People from different cultures really are the same all over the world, as my recent ministry trip to Russia showed me. They ask the same questions about origins, and most have been brainwashed with evolution/millions of years, just as we have in the USA.
For eleven days, I had the privilege of presenting the truths of creation in this huge country of 11 time zones and 140 million people. Although the audiences I spoke to were generally small, people were very responsive. My six lectures in the largely Muslim city of Kazan and 12 lectures in Moscow were usually 90–110 minutes long with the translation. Most were followed by a Q&A time of one hour or more, which most of the audience stayed for. This, I was told, was not typical, and a good indication that my lectures were connecting with people. Most of my lectures were to Russians and were translated, but I also spoke to a group of American missionaries and to a group of Koreans working and studying in Moscow.
Most in the audiences were laypeople and students. Some were nonbelievers. Also, most Christians had not thought about creation and evolution much before the talks. Some confessed that they had been theistic evolutionists until they heard my presentations. Most didn’t know how to respond to the challenge of evolution.
There were a few key Christian leaders who were influenced by the messages. Several American missionaries who believe Genesis in a straightforward way were strengthened to see its foundational importance—and their need to influence others to see this. A couple of missionaries who are compromised on the idea of millions of years were challenged to rethink their position, and it appeared that some lights were going on in their heads as I spoke. The manager of a large Christian bookstore began to see the importance of this subject as a result of my visit; he will now carry some creationist books in his store.
Also, the pastor who leads all the Baptist churches in a million-people region of Siberia (three time zones east of Moscow) heard me speak on the foundational importance of Genesis, and he would now like to have me come and speak in their area in the future. He said there is a great need for this message in Siberia (in his region there are six universities).
Because all the talks were translated into Russian (including the Q&A times) and videotaped, the DVDs will be used in churches, homes and prisons, and sold in Christian bookstores. The DVDs of my lectures in Kazan are already in three prison libraries.
Pastor Nik, who often translated for me, has the ability to be a creation speaker and plans to use the PowerPoint illustrations I left with him. He and the other pastors of Christian Life Church want to work with AiG to get more much-needed materials translated and published into Russian, and more articles on the Russian section of our AiG website. AiG’s newly appointed director of worldwide outreach, Dr. David Crandall, will be contacting them about these matters (see AiG–USA Goes Worldwide to learn about AiG’s worldwide outreach).
As I write this, I am reminded of the long history behind this trip to Russia. In spring 2000, I led a course on apologetics in Budapest, Hungary, for about 10 Campus Crusade for Christ staff. In that course I gave five lectures one day on the biblical and scientific aspects of creation. One of those staff members was Tim Patterson (stationed in Moscow since 1991). Those lectures in 2000 were life-changing for him, and as a result, Tim arranged for me to speak on creation in Moscow in March 2001 and then again in October 2002, which is when I met Pastor Nik (and spoke several times at his church). Since 2000, Tim has developed Bible studies on Genesis chapters 1–11 and taken over 100 Campus Crusade staff in Russia and many other countries through the studies in person or via email. This year, Pastor Nik invited me to speak in Moscow and Kazan and videotaped all my lectures to reach more people.
In spite of many discouragements that Tim has experienced in trying to influence other missionaries in Moscow, God has used his persistent faithfulness to teach many others and to open several doors for me to minister. In the audiences I spoke to on this trip, maybe there will be 2–3 other people, like Tim and Nik, whose lives will be significantly touched. In the years to come and as they learn more, they, too, will be used by God in significant ways. Pray that they will be able to spread the message of the truth and importance of Genesis to impact the church and to lead many to the Savior. May it be so, for God’s glory alone!