrating on raising the children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. She also enjoys using her spiritual gift in their church.

Goals:

  • To train three children to love the Lord instead of the world.
  • To equip national pastors to accurately preach the Word and be effective church leaders in Ukraine.
  • To develop missionaries and seminary graduates who will plant churches and Bible institutes throughout the former U.S.S.R.

Current Ministry:

Bruce's main focus is teaching and mentoring students at the seminary and ministering as an elder at our church. The seminary is presently meticulously working on revising its statement of faith and our church is considering a major effort towards training Ukrainians to send them out to the former Soviet Union as missionaries.

Aimee's main focus is being a "worker at home" and she does a great job of it as she trains our kids to love the Lord with all their hearts and does a myriad of things to empower me in my ministry.

November 8, 2014

Hello from Bruce and Aimee in Kiev!

We are happy to have some good news to report. First, our church finally has a roof covering it's entirety. Not only that, but the Ukrainian Christian company from whom we ordered all the first floor windows decided to give them to us for free!

Second, our congregation just baptized seven people. Since it's rare for a church to have a baptismal, Ukrainians usually go to the river or lake. Although the water isn't quite as toasty as they'd like, the upshot is that it draws a crowd of curious onlookers. People who come to swim or fish often end up listening to the testimonies.

Baptism

A couple of the men who were baptized had been heavily involved in crime and spent considerable time in Ukrainian prisons. One of them owned a chemical company and sold some of his wares to high-ranking politicians, knowing that they were going to use them to make illegal drugs. He confessed his sin and remorse for providing massive amounts of harmful narcotics and expressed great joy that he had been forgiven.

Baptism

Russian Bear on the Prowl

If you follow the news, you are aware that Ukrainian rebels (backed by Russia) are trying to break away and create a new country. A couple of days ago I talked with one of my students who lives in rebel territory. He told me about the constant explosions, and that bombs had struck a field near their church but thankfully missed it. Many people have fled the area and the once-crowded streets are deserted. Most private businesses have closed down, and work is extremely hard to find. He said that rebels told one cement factory to stop paying their taxes to the Kiev government and start paying the money to them. The factory leaders said they would do so if the rebels opened a bank account which would make it official how the funds were spent. The separatists refused and demanded the money in cash.

In September the Kiev government stopped paying pensions in the seceding areas, apparently because they suspect the money may be diverted from the intended recipients to rebel causes. This leaves many elderly people in the east in a very difficult position. Thankfully believers are gathering food and distributing it to those who are trapped in their apartments because the electricity is off. (No electricity means the elevators don't work, and many retirees are no longer able to negotiate the stairs.) Our own upstairs neighbor died of a heart attack on the stairs when our elevator was out of order for nine months. She lived on the ninth floor; we live on the eighth.

Hairy Situation

At my (Bruce's) last appointment, the lady who has cut my hair for the past fifteen years expressed great fear of the Russians invading Kiev. She said she would have no options and no idea what to do. The uncertainty of the times helped me get a foot into an otherwise closed door. For the first time ever, she didn’t change the subject as soon as I started talking about spiritual things. She listened to all I had to say, and admitted that she is a sinner but not ready to take the next step.

If you have a minute to add your voice to the Christians praying for the Kingdom here, we'd be grateful.

  • Ina the hair cutter's escape from sin and unbelief (also Nadia, who does Aimee's hair - these ladies are captive audiences).
  • Irpin Seminary - about sixty students from the war-torn east are no longer able to contribute financially to their studies. This has resulted in an approximate $7,000 loss for the seminary, not including the $7,500 crisis tax the government has added to the seminary's usual taxes, or the 45% loss in value of the local currency!
  • Our church is about to name a new senior pastor. The elders need wisdom to choose according to the Lord's will.
  • Right now our church is meeting in the "Fellowship Hall" on the ground floor of our building project, which is becoming too small. The larger, main sanctuary will be on the second (top) floor. We pray daily for the provision of people willing to share their finances to finish His church in Kiev.

The Lord deserves credit and gratitude for so many things, but just to name two:

  • All the new pastors-in-training He has brought to Irpin Seminary despite the turmoil this year. We now have 380 students - the most the Lord has ever blessed us with, and have now graduated 1,447. That's a lot of Special Operations workers for the harvest who are spreading the true, life-saving gospel! How He continues to accomplish this despite what seems like perpetual financial crises is amazing to witness.
  • So many construction projects have come to a halt in Ukraine as a result of...well, constant political and economic problems. However, the Lord continues to provide funds for our new church building and it is a shining testimony of His power throughout hard times.

FUN FACTS:

  • Our son Steve realized that he'd much rather be a Marine than keep studying engineering. He is in the (surprisingly long) process of joining the U.S. Marines, and is quite a lot happier than he was at Cal State Northridge.
  • Cultural differences: Ukrainians don’t like cross breezes. If we’re in a taxi in the summer and roll our window down, the driver on the other side of the car will quickly roll his up! Drinks with ice are unthinkable.

How thankful we are for your concern for us; without it we would probably be teaching our kids to ski in southern California (didn't see that coming, did you?). May the Lord bless you for your kindness, loyalty, and generosity. There is one amazing person who has not only supported us from the very beginning, but also harassed his church into supporting us, and sent at least 20 care packages over the years (heavy ones!). He probably wouldn't want to be named (you'll know him in heaven - the guy staggering around under a gigantic crown), but he is tangible evidence to us of the Lord's power to work in hearts.

Anticipating That Day when the Lord sets everything right.

The Alvords

P.S. If the Lord lays it on your heart to give a little extra in November or December that would be a big help; our giving for this year is a little down. Thank you for all who sacrifice so we can serve the Lord in Ukraine.

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