Russia

StBasils

I LOVE Russia!!! On my first trip in 2006, I had no idea what to expect or what this vast landscape would be like… On arrival, I was pleasantly amazed/surprised by all the trees that inhabit both the cities and the countryside… Birch trees are EVERYWHERE!! They are gorgeous, refreshing, and their branches are used in one of the nations most practiced traditions – the “banya,” also known as “sauna” – a traditional Russian steam bath.

Moscow Metro is the primary public transportation system in the large city of Moscow… It was finished in 1935 and is large enough to house all 11 million Moscow residents should there be any sort of attack on the city… The “Metro” is ornate… From chandeliers, to marble floors, to amazing World War II statues, it’s a sight to see in and of itself… Make sure you take a ride on it and make sure you have an interpreter with you as you might not know when to get on or off the train (there are no signs in English)…

The people are not their government – meaning, they, as a whole, are very warm, welcoming, and unsuspicious… Most will welcome you in off the street for some “chai” (common black tea) and more than likely, will prepare a small feast for you in a short amount of time (every meal is accompanied by cucumbers and tomatoes and always followed by “chai”)… They love Americans (do keep in mind that you may offend the elderly in public if you are carrying on and too loud)… If they know any English, they will want to sit next to you and “practice” their English skills… They are wonderful people who have been through quite a lot in their hard/trying history… I was told that not one family in the entire country can say that they have not lost a family member to the fighting of World War II or to Stalin’s “Gulags” — their history is amazing and yet some of the elderly still hang on to the ideas of the “good ole days” under Stalin’s regime… Stalin forbid them to believe in God – forbid them to have a relationship with God — the state and Mother Russia was to be the primary focus of every person and family… They are a nation who are hungry, desperate, and ready to receive the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ… I have yet to go to any other country where I’ve seen the Gospel presented in a simple way and received so quickly and completely…

Can’t wait to go back…

-Haven

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