Russia Trip Reflection

From September 19th through 30th I had the opportunity to join Esther Mae Hinshaw (Newberg Emerging) and Tracy Wilson (Silverton) on a trip to visit Johan and Judy Maurer in Russia. This was a wonderful experience full of amazing moments. We spent time in Moscow orienting ourselves to some of the Russian history and culture by visiting some popular sites and museums. After a few days there we traveled to Elektrostal and got the chance to stay with one of the Maurer’s students, Sergei, in his home.

This was the highlight of the trip for me. We got to play a lot of games together and learn about Sergei and his fellow students. We were immersed in the culture of Russia and got to have some wonderful conversations until the wee small hours of the morning.  We also visited the institute that Johan and Judy taught at and helped one of the other teachers with some of his classes for high school students. These times of speaking with and learning from the students about their country and how they see the world were so enlightening and I am very grateful that we had the chance to join Johan and Judy there for a short time and see their home and the lives they had built there.

We finished our trip in Saint Petersburg. We visited the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood and other historical sites, we went to the Winter Palace which is home to a beautiful collection of paintings and artifacts that span the last 4-500 years. This time also gave us a chance to reflect on some of the things we had experienced and to hear about some of the tragic history of the city and country.

As much as we enjoyed traveling all over the country and spending time with students one of the most memorable things was joining our Russian Friends for worship. We sat in silence together sharing the Spirit’s peace together and had a lovely time of fellowship. To me this was a beautiful preview of our future together with the Lord.