On Saturday morning we arrived in Tambov, Russia on the overnight train. Our host David and I ended up sharing a bunk room on the train with two Russian officers. In Russia, drinking vodka is the past time sport. These two officers got on the train pretty sauced up and continued drinking to the wee hours of the morning. David talked to them in Russian and I prayed in English. The officer’s finally fell asleep about 2:30am and woke up Saturday morning about 7am and started drinking beer.
We arrived at our host home and freshened up and immediately headed for the all-day missions conference.
The people in Tambov are much friendlier and open. We all introduced ourselves at the conference and were well received. Many people came forward at the end to commit to mission work. The conference was a great success. Missionaries and college students from all over Russia were there.
After the conference we went to a birthday party of a couple of the local church people. We sang songs, ate food and were able to share experiences.
After the party we went to a school playground and witnessed to local Jr. and Sr. high students. That was quite an unusual exchange. Many of them had seen African American people on TV and movies, but not in person. Many of them have never traveled outside of the area. We were able to witness to them about Jesus Christ. Most Russian’s refer to themselves as orthodox Christians, however many of them do not attend church services or claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I never realized how poor many of the Russian people are and how very modest their living conditions are. In many ways, it is a two class system here. The majority of the housing is high rise buildings. They reminded me of the 15 story project buildings you would find in the poor parts of China, Chicago, or the Bronx. Poor people live like poor people regardless of their race or skin color. Many of the areas and buildings are in need of serious maintenance and renovations.
The University of Tambov has high number of foreign exchange students. The population of Tambov is 300,000.
Posted on April 23, 2013
by Church Office