Wednesday, October 17, 2007

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing...or an earpiece to understand Russian

This past weekend Dallass and I, along with many friends from our church, attended the Desiring God regional conference "The Pleasures of God."

John Piper has been a significant influence in my life and it was a pleasure to see him preach/teach in person again. Dallass had only heard recordings of his preaching, so I think she particularly enjoyed seeing him in person.

The conference was held at the Bryte Russian Baptist Church in West Sacramento, just down the street from my beloved-in-laws. It was great to attend the conference and hang out with family on the same weekend. When I have gone to conferences in the past it's always in some city that I don't know and I end up only seeing the airport, where I am staying, the conference venue, a coffee shop, and some kind of restaurant/pub for meals. I guess I'm not the most adventurous cat in the world.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned that the conference was in a Russian church. We have driven by BRBC so many times and I've always wanted to go, but I have been intimidated by the whole I-don't-speak-Russian thing. The conference itself was in English, but the church had Russian signage all over, the song leader (Brother Nicoly) had a pleasantly heavy Russian accent (I would have loved to hear him say "I will break you" Rocky IV style), and many attendees had the earpieces in that magically translate words like "intra-trinitarian" into their appropriate Russian counterpart, which sounds something like "bob."

Encouraged by the multilingual fun (there were also American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf- yes!) of Friday and Saturday, we decided to attend the church on Sunday morning since Piper would be preaching there on Sunday morning. I spoke to one of the youth kids who were helping out with the conference and he kindly told me that "Ah...yes. You can come toomoorow and you able to get earpiece and understand...ahhhh...yes. No problem for you!"

We arrived on Sunday morning at the church ready to rock, Russian style. As we walked through the parking lot, we noticed that we were severely under dressed. As in, we looked like a family of homeless vagrants who decided to go to church and threw on whatever clothing was closest to the top of the shopping cart. Our church is quite casual when it comes to dress and...well, let's just say the folks of BRBC know how put on their Sunday best.

When we got inside we were escorted into the sanctuary. Unfortunately they didn't have any more KGB ear pieces so we had to guess what was happening during the speaking portions of the worship time. They had a great choir (and I am a sucker for lovely Russian church singing- Rachmaninoff's Vespers is one of my favorite pieces to listen to), a barbershop quartet singing in English (heavily accented English), a youth band, and combinations of soloists and the choir. Piper preached a great sermon and then we sang together with the church of Jesus as we closed the morning worship. Once again, I marveled at the beauty of diversity within the church that Jesus is growing for the sake of His name.

You can listen to the conference messages here.

You can visit BRBC's website here. It's all in Russian!

Listen to Rachmaninoff's Vespers.

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Anonymous Chris Hubbs said...

You, sir, are the first person I've ever met who knew and loved Vespers as I do.

+1000 cool points. :-)

5:22 AM  

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