Oh, what a week it was in Krasnoyarsk! This was my fourth visit there and my hosts already knew what our FaithSearch ministry is about and what impact it makes on different audiences – school teachers, youth, church people, lay leaders, etc. – and planned my days accordingly. That meant early wake-ups, and two—or even three—events per day, ending with a well-into-the-night conversation, usually in the kitchen. On some days, I would travel to a small town three hours each way to conduct a training for their public school teachers and lay-leaders and then have another presentation on that same evening to a youth group in the church back in Krasnoyarsk. These young people do not care about sleep at all and are willing to continue our discussion until the sunrise. My last one with them ended less than thirty minutes before my train to Novosibirsk—and five of them even squeezed into the car in order to continue our Q&A session right up until my train took off.
This time around, apart from the FaithSearch Discovery CDs and the Surprised by Faith books, I was bringing a special gift to the Krasnoyarsk Lutheran Church, carried from Minnesota: a church bell. It was not actually a gift, as they paid for it. They had it delivered to me and asked me to bring it to them in my suitcase. These things are insanely expensive in Russia these days but they found and bought one on eBay™ very cheaply. I agreed to deliver it right to their door – if they would pay me back for the delivery by putting together a good week-long teaching schedule for me in their city. The deal seems to have worked for both parties. In fact, they must have overpaid me by far!
I hope to catch up with some sleep now in Novosibirsk as my visit here is planned out not by “crazy Russians” but by a British missionary – very properly and orderly. So far, I have done one presentation last night at a Pentecostal Church, and I will be doing one per day on most of the days here to a variety of audiences – secular, Baptist, Orthodox. As always, I expect some “unexpected” additional ministry opportunities to present themselves as the word gets out about the FaithSearch Russian Ministry being in town. Of course, I contacted local churches, ministries, Bible schools and universities ahead of time but – oh, Russians! – many of them do not believe I even exist until they hear my voice on the phone from their train station.
It rains all day today in Novosibirsk and it is good to stay inside until the time of my presentation tonight, and to answer some E-mails from home. I am trying now to remember what the weather was like back in Krasnoyarsk… but I can’t. I would fall asleep (even if for 15 minutes!) each time they put me into