I cannot believe that one third of this trip is already behind me! I already did eleven events in three different cities and around them: St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Novokuznetsk. My audiences ranged from seminarians and clergy, to moms with special needs kids and even a betrothal party.
The most challenging of all was of course the presentation of the “Intro to Christian Pedagogy” at the teachers’ conference organized by the school that still continues the communist youth traditions and rituals of “okyabryata,” (young pioneers) with red flags all over the building. The new principal, the only believer on their staff, warned me to expect a good measure of resistance to any mention of faith, Christianity, or religion in their midst and I honestly tried not to provoke them… for the first ten minutes of my presentation.
However, after winning their professional trust and seeing their sincere interest in the subject matter, I dove into it in full speed. It was, certainly, the Holy Spirit who gave me the power and the courage to speak on the authority of the Bible in the matters of teaching and learning, pedagogy, and education to these men and women, plainly and openly. I feared that they would unleash on me in the Q&A session, but all they wanted to know was more on the practical applications of the Christian principles of respect, love, forgiveness, personal freedom, responsibility, etc.
The easiest, of course, were the trainings I did to the clergy and seminarians in Moscow and then in Kuzbass (South-Central Siberia). What did somewhat puzzle me was the reaction of sincere surprise by some of them, to the manuscript and the archeological evidence for the life of Christ. I may have been the first one who told them that it is not just a neat “theological concept” or “church convention” but an actual event in human history. What an honor to be the bearer of the Good News!