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2010 - September-December PDF Print E-mail


239 Duke Road

Columbia, La. 71418

(318) 649-7720


September - December 2010



Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  We pray that God is blessing and helping each of you by His grace!  So many changes have happened throughout the year, and we are still in the process of adjusting.  We appreciate your faithful prayers and kind encouragement as we have had so many decisions to make over the last few months, and so much to think about.  Please continue to pray for us always. 


Before you begin reading our news I would like to remind everyone that we are working in some sensitive areas and it is best that some things are left unsaid for security and ministry sake.  You are welcome to contact us for more details.



Alec, our Chinese friend in the ministry, spent a few months in China with his daughter before summer camps, and then returned to Ukraine to bring his daughter back, and to work with us for summer camps. After summer, he returned with his little girl to China and got involved in work there.  After we came home to America for a short time after summer camps, Shane was able to go to China with Bro. Robin Causey for a couple of weeks.  Shane and Bro. Robin report that Alec and his family are doing very well.  Please pray for Alec!


Yeagor, one of our faithful interpreters and young Christian church leaders from Ukraine, has begun his studies in China at one of the largest Chinese universities.  When Shane went to China to visit with Alec, he thought that Yeagor would be able to go with them as interpreter, but once they arrived, Yeagor's teacher would not allow him to miss his classes.  We were thankful that his plane tickets were reimbursed.  Yeagor writes on a regular basis and reports that he is doing very well.  He meets with a group, and has been asked to speak every other week.  He has even appeared on a national Chinese television show.  We were so amazed at how popular that boy has become!  One kid in the audience was even waving a sign with a picture of Yeagor's face.  In a letter, he told us of some of his experiences, and how God has given him favor so that he no longer must search to find someone to listen to him.  They are now coming to him to hear what he has to say.  He has had some struggles, but God is giving him grace to love the Chinese people, & to be a faithful witness by his life and testimony.  Please pray for Yeagor as God continues to work in his life.


Two other Ukrainian young ladies who worked with us in summer camps are also working or studying in China.  Shane was able to visit with them also.  Please pray for them...for God to guide them and keep them safe as He works in their lives.






In early October, Shane wrote a short letter to our board members and close associates of the ministry explaining what was on our hearts.  The following is some of what he wrote:


"Marilyn and I are preparing for a change.  It has been over five years since we moved to Ukraine.  While we feel we have more work to do there, we believe we have, to a large extent, fulfilled the things God led us to do.  We believe it is presently time to relocate our home base from Ukraine to the US, and we feel God has confirmed our decision in several ways.


Our present plans are sketchy, as we are exploring options and seeking the will of the Lord before tying ourselves down in opportunities here.  If we are not careful, our plans could keep us out of His plans.  There is so much to do, but 'good is the enemy of best' so we are trying to prevent being caught in a trap of running in circles, talking about what needs to be done instead of doing it.  Saying 'yes' to one thing is saying 'no' to others, and we have been in the ministry long enough to know the 'barrenness of busyness'.


I feel we need to be open to work in new regions, while at the same time, I am feeling led to make return visits to some of the places we have been involved with through the years, in both the US and abroad...  We have a broad base in the US, and I have special interest in trying to structure things that will help stimulate work with Children and youth.  We see many churches struggling, and not just only small ones.  Even worse, some are not struggling at all to accomplish the 'great commission' here at home.  I keep thinking about the things we are trying to do to start new groups overseas, while here at home, folks are just deciding it is easier to fit into centralized churches, and are sometimes leaving whole communities with little or no witness.  With modern transportation, driving 25 miles to church is not an issue for most people, but going a few miles, or even less, for children or others who can't drive, is nearly impossible.


My present thought is to spend about half of my time in the US, close to home, and about half in travel.  I would like to coordinate mission plans in Ukraine next summer, and to organize small group efforts to help the local churches accomplish their mission there.  We have seen great things through the large children's camps, but we feel it is now time to help the local church come to action, doing the things they can do to conduct local ministry themselves.  There will continue to be few local churches in Ukraine until we do things that will help bring locals together in fellowship for God's purpose.


Several years ago I tried to define what I felt as my calling, and it basically translates to being a type of pastor to leaders such as missionaries and small church pastors, and to mission posts or small church groups.  Missionaries often feel forgotten, and there are few pastors who can relate to their problems.  My desire is to be an encouragement to everyone I meet.  We believe this is the direction we are to minister in this stage of life, and will pursue this path as God makes the way.  Please feel free to contact me.  The best method is e-mail and we can then arrange a meeting or a phone call."


After returning to Ukraine, on the first day back there, the lady who owns our village store asked to look at our home in Ukraine, hoping to buy it.  That day, the agreement was made, and I had to begin the process of cleaning up and out.  I think that was one of the most stressful times in our life.  Although we were happy to be going home to be with family and friends, we were also so sad to think of a complete ending of our life in our village and with the people and the place that we have grown to love.  It was our home!  So many good memories were made with our family and friends there!  My heart was broken to think of leaving...maybe forever!  I'll have to admit that I was not convinced that selling our home was the right thing to do, but there were things that Shane was considering in thoughts of keeping it.  First--Victor, the man who had been so faithful as our house guard for the last five years, had begun drinking again, and we weren't sure if he would be able to stop so that we could count on him to help with the upkeep and guarding when we were away for long periods of time, or if someone else stayed there while we were living far away.  He had gone through this process a few times, but he had recovered and had been doing well for the last two years.  He's such a good man whenever he isn't drinking, and he isn't unkind when he is drinking, but he is not reliable as a worker at those times.  Victor has been like a grandpa to Caleb & like an uncle for us.  Such a sweet person!  He's had his funny ways, but he's been good, honest, and faithful, for the most part. Second, Shane was not sure if living so far in a village would be best for the young lady who would have remained there to do ministry with the villagers and orphanage.  We were concerned that she might experience some of the same hardships in the village as we have had in the past...such as the water lines completely freezing for months at the time during the winter season...or being snowed into the village for days at a time.  These things aren't so bad when you're not alone, but for a young lady alone, it might be much more difficult.


So...the decision was made to sell out.  We'd brought many supplies from the camp for storage after closing the summer camps, so we had much work to do to get it all dispersed to other missionaries, schools, doctors, hospitals, orphanages, and churches...and some of it was saved in storage at a small building at one of our interpreter's home.  We spent long hours packing, boxing, sacking, and hauling supplies.  During the last week we were there, some men from the village came to buy the jeep...literally, no questions asked.  They were happy with the deal even after Shane told them all the problems we have had.  I was sad to see it drive away for the last time. It had been quite a headache during our time in Ukraine, but it had also been a big blessing.  Even that jeep will hold good memories of bouncing through the fields, over the bumpy roads, and through the slick ice and snow.  I remember one time we had decided to go to the lake with a couple of American girls who were working with us during the summer, and we had a little orphan girl who came along with us.  Her name was Oksana.  Somehow, we'd gotten off the path and onto a place where the dirt had been piled up in rows as in a garden.  We got to bouncing so high that Oksana literally flew to the ceiling and into the next person's lap.  She didn't laugh at first, but we were all cracking up, so after a minute so she lightened up as well.  Another time, Shane decided the jeep could make it through a deep gully of snow over some hills to the Bele orphanage.  Once he knew we couldn't make it, he was stuck going forward until he could get turned around.  We got so bogged down that we were spinning and tossing, but Shane kept on 'til we were finally free and going back the way we came.  Still another event happened this summer with me driving the jeep to the hilltop for camp church services one night.  We usually stopped for church in front of a big bush and a fox hole, but the weeds were so high that it was hard to see the path.  I just followed all the walkers, and drove to the place where everyone was standing, but didn't see a huge hole.  I had handed a bottle of frozen juice to Vitalic, one of the boys riding with us.  He was sitting in the back seat with Kayla, one of the American girls who came for the summer.  The jeep landed, "kerplunk," into the big hole, and when it did, that juice shot out of the bottle all the way from one side of the jeep to the other, all over poor Kayla.  The hole was really deep and on the side of the's a wonder it didn't roll down the hill with us all in it.  Max, our sports director, thought it was so funny!  He teased that he wouldn't be riding back with me to the camp!  Ha-ha!  We had to get some big Russian men to help us lift it out of the hole after church service was finished that evening.  It was a tough machine, but like I said, it had given us so many headaches that our local mechanic finally told us that HE would pay US if we would NOT bring it back for him to fix again.  Ha-ha!





Because getting a visa for India took longer than expected, we were delayed getting back to Ukraine yet again. We were thankful to Forrest Ferdon and Lori Jackson for the work they did to make the fall camp happen. This camp is actually sponsored by Student Life from Alabama.  This was about the fourth year of fall orphan camp, but it was the very first time we'd ever had the camp activities at the orphanage instead of at the camp grounds.  We no longer had the camp grounds, so we decided to have a day-camp at the orphanage instead of a sleep-in camp.  


We were a little disappointed that there were so few children left at the orphanage for camp.  I think the most we had any day was about 20 children.  With other missionaries, interpreters, the group from America, Shane, and me, we had about as many workers most days as we had children.  Each day, we drove to the city where the group was staying in Forrest and Darcy's ministry apartment, and then Forrest and Shane drove the team to the orphanage, arriving at about 9:00 AM.  We had a type of VBS with the kids, and Darcy and Helen were faithful to cook soup and sandwiches for the group and for the extra kids who came from the village and ate with us each day.


We had music, games, Bible study, crafts, lunch, and then worship and preaching.  The kids really seemed to thrive with the one-on-one attention.  Although the camp was expensive per child, it was good that we could give them the attention they long for.  Many of the kids from Belerechinka have been adopted during the last 5 1/2 years we've lived in Ukraine.  We joke that the kids are all living in Alabama now because so many of the Student Life team members have met the kids and then ended up adopting them.  These kids are really precious, and in this particular orphanage, the workers are very kind to the kids.  Many workers treat them like their own.  Through the years, most of the kids have been given the opportunity to attend summer camp at Camp Friendship even years before we directed the camps, and since we directed the camps, many of the workers at Belerechinka have also been faithfully working with us at camp as well.  We developed a close friendship with many of the workers, and grew to love them.  Since we returned to America, we have really missed the kids and their caretakers, and we look forward to when we can return to Ukraine to visit.  There were some whose future parents were in the process of adopting them, so we may never see those kids again, but some parents we have friendships with & hope to be able to continue to visit them from time to time in the United States.


We are happy to report that we personally know about eight to ten older orphans who have been adopted by Christian families from America.  One of these kids was actually brought to us in Ukraine a little over a year after we moved there.  A young man who grew up as an orphan himself, and who had become a teacher, asked if we could help him.  This boy was literally walking out of his shoes when he came to us.  At sixteen, he'd been given a small amount of money and turned out of the orphanage since he had not been successful in a technical college the government had helped him attend.  We had a lot of room at the camp, and there were always guards and workers there, so we set up a room for him at the camp and began to keep a watch on him every day.  Shane spent a lot of time teaching him different skills at the camp, and then a young American couple met him and his sister at the Fall camp that year.  From that meeting, they were given a home in America. We are proud of both of them.  His sister is growing up to be a sweet and pretty young lady, and although the young man has had a lot of growing pains in life, he is struggling to become a man.  He is now working, has bought a car, and is living on his own.  Please pray for him & for his sister, and also for all of these young people who are learning to become productive adults in our society.  Pray that they will look to Christ in every decision they make, and also please continue to pray for the other orphans who remain in orphanages around Ukraine...and in other parts of the world.



Upon our arrival in October, we were happy to find that the Lugansk city group of Believers were thriving.  Anya, a young lady we've worked with since the first year we were in Ukraine, was left responsible for organizing and making sure there was someone to speak & someone to interpret every Sunday.


In the past Curly Yeagor, along with Blond Yuri, were very responsible to carry on the services each time we were gone, but Yeagor is now in China and Yuri is attending a Bible school in Kiev.  Yuri has been able to travel back to Lugansk every other week to speak & lead the services there, and while he is there, he is also able to visit his family who live in Lugansk.


Yuri is attending Bible school for the second year, and is now engaged to an American girl named Madison who has been helping in camps with us for the last four years.  Madison is the daughter of Randy and Valerie Hall from Student Life in Birmingham, Alabama.  We ask that you pray for this young couple that God will guide them in their new life together. 


We're not sure who will step up to take the lead in the city group.  So many are going out to other places and even to other countries.  One mid aged man who has been attending for most of the time we have formed this group has shown potential for leadership, but he does not express a desire to teach or pastor.  He testifies quite often, and is such a blessing to all.  His name is Andrea.  He became a Christian while he was in Siberia, and when he came back to Ukraine, he and his family found our group of believers to join with.  We have often wondered why he never used a Bible or spoke a lot about the scripture, but recently he humbly testified of how he is not able to read well. He spoke of how God was guiding him with the Holy Spirit in how he needs to walk in life, and that although he is not able to read well, he is thankful that God has been teaching him by His Holy Spirit guidance.  We were surprised because he is such a blessing and it is so obvious how he has matured and grown in the Lord over the past few years.  We remembered that we had brought one of the Bible listening devices for an older gentleman in the village, but decided that Andrea might benefit from it more since we'd already given the older man some tapes of the Bible.  Please continue to pray for this mission group in Ukraine, that God will guide their steps and that He will provide the leadership they need.


We are planning to hold smaller VBS type events in a few places this summer in the Lugansk region.  If you are interested in helping please contact us soon.



I had mentioned that over the last year or so, we have had a young lady staying with us in our village home.  She had come to visit last summer, and then ended up staying and working with us for the whole summer.  The sale of the apartment where she had been renting caused her to have the need to move, so after getting a word from God, she moved to the village with us.  She worked with us in the village and at the camps all summer this year.  Everyone in the village and in camp grew to love this young lady as did we as well.  I don't think I have ever met a more precious young missionary in my whole life!  Lori also reminds me very much of our own daughter Mary.  So many ways so very similar!  I believe that anyone who meets Lori grows to love her very quickly!  She plans to find a place to live in Lugansk, and will continue to work at Belerechinka orphanage, with the city mission group, and she plans to continue to visit the village where we lived as often as possible.  Please pray for Lori as she continues to work with our precious friends of Ukraine that God will protect her and give her strength and courage to keep pressing on!  This month she is in America serving as the maid of honor in her best friend's wedding, and then she'll be returning to her post just before Christmas. 



Shane just returned from a trip to India to visit with co-laborers and friends there.  The past two years they have suffered much from violent persecution resulting in the loss of many lives, most homes, and  possessions of thousands of believers in that region.  We were able to help with some relief (tons of rice) and Shane was blessed and encouraged by the ministry of Bro. Moses Shah and his circle of friends and family.  Please pray for these people as they struggle in their recovery.  There is much to be said about the events that took place there, but we feel it is best not publicised at this time.  The believers are trying to “press on,” forgiving the past and seeking God’s intervention for a new future.  While this situation does not allow for details in a newsletter, I would be glad to talk personally with interested parties .  We are also planning a youth camp there in May.  If you are interested please contact us very soon for more information.



Because of our need to spend more time here in the United States for at least a while, I am excited to report that God has opened an opportunity for me to begin a music ministry while we are stationed here.  For some time, I have been bothered by how it seems that the old gospel hymns are being set aside for other more "up-to-date" music. Although I am not against all new praise songs and contemporary music, I have a desire to begin a praise and worship group that will incorporate the gospel hymns into a music ministry.  We have purchased a new keyboard, and I am now praying that God will guide us in our next direction of gathering a group of people who desire to bring glory to God, not only in song, but also in their own personal lives as well.  My hope is to bring excitement and opportunity to worship God with song in a way that will bury sweet gospel hymns and new meaningful words into the hearts of the young and old alike.  Please pray for me as I step out into this new ministry...that God will be my guide, and that He will be glorified in all that we do.


We have been visiting different church services over the last few weeks whenever Shane is home, and will continue to try to visit as we can.  Because we are working in some sensitive situations and areas of ministry, we cannot give long details of everything we are involved in, but we would be glad to come to give a full report of the ministry.  It is best if you will email us at, but if you cannot email, you can try calling us at (318) 649-7720.  Shane will also be glad to preach whenever he is available on Sundays or Wednesdays.


God Bless you all, and we pray that you will all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


                                                                             Keep Pressing on!

                                                                             Shane and Marilyn Duke

                                                                             Crossover Ministries Associates

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