We’re in this old Soviet town near the Ukrainian border called Zeleznogorsk. Before this, we were in a place called Rylsk. There aren’t too many tourists here. None that I’ve seen. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just a reminder to me of all the places in the world that just hum along-people living their lives, generations coming and going, trying to do the best they can with what they have. Some know the Lord, some don’t.
When we came into this building, there was a sign about radiation being here or having been here at some point. There was that nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986 with fallout apparently still lingering in some of these areas to this day. There are lots of people living here, so I suppose a little time here doesn’t hurt. Either way, we’ve been traveling non-stop from the time we got here.
Back in Rylsk, we were invited by this amazing group of YWAMers. They’re all from the Ukraine and felt lead to start a church there. It’s a rented house with an out of tune piano and some records nailed to the wall. We came to lead a few Bible studies and pray together. It’s super laid back. The sun comes up about 830, so we eat at 930, walk to this plateau overlooking the town and pray for break through. After that, we go to a few shops and invite people to the service later. Sasha (common Russian name, short for Alexander) is only 18 years old and he definitely has the heart of a pastor. It’s amazing how mature some people are for their age. At 18 there was only one thing on my mind… me.
Today here in Zeleznogorsk, Bryson, from our team, will preach the Sunday morning message then we’ll eat with the church members. After that, we have a 3 hour seminar covering what we call, “The Bible Overview”. It’s a step by step look at the plan of God for salvation from the whole Bible. Sometimes it’s helpful for people to see how things started, what happened, and what God did to restore fallen man to himself. We’re learning a lot with each passing day. Part of being a good speaker is knowing your audience. The more you know about them, the better you can prepare and the more you can connect.
I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I wanted to take this little 4 day opportunity, so I booked a bus for us tonight to be back in Moscow tomorrow morning to teach in the Discipleship Training School at 10am. That means we finish this afternoon meeting, eat together, then board a 1030pm bus that arrives at 530am. Things should slow down next week a little.. at least that’s my hope.
We get opportunities and it’s a matter of taking them or not. On the one hand, I want the team to rest and be able to prepare properly. On the other, the mission field is not the same as working at a church back home where there are all these comforts and quiet hours to prepare in offices without people. Fact is, this is a training school and it’s better to allow it to be as close to reality as possible. And what happens here is reality. The last thing I want is for people to go home saying they didn’t get lots of chances to teach. So chances they will get.