Three countries in one week, connecting the Black Sea with Baltic Sea! I finished my Ukrainian journey by training a of group Odessa Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral catechism teachers and missionaries to use the FaithSearch Discovery curriculum in their work in local schools, churches and communities. They absolutely loved it! Due to the conflict (actually, a war) between Russia and Ukraine, all direct flights between the two countries are cancelled. I had to make a stop in Minsk, Belarus, on my way up north. It was only supposed to be for a change of planes, but a local youth ministry seized the opportunity and arranged an event for me in their city Cathedral between my flights. I have not seen such a hunger for the truth of God for a long time as they have in Belarus, sometimes called “the last dictatorship in Eastern Europe.” I am so glad the Lord made that presentation possible!
St. Petersburg in December is not the most weather-friendly place on the planet. It is wet, windy, and almost completely without sunlight. Luckily my schedule there was so full that I didn’t even have a chance to enjoy much of the “Venice of the North.” A quick run from a subway station to the University door; and then back under the gloomy skies through up-to-the-ankle wet snow was quite enough to appreciate the rough beauty of this city.
As a Moscovite by birth, I was happy to jump on the overnight train and to find myself on the streets of Moscow the next morning. Actually, I didn’t see much of it either as most of my events on this trip took place in the suburbs and towns within a 50 miles radius around it: Kolomna, Mytischi, Ruza, Zhukovsky, Reutov, Podolsk, Kashira, and others. As always, the school teachers were the most receptive audiences – and the most grateful. They know exactly why they need to know this material and how they will apply it in their History classrooms. My city youth and general audiences usually had two or more hardcore skeptics and agnostics who were making my presentation even more dynamic and fun. Seminarians and Bible college students, on the other hand, wanted to go into some deeper study of apologetics and biblical archeology. I love switching gears!
Thanks to many people praying for me and helping me practically on this trip, I was able to avoid extra stress and heavy lifting. I feel almost 100% recovered from my recent surgery at this point.