Wayfaring Stranger

Parting thoughts

Well I've been back "stateside" since Sunday Oct 24th and, yes, I am still jetlagged.

I am not the introspective type, but I'd like to remember my time in Russia.

We met with hundreds if not thousands of university and elementary students. We experienced Russia through the people we met, not necessarily via sightseeing and/or tours. And what I've found in my 2 trips is that you see two sides to the Russian people.

First you notice that people on the street are very quiet and don't look you in the eye. In fact, they don't really look at you at all; they mainly look at their feet. I guess the fear and repression of communisim and the KGB is still ingrained in many of the Russian people. Nobody wanted to stand out because that would get you "noticed", and it could be bad to get "noticed".

The second side you will only see when you meet a Russian indoors, i.e. the classroom, their home, etc... That side is very hospitable, warm, friendly, and outgoing. This is the side that wins you over. This side can remind you of "southern hospitality".

Luckily the younger generation has not known the some of the fears of communism and they are breaking the first sterotype. You see more students walking down the street talking to each other, jamming to music on their MP3 players, or talking on their "mobiles". While some of the older people may look on with displeasure, I hope they keep it up. I hope they inject new life, freedom, and ideas into the culture.

This trip was extra special for me because I got to see some of the students from my 2003 english class. 4 students Pasha, Alex, Natasha, and Ignat became believers this last year. On Thursday Compass has an evening worship and Bible study. It was great to see them singing praises to God, lifting their eyes to heaven, and studying the Word together.

Pasha :
Pasha 2003
Natasha :
Natasha 2003
Alex :
Alex 2004

Once my film is developed, I'll show you a pic of the Thursday night meeting. There is a hammer and sickle plaque on both sides of the stage where we are singing to God and reading the Word. Who'd of thought?

The reason we met with so many students outside of the English classes is so we could tell them about Compass. Sometime we would have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus over lunch. But more often we were trying to get them plugged in w/Darin and his team.

There are 2 main ways for students to get plugged in, the Thursday night Bible study (which I mentioned) and Wednesday night basketball. Darin told us that the largest Thursday night meeting they had was ~25 people. The Thursday night meeting during the 2 weeks of classes averaged ~50 people. Double! And the largest b-ball turnout had been ~12 people. The 2nd week b-ball turnout was ~25 people. Double again! Coincidence? No way. One of our main goals was to get as many follow up contacts as possible for Compass and God really came through.

I think God is really at work and Yekaterinburg Russia is on the precipice of something great.

Please pray for Darin, his family, and Yekaterinburg. Darin's website is The McFarland Family. And please pray for Northwest Bible Church as they partner with Compass and plan for a church plant in Yekaterinburg.

God bless ...

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