Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 19-20 November, 2011
James 1:16; Hebrews 12:1-3

Yesterday (Saturday)- we walked to a park so Isaac could run his wiggles out. At this park there was some military equipment, which Isaac and I climbed all over. After arriving home, we prepared and went to meet with the boys at the Boys' rehab center. We had a great time with them- I was the only one who knew Russian and English (MISSED YOU GALINA!!!), but it was good for me to be under that type of pressure. They shared what they would like to do when they get out of school. Some want to be mechanics, construction workers, pottery makers, and a boxer. One thing they all had in common was that they want a loving family. It was encouraging to see their wonderful respect and desire to read the bible (David and Galina gave them each a bible - which they showed us with much joy). We shared with each other much of our lives and spent some time discussing truthfulness and trust.

In the evening we met with Olya and her friend Dima. Isaac and Olya made us Ukrainian desserts!

Sunday (today) we had 13 gathered to worship God! Twelve of them stayed for the potluck afterwards. It was great for Isaac that Nastya (11 years old) was there for him to spend time with. We had a great time of encouragement. Olya helped me translate the sermon, which was encouraging to see her use her knowledge of English for God. Afterward Olya and Nastya came over to visit until 5 p.m. In an hour we will be meeting with Kesha and Nadya once again before we leave on Tuesday. Thank you for your prayers- we had some very encouraging and deep visits with all those we met on this trip.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 17-18 November, 2011

Thursday, we met with Luda and Stepan for a bible study and some singing. That evening we met and ate with Olya.
Friday, we enjoyed the market and tasted some Ukrainian pastries (so delicious). After walking around a bit, we decided to let Isaac play at the playground by our apartment- we met some kids and visited with them. Two of them spoke very little English, despite the language barrier Isaac was able to communicate with them. We played hacky sack, volleyball, and sat with them for awhile to visit. It was an amazing time for us!
We were able to meet with Kesha and Nadia- we had a great visit and found out that they are expecting a child - very exciting. It is our prayer that they pursue God not only for their souls, but for their future child.

Please pray for us, we will be meeting at the boys' home tomorrow afternoon and with Olya.
Lord willing, we will meet with Kesha and Nadya again before we leave.
Enjoy the photos.

Nadya and Kesha with us at an ice cream parlor.

Olya, Andrea, and Isaac

The four boys Isaac befriended!

Isaac visiting

We are playing volleyball!

The Posse

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NIKOLAEV, UKRAINE Nov. 14-16, 2011
Colossians 3:1-4,12

We spent Monday getting some chores completed. Making phone calls, schooling Isaac (we brought some of his homeschooling materials with us), shopping, and washing clothes-while Andrea and Isaac did school, I washed our clothes in a tub.

Tuesday Andrea cooked chicken scampi for Olya, and we discussed what brought her to Christ. She shared that it was the studies in the Bible plus seeing kindness and love in those in the church. I used her story, Colossians 3:1-4, 12 and Galatians 2:19-20 in class today. We need to keep our eyes on things above where Christ is seated so that we remember it is not our life that we live, but Christ's. Our bible study met at 2:00 this afternoon due to the darkness/cold at night. Although we had plenty of sunshine today, it seemed to be colder. We sang nine songs in English and Russian, and Isaac read the scriptures in English. What an encouraging time!

Isaac reading Colossians 3:1-4

Stepan, Isaac, and Luda after a great time of singing/study

Students after our bible study.

After our bible study with Stepan and Luda, we met a group of students, who were taking pictures. When we told them that we were from America they were excited to talk to us. They tried their best English - English is a great opportunity for making contacts.

Friday we will be meeting with Kesha and Nadya. They are a couple Jon and I spent time with in June in class and outside of classes. Please, pray for them that we can encourage them to pursue God and studies. Also, pray that we will be able to meet with Olya's parents.

Love in Christ,
Mike, Andrea, and Isaac
P.S. here are some Nikolaev Culture pics

Soldiers in Training

Local Artists

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The last three days have been eye opening as far as living conditions are concerned. Andrea made a comment a couple of days ago how it's interesting that there are both dilapidated and new buildings all together throughout the city. The markets, unmatched in America, are very large and numerous throughout Nikolaev. There are several large grocery stores, and with our limited exposure it appears that only people with more money use them. These grocery stores make our Northwestern WinCos look like kiosks both in variety of products and cleanliness.

Portion of market with grains in background

Small Pet market outside large market.

Friday we met up with Olamide and spent some time looking at pictures of his family/friends living in Nigeria. I was shocked to learn about the city of Lagos and that there are 8 million people there. We talked some about studying God's word and how it helps to walk with Him.

We were able to see Olya on Saturday to pray with her and talk about our life in Christ. After Olya left for music lessons, Andrea, Isaac, and I went to meet her mother. Olya's mother works in a library about 100 yards from our apartment. She was very kind and sweet. I ask you to pray for Olya and her family. She is wanting them to know God more.

Sunday was encouraging to meet with the church. We were not able to see all who normally attend- some work and one other brother (Stepan 86 years old) fell some time ago and is recovering from an injured ankle. There were eight people in attendance. One brother (David), is from Florida and has moved here two weeks ago. He is here teaching English and training in acrobatics for circus work.

I preached and led songs, and David led a prayer, there were times I had Olya translate a couple thoughts. This was my first full sermon in Russian- it was more difficult than I had anticipated, but it is the difficult things that push us to grow and be used by God.

David and Isaac enjoying time together

After service we had a potluck with those who remained. Also, a student from our campaign in June came by to visit and show pictures of her recent wedding. Natasha walked with us back to the apartment and spent some more time visiting.


Please, spend some time after you read this praying for those mentioned in this newsletter. Love you all, and God be with you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 08-10 Nov 2011

NIKOLAEV, UKRAINE 08-10 Nov 2011

Well, as many of you already know, we arrived in Nikolaev safely. It took a couple days to adjust to the time difference, therefore I am writing this at 3:30 am. Isaac enjoyed his first plane flights and views of different worlds. It was special to watch Isaac have these new experiences.

We have met with Olya, Dasha, and Olamide each day since our arrival on Tuesday. It has been wonderful to visit these new Christians- I have grown close to all three after our campaign last summer. We are looking forward to the gathering with the church Sunday; I have been calling, emailing, and skypeing to contact others to come on Sunday.

We needed to get vegetables for Borsht(Ukrainian soup dish) yesterday (Thursday) so we went to the market, which is the largest I had ever seen- it goes for several blocks. Andrea and Isaac did so well at practicing their Russian while at the market. After getting all the ingredients, Olya and Andrea made borsht for all of us, and it was delicious! It was a blessed time for Olya and Andrea to bond as sisters in Christ.

Please, pray for us as we meet with the brothers and sisters here to encourage them, as well as seek out other opportunities like speaking at the university and teaching bible. I will be calling today to make an appointment for next week to speak at the university across the street from where the church meets.

Isaac's first plane flight- he got the window seat.

Isaac with Olya(left) and Dasha(right)

Andrea and Isaac in front of our apartment entrance.

Andrea and I sporting my new hat.

Isaac and Olamide(a christian from Nigeria attending the ship building university)

Andrea and Olya preparing Borsht

БОРЩ (Borsht)

At the Market

We can't get away from Oregon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WOW! We are just under two weeks out before we (Andrea, Isaac, and I) will be in Nikolaev, Ukraine. And we keep hearing more opportunities for us: we have visits to the Boys' Rehabilitation Center, bible studies, meeting with the church 3 times a week, and now the new opportunity- A university professor asked if I would come and give a lesson about God to her students! My first reaction was Praise God! But then I thought Wow, who am I - this little human being on this little tiny planet in this incredibly (I mean INCREDIBLY) large universe- to speak about God? I don't even understand my wife, how will I understand such an HOLY ETERNAL GOD! So I go with humility and excitement because I know that God is with us:

Matthew 28:16-20 "16Now the eleven disciples(A) went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they(B) worshiped him, but some doubted.18And Jesus came and said to them, (C) "All authority(D) in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19(E) Go therefore and(F) make disciples of(G) all nations,(H)baptizing them(I) in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20teaching them(J) to observe all that(K) I have commanded you. And behold,(L) I am with you always, to(M) the end of the age." (ESV)

and John 12:23-26 - 23And Jesus answered them, (A) "The hour has come(B) for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you,(C) unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25(D) Whoever loves his life loses it, and(E) whoever(F) hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26If anyone serves me, he must(G) follow me; and(H) where I am, there will my servant be also.(I) If anyone serves me,(J) the Father will honor him.

How could you ever feel lonely?

Friday, October 07, 2011


We have just one month to go 'till the Ukraine trip in November. Andrea and Isaac are striving to learn some Russian in preparation. I was reading in Exodus and came across this scripture: and Moses said to the Lord "If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15-16 ESV)
Although our plans are going well (all tickets purchased and reservations made), my greatest desire is that God is with us on this trip. There will be many studies, classes and visits while we are there. There is no greater comfort in knowing that God will do amazing things even with our weaknesses. I am excited to see this, but more so that Andrea and my middle son Isaac will be experiencing this work along side with me.
Please, remember to keep us in your prayers in November.
With Jesus,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Psalm 119:1-3

Our family decided to memorize Psalm 119 (yes, all 176 verses). We are currently up to verse 14. We noticed that Elora was memorizing with us, simply by hearing it each evening.
Hope there is a bit of encouragement out of this.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


August 4th, 2011 Update

Ever since the team left Nikolayev, we have received daily updates of all the studies and the progress. It has been exciting to see the growth and work that is still going on. I am amazed at how much one couple can do when the Lord is working with them. David and Galina are working so diligently. What would it look like if we so diligently let God work through us?

There is some greater news, one of my students was baptized yesterday. I have been studying and visiting with her via Skype. David and Galina have been studying with her weekly and often two-three times daily (praise God for summer)! Our new sister is Olya Shevtsova!
Here are pictures of her visiting the boys rehab center and studying.

For better quality watch at:

Here is a video of Olya and her baptism.
She shared with me today over Skype, that she is overwhelmed at the size of her new family all over the world!

Praise God!
Please send Olya a greeting, congratulation, or welcome to the family and sign your name in an email to me ( and I will compile them and give them to her in one email.

Continue to pray for her and parents- it is her desire that they will come to the Lord as well.

In Him,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nikolaev Update July 19, 2011


After leaving at the first of July, there have been many updates sent from missionaries David and Galina Binkley. They have constantly been on the go, working with the rehabilitation center for boys, conducting bible studies, and continuing the work we began in June.

It is a harvest that is ready for a "combine"!
The Ukrainian flag is composed of two colors: yellow and blue. The yellow is on the bottom for the Grain and the Blue is on top for the sky. Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe. It is now a breadbasket for the church.

This last Sunday (17th of July) was their largest attendance for worship at 23, and this is minus some that have been out of town. Here are some photos of the latest report:
This is a during the the service.

These are photos from the fellowship after services.

There is a plea from David and Galina for someone to come and help during the fall, because there are so many (30+) studies. Andrea and I, along with Isaac, are going to make a trip back to Nikolaev, Ukraine for three weeks in November. We ask you for prayers as we prepare for this work.
I have been studying with six of the students using Skype. They all are so eager to study English and Bible. Much of our Skype sessions are discussing life issues and applying God's word.
Thank you for your support, your prayers are being answered!

Luke 10:2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (NIV)

2и сказал им: жатвы много, а делателей мало; итак, молите Господина жатвы, чтобы выслал делателей на жатву Свою.(Russian)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As I begin to write this update, there are so many memories and emotions from this trip that it is nearly impossible to accurately and thoroughly present you all the information about what God has done in one newsletter. So, I will do my best and will update more information in the next couple of weeks and months. I will do so on a blog so that you can have more detailed information:

I will start out by saying that such diligence, love, and devotion to the mission of God from missionaries seen in David and Galina Binkley has challenged me and has given many of our students a new view of Christianity- one they unanimously say they love (John 13:35).

Also, this trip has produced 32 bible studies for David and Galina. It was a trip to teach English using the bible, but our students desired more lessons from the bible and asked that David and Galina would continue studies with them.

I will briefly give a description of some of the students, with whom God has blessed me the opportunity to study. And before I begin, If you have any questions please feel free to call me (503) 804-8775 or email (

Tanya- As we started, Tanya was a student that was very shy when it came to speaking English, but as with all the students, when we discuss important issues such as faith, their English speaking blossomed. Tanya loves the Word and has been a part of a group in Nikolaev that has some teachings that are very charismatic. One example is speaking in tongues. I would ask you to pray for Tanya, she has said that she realizes that many teachings are taken from verses out of context and would like to study the word more clearly. Her hurdle to submitting to theWord is summed upin this phrase “I just know in my heart.” So I ask you to pray for her.

Here is Tanya and hermother visiting the church on Sunday. This was her mother’s first time to be with any church family.

Dasha and Olya- Dasha and Olya are two 17-year old girls who speak English very well, and after the first week began to love the teachings of Christ. Olya had never opened the bible until this course. She had to leave for the first two weeks on vacation with her parents, but Olya was so excited about what the Bible teaches and the walk of Christ that she would call by telephone to discuss these things with Dasha and me. Dasha has been apart of a large (~450 members) Baptist Christian church, but has seen the love in David and Galina that moves her to visit the Nikolaev church of Christ with her friend Olya. Dasha is quiet but very mature and knows much bible. After we left, they spent the weekend studying with David and Galina,visited the church, and asked for more studies. Dasha and Olya both emailed me already and expressed theirexcitement for the church and the love it shows. Please continue to pray for them. Olya needs prayers: her family is going through a divorce, and she is thirsty for hope. Dasha wants to study and be a part of the church, but may encounter some pressure from the Baptist church- we are relieved to know that she may not have pressure from her mother.

Dasha is on the left and Olya is on the right

Pavel (Paul)- a 38-year-old student who came strictly for English, but learned that you can still have joy and hope a midst some trials (Philippians), this is what we spoke about the most together. Please keep him in your prayers he has gone through a tough marriage that has recently ended, it is hard on him as he struggles to find hope and family. Thank you God that hope was brought to Pavel in his studies.

Pavel and I after a two hour study

Sergey- a 43 year-old student who has some health problems with digestion, but is eager to know God. He had a little difficulty in comprehending how God could cause all various forms of life to come into existence in 6 days. He is a historian and has spent years studying evolution. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to have received a B.S. in Biology and the ability to speak Russian – this helped me in studying with Sergey. He is enjoying the word and the passion of God for His people. Another hurdle for Sergey was – if there was a God why all the mess in the world. We looked through the history in the Old Testament and noticed that these problems are when men/women take their eyes off of God and follow their own hearts-so it points more to the need for people to turn to God (Num. 15:37-40; Prov. 3:5-6; Jeremiah 10:23). It also was evidence to Sergey that there is a God, the morals that God has set for man, does not come from man alone (Proverbs 14:12).

Sergey and I after an intense and exciting study. Notice my hair as I leaned on my hand while going through scriptures with Sergey.

There were two students that I had who started out the first week, but had moved or couldn’t come due to work. I had four more students from the last week we were there who will continue with David and Galina. And all four of us workers fell in love with all the students. It was the most difficult mission campaign for me to leave.

The missionaries – Galina, David, Dick Ady (president of WEI), Charles Chandler, ME, and Jon Rawlings.

While in Nikolaev, I had learned that the opportunities are plentiful, and the harvest is ready. There is a rehabilitation home for boys who have gotten into trouble because of homelessness and no love at home. David and Galina are the only ones in the city of 500 thousand that are willing to make regular committed visits (twice a week). They teach the love of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit. Some of these boys graduate and will be living in Nikolaev. It is David and Galina’s desire and prayers that they will continue to stay in contact and join the family of God. I know it is God’s desire. Also, there is a University that allows and will furnish an office free of charge for them to teach English using the Bible. The administration urged that missionaries would teach the moral characters of the bible to their students.

Your support and part in this team effort has bore fruit and continues to bear fruit. I plead to you to continue to pray for David and Galina and those making plans to move and help with this work. I have truly seen God work in one of the most amazing ways on this trip. THANK YOU, and May God bless you as you accomplish his will here in the states as well as abroad.

Please continue to look for the updates on

There you will see many more pictures of other students and the church and the laughter, the tears, and the joy we have shared together.

What an amazing God we serve,

In Service to our King – Jesus.

Mike Soto

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Here are two ladies, who are very dear to me in my life and ministry. They love the idea of Laundromat ministry. They come and sit with me for hours paying for others' laundry sharing the love of Christ with which we are so richly blessed. Here is Edna and Darlene, they are both widows and so fully active in all our outreach. I love how they "run" to anyone who comes in the doors at the laundromat, church building, and at our clothing giveaways. It doesn't matter if a stranger comes in with a mohawk, tattoos, piercing, and rags for clothes- their love and smiles are the same! They are two of my greatest heros of the faith! And I love it all the more, that they are heros to my boys!