The Methodist Movement Around The World – Russia
by Bonnie Hollabaugh
Director of Development
World Methodist Evangelism
In August Rev. Fedor Kim, our Regional Secretary in Russia, made a 16 hour journey from Moscow (around one thousand miles!) for a mission trip to serve the Roma people in the South Russia region. Rev Kim and Irina Mitina, one of the UM pastors who serves in this small village, hosted an educational camp for children.
Rev. Kim spoke about his trip and the lesson he learned.
“In my view of gypsies I focused mostly on what they do not have, rather than on what they have, and we planned our mission and its goal according to that view. We thought that we were supposed to bring them all the things we have in our comfortable life; literacy and education, skills and occupations, good traditions and manners, hygiene, good clothes, devices and other necessary things. It was clear for me that we must help them to live a more provided, comfortable and interesting life.
One of the families invited us to their home. During the visit to their home, I expected to become surer in my view, but I discovered something special. I discovered a big loving family. Despite needs and lack of money, all the things they do not have and all the things they do differently than how I would, they have a big family and seem happy. They have something we lost or are losing – their big family happiness and traditions. For me as a Christian, what they have is much dearer than what I was going to bring.
Upon returning home, I am wondering if something I bring as a missioner, with my consumer views destroy the values they have. Perhaps our first goal as missioners must be to bring the Gospel in order to help them keep their treasure firstly, and then transform their life and traditions only if that is what they would like.”
Thank you Rev. Kim for your faithfulness to mission and for your reflections! You remind us that our primary roll is to bring the Gospel to others, not to assume our way of life is better.
Thank you, friends, for your prayers and financial support to spread the message of Christ throughout the world.