Trip to Russia and Albania (January 2012)

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I recently returned from a very busy 17-day trip (January 13–30) to Russia and Albania, speaking on creation (almost always through a translator).

In Russia, I spoke 10 times at a seminary in Samara for a conference on creation attended by about 120 seminary students, pastors, and other church leaders—some of whom traveled over 300 miles to attend. All the talks were videotaped, and most were streamed live on the Internet. Several hundred people from other parts of Russia and Ukraine either watched live or downloaded the lectures since the conference.

In Moscow I gave two public lectures at a college of economics. It was exam time so only about 50 students and laypeople came, but 12 of them (including some non-believers) stayed afterwards for an hour to ask questions. The next day, I gave two lectures to about 150 at Second Baptist Church. Later at the national headquarters of the Russian Baptist Union I did a one-hour, video-taped interview that will be put on the Internet in the future.

From Moscow I flew three time zones east to frigid Novosibirsk, Siberia (about -25 degrees Celsius). I spoke seven times for a seminary conference of about 120 people (many were seminary students and pastors). Some men traveled up to 700 miles to attend. People were very hungry for the information I shared.

The last night there, I participated in a three-hour “discussion” with scientists before an audience of about 90 students and lay people. This meeting was also sponsored by the seminary. One of the men on the panel was a polytheist geneticist with some doubts about evolution. Another was an atheist astrophysicist. Then there was a young-earth creation biologist and me. It was an interesting evening and all the questions were aimed at the geneticist and astrophysicist, neither of whom gave much evidence for their views.

I left the Russian PowerPoint slides for all 10 of my talks with leaders in Samara, Moscow, and Novosibirsk. People were eager to duplicate them for use in churches. Just the other day, I got an email from Moscow saying that my PowerPoint talks will also be made available at a national conference for youth leaders from all over Russia this week.

From Novosibirsk I flew to Albania—a long day from 4 AM until midnight across five hours of time-zone change. In Tirana, Albania, I enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Campus Crusade for Christ national director and his family, Ylli and Nikki Doci. I spoke four times in the large auditorium of the CCC office building to a group of university students, a group of high school students, a mixed group of students and lay people, and then a Sunday morning church service that meets in that facility. At most of these sessions many of the people stayed after the lecture for 30–45 minutes of Q and A. I also spoke to three different groups of students at the K–12 international Christian school in Tirana for the kids of missionaries, business people, and diplomats from many countries. One of the children was quite impacted by my presentation, and after talking to his mom, she is now open to consider the gospel.

Additionally, I had a two-hour discussion with one of the teachers who had a lot of questions about creation, especially regarding the age of the earth. He found the discussion helpful, and I sent him a follow-up email with links to AiG articles that I think will further stimulate his thinking. Even though I only used a few of my translated talks in Albania, I left all 10 of the PowerPoint talks in Albania, and I know of at least one man who wants them all to use in his own budding creation ministry.

Not only did many Christians tell me that the talks were informative and encouraging, but several non-Christians also thanked me for the thought-provoking lectures. One was an economics professor (and his wife) and another was an Italian man (and his wife) who works with INTERPOL (the international policy organization). Ylli and Nikki have witnessed to all of these four in the past and will continue to follow-up with them. After the church service Ylli, Nikki and I went out for lunch with the Italian couple and we had further opportunity to talk to them further about creation, the truth of the Bible and the gospel. Later I learned from Nikki that this all had made quite an impact on the husband so that he is much more open to consider the gospel than he was in the past.

So here is a summary of the known results of the trip.

  • 28 lectures and 10 Q and A sessions
  • All my translated PPT slides in two languages left in five cities for people to copy and use (including Albanian ITS guy)
  • Eight lectures videotaped in Russian and streamed on Internet. These will be made into a DVD set for sale hopefully in June (with all the video talks, all my PPT slides, three published papers that have been previously translated into Russian, and a link to the Ukrainian creationist website where people can purchase the Russian version of Coming to Grips with Genesis)
  • One TV interview taped for an potential audience of 300,000
  • Two videotaped interviews for two Russian Christian web sites
  • One talk videotaped and two radio programs recorded for Albanian CCC
  • Many non-believers challenged in their thinking
  • Many Christians (including some missionaries and many pastors and seminary students) encouraged, challenged, and equipped
  • Russians and Albanians want to translate more AiG literature and DVDs to get more truth into the hands of believers for strengthening their own faith and for witnessing to the lost.
Before joining AiG in 2001, I spent almost 20 years ministering in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. That part of the world has a special place in my heart, and I praise God for the privilege of serving Him there this past month. To Him be the glory for what He did and will do through these efforts! Now it’s back to work on a myriad of things related to a full spring schedule here in the U.S.


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