Trip to Russia and Hungary 2011
Rich is off again to Hungary and Russia.
March 2, 2011
I arrived safely in Moscow on Tuesday morning. Though I'm told it's pretty cold outside, I've been in the Dorm the whole time and it's very warm and cozy inside. There are about fifty guys from all over Russia here. The conference started Wednesday afternoon and I've already taught my first time. A clear mind and 11 hour jetlag time difference make thinking difficult but we're managing. Keep George Bryson in your prayers. He's pretty sick with some sort of bronchial infection. I will be teaching again on Thursday and Friday mornings and I would love it if you all would be praying. Drew, Nadia, and Alexi loved their gifts. It's a busy schedule so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to send updates.
Pictures (L-R): Drew and Nadia meeting me at the airport. A view from the Dorm. Goodbyes at the airport.
March 8, 2011
It’s been a busy time out on the road. As you might be aware, the conference in Moscow is over, having finished on Saturday morning. It was a great time to be with the Russian pastors. There were guys from outer Siberia to far south in Russia. Some were guys I met two years ago and have become friends with, others were new “heroes” to add to my list of godly men on the mission field. There were three of us American pastors who shared and two Russian pastors. Thomas Powell is from Virginia Beach, and is a great, loving, energetic guy. Quite the encourager. He encouraged the guys to have hope and to just be who God made them to be. Many of you know Roger Stahlhut, our neighbor in Anaheim who has taken us to Russia many times. Roger is also an encourager, and his running theme was to encourage the men to purity. I taught through John 13 – with the themes of humility, loving those who betray you, and leaving the “mark” of love. Dima is a Russian pastor from the city of Kaluga – he taught on David being anointed by the prophet Samuel, and encouraged the men to be sure of God’s call and anointing on their life. Vlad is the pastor in Nizhny – he did some great studies through Hebrews 11 – those that learned to trust God, and in Rev. 2-3 – Jesus’ encouragement to the seven churches – all great stuff. Our good friend George Bryson ended the week with some warnings about some current heresies as well as a warning to love and not devour each other.
I got to spend time with our beloved Alexi, the pastor in Kirovochepetsk. One cool thing was that they planned to have Alexi lead worship each time before I taught – we make a good team. We need to be praying for Alexi. They are going through difficult times, beginning with the theft of his car back in January. Alexi has a secular job in Kirov, and if he tries to take the bus to Kirovochepetsk after work, there’s no time left to meet with anyone before he has to get back on the last bus back to Kirov. He hasn’t been able to meet with the folks in Kirovochepetsk since January. He still has a thriving home bible study in Kirov, but the work in Kirovochepetsk has stalled. Pray.
I also got to spend some time with our beloved Drew and his sweetheart Nadia. God uses Drew in a pretty cool way in Russia. He is the man that pulls the whole work together. One of the American pastors said he had never seen the things in the dorm run so smoothly since Drew has been in charge. That’s our guy. And we ought to be pretty proud of him. Pray for Drew and Nadia as they seek direction regarding their future and finding all that God has for them.
Early Sunday morning I left for the airport to begin making my way to Hungary. After a two and a half hour flight, my first stop was Prague, in the Czech Republic. I had a TEN hour layover in Prague. I did a little homework before I left and found out that Prague is THE tourist destination in eastern Europe. Apparently Hitler thought a lot of Prague and determined not to have any of it destroyed during the war. There are buildings there going back centuries. Earlier that morning I had read on the plane the story of Numbers 13, where God sent the spies into the Promised Land to check things out. I decided I was going to leave my comfort zone and head into the Old City and do some exploring. It was a bit cold, I think in the thirties. I took a cab to the “Prague Castle” and walked something like five miles through the Old City. Incredible sights. Took lots of pictures. And after three hours I was so cold I decided it was time to head back to the airport. My flight to Budapest left around 8pm, a little two engine jet prop plane probably with about 50 passengers. I imagine my dad would have had a great time on the plane. I certainly did. The flight to Budapest was only about an hour. I was met at the airport by one of Caleb’s friends and driven to Vajta, about 90 minutes south of Budapest. Got to bed about 1 am.
Caleb was very, very gracious and I got to sleep in on Monday morning, even though the conference here in Hungary started Monday morning. Around noon I headed over to Caleb and Kim’s house and spent some time with them and their little munchkins. A note to Joy – the kids LOVED their presents! I took some pictures. We just hung out together until dinner, where we headed over to the dining hall, ate, then off to the evening message. That was last night. This morning I got to start off the conference day by speaking first, it seemed to go well, but I’m well out of my league speaking here. It’s certainly a privilege to be asked to be a part. I get to do two messages, I’m going to share again from John 13, just as in Moscow. Tomorrow morning is the second time I get to speak. On Thursday morning I’ll be heading back to the airport in Budapest where I’ll be making my way back home with a very brief stopover in Paris to change planes. I should be landing at LAX on Thursday evening. It’s been a great trip, a lot of work, but I can hardly wait to get back home. Lord willing I should have at least half of my brain back by Sunday morning, and I look forward to seeing you all in church.
Pictures (L-R): Moscow conference. American Pastors in Moscow. Alexi leading worship. Prague. The conference in Hungary.