To Russia with the love of Christ
By John Straubinger
I had the great privilege of traveling to Russia for seven weeks in order to help develop campus ministries near the Black Sea in the summer of 2008. I went with a Campus Crusade for Christ summer project team consisting of 25 members and we lived in the dorms at a university in southern Russia. There are nearly 50,000 students in that region and our team focused primarily on three different campuses around the large city. While we took a Russian language class three times a week, our primary focus was meeting English-speaking students so that we could share the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ. We hosted an English club every week as well as an English camp in the mountains through which we built some very strong relationships.
Being so near to the Caucasus Mountains, we did a little hiking and maybe someday I will return to climb in the higher mountains near Mount Elbrus. We also did a weekly sports outreach, where we played soccer, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, and had fun teaching the Russians how to play American football. There was a weekly service project, which we organized for the universities and the community, where we sometimes picked up trash and visited an orphanage.
One of our vision statements was “to see a movement of believing students living out their faith, communicating the gospel, and taking it to the ends of the earth.” It was amazing to see this taking place as many students in Russia were taking the reins to develop the campus ministries, which we were there to help establish. Please continue to pray for these efforts and the thousands of students in this part of southern Russia. The Lord is doing great things there! Many of the students we met were coming to our Bible studies and it was amazing to see just how hungry they were for the Gospel.
John Straubinger of Lakewood, Colo., has been a member of Climbing For Christ since January 2007. He participated in Mission: Denali 2007.
Posted Sept. 8, 2008