Mission Trip to Russia: God’s Steadfast Care

July 5, 2016

“And why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:28-29

Monday, July 4

First Night at Hope Baptist
Dinner at Hope Baptist on our first night in Ryazan. From left to right, Olga, Ellen, Katelyn, Pavel, Mary Elizabeth, Barb.

It has been a full three days in Russia!  Our intrepid group (as Erika has described us) of me, Mary Elizabeth Coley, Barb and Rich Neidinger arrived safely to Moscow on Saturday afternoon and discovered that our bags hadn’t made the trip quite as smoothly as we did.  

After meeting up with Ellen Smith, our PC(USA) missionary partner, at the airport, we took a train from Moscow to Ryazan and got our first glimpses of the Russian countryside.  It was beautiful, and seeing Pavel and Olga waiting for us on the train platform in Ryazan was the best welcome!

It had been a long day (days, really) of planes and car rides and trains, and after we checked into the hotel, Pavel and Olga drove us to Hope Baptist for dinner.  When I walked in the dining room of the church and saw the table set for us with dishes of pasta, chicken, rice, fresh vegetables, and bread, I couldn’t help but cry.  Such a feast prepared for us — three of us strangers to the church but all of us sisters and brothers in Christ — it was humbling, grace-filled, and delicious.

inside the hope baptist sanctuary
Inside the sanctuary of Hope Baptist

The hospitality of our Russian sisters and brothers has been incredible.  They’ve welcomed us in their worship, fed us homemade meals, prayed for us, and literally given us their clothes to wear while we are waiting (hoping! praying!) to hear something about our luggage. 

In these first few days, it would be easy to get caught up in the fact that we are suitcase-less, and I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been some moments of frustration about that.  But the bigger takeaway from the luggage debacle is the reminder that we are not in control.  God is, though, and God is good.  God’s steadfast care comes to us in all kinds of forms — a late night dinner with new friends in the back room of a church, a bag of clean clothes offered from those same new friends so you don’t have to wear the same shirt for four days in a row, a patient teacher helping us learn to sing “Happy Birthday” in Russian so we could celebrate our dinner hostess, and the embodied reminder that we are all one in Christ.  Slava Bogu!  Praise God!

– Katelyn Gordon