MSP-JFK-SVO-SVX. 15-hour long flight carried me over 10 time zones from Minnesota to Yekaterinburg. Three more hours in the car with Pastor Viktor brought me to the town of Bogdanovich – my first stop on a two-weeks-long tour all over Northern Urals. There were no air conditioner or mosquito nets in their apartment but I was too exhausted and jet-lagged for it to bother me much. Twelve solid hours of sleep and I was ready for my first presentation of FaithSearch Discovery at a Pentecostal Church on the next morning and an informal promo presentation for local pastors and lay leaders around the dinner table in the evening.
On Sunday, back in Yekaterinburg, I presented my seminar back-to-back at two churches and was put on a six-hour-long red-eye bus to the town of Karpinsk. I paid my first visit to their church back in December but they insisted that I come again and present the whole FSDiscovery once more so that they could bring their non-believing friends and family members to see and to hear it this time around. I was happy to oblige.
I was even happier to meet a pastor in Yekaterinburg who share how much his church appreciated the training I did for them a couple of years ago. They have been using our material in various outreach and missions projects all this time and found it especially effective in bringing to faith the most skeptical and stubborn folks – young and old, educated and not.
My next stop, in a town of Novaya Lyalya (“Lyalya” is a native name for a beautiful river, meaning “slow, calm”), allowed me to serve in a very small church community still hurting from their pastor recently and unexpectedly leaving them and having to develop their new leadership and ministry vision for the future. What a special blessing it is indeed to be of encouragement and of help to the people in real need and in a small town hardly ever visited by speakers! I will never forget their shining eyes and their beautiful faces as we studied the Gospel with Evidence together.
Three hours on the bus and I am in Severouralsk (“Northern-Urals”), a coal, gold and ore mining town with a vibrant Evangelical community and an amazing Orthodox Church almost next to each other. I am teaching here for two days which will allow me to try on some new historic and archeological materials I have added to my presentation recently and to invite my audience to discuss what they will have just learned. From experience, I am not expecting many questions on the material itself but mostly – on the practical application of faith in real life matters. Please keep me in your prayers but also pray for these dear people’s real life issues and questions they face every day.