Here are the PowerPoint slides I used this morning when I shared with the congregation of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, about what God did during our recent ministry to pastors in Moscow.
Category Archives: Russia
Friday was the final day of the Moscow Conference. There was more singing, sharing, lessons, volleyball, food, and conversations with friends. I taught about leadership failures and people who had either deserted or betrayed me. The group appreciated my openness and transparency. That session connected with them much more than everything else I taught. We ended the conference with worship and communion. We then gave each of the participants two batons with “2 Timothy 2:2” inscribed on them. I said one was to keep as a reminder and the other was to be given to someone that they train. It was a wonderful end to an wonderful week.
Thursday was the third day of the Moscow Conference. We had more singing, sharing, teaching, good food, conversations with new friends, pillow crafts, puzzles, and much more. I continued to teach on mentoring–what to build into a trainee, and how to mentor/train someone. Several commented that the teaching was helpful. Vanya said that he had studied mentoring in university but did not know how to do it. After the morning session, he now knew how and it was burning within him to get started. It was an encouraging day.
Carol and I left Boston on Wednesday evening and flew overnight (six hours) to Amsterdam, arriving Thursday morning. We took the shuttle to our hotel and arrived by 9AM. Unfortunately, no rooms were available and we had to wait in the lobby until 1PM to check in. After we checked into the room, we napped for an hour. We then took the train into Amsterdam Centraal and took a one hour tour of the canals. We saw the sun go down and the lights come on. It was a beautiful and relaxing evening. We took the train back to the airport and then waited an hour for the hotel shuttle. We eventually had to take a taxi (all Amsterdam taxis are Teslas) to the hotel. We then went to a late dinner at the Traverse House.
On Friday, we flew (three hours) to Moscow. All our luggage arrived, for which we were thankful. Our driver, Sergey, was waiting for us, and drove us into town to the hotel where we met John & Naomi Musgrave and Marc Fournier. It was a good time of fellowship as we reconnected with old friends over dinner.
John & Naomi lived in Moscow for many years and know the city as well or better than some Russians. On Saturday, we visited the Kremlin, toured the Kremlin Armoury (Russian equivalent of the Smithsonian Institute), walked through Red Square, and visited the Church of Christ the Savior. The church was one destroyed by Stalin and later rebuilt by the previous mayor of Moscow.
On Sunday, we toured the WWII Museum, dedicated to those who fought in The Great Patriotic War. It is an incredibly sobering and moving experience. The Hall of Tears remembers the 26 million Russians who died in the war (compared to 417,000 Americans). Six dioramas depict the key battles fought on Russian soil and in Berlin. As John explained, the war defines this country. Not one family was not touched by the war.
After visiting the museum, we went to Arbat Street, known for its souvenirs and tourist shops. In the evening, we had dinner at the Musgrave’s favorite Georgian Restaurant in town.
The tours and siteseeing served two purposes. One was to adjust to the time change and walk off the jet lag. The second was to become acquainted with the history and culture of the country. It is difficult to minister to a people if you don’t know their background. It was time well spent, both in learning about the city and country and in conversation as we walked and talked..
On Monday, our drivers picked us up and we headed to a Costco-sized grocery store. We were buying snacks and supplies for the conference. It was almost like a scavenger hunt as John and Naomi gave us a list of things to find. Seven shopping carts and $650+ later, we loaded the vans and then stopped for lunch at Burger King, one of the eateries in the food court.
We then drove an hour to the conference center. It is a former Pioneer Camp just outside Moscow. The Pioneer Camps were where the youth went during the summer in the Soviet era. We unloaded the luggage and supplies and then started setting up for the week of camp, moving boxes from the storage area, unpacking, printing schedules and name tags, and getting everything in order for when the pastors and wives arrive on Tuesday.
The conference starts this afternoon. There will be 52 in attendance. Five Americans, three translators, and 44 Russians—18 pastor and wife couples, and 8 single pastors. Thanks for praying.