Russia is a beautiful country and all over the nation you will see Orthodox churches dotting the landscape. They are the dominate religion. The other buildings that are appearing everywhere – even in the smaller cities and town are Muslim mosques. Two major religions fighting for the hearts of the people of Russia. Add to this the fact the government uses the Orthodox Church in its control of the people and you have a real mixing of politics and religion. A bad mix.
However, all over the nation you will find groups of born again believers who are gathering together in homes and rented facilities to worship the living God. They are vibrant and alive believers who, in many cases, have sacrificed a great deal to worship the Lord and be witnesses for Jesus in their families and neighborhoods. Many have suffered persecution for their faith and some still do today. But, when they gather to worship and to hear God’s Word taught they know it has all been worth it. They have truly paid the price and they know the value of their faith and their personal relationship with the Lord. They are wonderfully dynamic believers and their worship is heartfelt – from the botom of their hearts. And it goes on and on and on…
And, when I teach them God’s Word they literally suck the anointing out of me. It is almost effortless and a serious preacher’s delight. And, when you preach for 40 minutes (80 to 90 with the interpretation) they still want more. Often that will mean a second teaching immediatelyafter the first or following a short coffee break. They are seriously hungry for more of God’s Word. They never seem to be able to get enough. The hunger is apparently endless. And, they are doing more than receiving head knowledge – they actually allow God’s Word to touch their hearts. They do more than receive information – they expect transformation as the seed is planted and begins to do its work. They are doers of the Word and not just listeners (hearers). They apply, obey, and walk in what they are learning and do so with enthusiam and without argument or doubt. Have I died and gone to Heaven?
The true Church of Jesus Christ may not be as visible as the mosques and Orthodox “temples” as they are called – but it is alive and powerful and growing. It is deeply in love with Jesus and sharing Him with everyone and anyone who will stop long enough to hear. God is truly at work and He has given this ministry the honor of playing a small but important role in what He is doing.
I would appreciate your prayers for my preparation times and for the actual trip from September 20 to October 4th, 2010.