October 17, 2017

IM Recommended Reading: To Russia with Love

By Chaplain Mike

MOD Note: Some knucklehead forgot to put the URL in for Dan’s blog. Here is the link: To Russia with Love. Thanks, Joanie.

One of my good friends, Pastor Daniel Jepsen (aka “The Dan”), is currently blogging about his mission trip to Tyumen, Siberia. The Dan and another local pastor (aka “The Calvinist”) are traveling to do some teaching at a Bible college there.

Daniel may be a contributor in the future here on Internet Monk, but through his travelblog, you can get to know him now and enjoy his observations on his trip around the world to minister to others in Jesus’ name. I know you’ll love his humor and insightful perspectives.

Here’s a snippet from one of his posts:

This is my fourth mission trip, which is not that many considering my age (actually, you can stop thinking about my age now). I have been to Mexico twice and the Dominican Republic once.

Here is what I hate about mission trips: you are totally out of control. You take life on its terms. All you can do is respond rightly.

Now, to some degree this is true whenever you travel internationally. But if you go as a tourist, you are free to complain to the motel about the room tempature, you can choose your activities that day, you can decide what you will eat for lunch. On a mission trip, you can do none of those things. Your agenda is set by others. You normally have no choice in your food. And, since you don’t speak the language, you are totally dependent on others to communicate for you. In many ways, it is like being a toddler again.

And that is also what I am learning to love about mission trips.

Go get ’em, Dan! For Jesus, that is.

Comments

  1. Mike,
    I’m a missionary living in Russia, and Dan’s insight is excellent. One of the main reasons my family chose to live in Russia was because it was the one place in the world in which we couldn’t falsely convince ourselves that we can live our lives without God. I often tell people that Russia is where I depend on God the most, and thus its the place I want to be.

  2. Chaplain Mike, what is the URL for Dan’s blog? Thanks.

  3. I had to laugh at his gentle phrasing. I can remember our daughter running out of a room crying when she was offered raw fish. Ahh, yes, as he said, “You normally have no choice in your food.” But, sometimes the problem is trying to convince your stomach to obey!

  4. Thank God for globalization–where the Americans appoint Dan Jepsen as their Apostle to the Commies, we get Fr. Ernesto, and the Hare Krishna evangelize us all.

    • Wait, wait, Chaplain Mike, does this mean I have been Apostolized? Has anyone informed my bishop? Does this mean my posts are now epistles? Chaplain Mike, you are going to have to explain all this to me! Inquiring minds want to know!

  5. cermak_rd says:

    I thought the Russians already had a religion that had developed organically with their history and culture. Why should anyone wish to spread a religion that had grown organically in America (such as the SBC or Mormonism) to a radically different culture?

    • That is a rather major debate in Orthodox circles to say the least. The short answer is that many in the groups that send missionaries sincerely believe that the “Orthodox Gospel” is not the same as the “Biblical Gospel.” Where there has been serious research into the beliefs of Orthodoxy and there the “missionaries” still feel that way, then I can feel a reasonable amount of sympathy. They wish to make sure that as many as possible enter the Pearly Gates. And, it is much more likely that the group they start will be sensitive to the culture and different worldviews.

      However, where the “missionary” goes over without having done his/her research, simply on the basis that if it is liturgical it must be wrong, then I have no sympathy for such a person. Not only are they uninformed, but they are likely to start a group that will be harmful rather than helpful.

      For those going to Russia, I would recommend that they read the writings of Orthodox who remained faithful throughout the long persecution. While those going over may continue to disagree theologically, I suspect that they may develop a sincere and large amount of empathy for those who lived through the long persecution. Empathy goes a long way towards friendship.