Saturday, March 18, 2006

russia trip recap

Bob has been writing a day by day recap of our trip to Russia, and it's fantastic (complete with photos). rather than try to duplicate it, i'll just direct you to his blog here.

Steve and I are looking forward to sharing about our experiences at church tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


arrived home yesterday and slept from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. but still feeling really groggy today. trying to stay awake through home group tonight, so i thought blogging might help. difficult to concentrate enough to write, though. we'll see how it goes...

how about a quick recap of Sunday and Monday?

Sunday, 8:00 a.m (GMT +3): wake, shower, pack, eat breakfast of toast, cheese, and yogurt in hotel cafe.

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.: walk to Nizhny Novgorod Vineyard with Bob & Steve. Kevin is already there, warming up with Kathy and rest of worship team. Emily is coming with Dave & Stephanie (Dave & Kathy's 15 year old daughter)

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.: worship starts, about 1/2 hour late. no one seems concerned, just seems to be the way things work here in Russia sometimes. worship is awesome - familiar songs in Russian language. Sasha from Vineyard in Siberia is helping lead. Sergei from another Vineyard in western Russia preaches on servant leadership. great stuff - remarkable guy, the only indigeonous pastor of a Vineyard church in western Russia.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.: eat lunch at Papa Potato (they kind of ran out of food - there's no "after church" brunch crowd in Russia since there are so few churches). our team meets with Dave & Kathy to share some ways we're planning to support them and the church.

Sunday, 3:00 p.m.: walk back to church for conclusion of leadership conference. worship, teaching, ministry time. Holy Spirit present in cool ways to bless people. seems to show up regardless of whether a translator is present to interpret or not. lots of heartfelt goodbyes to people we've felt a deep bond with in a short period of time. receive tons of encouragment about our time here; seems like God's favor has been with us.

Sunday, 8:00 p.m.: pack up van and taxi with luggage, drive to airport outside NN. take Siberian Air to Moscow. it takes off late because of a VIP arriving after everyone else has boarded. somebody with bodyguards, etc.

Monday, 12:30 a.m.: arrive in Moscow, where we are picked up by Sergei from the Moscow Christian Center. Sergei takes us across the city to a hotel near the international airport.

Monday, 2:00 a.m.: check into hotel. eat some dinner and take a shower. call the Harvest Ridge home group to say hi, since it's 7:00 p.m. Sunday in Michigan. finally, Steve and I take a 45 minute nap til our wake up call at 4:30 a.m.

Monday, 5:00 a.m.: arrive at airport, go through security, passport control, etc. get searched, go through 3 metal detectors. meet a guy from Texas at the gate and talk with him for a while. he's cool - an engineer for a gas company who has adopted 2 Russian children, serves as a deacon at his church.

Monday, 7:15 a.m.: take off and fly to Paris. arrive and get searched a couple more times, go through 4 more metal detectors.

Monday, time unknown: fly from Charles De Gaulle to Detroit Metro. some enjoyable turbelence. fight to stay awake so i can sleep at night.

Monday, 2:00 p.m. (GMT- 5): arrive at DTW, go through customs and meet Curt, who drives us home.

Monday, 3:00 p.m.: hug and kiss Ronni, Colin, and Elle. Elle remembers me, thankfully :) give gifts, show pictures, share stories. it's been about 39 hours since i've had any real sleep. watch some tv shows Ronni recorded while i was away. hoping to stay up until 9:00, but can't quite make it...

Friday, March 3, 2006


leaving in about an hour for Russia with Steve. flying from Detroit to Paris, and then Paris to Moscow. got up at 4:00 this morning in hopes of being tired enough to sleep on the flight over to Paris. feeling pretty tuckered right now, but i know the adreneline is likely to kick in once we're at the airport.

can't wait, really. meeting up in Moscow with Bob and Emily from the Ann Arbor Vineyard, and Kevin from the Capital City Vineyard. our 10 day mission adventure should take us from Moscow to Nizhny (sometimes Niznij - formerly called Gorki in the Soviet Union days) Novgorod and back again. planes, trains, and automobiles, at least, not to mention a fair amount of walking, i'm sure. most of our time will be spent with a Vineyard in Nizhny pastored by the Wolfs, scouting out how we can support their church, building relationships, and helping lead a leadership conference (how meta-, eh?).

i'm expecting to teach on "leading with a Jesus lean" and "leading from the 2nd row (the example of Jonathon)" can't remember ever teaching through a translator before - kind of curious to see how it all works. strange to realize in prepation how many of my usual illustrations and even figures of speech are culturally dependent. (sports, television, politics, movies, heck anything having to do with western history may be totally meaningless for all i know at this point). had to toss them all for the moment, and wait til i'm there to get a sense for what might be effective and what might not. at least the bible ought to be common ground.

Roger came by last night with a Russian / English phrase cheat sheet for me, and prayed for me too. very cool. also dropped off an authentic Sergei Federov hockey jersey from some team in the U.S.S.R from back in the day. wild. wonder if anyone will remember him in Russia?

off to finish packing and shower up. we'll see if there's any internet connectivity there. if so, i'll update as soon as i get the chance.

missing Ronni, Colin, and Elle already.