We once again started our morning with a devotional over Romans 10:8-10 and Matthew 28:16-20. We were reminded that although we may have a language barrier with the people of Samara, we can still form a relationship through the presence of God. Jeff left after our devotional to go shopping for food he can prepare tomorrow for the people served from the soup kitchen run by the church. The rest of us had breakfast at the hotel together before heading out for our day in the city.
We were split up into groups for cars to ride around the city in. Our first stop was at an overlook of the Volga River where a statue honored the aeronautic history of the Samarans. There was also a tomb very similar to our Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, remembering those who fought and were lost in the Great Patriotic War. From there we had the chance to visit a Russian Orthodox Church. When we entered, women had to cover their heads with scarves. The inside was very ornate with marble covered in gold and many icons covering the marble. We each lit candles at the altar. Here are pictures from the overlook and the outside of the Orthodox Church:
We then visited a space museum where we learned the history of Russian space travel and rocket building. Samara is known for manufacturing parts of the rocketships and we got to see some old space satellites that had been made and used by the military. In the museum they had pressed metal made in Samara that is typically used for the fuel tanks of rockets. The tour guide was very proud of the history Samara had in aeronautics and made sure we understood how important their contributions have been.
One of the most popular places to visit in Samara is another overlook of the Volga River, from which we could see a few islands and campsites along the river. Being such a beautiful location, we saw at least 4 brides and grooms getting wedding pictures taken here. We joined the fun and decided to take a group picture. The first is just our Cincinnati team, and the second is with the group that drove and accompanied us today. Max, unfortunately, was taking the picture so he is absent from the photo.
From here we went to a nice outdoor restaurant for lunch. It sprinkled a little bit, but we all managed to scoot under cover and stay dry. Meals have been a fun place for conversations about interesting foods Russians typically eat. Doug has decided he will try anything once, so today’s adventurous food was a soup filled with multiple types of sausages. When it was first brought up, one of the ladies with us made a gagging noise and vocalized how much she dislikes it. Doug, however, enjoyed the dish, so we’re yet to find something that he doesn’t like. Yesterday we all tried a drink made from fermented bread- definitely not as good as the soup, but we were all able to finish the tastes we were given.
Before we begin telling you about the second half of our day we’d like to take this time and address the driving situation over here. (Mom, feel free to skip this paragraph) First off, they do drive on the right side of the road, but that’s where similarities between our countries ends on this topic. There are no stop signs, and very few traffic lights and lane lines. Drivers typically weave in and out wherever they can find room. Since there are so few traffic lights, intersections are quite entertaining to watch, but not drive in. Pedestrians cross the street whenever they need and cars are expected to stop for them. I captured a video when we were waiting for the tram yesterday. It’s not the best quality, but you’ll get the idea. Max makes an appearance, so shout out to him.
We went back to the church where we were greeted by a reception of fresh fruit and baked goods made by a member of the congregation. After this time, we met with the leaders of the church about their roles and then Doug gave a presentation on how they can continue to grow their ministry. To conclude our time with them today we had a barbecue dinner outside the church with what we would consider metts, salad, corn, peas, and bread. It’s interesting to see their takes on our popular meals. We had an earlier night than last night, which we all needed because the traveling and our activities have definitely caught up with us. Thanks for continuing to follow our journey and check back tomorrow for another update!