Skip to main content

Collection 237 Records of the Slavic Gospel Association

 Collection
Identifier: CN-237
Correspondence, minutes, prayer letters, audio tapes, films, and other materials documenting the work of the Slavic Gospel Association. Records deal with the early career of Peter Deyneka Sr.; work of individual missionaries; long range planning for the mission; radio ministry; literature publication and distribution; and evangelism in Europe, North America and South America. Collection contains significant information about the church in eastern Europe. Most of the documents in the collection are post-1974.

[NOTE: In the Scope & Content section, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

The records in Collection 237 consist of the later files of the Slavic Gospel Association along with a few private papers of the Deyneka family. There isvery little in the collection about the SGA before the mid-1970's, except for fund raising letters, photographs, films, and some other items. From the mid-1970's on, the files describe the activities of SGA workers in Europe, South America, and North America; the educational ministries of the mission including the Institute for Slavic Studies; the radio work and the audience response; and the administrative structure of the organization. There is also some information, such as clippings, on Russia and the church in Russia.

Types of paper records include correspondence, deputation reports, trip reports, minutes of meetings, memos, lists, and newsletters. The collection also has films (mostly home movies taken by Peter Deyneka Sr. of his travels) and tapes of radio programs. The file arrangement used by the SGA has been maintained where possible and most of the folder titles are those used by the mission. However, some material was not in folders and had to be organized by thearchivist. He also divided the collection into ten series: personal material of the Deyneka family, correspondence of the general director and theassociate general director, administrative and financial records, general correspondence, international offices' files (including reports on the Alaskan work), files of the European ministries department, files of missionaries and national workers, radio work files, and educational work files. The contents of these different sections are described below. The audio tapes, films, photographs, and phonograph records are described in the separation records found elsewhere in this guide.

*****

I. Deyneka Personal Material. boxes 1 and 2.

Because the story of the SGA is so closely interwoven with that of the Deyneka family, many items in this section document the mission's history as well. Folder 1-1 contains some early letters to Peter Deyneka Sr. (PD Sr), a note from Bob Jones Sr. indicating that Deyneka is educational secretary for Bob Jones College, a xerox of the 1936 form incorporating the Russian Gospel Association, programs and letters from PD Sr's trips to Taiwan and South America, copies or originals of letters from Svetlana Alliluyeva (Joseph Stalin's daughter), Billy Graham, the Vatican, Abe Van Der Puy, and Warren Wiersbe, mainly thanking PD Sr for his help on various matters. Folders 1-2 and 1-3 contain course work in Biblical topics done by PD Sr for courses he took from World Wide Christian Couriers and the St. Paul Bible College. There is also a folder of lyrics and music (1-4) for Russian songs. Folder 1-5 contains greetings sent to Deyneka on his 80th birthday by many evangelical leaders such as Torrey Johnson, Mervin Rosell, Stephen Olford, George Sweeting, Jack Wyrtzen, Oswald Smith, Bob Cook, Warren Wiersbe, and others. Several folders contain drafts of chapters of Peter Dynamite, the biography of PD Sr by his son Peter Deyneka Jr. (PD Jr). Folder 2-16 contains some prayer letters of PD Sr from 1979-1981 and folder 2-14 has prayer letters from his son, two from his years as a missionary in South America during the 1950's and others from 1979-1981. Folder 2-15 contains some undated deputation reports of PD Sr.

*****

II. Correspondence of the General Director and the Associate General Director. boxes 2 through 9.

The files in this section contain the letters that the Deyneka's, senior and junior, wrote and received as chief executives of SGA. A large portion of the documents in these files, as in other files throughout the collection, are in Russian. For a brief time from 1974 to 1977, PD Jr had the title of associate general director. This was the transition period during which his father was getting ready for retirement and PD Jr was taking over his responsibilities. Most of the earliest files in this series, up to 1973, are letters to and from Andrew Semenchik, the SGA's field director, about his activities. There is one interesting folder (2-17) that contains information on PD Sr's attempts to help Billy Graham arrange for a preaching tour in Russia in the late 1950's. From 1974 on, the files are very complete and cover such topics as ministry possibilities, new literature, fund raising, recruitment of missionaries, administrative changes, and relations with other missions. A large portion of this series consists of itineraries for the Deynekas' many trips to visit missionaries and/or attend conferences. Material within each folder is usually in rough (very rough) alphabetical order. Listed below for each year are some of the many topics covered in the correspondence:

1974: Slavic Bible School (Instituto Biblico Eslavo) in Argentina, fortieth anniversary celebration of SGA (letters from George Sweeting, Robert Bowman, Billy Graham, Torrey Johnson, Hyman Appelman, Oswald Smith, Bob Cook, Warren Wiersbe, Paul Freed, Harold Ockenga), the International Congress on World Evangelism held in Lausanne and their search for participants from Hungary and Bulgaria, various mission projects in Europe, a paper by Elizabeth Lewshenia on suggested administrative changes at SGA, the need for a training school for Christian workers to the Communist world.

1975: Requests for information on becoming a missionary; possible new headquarters site in Wheaton, IL; Jack Shalanko; transition from PD Sr to PD Jr; the church in Yugoslavia; the need for Bibles in Russian; the Russian Orthodox church; Billy Graham; Slaviska Missionen of Sweden.

1976: Church-mission relations, radio ministry, needs of the mission's work in Alaska, possible recruits for the mission, the church in east Germany, Christian literature in Russian, travel plans; work in Poland.

1977: Bible translation for the Uighur people, contacts with SGA branch in Britain, Cliff Barrows and the possibility of a Russian version of the "Hour of Decision" radio program, work in Alaska, Slavic Bible School (Instituto Biblico Eslavo) in Argentina, Mennonite work with Soviet Jews, David C. Cook Publishing, radio station HCJB, the Bible in Ukrainian, financial support for SGA workers, Peter Trutza and the development of the Romanian Missionary Society.

1978: Regulations governing religious organizations in Austria, Eric Barrett, Cliff Barrows and the possibility of a Russian version of the "Hour of Decision" radio program, joint project with Trans World Radio for a radio seminar for Russian-German students, SGA's Australian branch, SGA's British branch, Campus Crusade for Christ, Harvie M. Conn, David C. Cook Publishing, exporting concordances to Russia, revisions of the SGA constitution, Far East Broadcasting, Eugene Grosman, report on the registered and unregistered church in Russia, Keston College and the Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, the German mission Licht im Osten, work with Open Doors with Brother Andrew, proposal of Claudia Shaw on audience research for Russian broadcasts, Michael Wurmbrand and Jesus to the Communist World.

1979: Georgi Vins, Far East Broadcasting, survey of listeners to Christian radio broadcasts in Russia, HCJB, minutes of a board meeting of the United States branch of Keston College's Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism, liaison with the Mennonite Committee on Christian literature in eastern Europe.

1980: Letter to Cliff Barrows about tapes of Billy Graham's upcoming trip to Russia, liaison with the Mennonite Committee on Christian literature in eastern Europe, thank you letters to donors, the Evangelium Rundfunk in Germany, David Foster of Euro Vangelism, correspondence with donor churches, Georgi Vins, general letter to Alexander Solzhenitsyn praising him for his work.

*****

III. Administrative and Financial Records. boxes 9 through 14.

The files in this series deal with the running of the organization rather than the results of its ministry, although some files deal with reporting, evaluation, and planning functions.

Folder 9-14 contains a few annual reports from the mid-1970's and 1980. These tend to be very brief and general, but they do offer an overview of all of SGA's activities. The files of the assistant director Andrew Semenchuk (9-15 to 10-19) cover the years 1979 and 1980 and deal with relations with donors, contacts with churches, attendance at conferences, the work of various missionaries, and other topics similar to those covered by the general director. There are also a few letters from the period before Semenchuk became assistant director and was west coast representative of the mission. There are a couple folders (10-20, 11-1) of the business manager's correspondence which deals largely with financial matters: receipts for donations, discussion of permissible expenses, discussion of retirement plans, the duplication and distribution of missionaries' prayer letters, purchase of supplies, discussion of the mission's tax-exempt status, etc. File 11-2 contains a few items related to plans to computerize some of SGA's operations, such as receipting and writing to donors. The next files contain some samples of paragraphs used to compose letters to donors. Folder 11-5 contains records going back to 1939 on the ordination of various SGA workers. Folder 11-8 contains a miscellany of budget papers, such as the 1969 budget, and budget detail statements from 1981 and 1982. Folder 11-9 is a very significant one, containing as it does papers from 1974 and 1975 which summarize what the goals, methods, and resources of SGA have been since 1934 and suggesting what the direction of planned development should be in the future in evangelism, training, radio, and literature. There are also memos discussing a move to a new location and listing strengths and weaknesses of the organization.

The folders 11-6 and 11-7 contain copies of the letters sent to donors and possible donors from 1939 until 1960. (There are also a few from 1977.) Also included with these are some appeal letters for the All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union. These appeal letters describe briefly activities of the mission and current needs. The rest of the folders in this box also deal with fund-raising. They contain late 1970's correspondence and reports from Ben Wood and Associates and the Russ Reid Company. SGA worked with both companies to plan and execute a coordinated fund-raising plan. These files contain some particularly interesting analyses of SGA's supporters. Also related to fund-raising is folder 12-1, which contains a sampling of letters from various professional Christian fund-raising organizations such as Mission Center International, Christian Consulting Center, and Church Mail Market. Foundation grants, conferences, regional banquets, and tours of Israel and other places were an important part of SGA's development efforts and the rest of this box and the first seven folders of box 13 contain memos and letters detailing with the planning and results of meetings held throughout the United States from 1974 to 1982. Folder 13-1 contains a chart showing foundation proposals made in 1978 and their results.

Folder 13-14 consists of some miscellaneous items from the personnel department, such as the forms filled out for the medical examination of missionary candidates and their children, position descriptions, lists from the early 1980's of positions available in Europe, and a personnel manual from around the late 1970's. Press releases about activities of the Deynekas, Semenchuk, and other missionaries during the late 1970's occupy folders 13-8 to 13-12. Folder 13-5 contains assorted publications of the Association or its predecessors from 1932 to 1984. Included are handbills, newsletters, brochures, copies of the constitution and by-laws, posters, tour descriptions, and reports on the conditions of Christians in eastern Europe. The next two folders (13-14, 14-1) also contain issues of a SGA publication, the SGA Family News. This was a bulletin produced for staff members. It contains much interesting information on moves, staff changes, evangelistic activities in various SGA branches, deaths, and births.

*****

IV. General Correspondence. boxes 14 through 20.

The correspondence in these files deals mainly with donor relations, requests for information, relations with other missions, and literature projects. Much of the correspondence here seems to duplicate or overlap that in other series, especially that of the general director's. However, there are other correspondents as well, such as the business manager, administrative assistant, etc., which is why this is called general correspondence. Some of the specific topics covered in each year are listed below.

1974: Development of the British branch, responses to the "Russia Report" radio program (15-3), general requests for information on the work of the mission, coordination of missionaries' work, requests for information on the church in Russia and Russian Christian literature, long letters from missionaries in Alaska and Europe describing their work, the Summer Youth Training in Europe (SYTE) program, the New Zealand branch of the mission, distribution of special materials about SGA's work for vacation Bible schools.

1975: Thank you notes to donors; work in Alaska, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Europe, South America; relations with Bible Literature International; Baker Book House; David C. Cook Publishing; Far East Broadcasting Company; radio station HCJB; requests from different sources for information about SGA; distribution of Russian Bibles; radio broadcasts; development of a training institute, fund-raising, translation work of Helen Zernov.

1976: Meeting of the executive committee, correspondence with individual missionaries, the SGA films "Cry of the Raging Sea" and "Passport to Russia," literature work, churches in Alaska, appointment of William Kapitaniuk as field director of activities in Europe, Far East Broadcasting, responses of participants to the SYTE program, letters to donors.

1977: An idea for microscope Bible (20-74), information on religious persecution in the USSR, the sending of SGA missionaries and field workers to various mission conferences.

*****

V. International Offices Files (including reports on the Alaskan work). boxes 21 and 22.

This series includes correspondence, reports, and minutes from SGA organizations or committees in Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Liechtenstein, and New Zealand. There are also some files added to this series by the archivist, namely material from the Alaska Field Council and about work in South America. There is also some general international correspondence and a folder of addresses from the first SGA International Conference in 1983. The bulk of the material in this series is from the Australian, Great Britain, and New Zealand offices. Correspondence with all these offices can also be found in the general director's correspondence and the general correspondence series. Almost all the material is from the late seventies and early eighties.

Alaska: Field council minutes; reports on evangelistic/missionary work in Cignik, King's Cove, Anchorage, Kenai, Kodiak, Ivanof, and Port Lyons; prayer requests (these give a very comprehensive list of current projects and problems of the various missionaries).

General: Some letters to and from the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Soviet Union. Also the papers given at the International Conference mentioned above. The purpose of the conference was to introduce the members of the worldwide mission to each other, to set priorities and discuss possible future operations. Subjects covered included the structure of SGA (folder includes then current constitution, organization chart, brief position descriptions and goals), human rights, fund-raising, recruitment, and training for Slavic missionary service, theological education by extension, Russian Emigre ministries, ministries to Slavic people in western countries, Austrian refugee ministries, eastern European relief ministries, literature work, radio work, work in New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Alaska. Also in the folder is a list of current projects.

Australia: Reports on visits by PD Sr in the early 1970's; reports on several visits to Australia in the 1970's and 1980's to help increase SGA's impact andacceptance there, film showings, recruitment of missionaries, itineraries for visiting SGA workers, gradual expansion of SGA Australia's activities and budget.

Austria: Increasing need for a base in Austria for SGA's refugee and literature work.

Canada: Report on work of Fred Filipchuk among Russian and Ukrainian people in Canada, unidentified diary (probably Anita Deyneka) about a visit to Canada in 1969, financial reports and executive committee minutes for 1981 and 1982.

Germany: Establishment of a work in a small office in Germany.

Great Britain: Correspondence with Eric Barnett, minutes of meetings of the British committee, reports on workers and churches in eastern Europe that the British group was supporting, Bible distribution, involvement in the SYTE project, descriptions of British SGA staff members and supporters, assistance to Christians in Poland, statement on mutual cooperation between British and American Slavic Gospel ministries, missionary prayer letters describing their individual work.

New Zealand: Start of the office there, difference between American and New Zealand ways of doing things, relations with Underground Evangelism, constitution and bylaws of the World Radio Missionary Fellowship of New Zealand; plans for reaching emigres to New Zealand, itineraries of visiting SGA workers.

South America: Materials cover 1965 to 1979 and include a report of the SGA committee on work in Uruguay and Argentina, letters defining the SA field council's responsibilities to supervise workers and handle donations, minutes of the field council, minutes of the executive committee of SGA international, plans for incorporation in Argentina, appointment of Nicolas Zukowski as representative in Argentina.

*****

VI. European Ministries. boxes 23 through 25.

This series contains the records of the department responsible for maintaining liaison with SGA's activities in Europe, including a few materials on European work predating the formation of the department. There is general correspondence, files of the directing and field councils, files on special projects, materials relating to literature publication and distribution in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, files on the Student Youth Training in Europe (SYTE) project, and trip reports on visits to eastern European countries. Except where otherwise noted, all this material is from the late 1970's and early 1980's.

General Correspondence: This correspondence consists almost entirely of letters sent and received by the director of European ministries. Letters deal with recruitment, arranging for visits of missionaries to churches and conference, thank you letters to donors, requests for assistance from missionaries in Europe. There are also letters with literature distribution news and suggestions from people who are immigrants from eastern Europe and who are acquainted with the area. Folder 24-11 contain information on possible cooperation with other missions.

Directing and Field Councils: Minutes for the European field committee (which preceded the field council) and for the SGA executive committee on matters relating to the field committee can be found in folder 23-41. The field committee was based in Germany and responsible, under the executive committee, for work in western Europe except for Great Britain. The other files in this part of the series are minutes and reports of the field council (made up of representatives elected by the SGA's workers in Europe) and the directing council (general director, field director, field council). Position descriptions and policy statements on the responsibilities of both councils are in folders 23-42 and 23-44. Some reports are from periodic conference of SGA European staff. One held in 1976 discussed security, literature work, desirability of concentrating on one eastern European country, evaluation procedures, goals for next year. Folder 23-43 contains planning papers for the European ministries department in Wheaton and goals and strategy for work in Christian literature, leadership training, and evangelism. There are also several pages of budget analysis. Minutes concern allocation of resources, personnel matters, requests for aid, reports on work in progress. These files give both an excellent overview and a look at details in eastern and western Europe activities.

Special Projects: Projects covered include proposals by Fred Holland on the use of Theological Education by Extension and Biblical Education by Extension in Poland and other eastern European countries, possibility of a printing press in France to print SGA literature for eastern Europe (23-52, also 23-71), a cassette tape ministry for eastern Europe, a plan to provide small libraries of Christian literature to east European pastors who could read English, evangelism among Russian emigres in Rome including Jews, the needs of Polish Christians especially as regards to literature and a Bible training school (23-63). The same folder contains translated letters from Polish workers describing their lives and the persecution they suffer, plans for SGA workers to do personal evangelism at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the SGA camp at Billy-Montigny in France for evangelizing French and American young people. Folder 23-65 has a list of some miscellaneous projects. Folder 23-62 is very interesting; it contains lists, which probably date from the late 1940's or early 1950's, of Russian and Ukrainian believers in displaced person camps in Austria.

Literature Work: The documents in this section are concerned not only with the selection and printing but also the distribution of Christian literature. Because there are severe restrictions on Christian literature in eastern Europe, there were many difficulties in bringing material into these countries as well as making it available to believers. Some of the problems that could be expected are described in the manual in folder 23-74. This manual was prepared for people who would be delivering Bibles and/or visiting Christians in communist countries. It contains advice on preparation, appearance, border crossings, making contacts, preaching, correspondence, etc. Folder 23-64 contains minutes of the literature committee, which evaluated what material should be translated into Russian, in what amounts, etc. Other folders contain correspondence with contacts in the USSR and other countries, notes on depots of literature, information on the possibility of distributing evangelistic recordings and Moody Science films, the possibility of setting up a European printing press, the desirability of translating Christian literature into the language of minority groups of the Soviet Union such as Karla-Kalpaks and the Uighars, and a micro-print edition of the Bible. Folders 24-4 to 24-6 contain statistics and reports of deliveries of Christian literature made by SGA and non-SGA workers as well as thank you letters from recipients. Folders 24-7 to 24-10 contain letters, notes, and memos suggesting possible translation projects for the Hungarian, Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian languages.

SYTE: The Summer Youth Training in Europe program consisted of recruiting college-age young people to assist in various SGA projects in Europe over thesummer months. Projects could include running a youth camp, delivering literature, evangelism in youth hostels, working with Soviet emigres, construction, etc. Folders 24-12 to 24-34 contain applications from students; reports by students and team leaders on activities in Austria, France, and other countries; housing information; and a report about the arrest of three SYTE students on the Czech border in 1979 for bringing in Christian literature (24-26). Information on SYTE projects is contained in every other series of this collection as well.

Trip Reports: These reports, along with the information in the missionaries/ national workers files, offer excellent information not only on the Church but also on other aspects of life in eastern Europe and the Soviet union. Folder 25-9 contains an interesting document--a newsletter on the Soviet Union edited by an individual who claims to be heir to the throne of the Romanovs.

*****

VII. Files of Missionaries and National Workers. boxes 25 through 31.

These files consist of reports, often in Russian, from national Christian workers and SGA missionaries on their activities as well as forms detailing the statistics of their ministries. There are some files of individuals who are not full-time SGA workers but who are in one way or another associated with the mission. This series is divided into three parts: reports of national workers arranged by year and then alphabetically, prayer letters from missionaries arranged by missionary/national worker name, and files on individual missionaries (including reports and general correspondence) arranged alphabetically. Much of the information in these three sections overlap. A very few of the national worker reports in the first part go back to 1957-1973, but all the rest of the material in this series is from 1974 on. Statistical reports give such information as number of meetings held, attendance, decisions for Christ, homes visited, tracts distributed, places of meetings, etc. These files include SGA workers in Alaska, South America, and Europe. Folder 28-7 contains yearly lists of all SGA missionaries for most of the years between 1969 and 1979. Besides reports on Bible distribution, evangelism, etc., these files also contain correspondence concerning deputation work, benefits, expense accounts, and travel plans. For some individuals there are only a few items.

*****

VIII. Radio Work Files. box 31 and 32.

Miscellaneous files dealing with SGA English language radio programs, such as "Passport to Russia" and "Russia Report," and broadcasts in Russian and other eastern European languages to Slavic communities in Russia, South America, and elsewhere. Included are minutes of the radio committee which made decisions about programming (31-38), statistics on listener responses to shortwave broadcasts (38-39), formats of programs (31-40), commercial spots for programs, information on the stations carrying the programs (31-41, 31-42, 31-45 to 31-47), index of some programs (31-43, 31-46), and quotes from responses of listeners. One very interesting folder from 1960 contains scripts of programs written by H. H. Savage for broadcast by Trans World Radio, possibly into Yugoslavia. He spoke on great Bible words and their theological meaning: God, sin, gospel, grace, regeneration, Virgin Birth, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, second coming, flesh, Christianity, prayer, love, forgiveness, the Trinity, Holy Spirit, mediator, righteousness, the rapture, judgments, redemption, sanctification, unbelief, and other topics. Response to programs broadcast in the United States about SGA's work are in 31-43, along with records showing the number of letters and donations received from different areas. Response to programs broadcast to the Soviet Union and eastern Europe are much more voluminous and can be found in folders 31-50 through 32-4 and 32-7. These responses consist of English translations of paragraphs taken from letters. Each response is usually identified by country. They cover the period from 1958 to 1975. The responses are organized by topic: baptism, burdens, circumstances under which they listen to broadcasts, conversions, fellowship, importance of broadcasts, life in the Soviet Union, literature, miscellaneous, music, persecution, prayer, questions, stories, thank yous, unconverted, who listens, youth programs.

Although responses from Poland can be found throughout these folders, folder 32-4 consists exclusively of responses from that country. Files 32-5 to 32-24 consist of research files for the program Russia Reports. They contain newspaper clippings, trip reports, SGA newsletters, pamphlets, and miscellaneous items used by the staff in preparing the program. The files are arranged by topic: Alaska, communist satellite countries, listeners, missionaries' stories, Russia--art, Russia--atheism, Russia--Bibles and literature, Russia--Children and youth, Russia--Christianity and religion, Russia--church activities, Russia--persecutions, Russia--radio, Russia--religious history, Russia--Soviet life, Russia--visitors, Russian Bible Institute, South America, western Europe. File 32-23 has an early pamphlet about one of Peter Deyneka Sr.'s first trips to South America. Files 32-9 and 32-22 contain long testimonies by SGA missionaries and national workers in the Soviet Union about their conversion. File 32-21 contains brochures and other material describing the work of the Russian Bible Institute in Argentina. File 32-17 has notes on the effectiveness of radio as a means of evangelizing. File 32-16 includes a newsletter about the life of Soviet Jewry. File 32-14 includes a report on a visit to the Soviet far east as well as a letter about the underground church. File 32-8 has a note on Richard Nixon's 1973 trip to Russia. File 32-30 has several letters from tourists who visited Russia, giving their impressions. File 32-7 has letters from listeners to the program.

*****

IX. Educational Work Files. box 32.

The bulk of the material in this file concerns the work of the Institute of Slavic Studies in Wheaton, although there is one file each on the Russian Bible Institute in Argentina and the Russian Bible correspondence school. File 32-32 contains prospectuses and memos about the idea of an eastern Europe Institute to help train missionaries and these documents show how this idea resulted in the ISS. File 32-27 contains an interesting letter written by history professor Paul Steeves soon after the Institute started in 1976 giving his suggestions for improvement. The faculty minutes in 32-29 and the curriculum ideas in 32-28 contain a great deal of material, including questionnaires filled out by students, which describe different ideas on what the Institute should teach and what kind of information a missionary to Communist countries needs. Information on admission procedures, graduation exercises, housing, independent studies and thesis projects guidelines, internships, class schedules, staff position descriptions, and registration (32-25, 32-31, 32-33, 32-34, 32-35, 32-37, 32-38, 32-42) is also in this series. Folder 32-36 contains student manuals and catalogs for a number of different years. These help give an idea of life at the institute. Folder 32-30 contains financial information such as budgets, statements, and a students' accounts book.

Folder 32-44 concerns the Russian Bible Institute. The material in it covers 1962 to 1980 and consists mainly of prayer letters, press releases, and articles. However, there are also a few letters and memos which deal with the evaluation of the history, work, and administration of the school. Materials are in English, Spanish, and Russian. Similar, but fewer, materials are found in folder 32-45 for the Russian Bible Correspondence School, also in Buenos Aires and started in 1970.

Dates

  • Created: 1922-1983

Conditions Governing Access

The materials in this collection are open for use except for the following restricted files. Restricted files can only be used by persons with written permission from the President or any of the Vice Presidents of the Slavic Gospel Association.

box 23-41 Closed until 12/31/2036

box 23-43 to 23-44 Closed until 12/31/2036

box 24-11 Closed until 12/31/2036

Extent

21.50 Cubic Feet

32 Boxes (21 DC, 11 RC); Audio Tapes, Films, Oversize Materials, Phonograph Records, Photographs, Slides, Video Tapes other_unmapped

Biographical or Historical Information

The Slavic Gospel Association grew out of the ministry of Peter Deyneka Sr. (see biography below). In January, 1934, he and four other men formed a committee to support his work. The others were businessman George Benson, doctor Arthur I. Brown, businessman C. B. Hedstrom, and pastor Paul W. Rood. Later (March, 1936) they incorporated as the Russian Gospel Association. The purpose of the Association was to evangelize Russian (later Slavic) people. In 1949 the name was changed to Slavic Gospel Association (SGA). For many years the United States headquarters was in Chicago, first at 64 West Randolph Street and from 1949 at 2434 North Kedzie. In 1975 the headquarters was moved to 139 North Washington street in Wheaton, a Chicago suburb.

From its beginning until the mid-1970's, the administrative structure of SGA remained rather simple, with most of the planning and decision-making in the hands of the general director, guided by the executive committee. In 1975, when Peter Deyneka Sr. became director emeritus and Peter Deyneka Jr. became general director, there was a general review of the goals and methods of the mission and more systematized long-range planning was introduced. Also at this time the headquarters was moved to Wheaton, the Institute of Slavic Studies was begun, and several of the international offices became more independent. The offices in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand became or had recently become independent national boards and the first international conference was held in 1983 with representatives from all these boards to establish the means of future coordination. There were also offices in France, West Germany, and Austria which served as bases for SGA's European operations.

In 1983, the U.S. headquarters was headed by the general director, assisted by the assistant director. There were several departments: development, personnel and training, European ministries/literature, North and South American ministries, and radio. A European Coordinator, resident in Europe, was in charge of general oversight of operations on that continent, assisted by a field council. Another field council was responsible for South America.

The ministries and geographic areas of activity of the mission have greatly expanded over the years. Originally, the work of the Association consisted almost entirely of Deyneka's preaching tours in Europe and the United States. Then the mission began supporting workers to communities of Slavic immigrants in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Asia as well as in eastern Europe and Russia. These workers were responsible for church planting and nurture as well as evangelism. SGA also developed an active work in Alaska, first among Russian-speaking Aleuts and later among servicemen and immigrants to the state. In June, 1984, the Alaska field was officially transferred to Arctic Mission. In 1950, the mission was active in fifteen countries. By 1964, it had 100 workers in twenty-one countries. By 1980, the number of workers had more than doubled, with a total of 210. This included indigenous workers in Slavic and non-Slavic countries partially or completely supported by SGA as well as foreign missionaries receiving complete support. Some workers were involved in very specialized projects, such as witnessing to Russian and eastern European sailors whose ships docked at the Canary Islands. Other countries in which there were workers were the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Great Britain, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Finland, Yugoslavia, Poland, the Soviet Union, Monaco, Austria, Korea, the Philippines, and Australia.

Another area of ministry was radio broadcasting. There were some early broadcasts from Shanghai, China, for Russian-speaking audiences. In 1941, during a visit to radio station HCJB in Ecuador, Deyneka Sr. talked with Clarence Jones about the possibility of shortwave broadcasts to the Soviet Union. Broadcasts soon began over HCJB. Later, SGA also prepared programs which were sent by Trans-World Radio in Monaco, Far East Broadcasting Company in the Philippines, station KLKX in Korea, and KICY in Alaska. Besides these stations, which all broadcast to the Soviet Union, SGA programs were broadcast in Russian, English, and other languages in the United States, Canada, South America, and western Europe. In 1975, the Association was responsible for 600 broadcasts every month.

Stress was also laid on the translation, printing, and distribution of scripture and other Christian literature on both sides of the Iron Curtain. This sometimes involved providing paper to presses in eastern Europe as well as printing books in the West and transporting them to eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. In 1974 SGA developed a program called SYTE (Student-Youth Training in Europe), which involved recruiting college-age volunteers for various necessary SGA work projects in Europe. Most of these volunteers were involved in transporting Bibles and Christian literature to eastern Europe. Aprinting press was set up in the early 1970s at SGA's European Missionary Center in Billy-Montigny, France, under the supervision of William Kapitaniuk, to produce as much as it could of material needed.

The Association was active among refugees and recent immigrants from eastern Europe. After World War II, Deyneka Sr. and others often visited displaced person camps in Austria and other parts of Europe to find and assist Slavic DP's. This tradition has continued. In the 1970's and 1980's, work among recent immigrants, particularly Jewish immigrants, was especially active in Rome and Austria, places which were often the first stops for people leaving Russia.

The training of Christian leaders for the Slavic church had always been a major concern for Deyneka Sr. and the other leaders of the SGA. In 1941, a Russian Bible Institute was begun in Benito, Manitoba, Canada. Students received Bible training in Russian and English. In 1943, the school was moved to Toronto, Canada, where it was run in cooperation with and using the building of the People's Church, pastored by Oswald J. Smith. The school was mainly intended to supply Bible teachers, pastors, and evangelists for the numerous Slavic communities in Canada. This school closed in 1949, largely because of the difficulty in finding suitable students and faculty. A similar institute was begun in 1944 in Rosario, Argentina (later moved to Buenos Aires), to produce leaders for Slavic churches in South America. It developed into a three-year program that had by 1975 trained 300 workers. In the early 1970's a correspondence course, in Russian, on the Bible and theology was begun. It had 800 students in 1977. Another was opened in Warsaw in 1948. It was run by indigenous Christians, but SGA continued to provide some support. However, the mission did have special training programs for Christian workers in that country from time to time. In 1975, an Institute of Slavic Studies was opened in Wheaton at SGA Headquarters. It was intended to give more academically rigorous courses in Slavic culture, as well as specialized training in evangelism, radio, literature preparation, and Christian education. Much of the work of the Institute was rended unnecessary when relevant courses were offered at the Wheaton College graduate school, in cooperation with SGA. By the early 1980's, the entire program was officially offered by the Wheaton graduate school.

From the beginning of the mission, the staff printed prayer letters to keep supporters informed of its activities. A magazine in English, The Russian Gospel News, was started in 1934 to give more detailed accounts. The name was changed in 1949 to The Slavic Gospel News and again in 1980 to Breakthrough. A newsletter, The Slavic Missionary News, was begun in 1948. The same year the name was changed to The Russian Gospel News Bulletin and changed again in 1949 to The Slavic Gospel News Bulletin. It merged in 1959 with The Slavic Gospel News. The mission began publication of another publication, Newswire. A quarterly magazine in the Russian language, Gospel Messenger, was begun ca. 1937. The Institute of Slavic Studies began issuing its own magazine, Sparks, in November, 1975, almost as soon as the school began and ceased publication in 1983. The publication concentrated on items about religion in eastern Europe including news stories, articles, book reviews, prayer requests, and information about ISS activities. The British office of SGA began publishing its magazine, Exploits, in 1971 and the Australian office began The Slavic Gospel Association News in 1981. There was also a newsletter called Family News, prepared at the United States headquarters, which circulated among SGA workers from the 1960's to the early 1980's. It consisted mostly of news of weddings, births, deaths, sicknesses, moves. *****

Biography: Peter Deyneka Sr.

Peter Deyneka was born in the town of Storlolemya, Russia, in 1898. His father Nahum was a fisherman. His parents sent him to the United States in 1914 to earn money to help the rest of the family. He moved to Chicago, where he had a cousin, and worked first doing manual labor and then became a machinist. Although he was from a devout Russian Orthodox home, he was not very interested in Christianity until he began to attend Moody Church, pastored by Paul Rader. Rader's sermons and the Sunday School class Deyneka attended convinced him of his need for personal salvation and in 1920 he committed his life to Christ. The next year he was baptized.

He became deeply involved in the evangelism programs of the church and later in those of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, which Rader founded in 1921. He began preparing himself for full-time Christian work by taking night classes at Moody Bible Institute as a well correspondence courses from World Wide Christian Couriers, a correspondence school started by Rader. In 1922 he went to St. Paul to attend the St. Paul Bible School, from which he graduated in 1925. In the summers of 1924 and 1925 he traveled through South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho, helping to establish evangelical churches among Slavic communities in those states. It was during the summer of 1925 that Deyneka decided that God wanted him to be a missionary to Russia. In October of that year, after raising money from friends, he traveled to Europe. He first visited his parents' home, now in Poland. Because of war and revolution, Deyneka had been cut off from his family for many years. In the interval his father, three brothers, and two sisters had died. He began to hold revival services in the area and distribute money raised in America to help the starving population. It was during this time that he met Vera Demidovich, whom he married May 23, 1926. Later that year he returned to America; his wife followed six months later, after he had raised the money for her ticket. The Deynekas were to have three children: Ruth, Peter Jr., and Lydia.

In New York he met Ivan Stepanovich Prokhanov, head of the All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union. Deyneka became the Union's representative in the United States and Canada, a post he held from 1926 until 1931. He was particularly concerned to raise money for the printing and distribution of Russian Bibles. In 1930 he returned to Europe to preach in Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. In 1931 he joined the staff of Rader's Chicago Gospel Tabernacle to become secretary of the Russian work of the World Wide Christian Couriers, which included holding rallies and conferences to raise support. After a couple of years with the Couriers, he began to feel anincreasing need for a mission dedicated solely to work among the Russian people. In early 1934 he, together with Paul Rood and three other Chicago Christians, formed the Russian Gospel Association (later the Slavic Gospel Association). The next forty years of his life were given over to leadership of this organization. He made frequent trips to Europe, South America, Alaska, Australia, and Asia as well as traveling all over North America, visiting Slavic churches and communities. He continued to serve as an evangelist and representative of SGA even after his retirement as general director in 1974. Peter Deyneka Sr. died in 1987.

Accruals and Additions

The material in this collection was received from the Slavic Gospel Association in November 1982, February 1983, and June, 1985.

Accession 82-166, 83-12, 85-87

October 23, 1986

Robert Shuster

S. Averell

A. Peterson

J. von Rosenburg

J. Nasgowitz

Revised June 1, 1993

Robert Shuster
Title
Collection 237 Records of the Slavic Gospel Association
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

Contact:
501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US
630-752-5910