Editor’s Note: In July InterAct welcomed a team of five students from Biola University to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Over the course of their trip they had the opportunity to form relationships with people in the community. In addition to sharing their own stories and testimonies, the bridges that they built helped connect people to our ongoing ministries. Eliana Park, one of the team members and a journalism and integrated media major, shared this account of her first days in Russia.
Stormy skies reflected our strong vulnerability. Humble confidence and a teachable spirit continued to plant seeds of intentionality in the foundations of our relationships. A room saturated with true hospitality was the backdrop to an evening of growth. A melting pot of Russian and American cultures, languages and worldviews were quickly brewing, the spirit of friendship stirred.
The table was scattered with games, Bananagrams® and Russian snacks. People sat on the couch reading Russian children’s books, exchanging phrases across linguistic borders. The carpeted floor was pleasantly crowded with children’s games. And with growing laughter and expansion in understanding, the barriers began to crumble.
It is easy to be paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy or by the fear of having one’s pride shattered. It reminds me of when God called Moses to be His messenger and the ensuing objections Moses raised because of his own lack of eloquence. Moses’ fear was conquered by God’s reassurance and reminder that He would go before him. In the same way, we need to let go of our inhibitions so that God can continue His work through us as His instruments.
As Thursday night progressed, God continued to walk before us, holding our hands – ever so gently – across the threshold of cultural mingling. As our earthly cultures continued to shake hands, our spiritual cultures were beginning to be translated.