I am flying at 40,000 feet over the steps of Kalmykia back to Moscow on a Russian made Sukhoy Superjet and praising God for the blessed time of teaching and preaching for the first half of my journey.[Read more…]
Out of four days in Moscow, I spent two in Mozhaysk, where Russians gave a decisive battle to Napoleon in 1812. Located just over 100 km from Moscow, it is also know as a “prison capital of Moscow Region.” Back in the Soviet Union times a 101 kilometer perimeter around Moscow was drawn to resettle the criminal and political opposition element. My FaithSearch Discovery presentation at the Juvenal Detention Facility lasted about two hours but felt much, much longer, due to the emotional tension I had to overcome first. A little humor and some personal stories helped to melt the protective barrier of cold rejection and opened these kids’ hearts to the truth and love of Christ.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To all who prayed for this trip and who sacrificially contributed to it – “spa-si-bo!” Without you it would not have been possible. Every little bit helped and every prayer was answered. Special thanks to those who also prayed for my health and quick recovery from a day-surgery I had to undergo only a week before the takeoff.
My doctor this morning at the post-op visit was very satisfied with the recovery progress. I just need to be extra careful not to lift anything over ten pounds, and to give myself extra time and extra rest during this whole journey. Somebody also suggested that I always have small bills handy for tips, and not to hesitate to ask for assistance with my luggage. This will be a slow-paced journey and I am mentally preparing myself for some humbling experiences on the road. (I need them from time to time.)
Having said that, I will have to cover quite a lot of ground: thirteen cities and towns in three countries, starting and ending in Kiev, Ukraine. I will be presenting the Historic Foundations of Christian Faith (FaithSearch Discovery) in seminaries, Bible colleges, churches, and also in state universities and teachers’ training centers. Some of them have been our ministry partners for a number of years and some will be opening their doors for us for the first time. As always, the audiences will also vary a lot – from regular church-goers to staunch skeptics, and from fourth graders to philosophy professors.
I am looking forward to meeting them all and ask for your continued prayers for their hearts and minds to be prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the seeds of God’s Word.
We recently created a brochure highlighting our Year of Gratitude. Each of us was asked to write a few words about why we are thankful to serve with FaithSearch. It was an exciting though challenging opportunity to distill my thoughts: we had a strict word limit.
Here is what I wrote:
I’m grateful to be part of the FaithSearch team since 2001. Recently, I found an old journal from 1977, when I was exploring what to do with my life. I was caught by my use of the word “evidence,” especially given what I do today in my Gospel-with-evidence ministry at FaithSearch:
I’ve always liked to learn. I’ve been good at formal proof & argument–evidence, etc. … but how–in what capacity–Scripture? Science? How can I best use my mind to glorify God? … I pray for knowledge of & the desire to seek out the way God wants me to go.
That was forty years ago, even as FaithSearch was being born across the country. I studied journalism, worked in television, advertising, computers, Internet, and ministry. Now I am grateful to be here, where all those twists and turns are being used by God at FaithSearch, in answer to my prayers.
On Saturday the 23rd September I helped man the FaithSearch booth at the 2017 Minnesota Church Expo. I worked with Kristi, whose responsibilities-among many more-include managing the evangelists’ speaking engagements at churches and events such as this, as well as partnering with churches in the area and across the USA and Canada.
The event was held at a local church called Revive. There were around twelve booths in a small hall. All booths gave non-profit charities the opportunity to advertise what they do. These ranged from marriage courses to children’s neighborhood outreach, to a mission in Puerto Rico, which of course at the moment is overwhelmed with providing relief after hurricane Maria. It was fantastic to see Church groups make the journey from all across the country. The Coach Bus NYC churchgoers brought redefined my impression of luxury travel. I’ve never seen so many people look so refreshed after such a long journey.
I enjoyed the day, and it gave me the opportunity, on a small one-on-one scale, to get used to talking to people about what it is we do at FaithSearch, and how I will be involved going forward. It was also nice to talk to people about Operation Armor and why I am called to follow this ministry. It was also a real boost to my confidence to see how natural I found it talking to people about it. Some were familiar with FaithSearch and these conversations gave me a opportunity to discuss with them what my role is and where I see God leading me. Those who are new to hearing about FaithSearch of course are the ones we are most keen to engage. These conversations seemed to go very well, so we trust God for those planted seeds.
Throughout the morning and afternoon there were choices of seminars you could attend depending on what path you want to take at the Expo. There were talks aimed at reaching adults, children, youth, and evangelicalism. In the morning session, Don and Joe lead a panel discussion which I had a chance to pop in and out of.
All in all it was a fun day.
So on Monday, the 18th of September, I helped out at my first FaithSearch charity event, a golf day at Pheasant Acres Golf Club in Rogers, MN.
It was a very wet yet enjoyable day. I observed that many golfers are hardcore: I would have given up and gone in for a hot chocolate after two holes. Saying that though, it takes time to improve at a sport like golf, as it is so precise. But with there being various equipment and technology like a golf launch monitor that people can use to improve their game, becoming a hardcore golf player may not be as tough as some may have initially thought. There are even online resources that could help you to develop in the game. For example, you can read this online blog called the Best Driver For Slice from Word Golf Shop where you can learn about the different drivers available to you that can influence your game.
The schedule of my day involved arriving at 9 AM for setup (registration tables, freebee gifts, raffle items [which were a voucher towards a stay at a golf resort and a free round of golf, and coffee machine, a 39-inch tv, or an ice fishing house and fishing poles] all of which were donated to the ministry by sponsors).
Golfers then arrived at 11 AM for registration, when they could also buy the raffle tickets, which was my station to work-using my fun British accent and some light, fun banter to get them to buy. Also on offer was the opportunity to buy a team mulligan, which gave each team member a do-over for the total price of $20.
Along the way on certain holes there were other activities for people to pay a small additional cost to participate. Contests were:
- The longest drive from the 10th hole;
- Knock it on the green with your first shot on a Par 3;
- And my favorite, the S’more challenge, see if you can drive a marshmallow onto two boards.
I had the job during play of driving around the holes on a golf cart with Julie, one of the other members of the FaithSearch team, to take photos of the golfers during play.
After play was finished we had a nice taco meal to warm up and then a presentation of the game prizes and the raffle drawing to conclude the evening at 7 PM.
I had such a fun day, just spending the day out there in fun fellowship with Christians laughing and joking about every day life and events of the day. And how could I not have a fun day driving around on a golf cart, although at times Julie had to hold on tight as I took a couple of corners a little to fast. Who says golf carts go slow.
It was also nice to meet some of the people who had already been made aware back in May of my imminent arrival to the USA and to FaithSearch during a resent benefit dinner. It was also a great time to continue to bond with the team I work with in a casual setting.