Caleb Suko and his family are missionaries to Ukraine. Right how they’re in the US, preparing to return in just a few weeks. In spite of all the fighting and challenges, they feel like God would have them return.
He’s also a podcaster, a blogger, and the vice president of Church Ministries Institute. In fact, I was first introduced to Caleb through his blog at SukoFamily.org and his podcast – Now is the Time. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that I’ve shared a few of his posts and episodes.
I appreciate his honesty and his perspective. I think there’s a lot that Caleb can offer us today and it’s my hope that our conversation will inspire and challenge you and me. And that we’ll walk away with some understanding of how we can apply what he’s learned wherever God has called us.
I'd also like to mention that he just released a book on amazon called “What if… How to Kill Worry and Anxiety Before They Kill You!”
Life in Ministry
Caleb and his family minister in the region of Odessa, Ukraine. They are heavily involved with the local church, minister to other churches in the region, provide support for other missionaries, and provide training in missions and evangelism.
He typically walks about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) to and from work every day. He spends 3-4 days a week in the ministry's office and the other 1-2 days working in their local church. On the weekends, he often ministers in their church or in other churches in the region.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
As they Caleb was finishing up seminary and they were preparing to leave, their son was diagnosed with cancer. It was a really difficult time for them but through it all, they saw God's faithfulness and were able to share the hope they had with others.
Rather than a moment of revelation that Caleb and his family had to begin to walk out, they discovered that God revealed His plan to them through what they'd already begun.
While they were still seeking God's will and direction, they began ministering while they were visiting Caleb's wife's parents in Ukraine. They were just ministering while they were there, and considered it training. They had no idea that they were already laying the groundwork for God's call in their lives.
As they prayed about it, they realized that it was both practical and that God had given them the desire to step into that ministry.
When they return, Caleb plans to focus on two key initiatives. The first is to develop a distance-learning plan for the Russian-speaking population. Because of the geography, and also the political and religious climate of some of they countries, traditional ministry education isn't possible for some people.
Second, they hope to be able to help some of the refugees, displaced by the war in Ukraine.
I asked Caleb how he prioritizes and chooses what to do, with so many ministry opportunities available. His answer applies to missions, business, and life in general.
It's critical to have a clear vision for your ministry. At first, you can say “yes” to many things. But later, it's easy to become inundated and overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities. At that point, you have to be able to say “no” to some things, and eliminate others.
That's why it's critical to have a clear vision for what God would have you do and where you should focus. Then, the decision often becomes more clear.
Significance in the Marketplace
There are many missionaries throughout the world that use business as an integral part of their mission. Just like a missionary, if you're called into the marketplace, you must think about how to use your business for the Kingdom.
- Financial support for missionaries
- It's a godly way to share the Gospel
- The Apostle Paul used business in his ministry
He mentioned that if you're becoming restless, it might be God calling you to missions full-time. If you think that might be you, Caleb shares a few steps you should take before moving forward.
Just start communicating. That can encourage the missionaries and it might be the first step in something else.
- How much joy you get just from serving the Lord.
- Be flexible
Personal Success Habit
- Try to connect with people along the way.
Shifts in Society
Recognize that it's not as unusual as you might think. Don't be afraid, be interested. Get out and meet them. Find out about their food and their culture, get their cultural perspective. Look for ways to be a resource for them.
Caleb recommended an evangelism and disicpleship tool: Good Soil
Find out where the people are and go there. Introduce yourself to people and let them know why you're there. Ask questions. Look for people who are willing to help you. Look for other believers and see if you can join them.
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