Mission Trip to Russia: A Gracious Welcome Despite Difficult Lives

July 8, 2016

presenting gifts
Katelyn presents one of FPC’s gifts to Hope Baptist: a communion set from this year’s PC(USA) General Assembly meeting in Portland in June

Our last two days (Wednesday and Thursday, July 6-7) have been full and our hosts extremely gracious.  On Wednesday, they showed us a bit of the Ryazan area, with a tour of a 19th century poet’s village and a picnic on the bluffs of the Oka River.  Later, Tamara, one of the leaders in the church, invited us to dine in her garden, under the cherry trees. Two meals outside in idyllic settings!

On Thursday, we traveled to Ryaszhk to visit our fifth small rural Baptist church.  The missionary, Sasha, with his wife and four children greeted us and we all shared our motivations and goals in mission. We drank Russian tea and ate sweets (a common practice each day, whether standalone or after dinner).  Tonight we participated in the women’s fellowship at Hope Baptist, hearing a message about how parents and grandparents can teach their children about God and Jesus.

bluffs of the oka river
Bluffs of the Oka River where we had a picnic lunch on Wednesday

The Russian Christians we have met have been so welcoming to us, but we can see that they lead difficult lives. Neighbors avoid them (Sasha said none of his neighbors spoke to him for three years, until one of them finally did); they are viewed with suspicion; and in some towns the authorities can put obstacles in their way, or shut down their plans.  We must pray for them, as they do for us.

– Barb Neidinger