Steamboat Springs Mike and Becca Sherrill never anticipated going back to school so soon.
In the fall they will find themselves once again immersed in books and their studies.
Their classroom, however, will be far from home.
The couple is leaving Steamboat Springs behind in less than a month to spend a year with strangers.
Their destination is Krasnodar, Russia, where they will work with college students.
Kuban State University attracts about 23,000 students a year.
Mike and Becca Sherrill will study the Russian language at the university, along with six other men and women from Colorado.
But the team of eight doesn't plan to just study the spoken word and customs of a people they have never met.
They intend to immerse themselves in the culture so they can develop meaningful, lasting friendships with the students of Kuban State University.
Preparation for the yearlong stay began back in February, when the Sherrills first delved into the Russian language with the help of a local woman who agreed to tutor them.
Tamara Bereznak did not learn English until she attended kindergarten. Her parents were born in Russia and moved to the United States.
She majored in Russian studies in college.
A phone call from the Russia-bound couple gave Bereznak an opportunity to share her knowledge of the language and culture.
The Sherrills have learned such necessary information as the alphabet, numbers, basic vocabulary and common expressions.
The teacher usually meets once a week with her students for an hour to an hour and a half.
"Any more than that and you have the law of diminishing returns," Bereznak laughed.
Lessons will likely get more intense as the Sherrills' Aug. 22 departure date draws near, she said, and include some practice in Russian grammar, which can be a frustrating experience.
They have also studied the culture on the Internet, read books about the country and talked to other people familiar with Russia around town.
Mike and Becca Sherrill look forward to spreading a message of hope to the young people of Krasnodar.
Only 2 percent of the entire Russian population goes to college, so the couple looks at the journey to Russia as an opportunity to impact tomorrow's leaders in Russia.
Russian youths are faced with incredible change stemming from the fall of Communism, Becca Sherrill said.
The couple hopes to share their faith in God to people who stand at a moral crossroads.
They expect challenges but even greater rewards.
"We really want to share with them the difference that God has made in our lives," Becca Sherrill said.
They leave a comfortable life behind. Mike, 26, was the vice president of Vectra Bank and Becca, 25, worked for Prudential Reality.
The couple must raise about $45,000 for the trip.
They have been blessed, they said, by the generosity of friends and family and their community.
People who would still like to support their ministry in Russia can contact them at 871-2081
or e-mail email@example.com.