I left Alabama on June 9th and began the thirty hour trip to Russia. I stayed with the missionary family for five weeks. I was able to assist in their ministry by teaching English during a children’s summer camp for nine days and playing a lead role in their skits, object lessons and games. During their two weeks of Vacation Bible School I helped with crafts and snacks. I attended the church services and youth group meetings and became friends with the national believers. During my stay, I had the opportunity to pass out fliers on the streets for the Vacation Bible School and also witness the missionary family befriend nationals with the intent to win them to Christ.
Cultural relations were interesting at times. Body space, language, food, relationships, greetings and hospitality are very different in that culture than in America. All of these took some time to adjust. Although I could converse in their language on a very elementary level, it was a great challenge at times to communicate. During most of the summer camp I was without a good English translator, but God was faithful and brought people who knew the right words at the right times or reminded me of foreign-language words I thought I had forgotten. Communication could have been a frustration, but God’s grace turned communication into a humorous element that brought joy and laughter into my experience instead of being a stumbling block. By the end of my trip, my language was greatly improved, and I pray many people’s English as well.
The recurring theme of my trip was a verse from Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who Strengtheneth me.”