Acerca de Gary and Galina
About the Timmerman Family
God ignited my passion for His global mission from experiences on a 1993-94 sabbatical from my first career as a Christian school teacher. That year-long assignment in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine teaching ESL in post-Soviet spaces just after the collapse of the Soviet Union was a life-changing event for me. The baton was passed to me in the year 2000 to coordinate the work of various agencies of the CRCNA in Russia after a lot of exploratory work was completed to discover what we could uniquely contribute to the rebirth of the region’s 1000-year Christian heritage following four generations of the atheistic repression of all Christian churches. Higher education, laity training and publishing would be the chosen platforms and they fully fit my gifts and experience.
God showed us many times that He works ahead of us, preparing the way for our needs and opening new doors of ministry challenges and expansion that we were to enter. At the center of His provision was joining Galina and I together in marriage in 2005. We both put our gifts of hospitality and discernment to the task of building relationships with partner organizations and with many pastors and their wives. Being faithful to them, behind the scenes of the current conflict, and giving them encouragement in carrying enormous loads – spiritual, emotional and physical - remains a great honor for us.
We see healthy churches embracing a mission of outreach to evangelize and disciple new believers so that healthy churches multiply and God’s name is lifted up in the nation of Russia and among Russian-speakers worldwide. With over 40 million Russian-speaking people spread near and far from Russia’s borders, we see God leading us and our partners to assist this Russian diaspora in planting churches, helping great numbers of them to find and experience God’s love in their adoptive countries.
The richness and joy of working in Russia compounded when helping church leaders train more workers became our focus. We serve to equip them to testify to the Good News of Christ’s Kingdom expressed in Christian fellowship, in the workplace, in sending their own missionaries to unreached places, and in the society where they find themselves – at home or in diaspora. Our mission of serving behind the scenes and giving encouragement to busy pastors and their spouses is a special privilege, as is the honor to bring their experience of keeping faith in God to the North American church.
20 Years of Mission Work Inside Russia
I was asked recently by a theology class, “What are the joys and challenges of being a missionary”? At first, I said, “I love the one-on-one walking the ministry road together, being an encourager. The more on-site, the more rugged and spartan the conditions in the towns and villages, the more thrilling it is.” Reflecting deeper, I concluded, “Being drawn closer and closer to the very heart of gospel renewal when one works with leaders who have come to Christ after a hard, dark life in the world – this has inspired my life.”
The challenges involved navigating partnerships. Not all partners have noble motives. Our most positive and enduring partnership is one who has sought to genuinely wash the feet of their brothers in the faith. This partner shared their church-planter training program with us and God blessed our relationship so much that it exploded our ministry to stretch far beyond the Leningrad region! Materials translated, trainers raised up and equipped, travel and conference budgets formed. Fast forward to 2021, a few months before we departed from Russia, the whole enterprise smoothly made it down the road to healthy indigenous leadership and control - a Russian team stretching from European Russia to Siberia!
About another partner, it’s a special delight that our original employee at the Moscow Christian Library, Sergey, still serves the CRC. He writes a weekly column for Russian Back to God Hour website, as well as insightful articles for our “Christian Faith at the Workplace” website, a Russian-language website and social media project that brings biblical wisdom and practice to the 8 to 5 daily lives of workers and volunteers around the globe, for the enrichment and empowerment of the Church.
Expanding the Vision to Other Countries
Ministry with and among Russian-speaking communities globally is a vital expression of the CRC’s call to be Christ’s witnesses of reconciliation. Russian-language speakers originate from the 15 countries in the former Soviet Union, and since the 1980s and 90s, their numbers have increased dramatically to over 40 million scattered to European countries and the Americas. These long-settled immigrants and present-day refugees and asylum seekers, as well as Slavic peoples at their homelands, yearn for healing from the pain and wounds of war on both sides of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the Baltic countries, in Canada and to some degree, still inside Russia, Resonate Global Mission is involved in various partnerships that address their spiritual, social, emotional and material needs. In view of the antagonistic relations between Russia and our countries, and the limitations and challenges they bring to ministering there, Resonate embraces an “East meets West” approach, giving greater attention to Russian-speaking diaspora.
As Diaspora Ministry leaders, both in the Baltic states and here in Canada, we participate in the CRC's Journey 2025 goal to increase our ministry with diaspora (‘scattered”) communities. We discover missional practices that will help our CRC people in welcoming better the immigrant communities in our midst, in communicating God's love to them, and in calling them to faith in Christ. In this process, I’m growing ties with many evangelical leaders in Ontario, with special focus on the Greater Toronto-Hamilton areas and seeking out Russian-speaking church leaders with whom to ignite renewal toward evangelization of their peoples.
Your prayer and investments for our work all these years have produced fruit far beyond what we could imagine! We praise God for His work around the world and the privilege of serving Him. Together, by God's grace, our efforts are transforming lives and communities worldwide. Thank you!
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