This was a gradual process over 10-12 years. First we felt led to support missionaries, both domestic and foreign. Next we often hosted them in our home when we had the opportunity. Then we felt the need to take several short-term mission trips to see how our “investments” were doing. Finally, through taking several trips into Eastern Europe in the late 70’s and early 80’s we knew this was something we were called to get more involved in. Through active board memberships our commitment grew stronger to the point that for 30 years now we have devoted a significant portion of our lives to mission work, primarily in Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and locally at City Rescue Mission work, as a Board Member for 9 years, and Board Chair for 3 years. Carolyn has been heavily involved in women’s evangelism programs and Bible studies, and volunteer work at City Rescue. We can testify to the Scriptural admonition in Matthew 6 “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We started with our treasure invested in missions and our hearts and passion for missions followed. A favorite Bible verse has been 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Mission Administration, Women’s Ministries, Humanitarian Aid, Orphanages, and Entrepreneurial Development for churches to become self-supporting.
FRUIT FROM OUR MINISTRY
With others we have started 3 churches: 2 in Jacksonville and 1 in Russia, co-founded Women for Christ in 1987, and co-founded East West Ministries in 1993. God has blessed the ministry to the extent it is now ministering in 18 countries with a staff of over 60 nationals and expatriates. God has enabled East West to train thousands of men to start churches in their countries and to date over 8,000 churches have been established, often with the help of short-term evangelism trips from America. East West has significant humanitarian aid, orphanage, and social need ministries in over 28 countries and in particular Russia. In Russia alone we have a training ministry to over 1000 women throughout the country as well as MOPS, Al-Anon, Awana, and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. The Mission of East West Ministries is to evangelize and train nationals to start and establish grace oriented, multiplying churches.
For us, specifically, since 1994, we have had the blessing of being personally and directly involved in establishing 16 different ministry initiatives in Voronezh, Russia. These started with 2 training centers that have trained over 60 men resulting in approximately 35 new churches in Voronezh city and region. While this was happening, God has used numerous short-term evangelism campaigns to help start churches in the area as well as evangelistic outreaches in orphanages, universities, and prisons. Over these years we have been able to train, disciple, mentor and empower nationals that have developed work in 10 orphanages, feeding programs for the elderly and orphans, nursing care for old ladies, drug and alcohol rehab programs, Christian TV programs, aided several Christian entrepreneurs in starting businesses that can help support their churches, and started a small revolving loan fund to finance Christian businessmen.
For the believers in Russia and in particular those in Voronezh to be bold in their witness as “salt and light” in a very dark and perverse society.
For the Lord’s provision for the financial needs of those we minister to throughout Russia and in particular Voronezh.
For wisdom, safety, and health as we travel and minister in Russia and America – and that we would truly and humbly reflect the life of Christ in our lives as we serve Him wherever we are.
Call to Christ
Both of us came from church-attending families, but neither of us had any significant Biblical teaching as we grew up. In our late 20’s we were invited to a weekend retreat of a relatively small number of businessmen and wives. Billy Graham and a number of well known Christian business leaders were our speakers for three days. By the end of this conference we both realized our need for a personal encounter with Jesus as Lord and Savior. The last day we made our commitments to Christ together.