I was given the opportunity to go to Russia for most of the month of July. When I was asked to go, I guess you could say I was indifferent toward the idea at the time. My attitude was kind of like ‘Yeah okay, I’ll go, we’ll get to do some cool stuff, and meet some people, and then we’ll come back.’
When I look back on that attitude now, I want to kick myself – which is not smart, by the way, and I would advise against it. Russia was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, definitely the best experience I have had this year. I went with nine other college students on this trip, and our purpose was culture exchange with Russian college students, with the “hidden” purpose of hopefully being able to share our faith with these students.
When I first got there, my first night in the city, I guess you could say I had a reality check – these people didn’t speak English, I couldn’t read any of the signs, I looked pretty different then these people; (For one, I don’t have a mullet – yeah seriously!) I was completely relying on someone else to help me out in this country, and I am not used to relying completely on someone else. Then it occurred to me, what if I were to fully and completely rely on God EVERY day – every moment – of my life? Hmmm, what a thought.
One of the first mornings that we were there, I was having my quiet time, and I was reminded of a passage that perfectly reinforced the reason that we were there. The key verse of the passage for me was Ephesians 5:2,
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Eph. 5:2
We were to have clean speech, a kind attitude, and to show the love of Christ with each other and the others; and by doing that, hopefully the Russian students would ask us why…what a perfect opportunity to share!
Then a few days later, I was getting a little discouraged. I was one of the lucky (dry sarcasm) three that didn’t get to stay with a Russian “host” student. Also, I had run into some language barriers and I was a little frustrated that when I did get to talk to a student that some of them wouldn’t understand what I was trying to say. But, also during a morning quiet time, God brought me another set of verses that really made me stop and consider His faithfulness,
There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. – Eph. 4:4-6
Although there may be a culture barrier between me and these Russian students, God is multicultural. He crosses the language barriers; His gospel is the same in English and Russian. He is “over all and through all and in all.” I just have to remain faithful in whatever opportunities that He gives me, and His Word will prevail.
We really got to do some great stuff in Russia. We really got to meet some cool people, and hopefully through Facebook these relationships can get stronger. If I was to share all of the things that happened in Russia, you would be reading for about the next 5.7 hours, so I will just say one more thing, and I think this is the best thing. I think that everyone in our group got to share the gospel at least once. Wow, God is awesome!
– Adam Smith