So what does an a pastor from Bellevue, Washington serving in an affluent church with an abundance of resources have to offer to a mostly young and struggling group of pastors and ministry leaders from Russia and other former soviet states? Probably a lot less than we might think. These men and women are committed. They are intelligent. They are spiritual. They have hearts as that are wide open to all. And they are mostly under stress all the time. If not from some government harassment, then from a burdensome bureaucracy. They have to be committed because few can live on the support they receive. The issues they deal with are the heartbreaks of any pastor – broken lives, shattered dreams, the ravages of sin, illness and death. They do so much with so little in the way of physical resources, yet their attitude is good, and strong, and spiritual. Their trials would crush many of us in western ministry yet they engage in the lonely battle for souls with a certain joy.
I chose to develop thoughts from the Epistle of 1 Peter – teaching expositionally from the word. I did so with some fear. First, because the concepts are deep and rich and might not be communicated well through an interpreter. Secondly, these are men and women who have lived through trials I have only imagined. Third, and I almost always feel this way, why should these folks listen to me? Yet, I have to trust that the Holy Spirit brought us together for a purpose beyond what I can see and that he works in ways that will remain unknown. I can only hope that my words wrapped around the text might be encouraging.
These are good men and women of God. And they represent only one small Bible College in Moscow. I trust that soon they will be serving one another and no longer need or want someone from the West to teach them awkwardly through an interpreter. It is my privilege to speak from God’s Word to them.