At the close of church last night, Jeannie and I were completely funded for our trip to Russia! Praise God for His provision! In addition to substantial donations from Nitro FBC for our traveling expenses, we also have $160 that has been designated for the orphanage in Novomirchurinsk. This orphanage has an immediate need for bathrooms, a hot water tank, and a shower. The children also are lacking in personal hygiene items. Through pooling our resources with funds given from other WVBC churches, we will show the love of Jesus in a powerful way and begin to address these pressing needs.
With a little over a week before our flight leaves from Charleston, Jeannie and I are now in the home stretch of trip preparation. As usual, we are running through our mental checklist. Have we packed enough warm clothing? Are we traveling light enough for all of the church trips we will be making while we are there? What else needs to be done here to make sure things go smoothly in our absence? Do we have adequate boots? Have we planned enough for the evangelism seminars we will be teaching? Should I take my camera gear? (I am a wannabe photographer who likes taking pictures but hates the hassle of all the bulky equipment. I always wrestle with this issue to the very day of departure.) Should we take a portable computer? Should we make arrangements for a Skype video call on Sunday morning with Nitro FBC as one or two other WVBC churches plan to do?
Once we get in the air, all the packing thoughts are replaced by thoughts of the people and ministry opportunities that await us in Ryazan, Russia. What old friends will we see? How many new friendships will we make? What will God teach us about ministry from our Russian brothers and sisters in Christ? How cold will a Russian winter really be? What will God accomplish in all of our lives as a result of our coming together in mission? How many new partnerships between West Virginia Baptist and Russian congregations will be formed?
At this point our greatest need is prayer. Pray for a safe trip from Charleston to Moscow. Pray for the increased security at Domodedovo airport, that we will not have any problems with it due to the recent bombing. Pray for our hearts and minds to be ready to share and to serve. Pray for our bodies to be strong and healthy throughout the trip. Pray for our Russian brothers and sisters, that their hearts and minds will be prepared for our visit. Pray that God will work through this entire endeavor to glorify His name and to expand His Kingdom.