Links to vignettes:
(Links will be added from time to time)
In November 1963, I met Barb Parish at a SBC Youth Rally at First Baptist Church, Zion, Illinois. In July 1964, we attended an SBC Youth Camp in Waukegan (from our separate churches), and by the end of the week had decided we’d get married in 6 years and go to the Soviet Union as missionaries. (We were not quite 16, and didn’t know the Communistic USSR frowned on missionary work within its borders).
In November 1964, my family moved to Long Island, NY and, over time, we went our separate ways — until the fall of 1966. After nearly three years of letter-writing between Brooklyn Poly and Mississippi College, we married in 1969. Though Barb had studied Russian in High School, and I studied Russian at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (Elec Engineering major), by 1970 we were headed into the world of the Deaf and American Sign Language. Our Russian books were packed away, and the vision of July 1964 faded into the past.
Time passed. Gallaudet College (1970-1973), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (student, 1973-1978), Columbia Baptist Church (1977-1981, Minister of Education), and back to SWBTS as Educational faculty member (1981-2012).
In 1995, an Open Door out of the blue set the vision from 1964 before us again — we were invited to teach at the Odessa Baptist Seminary in Odessa, Ukraine. In May, 1996, Barb and I stood looking out on the Black Sea from its northwest shore. In the 1960s, I had trained to fight Soviet soldiers. In the 1990s, I was teaching former USSR soldiers, now Baptist brothers, how to teach God’s Word in a way that helps learners grow in the Lord.
It was the beginning of many wonderful trips to Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. From time to time, I’ll reach back to Pages I created for various trips and link them from here.
Our experience over the years working with Baptist brothers and sisters in the former Soviet Union has been a tangible expression in our lives of Jesus’ promise:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38, NIV)
Thank you, Lord. О Господи! Благодарю Тебя!