I've been pleasantly surprised by our move to Russia. Of course, there are always surprises about any move, especially to another country. We had already spent over ten years in Moldova, and I knew the system, the markets, and nearly every road. I'd eaten countless Moldovan meals, picnicked with friends, and bounced up and down over far too many potholes.
It is the one thing I missed from the previous ten years. I missed the woods--hunting and fishing. For those who are not hunters, you need to understand that hunting and fishing is not just about killing an animal or fish, it is about the days and hours spent in quiet, standing alongside a riverbank or in the woods. It is the solitude and stillness of the moment.
I love the fact that the church leaders and pastors here love the outdoors as well. I was blessed to freeze in Siberia while the group of us went moose hunting. The snow was deep, the frost was hard, but the time with these men was invaluable.
And I learned an important lesson. Until you have had days in relationship outside of the ministry task, you'll never have the same heart. When you have shared the days together, froze in the snow and baked in the banya, you are closer to understanding one another.
This isn't too far off from the life of Jesus, as he walked, talked, fished, boated, napped, ate with the disciples. Yes, and did ministry. But he was with them, and did not just do for them.
May our relationships in life and ministry be filled with days living life together, as well as ministering to those in need. May we each find a band of brothers to do this journey.