Most of the news coming out of Ukraine recently is filled with troubling reports of internal unrest and the nation's relationship with neighboring Russia. In the midst of these current events, a missionary supported by Houston's First has a unique opportunity to "share God's love and light" with the people of Ukraine.
Bria Blessing, granddaughter of Ken (Deacon) and Sarah Lowrimore and a native of Sugar Land, is currently a contestant on the Ukrainian version of The Voice — the popular singing competition television show. We asked Bria to share about her experience and how Houston's First can support her on this "God-adventure."
A little rusty on your Ukrainian? Krista Blessing, Bria's sister, has provided an English transcript of the YouTube video above. You can find it on Krista's Facebook page.
For the past 13 years, friends have been pressuring me to enter a television vocal competition (both friends in the U.S. and in Ukraine). I always resisted, mostly because (1) I just never liked the idea of singing and music being a "competition", and (2) I didn't think the world of show business and I would be a very good fit. Early last year, my Ukrainian friends were pushing me to enter Ukraine's The Voice ... which I was again resisting. But in the Autumn, when I received an email from The Voice personally inviting me to come to the auditions, I felt that this was a door the Lord was swinging wide open and asking me to follow Him through.
The song I sang is a very famous Ukrainian song, I Will Go To The Distant Mountains. It was written in the ‘70s by a famous Ukrainian composer, Volodymyr Ivasyuk, and one of its most famous recordings was by Kvitka Cisyk (an American of Ukrainian descent).
The two male trainers who turned around for me are Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and Sergey Lazerev. Svyatoslav is the lead singer of Ukraine's most famous band, Okean Elzy, and Sergey is a famous singer from Russia. I chose Svyatoslav because I've listened to and loved his band for 15 years, and also because he's from Lviv (the city I live in).
The season of The Voice will run through May. Right now, I'm eligible in an online contest to win a $1000 online credit from one of the show's sponsors. My 8-year old laptop is breathing its last breaths, so winning would meet a huge need that I can't afford on my "missionary income." [Editor's Update (Mar 21, 2014): Bria won that contest!] I could also use support in the form of people 'Liking' my Facebook page, watching my audition video on YouTube and journeying with me through this adventure. The more "fans" and support I have, the more recognition I will garner ... and the more recognition, the more opportunities I will have to share God's love and light in Ukraine and beyond. And of course, prayer. Nothing is more powerful or effective than the prayers of God's saints.
My work in Ukraine consists of:
Our family moved to Ukraine in March of 1993. There have been short seasons when the Lord has had us back in the States. All together, I have spent approximately 16 years in Ukraine.
My parents' main ministries are Living Word Church and Bethel House. Bethel House is a ministry house that they are in the process of building (nearly complete!), which will be used for various ministries. My sisters are involved with church ministries, Lviv Abolitionists, Bethel House ministries, and other ministries of their own.
During the past 4 months of political unrest in Ukraine, we have felt the Lord multiply our love for and calling to the Ukrainian people. We are honored that He has us here, during this time, and that we can personify His love for this nation by standing with them in their time of need.
First and foremost, pray for us. Secondly, if God enables you, give — we are all independent missionaries, and it is only the generosity of supporters that allows us to stay and minister in Ukraine. And finally, we love to have people journey with us by keeping up with what God's doing: