God's Work. Our Hands… Lived out by synod members & congregations

From Pr. Adolf Quast (retired), traveling in Russia.

I'm part of a faith community, the ELCA, which had a focus day called 'God's Work, Our Hands'. Sunday Sept 13 was a day to focus on how we can live our daily life in love and service to all others. I wanted to be a part of it, but how could I do that traveling here in Russia?
This was to be my day trip to Lake Beikal. A day of sunshine and cool breezes met me upon arrival. Now, if you are looking for tour guide like pictures of panoramic scenes... This update of my Trans-Siberian journey may disappoint you because today I decided to focus on the not so glamorous and "must see sights".
But I was not disappointed. I was delighted and humbled by the smiles and beauty of the ordinary sights and some everyday people I met along the way. (Like the Trio from Mongolia on my walk through the woods to Lake Baikal.

I happened upon a lakeside community that was holding a celebration with song and dance and a garden market with produce and home cooking. I decided to spend time talking with and share smiles with the elderly at the community celebration. I was humbled by their enthusiasm and their smiles... Perhaps even when neither of us knew what the other was saying!

On my way back to my hostel after three trip, for the first time I paid attention to a long looking apartment complex. Checking carefully the sign said it was a care facility for the elderly.

Wait... I did not plan this. But here was another opportunity. I spent the next hour and a half talking to some Mature Men sitting on the porch smoking. (Not allowed inside) One of them even went back to his room to get some medals from WWII and show them to me. But the bravery was far clearer to me as I watched his face and eyes, than any medal could ever tell me. On a day when I was determined to show "God's Work, Our Hands" to some elderly in a distant land... Little did I realize that "God's Work, Our Hands" would be shared with me through their giving of a smile and a small part of themselves. Almost makes me want to shout "AMEN!" But I'm a Lutheran Christian... Enough said.