Several months ago my friend, Scott Holmes, invited me to join him for two weeks on a trip to Russia. Scott and his wife Kara (along with their two children) were missionaries in Siberia for several years beginning in 1993 (not long after the “Iron Curtain” had fallen). Since then, he returns for a short-term trip on an annual basis, usually bringing someone with him. On this particular trip we were preparing to speak at a pastor’s conference (among other things).
Prior to this trip, my knowledge about Russia was (and probably still is) embarrassingly lacking.
I knew the names of two cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. I was familiar with the names of several of their communist leaders from the 20th Century (Lenin, Stalin, Kruschev, & Gorbachev). I had heard stories about the KGB. I also knew a bit about the historical prominence of the Russian Orthodox Church.