Charlie and Miki Chastain have been working with the disabled orphans and street children of St. Petersburg, Russia since 2001, when they first learned of the ministry opportunity through St. James UMC in Athens, GA.  Since that first trip, they returned several times on short-term opportunities, and continuously sought the Lord’s guidance on the possibility of moving to St. Petersburg on a full-time basis. 

In late 2005, the Chastain’s felt it was time to begin to take steps to be in Russia on a full-time basis.  With the guidance of their pastor and other mentors,  they decided to approach the Mission Society about the possibility of becoming missionaries in Russia.  The Chastain’s were commissioned by the Mission Society in September, 2006.

The Chastain’s moved to Saint Petersburg in May 2009- they’ve finished 1 year of language school and now are continuing to serve the orphanages and shelters in the area - and seeking to walk in obedience and in the guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ.


How did we hear our calling into Russia?

Miki, Charlie and Isabel

A little history...

It’s first important to point out that the Lord has called all of His followers into His service, and into the service of each other, where ever we are.  However, Charlie and Miki each have felt the Lord leading them specifically into Russia, but through different means.

Miki has come to see that the Lord was showing her His heart for His children in Russia before she’d even met Charlie, and long before she ever imagined she’d actually go to St. Petersburg. 

Miki has known Jesus as her Savior since she was very young, but was not willing to submit to Him as Lord until much later.  However, God’s grace has been with her, even during the years of her life that she was not seeking Him, and was making decisions that were not of Him and were certainly not of His will for her. 

It was during this time that Miki remembers first hearing about the disabled orphans of Russia, most specifically through news stories.  In one instance a story of these children struck her so that she said to her friend watching with her, “Don’t ever let me forget that I saw that.”

It was shortly after this time that Miki began to take steps to make Jesus Lord of her life, and at which time she met Charlie.  A few months after Charlie and Miki were engaged, Mike Cantrell, a missionary serving in Russia, visited their church in Athens and invited those who felt called to come over and work with the disabled orphans.  Miki took that first trip without Charlie, but came home believing that these children were where God wanted her to be, and where she felt He would take her. 

Charlie’s calling into Russia came a little differently.  As with Miki, the Lord’s grace was really on Charlie, in that He used a time of struggle for Charlie to show Him the precious children of Russia to which he was called. 

While Charlie has known the Lord as his Savior since he was a child, he never imagined he would be called to live the life of a missionary.  In fact, Charlie’s first trip to Russia was, in his mind, not for the children at all, but was to protect Miki who felt called to go.  It is wonderful to see now how the Lord used Charlie’s need to feel “in control” to lead him into the lives of these precious children, and to give him a glimpse of his calling into Russia. 

After that first trip, Charlie still did not feel that he would ever serve full-time in Russia, but the Lord’s heart for the children there was very obvious in Charlie’s life.  He immediately began planning for the next trip, and then the next, and then the next.  He says now, “Russia was where I always felt closest to God, so I wanted to be there all of the time.”

Over time, the Lord began to show Charlie that his primary issue with being a missionary was the idea of having to rely on others for financial and prayer support - Charlie was struggling to give up control of his life to God.  Charlie knew he wanted more of the Lord and His will in his life, so he decided to take a step.  It was at that time that he told Miki he wanted to go to the Mission Society and talk to them about becoming a missionary in Russia. 

Since that time, the Lord has been faithful and has continued to guide and to provide for Miki and Charlie and their family as they have sought to walk in His will and to His glory.  They are grateful mostly for the prayers that have been lifted for them as they continue in their walk with the Lord, and to His glory.