Gary Parsons and Staff

Gary and his wife, Jeanne, have been serving Young Life since 1978. In 1992, along with their three daughters, Katie, Hannah and Tatyana, Gary and Jeanne moved to Moscow to begin their work in Russia. With their experience and great love, Gary and Jeanne have discipled many young leaders who share the same vision of raising a generation known for their love of Christ and their love for kids. Together, this new Young Life family has spread enthusiastically throughout the former Soviet Union to share the hope of Jesus Christ to young people.
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Since 1992, when Gary and Jeanne and their family moved to Russia, Moscow has become the central hub for Young Life in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. From the beginning, Gary invested in the outstanding young adults who caught the vision for reaching the youth of their cities with Christ’s love.
Over the last decade, these leaders have brought the vision back to their own cities. Now Krasnodar, Lipetsk, Tula, St. Petersburg and Novocherkassk have become major centers of Young Life outreach and continue to expand their impact in the surrounding areas. Sports and special needs clubs, as well as orphanage clubs, continue to be a focus of ministry and outreach. Work with the homeless youth has also become a meaningful aspect of Young Life’s service.
In 2008, Zhenya Pustoshkina was appointed as one of Young Life’s first three indigenous, international regional directors. She is developing training programs and encouraging the leadership teams in all of Russia where we are experiencing unprecedented growth. We are expanding into Rostov and Yekaterinburg and bringing new opportunities to the youth in
these cities.
With its ministry and training center, Moscow continues to provide a model for effectively reaching the young of the region.

Four generations of leaders

Gary was the first generation. Gary had spent much of high school living for himself and walking a dangerous path. But when he learned about Christ at Young Life’s Malibu camp during the summer of 1970, Gary felt drawn to a God who wanted to forgive him and love him. That week, he committed his life to Christ. And when he asked God to give him a new heart, God did just that.
Twenty-four summers later, Gary was at another Young Life camp, this time in Ukraine, as the speaker. In the back row, laughing and goofing off, was Sasha — the second generation. Growing up in a fractured family, Sasha had been through a lot of disappointment and pain. That week, Gary’s message about Christ penetrated Sasha’s heart. For the first time, he felt completely new and completely whole. He left the camp passionate about reaching the lost for Chernovsty.
The third generation was Misha. A drug-user who ran with a rough crowd, Misha thought nothing of stealing or using violence to get what he wanted. But one night in a dream, he felt God calling to him through a light. When he awoke, Misha searched relentlessly all day long until he found someone who could pray with him. That night, he invited Christ into his life. The following week Misha walked into a Young Life club and met Sasha Utkin — now a leader — who took him under his wing.Watching leaders with kids they had led to Christ, Misha knew he wanted to do the same. He prayed for his own group of kids and built a very active club where he met young, energetic Sasha Gusakov — the fourth generation. Misha saw Sasha’s enthusiasm for the Lord, so he poured time and energy into helping Sasha grow in his faith. Sasha had a lucrative profession as a restauranteur, which he decided to leave to serve with Young Life. He and his wife, Luda, recently moved to Khmelnitsky to begin work as a Young Life area director in this large city. He already has established thriving clubs and a large following of kids.
Read more about the committee that supports this ministry.

Young Life Former Soviet Union Div | 420 N Cascade Ave Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3325

Phone: (719) 381-1774

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