February 17, 2005
In 1993, the Moscow Economic School opened its doors in the deadened heart of Communism: Moscow, Russia. Licensed by the Moscow Department of Education, the school stands as one of the most prestigious K-12 institutions in the city, and caters to an elite clientele: the sons and daughters of politicians and wealthy families. From the start, OBU has encouraged many of its best graduates to teach at the Moscow Economic School. Marti Short, ’03, is one such graduate.
“Before coming to Moscow, my idea of ‘missions’ usually involved poor, underprivileged people,” Marti says, “but we have such a great ministry opportunity with the students of this school. Many of them will grow up to be the future leaders of Russia.
“I don’t know that I ever wanted to go to Moscow, I just knew that God was calling me overseas after graduation. I just didn’t know where. I heard about Moscow during a student teaching seminar my senior year. The second I heard about it, I felt God calling me there and began to pray about it.
“I have worked at the school since September 2003. It has been such a magical experience. The first year, I taught English in the kindergarten at the main campus in the city. This year I am teaching English to native English speakers at the campus outside the city. Since there are few native English speakers at our school, the most students I have in one class is three. It is very good for a lot of one-on-one time.
“My faith in God is the whole reason I’m here. I have faith that God has brought me to this place and had all my experiences and encounters planned out. Each day I pray for the encounters I have with the teachers at school. They know us as ‘The Americans,’ but I hope they see something else as well.
“While I was at OBU, I was a music education major, so technically I’m not in my ‘field.’ But the Christ-centered education I received has given me a great foundation to work. All of the teaching techniques I was taught and that I observed from all of my professors at OBU came from a Christian perspective. I am very aware of the difference now that I am teaching. My approach to teaching and especially my approach to discipline are different from my Russian colleagues. I was taught to deal with each child with love, specifically Christ’s love.
“I am so thankful God has brought me here. He has blessed me more than I ever could imagine – with amazing friends and a church full of families I can turn to for anything. I am excited to see and be involved in all the work God is doing and will do in Moscow, Russia.”
Meanwhile in Nizhni Novgorod, OBU senior Angela Neubert is concentrating in Spanish Education and is bent to learn the Russian language and context as well. Angela is spending the spring semester in the Russian city, 250 miles east-southeast of Moscow. Before her travels began, she shared her thoughts about the journey ahead.
“I will be studying at the University of Nizhni Novgorod in Nizhni Novgorod,” Angela says. “It is the third largest city in Russia behind Moscow and St. Petersburg. I plan to take 16 hours of classes, which include 6 hours of Russian. I am most excited about the opportunity to learn the language. The other classes include the history of religion in Russia, primarily the Russian Orthodox church; the peoples, culture, and literature of Russia; and looking at Russia in its transition since the fall of Communism. I’ll also be participating in weekly community service projects and taking field trips to many museums and cultural sites, and even touring the home of famed author Leo Tolstoy.
“While I am excited about these opportunities, my sole reason for going is because this is where God has called me to right now. I do not know exactly how all of it fits into my future, but I am eager to see how he will grow me through this experience. I’m not sure what to expect. I know it will be an incredible time, even though I remain slightly concerned about not knowing the language, and I’m a little weary about the weather. I don’t enjoy the cold, so Russia in January is a little daunting. But, overall, I want this to be something God can use in any way possible to ultimately accomplish his will for my life.”