…I continued praying as I ran between the terminals and made it to the registration desk in forty-five minutes—only to hear that they cannot allow me on board because the luggage latch has already been closed and my suitcase was too heavy to qualify for a carry-on. My plane was still at the gate and still boarding but apparently I did not look like somebody they would be willing to bend their rules for. One last prayer and… I am re-booked to the flight that leaves twenty-four hours later. There is no agreement between carriers and once you bought a ticket you are stuck with that one company’s flight schedule. Oh, my dear teachers in Sargatka, I am so sorry but I cannot make it to your conference and the Omsk diocese will have to find somebody in Omsk early in the morning to travel 100 kilometers north to cover for me! [Read more…]
Six days all over the Southern Urals have been busy and truly blessed. Each day either started or ended with a two-to-three-hour bus trip to another city or small town where I usually presented two times—one in a church and one in a secular setting.
Geographically the Ural Mountains serve as a border between Asia and Europe and I crossed that line multiple times. I wish their buses would make at least a short stop at the border mark for travelers to make a photo with one foot in one continent and the other in another. It seemed like I was the only one on board who really cared. [Read more…]
In and around Moscow – clear skies, lots of sunshine, and not one drop of rain. Even in my cell in the St. Nicholas Convent where I stayed for the first week there was plenty of light and warmth. They fed me with pirozhki from their own bakery: with potato, lentil, fish, and—my favorite—pumpkin with lemons. I paid them back with my presentations in the seminary. What a deal! I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality and for caring for me, especially after a thirteen-hours-long travel plus eight hours of time zone difference. [Read more…]
This upcoming teaching trip to Russia in May should be just that – a trip to Russia. No multiple border crossings, no major adjustmets to different cultures, and staying within only three (!) time zones: Moscow, Southern Urals, and Eastern Siberia.
The most challenging part was to squeeze my events between two national holidays and the week of finals in most schools and universities. That’s where years of experience and an extensive partnership network came in handy. Well, it also took some rather intensive praying and trusting the Lord to fill my schedule in a much shorter time than usual – I returned home just in time for Easter, only to turn around and leave again on May Day.
As always, I will be presenting (every day!) to three of my target audiences: to teachers and university students (future teachers); to clergy and lay leaders; and to the general public. Two out of these three groups will be mostly non-believers and nominally “pravoslavnye” people. Your prayers for softening their hearts to receive the seed of the Gospel will be greatly appreciated. Please also pray for my air and ground travel across the globe.
The last two weeks in Belarus and Russia were probably the most intense in many years, in terms of teaching and travel. I was moving from one city to another every other day (or night) and taught two and even three times almost every day. Praise the Lord for wonderful and caring host families and communities! [Read more…]
The joke I was told in Katowice – a coal mining region of Poland – goes like this: “Why are miners making their tunnels under Catholic churches? – They are looking for a foundation of their faith.” I will definitely use this as an icebreaker next time I teach my “Historic Foundations of Christian Faith” class there. And I need to make that “next time” happen sometime soon – to take advantage of a whole number of invitations from their Christian and secular universities and churches. [Read more…]