Friday was another full day of teaching from 10AM – 4:30PM, with lunch again at 2PM. I quit early today because I wanted to leave the last three lessons (Deuteronomy 34; Hebrews 11; Psalm 90) for Saturday morning. The group remains very attentive and engaged. They are taking notes, nodding along, and staying focused. At different times I asked if they had questions and the ones they ask are always appropriate rather than chasing rabbit trails. It is a pleasure to work with the group.
Lunch each day is provided in the community restaurant a couple of blocks away. Today’s lunch was the Kalmyk version of fajitas which looked remarkably like beef stew. I was at a table with John, Lena, Sandzhik, Slava, and Erdnya. John wanted to talk with Slava and Erdnya as they recently joined New Life’s campus ministry in Moscow. (New Life is the name that CRU goes by in Russia.) John asked what the theme of the book of Acts was. Slava said, “Movement,” and Erdnya agreed. John then asked who most of the New Testament letters were written to. Slava said, “People.” When John asked who the people were, Slava responded by saying, “Servants.” John asked the same questions to Sandzhik, who is their pastor. He said the theme of Acts is “Church” and the NT letters were written to churches or leaders of churches. John encouraged Slava and Erdnya to listen to their pastor. John explained that “movement” is a New Life word, not a NT word. John’s point to the men was that Jesus did not establish an organization, he established the church. New Life is a good group that can help them grow, but they need to maintain their commitment to the local church. They got the point.
In the evening, we had dinner at the home of Sergey & Tzagana. Tzagana is a wonderful cook and she fixed several traditional Kalmykian dishes. They were quite tasty. She shared her testimony of how she was a Buddhist all her life and how God used a serious illness to cause her to realize her need for Christ. Through a series of doctors and other people, she came to know the truth about Jesus and gave her life to Christ. Elsa, Sandzhik’s wife, was there at the time. She said that she grew up Buddhist and became so disillusioned when she discovered the Buddha died from bad mushrooms. Why couldn’t he foresee this? She turned away from Buddhism and starting searching for the truth in other religions and eventually came to Christ. It was encouraging to hear their stories and see how God worked in their lives.
Thanks for praying.