My friends in Moscow have been asking me lately, “How bad the cold has to be in MN that you are fleeing from it to Russia?” What can I say? It will be about the same -25 C in most of Russia in February, and all I will need to do once I am there is simply to change the perspective from “we will all freeze to death” to “there are some places in the country that are even colder today.”
I am taking off tomorrow for three weeks of teaching and preaching in churches, universities, schools and colleges in “Southern Russia.” In the past, I have used this as a euphemism to avoid scaring my family when I was in fact visiting Chechnya, Dagestan, and some other… not-so-safe areas of the country. This time I will actually be going all the way south, to where the Volga-River meets the Caspian Sea (which is actually, the largest lake in the world). I will start in the city of Astrakhan and then move upstream (with quick side tour to Elista) to Volgograd, to Saratov, and then to Moscow. Southern Russia does not mean it will be much warmer in those areas (you may remember the story of the battle for Stalingrad).
My only hope is for the Lord to send me good and caring friends and ministry partners who will help me to stay healthy and to move around safely.