As we write this update, we are grieving with our friends in France and throughout Europe for the tragedy that happened in Nice, France, as well as continuing to process all that Charlie and our colleagues have seen in their time spent working with refugees in Greece.
The depth of this grief, as well as the intensity of the tragedy and loss that we are all witnessing is simply overwhelming. The temptation to give into fear and hopelessness prowls around us in every moment these days.
In the next weeks and months, we are praying for the unfailing peace of our Lord to fill these places and hearts in ways that transcend all understanding. We are also praying for our own clarity as members of the body of Christ regarding His desire for our steps as we are learning to navigate these places. We plan to continue our communications with all of you, and hope we can share more frequent opportunities for prayer and meaningful, thoughtful conversation with you as we are all finding our way.
This month we want to provide an update on Miki’s “next steps” as she transitions out of her sabbatical.
As we shared in our June newsletter, Miki has been accepted into the Master’s of Divinity program at Asbury Seminary, and is planning to begin her online studies in September. We are so grateful that she has also received the Ministry Partner’s Program Scholarship with Asbury. Through this scholarship, over half of her tuition will be covered, on the condition that she is able to raise the remaining balance through gifts and contributions.
Earning this Master’s Degree will naturally open more doors for Miki to be able to partner with European and Russian congregations and ministries through teaching, discipling and counseling.
Miki’s primary purpose for seeking this degree, however, stems from our deepening relationships and service with people who, quite honestly, are not prepared to be involved with a formally established church. Our hearts are increasingly broken for those who express a longing to know of their Father’s love for them, but whose work, heritage, or physical location makes walking into the doors of a church building too difficult, or even dangerous for them and their families.
As we become more engaged with artists, victims of human trafficking, orphans, refugees, and others residing among the “fringe” of our society, we feel an increasing responsibility to strengthen our own theological and biblical education, as well as to deepen our spiritual intimacy with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
Additionally, we are finding ourselves routinely serving people who are struggling with difficult emotional issues, often stemming from abuse and trauma. Through her studies with Asbury Seminary, Miki will also deepen her education in the areas of counseling, pastoral care, and prayer ministry.
Each year, tuition is $17,250 for a full-time student in the Master’s of Divinity program at Asbury Seminary. For the Ministry Partner’s Program, Miki is required to raise a little less than half of that total amount each year, and the remaining balance will be covered by the scholarship.
As of the first of July, Miki has received commitments covering 35% of her goal for her first year. Her hope is to have the balance fully committed by the end of summer, before the start of the first semester. We need your help spreading the word!
Please consider sharing this newsletter with friends and family, your Sunday School classes, small groups, etc. Often churches allocate funds in their yearly budgets for education funding, which is not spent because recipients don’t come forward in the year. Please consider asking your church if funds might be available for supporting Miki.
To support Miki’s studies at Asbury Seminary, whether through a regular, monthly financial commitment, or through a one-time gift on her behalf, there are a couple of options (Note: all gifts are tax-deductible):
– You can use the online form for the Ministry Partner’s Program, which you can find at https://myats.asburyseminary.edu/mpp. On this form you can select Miki’s name from the drop-down list, and indicate the specific amount and method of your gift.
– You can give Tammy Hogan in the Development office at Asbury Seminary a call at 859-858-2238. She can assist you in setting up either a recurring or one-time payment directly to them.
Thank you sincerely for your continued support and prayers for the work and the Church here in Estonia and throughout Europe. We pray that the peace of our Lord will cover and keep you faithfully in these days. Look for an update on Charlie’s visit to Greece in the next couple weeks, as well.
Charlie, Miki, Isabel, Jasper and Celia
Ways to donate to this ministry:
By Check: Send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:
The Mission Society
6234 Crooked Creek Road
Norcross, GA 30092
By Credit/Debit Card: Go to: https://themissionsociety.org/give
In the box noting: “Give to a Missionary”, fill in the amount and 0322 for the “Four-digit Missionary ID#”