Three days in Moscow passed like one. Seeing and teaching to the same group of Kolomna Theological Seminary students whom I first met last October was very special. With my traveling schedule covering vast distances of Russia, I rarely see the same audience twice. This time my students met me as a good old friend and were not shy about asking personal and challenging questions. They wanted to see not only the historic and archeological evidence of the validity of the Bible, but also how it effected my own personal faith journey.
The discussion following the event at the Nikea Publishing House bookstore was also very engaging and lively and also resulted in my sharing my testimony and making some new connections. It proved very promising for future ministry in schools and universities of Russia.
The last four days in the Republic of Mari El were the most intensive of all. I actually broke my personal record by making five presentation to five different audiences in four different locations on one day in Yoshkar-Ola. Luckily, they were also on different topics and in different formats – lectures, seminars, discussions, and presentations – lasting from 90 to 180 minutes each. I was later told that it was the coldest day of the year with temps falling down to -4oF. I’m glad I didn’t have any time for it.
This area is traditionally considered to be Muslim, but the youth and students were apparently struggling with the very idea of religious faith in the post-Soviet era which left very little for them to firmly and rationally believe in. I will never forget their faces and their eyes when they were hearing about the historic and rational foundations of Christian faith for the first time in their lives. I am looking forward to hearing from my local ministry partners about the fruits of the follow-up work they will now be doing in these audiences to satisfy further their search for the meaning of life.
My last week of ministry turned out to be shorter than expected, as the planned events were one-by-one either canceled or rescheduled to later in the year for a variety of reasons. I am accustomed to about 10% of my teaching schedule not happening on any given trip. I also typically have around 20% additional event opportunities pop-up while I am already on the road.
Well, this time my all “extras” happened during the first fifteen days and all the cancellations fell on the last ones. I am now traveling back to Minnesota four days earlier than originally planned, to start preparation for the next teaching trip in the month of May.