All photographs were taken by me. Don't steal.
Today I was thinking about my mission trip to Moscow, Russia. I've been to Russia twice; once during the summer of 2003 and once during the late winter/early spring of 2005. I've experienced Moscow during two drastically different seasons. The first time I went the weather was comfortable enough for tanks and shorts during the day and a light jacket at night. The second time I went was quite the opposite. Several layers of clothing (including a layer of Chinese underwear; similar to long johns but thinner yet warmer), thick boots with two pairs of socks, gloves, and a mink hat that I bought in the market were necessary.
The weather wasn't the only thing different. I had two very different experiences as well. The first time I went with five guys and one other girl to do sports missions. I met JP Manley, who at the time was one of the International Mission Board's missionaries serving there. We went to one of the local universities' fields and played soccer, kickball, ultimate frizbee, basketball, and volleyball. While there, we met three Muslims from Turkey. Who would have thought that God brought us to Moscow to minister to someone from Turkey?
My second trip was with my home church's college group. I wasn't in college but was co-coordinating an aspect of the trip. This time we took a more artistic approach. The above pictures are from the second trip. We formed a band called 15 Shekels, recorded a CD with five songs on it, and headed to Moscow. We were able to get into a couple of "clubs" to play our Christian-music-that-didn't-sound-so-Christian, played for a business conference, played at a couple of churches, and spoke at one of the local universities. We also did music surveys in the freezing cold. This time, I was with a lot of people.
I definitely found out that when I'm doing missions, I prefer smaller groups. I also, believe it or not, enjoyed the sports missions more than the arts missions. Even though I'm a musician, I loved the sports more. I love being outdoors and I love warm weather. I think that with the sports mission trip, I was pulled out of my comfort zone more (I am, after all, not the best athlete). Neat how that works. Maybe one day I will head back to Moscow. In the meantime, check out my friend's website for the Moscow Mission Team.