Moscow greeted me with one and only day of sunshine but quickly turned rainy and gloomy for the rest of my time there. I was glad my schedule was full and I didn’t have time for sightseeing in those windy and rather chilly days. I presented at a Baptist church, taught at a public school teachers’ conference, spoke on a Christian radio channel, conducted a training at a state university and gave a master class at an Orthodox Church college.
On one of the nights I managed to get a ticket to a very popular drama theater performance. The play turned out to be a harsh and bitter satire on exactly the topic of my ministry in Russia: teaching the course of Intro to the Christian (Orthodox) Culture in public schools. It set to show how the introduction of religion into public schools would inevitably lead to abuse of clergy, to the neglect of hard sciences and to the religions fanaticism. No wonder that many parents in Russia are so opposed to this fairly new curriculum if the media and arts are working so hard to present it in the worst possible light!
An eight-hour-long flight carried me over most of Russia to its Far East. The city of Vladivostok used to be completely closed to foreigners because of the Russian Navy based in its harbor. It is open now. It is also very open for the Gospel! I was presenting today at a Far East Federal University graduate school students and their professors for four hours and many of them came down after the event to shake my hand and to express their excitement! “We were coming here to hear a lecture but experienced so much more than just a lecture! It was a true testimony. Personal. Profound. Memorable”. My other audiences in Vladivostok varied in age and nationality, church tradition and educational level but all of them responded to my greeting “Christ is risen!” with the same enthusiasm: “He is risen indeed!” After that, my job was very simple and easy – to provide them with evidence proving these statement to be valid and true.
I am flying back to Moscow tomorrow morning and then to Kiev, Ukraine, for the last lag of my travel. Please continue praying for the safety of my travel in those areas of political unrest and for my family back in MN, ND and en route to AK.