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In year nine at school, I read ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, about a day in 1951 of a Russian prisoner in one of Stalin’s gulags. Many, if not most, of those imprisoned in remote labour camps were political dissidents, foreigners, or people who held beliefs (including religious) that were contrary to the Soviet regime. In such a harsh environment, a hidden scrap of bread, extra rations, or a piece of metal — things critical for survival in horrendous conditions — can take a significance much greater than we can possibly imagine. On this day, one of 3,653 days of his sentence, Shukhov (Ivan) avoids solitary confinement and gets extra rations, so almost has a happy day. He is not a religious man, but thanks God for getting him through another day. Alyoshka, a Baptist fellow inmate who gives without expecting anything in return, encourages Shukhov to focus on spiritual things, and Shukhov shares a biscuit with him. Who knows what the next day will bring…

After looking at how mission has developed over recent decades with the theme of ‘Trends in World Mission’ in 2016, the theme this year is ‘A Day in the Life’. We will focus on single days of some of our cross-cultural workers, who will present one day in their lives on the mission field. It may be a routine day, a day that they often repeat while overseas, yet is still significantly different from what they or we would experience back in Australia. Or it may describe a special event or a memorable series of circumstances on a particular day during their missionary journey. In contrast to last year’s more chronologically lengthy perspective, this year we look at personal snapshots. May these more intimate insights encourage and challenge us in terms of what is being done on the mission field, and what we can do to support those workers and their ministries — or even prompt us to directly participate in them.

Andrew Chan

CURRENT ARTICLES

In journalist Peter Stefanovic’s interesting book ‘Hack in a Flak Jacket’, he reflects on the...
For most of the year we have a very BIG family. We have three children of our own (aged 11, 13 and...
I thought writing computer programs for a mission agency would be easier than doing it for a...
Living in this fallen world, we all have stress. It may be in the home, the workplace or within...
One of my favourite T-shirts is ‘The many moods of a (Star Wars) stormtrooper’. ‘Angry’, ‘Happy’,...