If you’d like to know more about my recent ministry trip to Russia, download a copy of my report and learn more about what God did.
Category Archives: House of Grace
Sandzhik took us to visit a monument remembering those who were deported to Siberia at the beginning of WWII. Stalin was afraid the Kalmyks might fight for the Germans. The boxcar is what the people were transported in. The deportation took place in 1943 and the people were not able to return until 1957. The monument at the top of the hill has two faces. One side depicts the Soviet machine that chews people up and spits them out. The other side depicts the new face of Kalymyia. It was a sobering experience.
Friday evening, I was reminded of the scene from the movie, Chariots of Fire, where Eric Liddell goes for a walk with his sister, Jenny, in the Scottish Highlands. Jenny is concerned that by training for the Olympic Games, her brother is abandoning his commitment to missions in China. In his Scottish brogue, Eric reassures her otherwise. “Jenny, Jenny, God made me for China. But God also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”
I have discovered there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you are using your gifts to help accomplish the plan and purpose of God. Through comments made by some of the students the past two weeks, I have sensed God’s smile on my life.
Sergey from Anapa said that he came away from the class with a bigger view of God. He wanted to fall at his feet and worship him.
Alexander, who runs an alcohol rehab center near Krasnodar, attended the class at House of Grace three years ago. Last year’s class filled up before he could register. John said he was adamant that he wanted to be in my class in Anapa this year. John said I’m developing a following.
Sandzhik from Elista said, “Good teach.” He invited me to return again next year.
Elsa said the study caused her to fall in love with Moses. While Elsa was not in the class, her daughter, Zanda, was. Zanda came home every night and told her mother what she had learned. Previously, she liked Daniel and Joseph but had not thought much about Moses. Now she had a new appreciation for Moses.
Mergen appreciated the life lessons I shared.
Tzagana said she learned that God can help her break free of a lifetime of bad habits such as worry. She said, “Mark crossed the ocean to teach me to trust God.” I responded, “If that’s all I accomplished this week, it was worth the trip.”
Natasha said all her family were Christians, but they were critical. She never considered it a problem until the lesson on Numbers 11 when she realized that complaining is a sin.
Slava thanked me for the lessons. He said he remembered a lesson on remembering when I had the class paint a rock. I realized he was speaking of the stones of remembrance in Joshua 4 which I taught in 2011. I was impressed and humbled he still remembered and valued the lesson.
John Musgrave said I have now accomplished Acts 1:8—I’ve taken the gospel to the ends of the earth. Elista, Kalmykia, may not be the ends of the earth, but you can probably see it from there. As part of the steppes region of the Caucasus Mountains, it is as flat as the eye can see. When I was teaching on God meeting with Israel at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19), I said, “Imagine a mountain covered in clouds.” One person responded, “We can’t. There are no mountains here.” Too true. When we boarded the plane on Sunday in Elista, Naomi to take one last look. I said, “That’s the flattest horizon I have ever seen.”