Dan Vanschaemelhout (Dan Van) was sent to the former Soviet Union in 1993, shortly after the fall of the "Iron Curtain," by our church to investigate the possibility of doing missionary work there. Well, he basically never came back, except for one short visit when we begged him to. He began preaching the gospel in the open air in the city of Kiev and holding church meetings on Sundays and Bible studies during the week, while studying the Russian language there at the University.
Since 2002 Dan had been ministering among the Yakut people way up in the area of northern Siberia inside the Arctic Circle, at a village called Srednekolymsk, Yakutia. Dan was holding two church meetings a week on Sundays and Thursdays. He has an assistant named Yulia who is fluent in English and Russian, and is able to translate Dan's messages and send them via email across the internet. Yulia also helped Dan in his door-to-door ministry, teaching the women and children, and in various communication necessities that came up. She is a strong believer in the doctrines of grace as well.
The living conditions are quite harsh there. In December and January, the sun does not even come up over the horizon and the temperatures sink to -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The village is plagued with serious alcoholism, infidelity, homicide and suicide. It is a very dangerous place to live. The spiritual condition is that of Atheism, Agnosticism, and a pagan religion which worships fire.
Dan Van did not know anyone else within hundreds of miles of him that was preaching the gospel. There were some other missionaries, but they are all long gone. For more than 19 years, we considered it one of our privileges to be able to support his work there as one of our elders sent out as a missionary.
Dan went home to be with the Lord May 23, 2013. Since then Yulia has been continuing on with the work. While there is presently no pastor of the church, Yulia is guarding the church against all manner of bad doctrines and false teachers that are presently threatening the church, and translating sermons to be read each week.
Pray with us for Yulia's perseverance in the faith and work. And, pray for God to send a pastor there or one to emerge from their midst.
Please click on the link below and you can see the memorial service for him which explains about Dan and his work. He is missed by many.