Missionary of the Church of the Nazarnene in the CIS

The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 signaled the opening of the previously unreachable Soviet Union and its satellites to new mission opportunities.

The excitement generated by this new field prompted the World Mission department of the Church of the Nazarene to initiate contact with the Union of Evangelical Christians/Baptist in Moscow to obtain help with our emerging work in this part of the world. Contacts were initiated and nurtured with the Baptists by Rev. Hermann Gschwandtner and Nikolaj Sawatzky, assisted by Regional Director Dr. Franklin Cook and Director of the World Mission department Dr. Robert Scott.

In January 1992, a delegation led by General Superintendent Dr. Jerald Johnson and Dr. Cook came to Moscow and signed a non-binding document of cooperation with the President of the Union Evangelical Christians/Baptist, Rev. Logvinenko. As a result, Rev. Logvinenko assisted the Church of the Nazarene in getting officially registered in Russia. In turn, the Church of the Nazarene helped the Union build their new headquarters building.

Jim and Donna Welchly were sent to Kyiv to register the Church of the Nazarene in the Ukraine. They started the first Church of the Nazarene in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Kyiv February 1992. They left the field in November 1992.

Roy and Caroline Campbell came in the Spring of 1992 as volunteers to coordinate four Work and Witness (W&W) teams that were coming in the summer. The first three teams worked on the “Baptist Building,” while the fourth team worked on the Nazarene offices. The Campbells were later asked to stay as Specialized Assignment missionaries for W&W coordination. The Campbells finished their assignment and left the Field in July of 1994, to return three years later to help coordinate the completion of the youth center building located south of Moscow.

Chuck and Carla Sunberg were sent to be the long term missionaries to Russia in July 1992. They started the first church in Moscow in August 1992. Chuck served also as CIS Field Strategy Coordinator, while Carla served first as NCM Coordinator, then as Education Coordinator. The Sunbergs returned to the USA in May 2005.

David and Shelly Hayes were sent to Kyiv in October of 1992. It was their job to take over for the Welchlys who had come to get things started and registered. The Hayeses returned home in February 1994.

Michael and Do-ye Park arrived in Moscow in February 1993. They were sponsored by the Seoul (Korea) Bethel CON. They started a church on the north side of Moscow in August 1993. In May of 1996 they moved to Astana, Kazakstan to begin the work there. Under their leadership other churches were established. They returned home in 2010.

Lonnie and Connie Norris arrived as volunteer missionaries to Volgograd, Russia in August of 1993. The work in Volgograd was initiated by a Church of the Nazarene layman named Don Weber, whose family were Russian Germans living in the Volga Region. Lonnie and Connie served as directors of the Volgograd Area, and Lonnie served at District Superintendent of the Russia South District. They returned to the USA in 2001. In 2011 they were appointed as Field Strategy Coordinators, a position they held until September 2013.

Clarence and Sue Rose arrived in June of 1994 as volunteer missionaries taking the assignment of Roy and Caroline Campbell. Living in Moscow, the Roses coordinated Work and Witness and served as Field Treasurer. Sue served as an English teacher in the EFL program. The Roses completed their service on the field September 1995.

Jay and Teanna Sunberg arrived in August of 1994 as specialized assignment missionaries to Moscow. Their specific assignment was to provide Pastoral training and leadership in Moscow First Church. This assignment later changed to Church Planting and directing the Theological Education courses in the Moscow Area. The Sunbergs moved to a new assignment on the Balkan Field in September 1998.

David Best served as part-time interim missionary to Kyiv during the transition period of 1994-1995.

Bob and Colleen Skinner were assigned as Area Directors for the Ukraine in the summer of 1994 but would not arrive on the Field until the fall of 1995. Bob served as District Superintendent of the Ukraine District, and Field Strategy Coordinator for CIS from 2005 to 2009. The Skinners moved to Budapest in 2012.

Jonathan and Kathryn Mowry were assigned as missionaries to the CIS Field in February of 1994. After completing the first stage of language study they moved to Kyiv, Ukraine to coordinate the Field’s Theological education programs. In October 1998 they moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. John became the Area Director of our work in St. Petersburg and Kathy continued to direct the theological education program for the CIS Field. The Mowrys returned to the US in the Fall of 2004.

Milton and Michelle Karahadian were assigned as missionaries to the CIS Field in February of 1994. After completing full-time language study they moved to St. Petersburg, Russia to begin the work in that city. After planting the church in St. Petersburg, due to family difficulties, it became necessary for them to move back to America.

Linda Russell, a school teacher from Boise, Idaho, arrived on the field in August 1995 to serve as a volunteer EFL teacher. After the Roses left, Linda assumed the role of Field Treasurer. In addition to that she serves as Field Office Manager, VBS coordinator, and continues to teach EFL classes.

Cinda Kammerman came to the Field in March of 1996. She lived in Volgograd, Russia until January 1997 where she studied Russian language, full-time. In January 1997 she moved to Astana, Kazakstan to assist the Parks. From there, she moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where lived until 2004 and helped establish the Church of the Nazarene. She then moved to St. Petersburg, Russia until 2007, when she returned to the US for further studies.

Charlie and Phyllis Hardison arrived in Kyrgyzstan May of 1998. Charlie, a medical doctor, worked with the government to train family practice physicians. The Hardisons returned to the US in 2011.