I’ve had a number of folks ask why Anne and I are going to Novosibirsk. I think I’ve blogged bits and pieces, here and there but never in a comprehensive way. Here’s the scoop:
The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Novosibirsk is a relatively young seminary. They are in their tenth year. Their curriculum is five years and they only run one class at a time. So they just graduated (or are graduating) their second class. Next year they will run two classes simultaneously with maybe 20-30 students.
Concordia Theological Seminary where I attend has taken this seminary and indeed the Siberian church under its wing. Christianity has only been legal in Siberia for about 15 years (when did the USSR fall?) They need our financial support but they also need ecclesiastical support, the encouragement from their Christian brethren. We’re taking about seven students there with one of our professors to teach a course. Our seminary usually has a full-time deployed person there (Prof. Ludwig) and often sends a number of professors there throughout the year to teach short intensive courses.
While I could take the class (Theological Ethics) here from the same professor for less cost, the show of support will be a great benefit for the Siberians. I hope to make friendships that can later develop into mission support. I will witness an extremely young church in the midst of poverty. I will meet new but passionate Christians. Of course, the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Novosibirsk is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I might even learn some Russian (the class will be taught in English with translation.)
On the way back, we decided to get off the plane in Germany rather than just transfer to our Chicago flight. I sold my turntable and am selling my LPs to finance this leg (who would have known a Dave Matthews Band LP would sell for $130??!!?) Anne and I will be visiting Berlin, my cousin Angela in Magdeburg, Leipzig and the prominent Luther sites. I suppose we’re coming up on our ten year wedding anniversary next year so maybe this is our second honeymoon? :)
The kids are staying with Aunt Christine (with her four.) God bless her! Thankfully Anne’s mom retired early so she is going to help. We’ve never both been apart for so long (almost four weeks). Thankfully when we get back, I won’t be and class and we’ll have over a month before moving to vicarage.
As a note, we will only have limited email access while in Novosibirsk. We don’t think they are going to charge us but that we will need to keep our access to a minimum. We’ll go on, grab the email, go off, respond, upload and be gone. No long chats or video chatting until Germany. I do hope to have some reflections and news blogged infrequently while there.