The Team and the Work
This year's mission trip to Russia is different in scope than our other trips. In the past we have focused primarily on ministering to orphans in a few of the orphanages in and around St. Petersburg. Peterhoff #1 and #2 and Pavlosk #4 were a few of the ones we returned to year after year.
The team this year--Allen Amason, Jaclyn Amason, Bob Wallace, John Morris, Tyler Morris, Tim Crowe, Gary Bowen, and Kelly Cole--will be working mostly on constructing pavilions for use at Camp Elama. Of course, St. James never takes on an international mission trip where there is not the chance for deep, meaningful, and long-lasting relationships to be made with the people. This trip will be no different in that way, because several people who work closely with Mike Cantrell will now be working closely with the St. James team while Mike is in Athens, GA. And, so, the connections and relationships continue to flourish.
The Place and the Culture
As mentioned in a previous post, the camp where the work is being done is called Elama, which in Finnish means life. It is located north of the city of St. Petersburg in a very beautiful part of western Russia, very close to the Gulf of Finland. To give you a flavor of what the team will be experiencing, consider that the time difference between Athens and St. Petersburg is 8 hours. While most of us are getting ready for bed in the Eastern time zone, the team will be just getting up, ready to start their day (which to us is actually "tomorrow" already). Because St. Petersburg is so far north (it is almost on the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska) daylight comes early and lasts well into the evening in the late spring and summer. During the time our team is there they'll still have some daylight even if they go to sleep at midnight and the first light of dawn will greet them around 3:00 a.m. It can be quite unnerving to a southern American to try to sleep when it's already light at 3:00 a.m. and the sun is fully up by 5:00.
The food is somewhat different (though if you've never had Russian blini you're missing a treat), the culture is different, the conditions are different, and certainly the language is different. But Psalm 24:1 reminds us: "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." He is the God of the whole earth--the US and Russia, too.
Posted on Sat, May 29, 2010
by Glenn Cole