It is both exciting and challenging to visit Moldova again – the same place I taught twice in the years past. The good part is that they still remember our ministry and want to have a new generation of the University Divitia Gratiae (previously known as Chisinau Christian University) to be trained in presenting the Gospel With Evidence to All Peoples Everywhere. Their program is specifically focused in preparing missionaries from Central Asian to do evangelism in predominantly Muslim countries. I still remember how happy their students to add the historic and archeological evidence for the Gospel to their missionary toolboxes. On the other hand, the expectations are now much higher as the school has now collected some feedback from the field and knows what actually does and what does not work in real life. I am looking forward to both teach and to be taught by my students and colleagues. This time in Moldova, I will also be working alongside my new ministry partners from the Orthodox church community as well as American missionaries. What a wonderful mix of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives! A more practical reason why I am going to Moldova now is that the first ten days of May are usually hard to fill in Russia as most of the country is celebrating (many – in a very “Russian” way) the “mayskie” holidays – a stretch of non-stop festivities staring on May 1st (“Labor Day”) and usually ending around May 9th (“V-Day”).
My Russian half of the trip will bring me to Moscow and Vladimir presenting at churches, parishes, colleges and conferences of, again, a full spectrum of denominations – Baptists, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Adventists as well as secular audiences. Some of these are completely new settings and venues for me that came up in the last moment. I received my most recent invitation while changing planes in JFK but how could I refuse even if it means further tightening of my travel and lodging schedule?!