Sep 4, 2011

Days 1 and 2 in Moscow

An Orthodox Church in Kolomna Russia
Made it to Moscow after a long flight from Seattle-Chicago-Helsinki-Moscow.

Hanging out with Pastor Robson from Brazil
It was 12:15pm when I arrived so I had a full day ahead of me. The toughest thing about making a trip like this is the jet lag. It was just mid day but my body was telling me it was time to go to bed. But I fought against the urge to nap and went about the day.

It's good to reconnect with friends and Moscow did not disappoint. Not only was I able to reconnect with the missionaries and staff at the Moscow Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pastor Robson from Brazil also made the trip to Moscow to teach.

Presbyterian Church in Kolomna
The highlight of the first day was celebrating the 70th birthday of one of the staff members at the seminary. It was quite a scene. Here were Americans, South Korean missionaries, a Brazilian Pastor, a Korean-American, Korean-Russians, Russians, celebrating at a North Korean restaurant in Moscow. It was awesome!

Today, we worshiped at a Presbyterian Church in Kolomna, Russia. Pastor Sergei and his wife Natasha have been leading the church there since 2002.

One of the requirements of ordination of the Russian Presbyterian church is that after graduating from seminary, each candidate must go to an unchurched area and must form at least three Bible Study groups of 20 people they have lead to faith in Jesus Christ. That's 60 converts!!!

They say, "Why would we ordain anyone who cannot lead people to faith in Jesus Christ?"

Sounds like good thinking to me.

Part of the ordination track is that candidates must be able to show that they can lead people to faith in Jesus Christ. I love this!

Worshiping at Kolomna
I love the way the Russians worship. They worship with passion.

One of the reasons why I think their faith is so passionate and real is because the church was born and still lives under persecution. Their faith is certainly not a faith of convenience. In fact, it would be far more convenient not to be protestants.

Pastor Sergei was sharing some of the difficulties that his church was facing and said, "Persecution has been good for Christians in Russia because it helps us to appreciate how real and precious our faith is."

The Table of Grace
I wonder how many of us in the West can say something like that in the face of persecution.

Truly humbling.

As part of the worship service Christ invited all of us - Russians, Americans, Koreans, Brazilians - to the table of grace as we celebrated communion. It was a visible sign of our oneness in Jesus Christ.

Can't think of a better way to demonstrate the Kingdom of Jesus Christ than to worship and share communion with one another.

Pastor Sergei and his wife Natasha
It's only been a day in Russia and already God is challenging my faith and feeding my soul.

Looking forward to what God has in store for the rest of the week.

Blessings to the saints at the Little Church on the Prairie. Worship well today. I have been praying for you.

God bless you!

One of the many Orthodox Churches in the town of Kolomna

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