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My time of teaching in Petrozavodsk was very intense and blessed me with a wide variety of audiences. Two presentations per day, plus informal times of sharing and Q&A in between, kept me busy and out of trouble: constantly risking catching a cold in the very wet, cold, and windy weather conditions of early spring in Karelia. My presentation to Petrozavodsk State University students (History, Philology, and Journalism Departments) was the longest – four academic hours – and the most fulfilling one. Their questions were all very deep and to the point: “If the historic evidence for the Christian faith is so strong and compelling why is not everybody a Christian? On the other hand, why are there so many true believers who are not even aware of the Archeological evidence for Christ?” It was wonderful to share the time of answering those questions with the local Christian leaders who will then be able to do the follow-up work with this group on their faith journey!
An overnight train to Moscow and a quick flight further south brought me to the city of Belgorod, where I met with both undergrad and graduate students at the local seminary as an adjunct professor of Christian Apologetics. It is always fun to be challenged by these young theologians who truly believe they already know it all, and that their only goal is to surprise and to puzzle the professor with their wit and expertise.
As often happens, an unexpected and unplanned event turned out to be also most satisfying. A private art gallery owner opened his doors for my presentation out of his own curiosity and also to promote his venue with an “honored quest speaker from the United States.” I was indeed honored to speak to this mostly non-believing but well educated and demanding audience for two nights (one turned out not to be enough!) presenting them with the manuscript and archeological evidence for the Christian faith. “My Mom and I just stopped by the Gallery for a few minutes on our way home. Now we know that it was not simply accidental. It was by the Providence of God that we to hear your lecture and even had a chance to ask our questions!”
I am now on my way back to Moscow. There is no Internet on the train but hopefully the Kurskiy Train Terminal will have a café from which I can post this blog entry.