When Ministry Gets Interrupted by Life

When ministry gets interrupted by life, discipleship happens.      October 17, 2007  -  Robert


As is hopefully clear to anyone following our ministry story, we are all about discipleship.  That seems to be the main task Christ assigned us before He ascended.


If you?ve been watching our website lately for updates, then you probably understand why I made it my ministry priority today to update the website with new information.  Since getting back to Voronezh after Ann?s surgery, I had allowed myself to be just a bit too consumed by playing catch-up, and had neglected our very important work of communication with our support team back home.  I spent pretty much the whole day in front of the computer, working on what was basically a Thanksgiving letter, and making other updates to the site and the prayer calendar.  I was still sitting at the computer, contemplating how to describe the process of discipleship that typifies our work, when I heard Vova, one of ?our guys?, arriving home from his day at college.  Not wanting to interrupt my workflow entirely, I got up to greet him at the door, committed not to engage long in small talk.  After all, I had already determined what my main ministry priority was for today, and I was going to see it carried out! 


Vova was already at my door by the time I got up from the computer to greet him, which meant he had sprinted up the outer stairs.  As I asked him about his day, he yelled something back about ?rusky football? and dashed up stairs to their apartment on the second floor.  As his voice trailed off, I discerned something about the European Football Championship on TV.  I sat back down at the computer, perhaps somewhat relieved that this news meant I could probably count on working on ?my ministry priority? for a while longer without interruption.  


Well fortunately, for the sake of ministry, that thought didn?t last long.  I soon found myself mysteriously transported to the cutting board, slicing kolbassa (a type of Russian sausage that is a staple in the Russian diet) and cheese.  I dumped some Mexican salsa (or at least a Russian version of Mexican salsa) on a plate, grabbed a bag of Tostitos (Russian version), and headed upstairs to the second floor.  My intention was to drop the snacks for Vova to enjoy as he watched the game, and return to ?my work? at the computer.  Sergei and Zhenya had gone to choir practice, and Kostia wasn?t home from work yet, so Vova was watching the game by himself. 


As I was depositing the snacks on the counter, I saw Vova get up and slide another arm chair over next to his in front of the TV.  That?s all it took for my ?ministry? priorities to become completely reshuffled.  I sat down in that arm chair beside Vova, snacks in front of us on the TV stand he had pulled up for that purpose, and just began to soak up every moment of him soaking up every moment.  This was just one of those moments from which life is made.  I sat there wondering when was the last time he had a man sit beside him to take in a sporting event.   


Toward the beginning of the second half, the rest of the guys had joined us and we were beginning to actually score goals.  At one point, Kostia and I were downstairs in our kitchen slicing more kolbassa when we kicked our second goal.  You?d have thought the house was coming down around us.  I?d never heard such a commotion in our kitchen.  It so reminded me of the many big games we had watched with our own sons back home, and those fleeting feelings of fear over what the neighbors were going to think about my screaming sons, only to realize that they were watching and screaming themselves.


from left, Vova, Zhenya, Sergei, and Kostia in the back from left, Vova, Zhenya, Sergei, and Kostia in the back

The boys loved taking pictures of me on their cell phones, waving the Russian flag and yelling, ?Go Roccia, Go!?


I snapped a few pictures of them too.  We won by the way!  We?re the European Football Champs!!!  


"I'm on a mission from God!"

As I returned downstairs, the first thing I did when I sat back down at the computer, was download the photos I had just captured.  As I looked at the picture of me, surrounded by the guys, I couldn't help but notice the words across the top of my Blues Brothers t-shirt, ?I?m on a Mission from God?, and I thought how true.  I?m on a mission of discipleship ? when ?ministry? gets interrupted by life.