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North Kazakhstan Road Trip

No bath for 5 days. Eating lots of stuff that isn’t on my diet. No bath for 5 days. Sleeping in a different city and a different bed every night of the trip. Yet again, no bath. Meetings lots of people in many different places. Did I mention no bath for 5 days?

Sounds like a difficult trip, right? Well, just the opposite is true! I had a great trip! What a treat to meet brothers in Christ who are serving the Lord in some very difficult locations. Many of these brothers serve in out of the way locations.

I had the privilege on going on this road trip with the president and vice president of the Kazakhstan Baptist Union. It was an opportunity to get to know the leadership of the Union and to meet pastors, missionaries and deacons serving in the northern reaches of Kazakhstan.

In the 6 days that we were on the road we traveled over 2,300 kilometers, slept in 4 different cities, had 8 different services (I preached 3 times on Sunday alone), and ate 4 meals on Sunday. When I arrived home Wednesday afternoon, I was tired but excited about what is going on.

It’s always interesting how someone thinks they are doing something to encourage others and winds up being the one encouraged. That was me! I hope that I did encourage some of the missionaries in the struggles they face (most of which are financial).

I spoke to the brothers at one meeting about my situation when I lived in Ukraine during 1994-96 when I went as a volunteer serving as a missionary. I tried to encourage them that if the Lord had called them to the task He would always be near and would see them through their various trials and struggles.

On our way to the first meeting, we drove through some difficult terrain. In one place the wind was blowing snow across the road and one truck had gotten stuck. Then another truck and by the time we arrived, it was blowing so hard the snow was just piling up beside the trucks. The drivers were trying desperately to shovel their ways out of the snow banks. For a brief moment I was thinking that we were going to be stuck in this traffic jam. Fortunately, we were able to drive around the trucks on the shoulder.

Later that very day, we were driving down the road and noticed a bus stopped with lots of people standing along the road. At first I thought maybe the bus had broken down, but then I realized what was going on. In Ukraine, one might see a bus on the side of the road with people coming out of the woods, men from one side of the road and women on the other side. However, in this part of K’stan, there are not many trees so there was no where to hide while relieving oneself.

When I arrived home Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I did was take a long, hot shower. I must be getting used to the water smell since it didn’t seem to bother me that much. I washed my hair twice! Oh, the water was sooo nice. It made me forget about the five days that I hadn’t taken a shower.

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