Russia: The Gist of It

My month in Russia has come to a close. I’d say “finally” but that would come across as ungrateful, and would not reflect what I have learned.

Being here, was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I have never felt so far away from the people I love, the world I know, or even, at times, God. I can’t correctly express how purely dismal some of those days were… I wanted to give up, I was so ready to give up. Yet I knew I had to stay – and I hated that fact. I argued with God for many days. Over and over again.

why have you brought me here?? I cannot do this alone…

You are not alone. 

But I feel alone.

Okay Lord, I’m pulling the “free will card”, I’m going home

Silence

“Maybe Russia is your wilderness” (Reference: Israelites in the wilderness)

I hated those words. Not only because they signified wandering, loneliness and a good measure of despair, (Upon hearing the word ‘despair’ I hear Marilla’s voice saying “To despair is to turn your back on God”… Is it just me?) but this wilderness meant that I needed to persevere through it. That it was God’s plan. And I was motivated by the slight fear that I would end up in Russia for 40 years if I was not faithful with this month.

How do I be faithful in this wilderness?

I had no idea.

Rend Collective played on my computer

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing

But how???

I didn’t feel like singing or dancing. I didn’t feel like worshipping. I had resigned myself to the fact that God wanted me to stay, but that was that. Being happy about it was a different thing altogether…

Return to a place of worship

Um. HOW.

I had no other refuge. I tucked myself away with Bible and worship music. And prayer.

Joshua 1

  • “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you”
  • “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it”
  • “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”

I spent a few days pursuing the meaning of meditation; of true, humble worship, and decided to implement it into my daily life. There’s something so renewing about devoting time specifically to focusing on God.

Days began to get brighter, I found my joy again. It took battling daily, it took choosing hourly, it took spending my spare time listening to sermons and worship music and reading my Bible rather than country music, a comfortable novel, or a mindless tv show. Intentionality is key.

Taking every thought captive

literally though…

Some days I still lost the battle.

Now, at the end of my time here, I can’t say it got easy. But I learned how to fight. I learned my tools to combat the darkest times… I found my rest in His faithfulness, in his promises. And I found the joy in the shadows. I can’t say it got flipped around and now I don’t want to leave, but I did enjoy my time. I spent time with family and friends, I learned how to make a sour cabbage, I took some pretty darn good pictures (If I may say so myself), I conquered the SPB transit system and made my way around the city daily, I found good coffee (a good accomplishment), I learned about my heritage, I got to experience the life outside the city – the dacha life, I saw all sides of the city centre, I walked hundreds of kilometres (LITERALLY), I endured a 3.5 hour long opera, I celebrated Victory day.

It was good.

I’ll never forget it.

By Kristina Fedorov

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