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…]
I will be leaving for Russia again tomorrow and I am very excited, especially by the variety of my audiences and the topics I will be presenting on through the trip:
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.
The first three days in Moscow, followed by five days in Siberia, were very intense! I cannot believe I am only one third of the way through my trip. Hopefully, my next four days back in Moscow will give me some rest – there I will have “only” one presentation per day and no more rides of 300 km on beaten-up, local Siberian roads.
I did my first FaithSearch Discovery event on the evening of my arrival in Moscow in the open audience setting of a very popular presentation hall in the center of the city. The room was packed beyond capacity and the Q&A session lasted almost as long as the presentation itself. The adrenalin rush from presenting straight off the airplane after 13 hours in the air helps to deal with the jet lag and tunes me up for the whole trip.
The following weekend was packed with presentations and travel outside of Moscow. As I learned a little later, it also kept me out of trouble in the city where riot police were catching random pedestrians during the protest demonstrations and marches on Saturday. I prefer traveling at will in Siberia.
And I did. Each day they took me to a different town or a youth camp to present for a variety of audiences: young and old; farmers and city intelligentsia; clergy and professionals. Those villages and small towns are rarely visited by speakers from outside the region, let alone somebody from a different continent. The reception was always very warm and people were very open to receiving the Gospel with Evidence, as well as sharing their questions and life worries.
The trouble is that in Siberia they don’t count distance in kilometers but in hundreds of kilometers, and their roads – outside of a few state highways – do not allow for any reading or sleeping. On most trips, I usually rest during travel – here I have to rest from it.
Schools and universities are only open for ministry during the school year. Churches and prisons – all year around. I will also be teaching in family camps, church leadership trainings, and Sunday school classes for a variety of socio-economic and age groups. My next trip will start tomorrow and I am looking forward to these exciting teaching opportunities in/around Moscow; the Omsk Oblast (region) in Western Siberia; and in the Republic of Moldova (including Transdnestria).
I will piggyback a short family vacation in Austria at the end of these three weeks of ministry. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated.
I am back in Minnesota already and I am very sorry for not keeping up with my travel blog while traveling across Russia. My teaching and travel schedule was so intense that every minute of not teaching or traveling was immediately claimed by my poor body – it needed certain time per day of rest and sleep to recharge for the next event.
A red-eye flight brought me from Moldova to Russia on V-Day and I started in Moscow by attending a huge All-Russian Evangelical Church Conference – a great opportunity for PR and networking. It was fun to meet old friends from near and far of the country and to be introduced and recommended to others for future ministry. I almost ran out of fliers and business cards – great problem to have!
My new presentation on Communication (The Task of Mission and the Art of Communication) for lay and clergy missionaries went much better than it did last time in February – thanks for great feedback and help from my audiences back then. I am receiving more and more requests for this topic from Bible Colleges and teachers’ organizations. I will however continue to teach FaithSearch Discovery most of my time in Russia. Three presentations in the city of Vladimir clearly showed that even regular church goers need to hear it and to see it – for many in my audiences the archeological and paleographical (manuscript) evidence for the validity of the New Testament story was absolutely new and very encouraging for their faith. Fr. Anthony from the city of Tver put me on his video-blog broadcast and in the course of the first week it has already been seen by over 13,000 viewers!
Back in Moscow, I was treated by a smaller but absolutely delightful audience – schoolchildren at a private secondary school. The main challenge (and the most fun) for me was to make my class interesting for all ages at once – 5th Grade through 10th Grade in the same room – and I think it actually worked! Everybody was excited to dig into ancient bones and old parchments to find out how they all work to prove the credibility of the Bible. After the class the dean of the school kindly explained me why they kept the classroom door open all the time – teachers from the whole school (herself included) were listening in from the hallway.
A couple of days to recover from the trip and – dive right into preparations for the next one in late July!