Home, sweet home! I have just landed in Minnesota and my head is still spinning after 12 hours in the air and 9 time zones difference. At least, I did not have to adjust to the weather – it is almost identical to that of Moscow. I also had a special mid-air treat – bumping into missionary partners from Bryansk who were also returning to the states on Aeroflot. Small world. Great God!
Back in and around Moscow, my week was tightly packed with teaching at churches, public schools and universities in proportion of 1:2:3. It is not that difficult for me to book as many events as I can physically do having developed so many friendships and long term partnerships in those organizations and institutions in the area. It also helps that more that 14% (20 million) of the whole population of Russia (146 million) that spreads out for 11 time zones resides in this one city and its suburbs. There are new audiences waiting for me on every subway stop and on every commuter train (elektrichka) station. It was great to be able to sleep on the same pillow for that whole last week after covering hundreds of kilometers on buses, trains and airplanes from where I started three weeks ago and changing my lodging accommodations almost every day!
I started in Kolomna with teaching a class on the “Historic Validity of the Bible” to a classroom of fourth-graders. They’ve been studying the course using my textbook and were just excited to meet the author as I was to teach from it. Their teachers were sitting on the back row and making notes for the discussion that followed. In fact, many of their questions were answered by the FaithSearch Discovery presentation I offered them first and the conversation quickly turned from teaching methods and techniques to the most fundamental issues of life and faith. While speaking at the parents’ conference at the end of day I had these teachers’ full support and understanding of why it is so important to teach the basics of Christian faith to their youth in school.
On three separate occasions, I had a chance to give first run of my new presentation “Intro to Communication” based on my Master’s course taken at Bethel University. I built in some FaithSearch Discovery material into it but presented historical and archeological evidence of the Bible in the context of the communication process. We also discussed such topics as “How to present the message just as effectively as Jesus did?”, “How do we know that the message is valid and is not ‘lost in translation’?’ and many others. I tried it on different audiences and got very good and productive feedback for further improvement of the presentation.
Two lectures in my Alma Mater (Moscow State Pedagogical University) that they broadcasted to their distance-education audiences and recorded for a more detailed discussion in seminars also strengthened my relationships with academia and opened the door to other student audiences all over the country. I am looking forward to teaching the Word of God to future teachers and researchers on my next trips to Russia and other Russian-speaking countries. I already started planning my next trip in May that will, God willing, include Moldova and, of course, Moscow.