Oh, what an intensive trip it was! I have never before scheduled myself so tightly and never had so few of the events cancelled! In fact, the only two I missed were those in Ufa when my lost-’n-found luggage got me stuck in Moscow for an extra day.
The trip also had a good ratio between the churches and the “secular” settings like universities, teachers’ conferences, high schools, etc. Given the political and economic situation in Russia, many people are discouraged and disappointed. I frequently heard from teachers in my audiences sentiments like this: “Russia is rolling back to czarism and will collapse as soon as the price of oil goes under $80 per barrel. What’s the point of teaching the young in the country that has no future?!”
It felt like I was sent there now–of all times–to give them the last and the only hope for joy: the Good News of Christ! But even that was sometimes met with a great deal of skepticism and resistance. They have been lied to too many times to accept one more promise easily and without a most thorough examination. Luckily this is exactly what our ministry has to offer: faith grounded in historic facts and scientific evidence.
Yet, while it is important that they hear, these kind of audiences drain me emotionally! I was glad also to have the chance to teach at the Bible Colleges, church groups and Christian communities. Not only are they usually more receptive audiences; they also serve as an absolutely essential recharge source for my own emotional and spiritual batteries. What a contrast they offer to the sense of gloom and frustration of many secular schools! What a difference their faith in the living God makes in their lives! What a motivation it is for me to go back again and again with this message of hope!
I am back in Minnesota but not for too long: my next teaching trip is only six weeks away and will include Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Praise the Lord for His provision for this ministry and thank you for your prayer and financial support of my part in it!