A Mission To Moscow
By Jon Phillips Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Tuesday, August 2, 1994
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]
HAMPTON -- Does the idea of spending the next five years in Russia appeal to you? No? Well, Kevin and Maureen Kimball are actually looking forward to it.
The Kimballs are going to Russia as missionaries from the Faith Community Church in Hampton in order to spread the word of the gospel to the Russian people. The Kimballs are due to depart for the former Soviet Union on August 17.
"We have had a terrible burden on our hearts to serve overseas;" Kevin Kimball `said: "Originally, we were going to be serving in Austria where Maureen and I met, and since we know the German language it wouldn't take us long to brush up on it. But, as time went on we started hearing about the incredible openness of the hearts of the Russian people to the gospel, whereas, at this point in time, the Austrian culture isn't all that open to the gospel."
The Kimballs reside at 122 High Street in Hampton along with their three children, Brian, 4, Peter, 2 and Mallory two months. The Kimballs are currently in training for their pending mission overseas, but have been involved with missionary work ever since Kevin and Maureen met in 1980.
"I went to the University of New Hampshire where I received a degree in Chemistry," Kevin Kimball said. "I also did a lot of work while I was there in German. I took an extra year of college to study at the University of Salzburg through a study abroad program that UNH had along with UConn, where Maureen attended. And that was where Maureen and I met. That was a monumental turning point year for us. For both of our lives individually. One of the main things, if not the main thing, is that's where each of us individually made a commitment to Christ and putting our faith in Him and His death on the cross and His resurrection. That is really the whole turning point of our lives."
When the Kimballs returned from Salzburg, they settled back into the Hampton area and eventually were married in 1982. The Kimballs stayed in the area until December of 1989. It was during the years between 1982 and 1989 that the Kimballs first became involved with the Faith Community Church.
"We were trained by two couples in particular in Christian Service," Kevin Kimball said. "These couples were the pastor and wife in succession while they were here. They trained us in Christian Ministry, leading Bible studies, sharing our faith and growing in our own personal obedience to the Lord. Part of that training process was a challenge to us to build what they called a 'World Vision' in order to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth as the Lord commissions us to do. We took that challenge very seriously. It was actually back in 1983 that we made the commitment, if the Lord allowed us to, to go overseas to bring the gospel to people who might otherwise not have a chance to hear it."
That commitment was going to take some hard work on the part of the Kimballs. Kevin and Maureen both agreed that it was important for them to be debt-free before they took the opportunity to travel overseas. Kevin attended Seminary and worked part time while Maureen worked full-time. With a lot of perserverance hard work, the Kimballs worked to pay off their school loans.
"When Kevin decided he, wanted to go to Seminary in September of 1985, we decided what we needed to do was take that entire year and pay all of the debts off so he could start Seminary debt-free," Maureen Kimball said. "We had to make over $600 in payments a month in order for the debt to paid off by the end of the year. We prayed and asked the Lord to help us with this."
The Kimballs received an inheritance which allowed them to pay off their debts so Kevin could attend Seminary in the fall.
After Kevin completed Seminary, the Kimballs sought an organization to which they could provide their services. The Kimballs chose Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization that sends college students from campuses across the nation to various sites. One of those sites happens to be Hampton Beach.
"We were very impressed with the quality of life of these people," Kevin stated. "So, we thought, 'Gee, we'd like to be a part of this.' We talked to the head staff person who heads up the whole project and he gave us information about Campus Crusade. He showed us how Campus Crusade goes all the way around the world."
The Kimballs applied to the program and were accepted and reported to Massachusetts in 1990 and began their work and training at the UMass-Amherst campus. They were there for two years. The Kimballs accepted the personal challenges Campus Crusade presented them with and entered into three months of extensive training in California for cross-cultural missions.
"During that time we lived in an African-American community in Bakersfield and worked under the auspices of an African-American church," Kevin said. "We worked in some of the worst parts of town where there were prostitution rings and drug rings. It was very exciting bringing the gospel to these people. One of the things that excited us was that America has had this problem with racism for a long, long time and, to be perfectly frank, the church has had a problem with racism. It was so neat the way the Lord worked because here we were working arm-in-arm with our African-American brothers with that goal of bringing the gospel to the people who really needed it. It was so exciting for us.We loved it."
The Kimballs are optimistic that their experiences in Russia will be just as rewarding as their past experiences in Bakersfield. Although Russia is far different culturally, politically and religiously from California, the Kimballs are aware of the ache in the Russian people's hearts for Christ.
"We changed our direction from Austria to go to Russia," Kevin said. "We are now able to do it. We can do it. American Christians have been challenged not only in Campus Crusade for Christ but other organizations as well to go to the former Soviet Union where these people have been starving for spiritual truth now for 74years."
The Kimballs first term of service in Russia will last for five years, an amount of time the Kimballs are looking forward to rather than fearful of.
"For every year that we're over there we get a month during which we can home," Kevin said. "After three years we might come home for three months. We're planning on being there a lot longer than five years."
Needless to say, the adjustment the Kimballs are going to have to make will not be a minor one no matter how excited they are about their mission.
"We're going to be living in an apartment building that's 20 stories high," Maureen stated. "It's just a big, cement block. Our particular quarters won't be that bad because an American has been living there. He's done some work on it to make it a little more pleasant. For the most part they are very old and run-down. Everybody that goes over there usually has to invest some money in it just to get it up to minimum standards. We'll have a four room flat and a kitchen. We'll be able to get just about anything we need."
The Kimballs' first year in Russia will be devoted to learning the Russian language, because as Maureen said, "We won't be able to understand a word that people are saying."
The Kimballs anticipate they will see long lines, high prices because of Mafia controlled businesses and are expecting things that usually take a day to accomplish in the United States will take at least week to do in Russia.
"That is going to be hard getting used to," Kevin added.
The Kimballs also have to consider their children in the midst of their mission.
"Russia will become their home I think," Maureen said. "They'll probably have more roots in Russia, whereas our roots are in America. They'll be growing up bilingual. They'll be able to speak Russian better than we can. We're not sure about schooling yet. There is a missionary school there that's English. We have to look into the Russian school system because we might want to send them there because that's where our mission will be."
The Kimballs are going to Russia as part of an international team. There are approximately 283 missionaries already in the former Soviet Union. The Kimballs won't be working with them all, but will be working with some people from South Africa as well as Russian national couples.
The Kimballs have high hopes for their mission and are eager to start their journey to the former Soviet Union. They leave Hampton on August 10 and will spend some time in Connecticut with Maureen's family before departing for Russia on August 17. Well wishers can bestow their wishes of success and faith by calling the Kimballs at 926-8650 or by writing them at P.O. Box 1403, Hampton, NH 03843.
"We have to go there with a servant attitude," Kevin stated. "We have to go over there realizing that not only do we have something to teach them but they have something to teach us."