Posted by: ritagone | August 27, 2014

And Lastly, a Word from Michael about Russia…

Group photo family camp copy

I felt like there was still a bit more to be said about our trip to Russia, but not by me, so I asked Michael to share something significant about how he was impacted by the time we spent there. So he’s our guest blogger for today!

 

 

Rita has asked me to write some thoughts about the family camp we worked with in Russia.

 

I came away with an increased awareness of the challenge of trying to listen to and speak into the lives of Russians. At the family camp almost all my conversations were conducted through an interpreter. This process made me very aware of how inarticulate I am in normal conversation. I had to really listen to the Russians to be sure I understood what they were saying and what they meant. Then I had to really think about how to respond to questions. So much of what we say to each other as we move through the day depends on common references and idioms and slang. While at the family camp sessions, I realized I had so little of these shortcuts to conversation with the Russians. That was added to by the fact that even when we could agree on words, the meaning behind the words was often obscured by a different view of the world, a view corrupted by a century of secular atheism.

 

The young Russians we encountered are living in a country that is so twisted and broken from years of communism, that people have a very different sense of the world from what we experience in America. So many of the people I met have never known a couple who have been married for decades. Divorce and alcoholism are so common that it affects young couples’ expectations and the way they think and talk about marriage and especially parenting.

 

In one session with the men, I was talking about the biblical idea of discipline. To these men, the word “discipline” has taken on a meaning that is abhorrent. To them the word discipline means severe punishment and even death at the hands of evil men. How could this word be applied to the discipline God exercises to His children? How could fathers be required to “discipline” their children? After a heated discussion, we agreed on the term “training through correction” as an acceptable substitute. But the application of biblical discipline to parenting was a very troubling idea to them.

 

The Russian pastors have a daunting challenge. How can they speak the gospel to fellow Russians when the very words have been corrupted in their meaning? Even so, these men are bringing hope and healing to a new generation of Russians.

As the Holy Spirit reminds you – please pray for Sergey and Alexi and Slava and others as they speak the truth in love to the people of a very broken country.

 

 

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