Where does one begin after they’ve just watched God mold hearts and answer prayers? How does someone sum up the miracle of the red sea or manna from heaven? The truth is: it can’t be done. Daylen’s and my trip to Russia was sprinkled with miracles, inspiration, and nearness to God. And now it’s my job to attempt a summary — a report, if you will — of all these unexplainable moments.
I’ll start by saying: We’re ready to go back.
But first, let me start with why we went.
A Time to Die at a Women’s Conference
Calvary Chapel of Nizhniy Novgorod invited me to come speak about my book, A Time to Die, at their 14th annual women’s conference. I’d never really “spoken” in public before in something larger than a Library book club or small parties. And now my inaugural “presentation” would be in Russia to 50+ women who may or may not know English about my book that isn’t even in their language.
No pressure, right? 😉
Well let me say, it was a blast. It took me a couple times to remember I needed to pause so the translator could interpret to the crowd. This actually gave me extra thinking time!
I had the honor of sharing my story of writing — from when God told me not to write all the way to how He orchestrated the ideal path to publication. It had been a while since I went through this personal story of mine and it was a great reminder to see how much of God’s hand was on this author journey.
Fiction, particularly fantasy, is a huge genre in Russia. The pastor of Nizhniy Novgorod — a professional interpreter — translated the first couple chapters of A Time to Die to share with the ladies. They loved it, which brings me to my request for you:
Please pray that A Time to Die is able to be translated into Russian and then published! This is a pursuit and passion that is heavy on my heart and I know God will make it happen. I just don’t have much patience. The sooner the better, in my opinion! 😉
Baseball in Russia
Baseball, the great American sport, has a league in Russia! Calvary Chapel of Tver has a baseball team — both men and women — who play baseball and represent Christ to hundreds of other Russians playing baseball. The league plays all summer and then has a tournament in Moscow at the end of the summer (by the way, Moscow has the only baseball diamond in all of Russia!)
Daylen and his family have a lot of history regarding baseball, so he was able to teach a baseball clinic to the players in Tver. Over 20 players showed up and it went great! Out of those 20, maybe 5 were believers. Daylen was able to share the gospel through teaching baseball! Is our God creative or what?
Despite the two main “purposes” hubby and I had in going to Russia, the greatest pay-out came in the form of fellowship. Sasha, the pastor of Tver, expressed that many people will come to do ministry and they’ll go straight to the orphanages or jump into “hands-on” events.
“But you came and stayed with us,” he said to us. It gets lonely! And we were able to pour into him and his family and the church there. Never under-estimate the cleansing power of fellowship.
We met so many new brothers and sisters in Christ on our trip. It’s like a family reunion with relatives you instantly connect with. We miss them all dearly.
Something I learned on this trip was how God likes to work through our passions. For some reason, growing up, many of us have this idea that “missionary work” means going to a place we don’t want to be, doing things we don’t want to do. Because we’re “sacrificing” our wants, we’re able to glorify God.
Yes, it’s important to die to “self” in order to spread the gospel and glorify the Lord, but He likes working through our passions. That’s the whole reason He gives them to us! (Tweet this!)
This trip to Russia revealed this message perfectly. My passions are writing and Russia. I got to go to Russia to talk about my journey as an author and to share about my book, A Time to Die. Daylen’s passions are baseball, P.E., and a heart for Russia. God took him to Russia to teach baseball (a glorified P.E. class) in order to spread the gospel to the Russian baseball leagues.
Both of us are passionate about connecting with youth and we each got to connect with the different youth of the churches at different times.
This report, dear friends, only skims the surface of what we did in Russia. Before I sign off, I want to share something I learned while there:
Christianity is very different.
This may seem like a “duh” statement, but let me explain. First off, less than 1% of people in Russia are Christians. When someone decides to devote their lives to Christ, it’s a sacrifice. It’s not “cool” or “socially expected” like it can be here in the States. Christianity is often seen as a cult by those who don’t understand it (which, in Russia, is the majority of onlookers.) Because of this, Believers interact completely differently. When they’re together, the fellowship is a celebration. They can’t get enough of the Word, of prayer, of fellowship.
It’s like what we’re supposed to be like as a body. They talk about God all the time and it’s pure joy! Paul-like joy. The joy we all crave deep within our souls regarding interaction with our Lord.
By the end of the trip, I couldn’t get enough of it either. It’s moments like these that I wish emotigraphs were real so I could bring you one (if you’ve read A Time to Die, you know what I’m talking about. 😉 ) If anything, it inspired Daylen and I to be more passionate about our love for Christ. May our story inspire you, too.
What passions have you seen God work through or combine in your life?
Any questions for me?
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