Luba Dechtiarenko

Ministry to Russian-speaking women

BEE World  (Biblical Education by Extension)

Luba Dechtiarenko was born in a refuge camp in Hanover, Germany.  Her mother a Bulgarian by nationality and her father a Russian, were part of the forced labor prisoners during WW2. Shortly after her birth her parents left war-torn Germany as refugees and moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Life in Brazil was one of poverty and hardship.  In 1957 her parents and their six small children were able to immigrate to the United States.  By the age of eight Luba had lived in three countries and spoke three languages fluently.  Russian was the language spoken in their home and her parents were active in the Russian-Ukrainian Baptist Church.  All services were conducted in Russian and Ukrainian, thus Luba was immersed in the Slavic culture not only at home but also in the church.

Luba had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home.  She repented and accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior when she was thirteen years old.  Even as a small child her heart’s desire and prayer had always been to be a missionary.  Luba went on to receive a degree as a medical technologist and later attended Philadelphia College of Bible.

In 1970 Luba married Roman Dechtiarenko, who was also of Slavic descent, a war-refugee, spoke Russian and a graduate of Philadelphia College of Bible.  Together they began to seek the Lord’s will concerning the burden they had for the Russian people.  Roman was the pastor of a small Russian Baptist Church in Philadelphia and the Soviet Union was behind an Iron Curtain, which seemed impenetrable.  Thus, instead of heading to Russia as missionaries the Lord sent them to the South American country of Argentina–to work among Russian immigrants!  For eight years they ministered at the Russian Bible Institute in the Russian language to Russian-speaking men, women and young people in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.  Luba was instrumental in organizing women’s ministries in over forty Slavic churches.  She regularly spoke at retreats for the women and urged them to be actively involved in missions and in training younger women the principles set forth in Titus 2:3-5.

In 1981 Roman and Luba completed their ministry in Argentina and returned to the United States.  Although Russia was still closed to missionaries they were encouraged that some of the Eastern-block countries were becoming accessible.  From 1981-1988 Roman and Luba traveled to Russia many times researching, studying, praying, translating, secretly meeting with believers and preparing books and study materials for the Baptist churches.  Intimidated by customs officials, interrogated by KGB, often staying in roach-infested hotels they were inspired by their love for the Russian people and the faith of the believers whose motto was “never give up!”

Finally, in 1988 the Iron Curtain started to crumble and God removed the strongholds of repression.  On September 26, 1990 the Soviet parliament passed a long-awaited legislation, which ended decades of religious repression.  The new religious freedoms presented changes and tremendous challenges.  Pastors and leaders of the evangelical churches in the lands of Russia turned to Roman who by now received his doctorate in missions and not only spoke Russian but understood Russian culture and the unique problems of the people to help them organize evangelical seminaries and Bible institutes.  Today, there are dozens of seminaries throughout the former Soviet Union.  Roman regularly teaches in Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

For more than seventy years of Communist rule, women in the church were denied many basic elements of spiritual worship and fellowship.  The pastors faced a problem since nearly 75% of the adults of most evangelical churches are made up of women.  However, the women were never allowed to meet without male leadership, they could never have women’s prayer meetings or any type of outreach ministries.  Most women did not even own a Bible!  The pastors and leaders of the evangelical churches turn to Luba, to teach their women about the role of women in the church and to help them in their role as Godly women, wives and mothers.

For the past 24 years Luba regularly travels to Belarus, Ukraine and the Land of Israel, her ministry to Russian-speaking women consists of:

Teaching:  By implementing the principles of Titus 2:3-5 Luba is able to teach women who are:  married or single, a veteran Christian or a new Christian, young and old to be a better helpmate in the home and in the church and to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Audiocassettes:  Since the lands of Russia stretch through eleven time zones and many places are difficult to reach, audiocassettes serve the purpose of reaching women everywhere! Audiocassette technology is proven, reliable and economical.

Missionary Families & Pastor’s Wives:  During the decades of communist rule, missionary work and pastoral ministries were not considered an occupation.  Therefore, the church was not trained in providing financial or moral support to their missionaries primarily because it was illegal to raise funds for such a project.  Today there are hundreds of young missionary families who receive some form or assistance through women’s ministries.

Russian Immigrants:  There are hundreds of thousands of Russian immigrants who have left the former Soviet Union and moved to the U.S.  Discouraged, depressed and disenchanted with their “new” life the women feel spiritually dysfunctional.  Luba conducts week-end retreats for the women teaching them that we serve the same God in Russia or America, in Russian or in English and that the Word of God never changes!

Radio Ministry:  In 2007, Trans World Radio started incorporating the Titus 2 audio teaching by Luba into a Russian radio broadcast for women.  This has had a tremendous impact and letters are coming in asking for more teaching.  The broadcasts are heard in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Moldova.

Israel:  There are 1.5 million Russia Jews (all immigrants from the former Soviet Union), living in Israel today.  Luba has started a ministry with the women in Haifa, Ashquelon and Beer’Sheva.

The Dechtiarenko’s have two grown children and six grandchildren (all live in Alberta, Canada).  Roman and Luba make their home in Rockford, Illinois.