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Voice of Hope in Ukraine

Mar 20, 2014

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.

How did you end up on The Voice? What prompted you to audition?

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.

What song did you sing for your blind audition on The Voice?

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).

Who are the judges who pressed their buttons, and which one did you select?

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).

What can the Houston’s First family do from here to support you on The Voice? How many more weeks to go in the season?

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.

What do you do full-time?

My work in Ukraine consists of:

  • Abolition. In 2012 I founded Lviv Abolitionists to combat human trafficking. We conduct awareness and prevention seminars for school kids in Lviv, organize awareness campaigns in our city, and minister to rescued victims.
  • Worship. I am the worship coordinator and one of the worship leaders for my church, Living Word. I have also traveled around Ukraine leading worship at churches, youth groups, and festivals.
  • Music. I do various concerts year-round (of my own music, and also with other groups).
  • Various ministries. I minister once a week in an orphanage; help with the young women's discipleship ministry in my church; help with an English outreach ministry of my church; and other various ministries.

How long has your family been in Ukraine?

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.

What type of missionary work does your family do?

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.

How have you been impacted by recent events in Ukraine?

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.

What can the Houston’s First family do from here to support your family right now?

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:


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