One of the things that strikes me as I prepare for this Russia mission trip is how different it is from previous trips. First, it’s different in regards to the task. When I have gone to Russia in the past, the focus has been on a church facility. We’ve built, we’ve painted, and we’ve remodeled — now the focus is on a church family. We will be leading evangelism seminars in the evenings, and when we aren’t teaching we will be intentionally building relationships with the pastors and other leaders of congregations. Second, it’s different in regards to the time. (I know right now you’d love a pop-up browser with sermon outline blanks you could fill in.) Previous trips have been in the peak of summer, this trip is in the dead of winter. Even on the summer trips the weather was mild, with air-conditioning never really being needed. This time it will be very cold. I’ve been following the temperatures in Moscow and Ryazan for the past several weeks. They have been averaging zero during the day and ten below at night. One of our Russian friends has also told us there is “much snow.” While I’ve been assured it is warm indoors, when we are outdoors we will need to be bundled very well. Third, this trip is different in regards to travel. I am so very, very thankful that our mission team leader purchased direct flight tickets from Washington, DC to Moscow — that makes such a long journey so much quicker. Previously we’ve always had a layover somewhere in Europe, which contributes to more fatigue, more hassles with security, and more lost baggage. Also once we arrive in the Ryazan area, we will not be ministering in just one location as we have on other trips. We will be driving from one church to another, presenting seminars each evening and meeting with a variety of pastors and leaders. We’ll be staying in different places each night, enjoying the hospitality of more than one group of Russian believers. We’ll also be visiting a Russian orphanage in Novomirchurinsk, seeing firsthand the needs and how West Virginia Baptists may partner with them to show the love of Jesus to the children. We have a general idea of just how great the needs are from what we have been told. Among the WVBC churches represented on the trip, nearly $3,000 has been given already to provide for personal needs of the children and to begin improvements to the facility!
Well I could sit here and continue my ramblings on Russia, but there are other things to do on this balmy February day in WV! ( By the way, as I write this post, it is sunny and -1 in Ryazan. Their high for today is forecast to be zero, the low -16).