In 1992, Ewald Seidel was invited to join an evangelistic expedition down the great Ob River in Western Siberia. The mission started at Tobolsk on a tributary of the Ob—and stopped at various townships along the way to Salekhard in the Arctic region.
After 74 years of atheism, the need to evangelise and establish Churches in this vast region was immense, and the evangelical churches were seizing every opportunity to plant Churches. Young pastors and their families were living under extraordinarly primitive conditions. In a country facing economic hardship, Church resources and support are very limited.
CDA International (formerly Church Development & Aid)
This, and his long-standing concern for the Church in Russia and CIS, led to the formation of Church Development & Aid. One of the main purposes of this organisation is to provide sound material for pastors and Christian workers for their own study, and to help them train others.
Since 1992, Ewald has been to Russia on a number of occasions, assisting Churches and pastors in Western Siberia and the Urals. This has helped him establish relationships with pastors and Church members, and make personal and prayerful assessments of needs.
Why support local ministries?
During the years of enforced atheism, a great deal of Christian literature was destroyed. This has led to a shortage of sound and culturally appropriate material in the Russian language. As well, many experienced pastors were executed during the Communist era, while others, worn out by hardships and persecution, have emigrated overseas. In many districts, there is now a vacuum of trained workers who can teach the Scriptures.
The advantages of local ministry
While western missionaries can still make a contribution, reasons to support local church ministries are many:
- They share the language, culture, and history of their own people
- Christians have been made responsible for the evangelism of their own people as a starting point
- Political sensitivity to foreign missionaries often brings negative repercussions on local congregations.
We have helped —
- To finance the construction of a church building
- With the purchase of property in another town
- With the financial support of pastors
- By taking a medical team to Western Siberia
- Support youth work
- Provide funds for the disadvantaged
- With materials for Sunday School teachers
- By providing study material for pastors, women's groups, Sunday School teacher-training seminars.
- By lecturing & training in theological institutions and conducting seminars in churches
Our personal background
Ewald was born in Shanghai, China, of a German father from the Ukraine, and a Lithuanian mother from Russia. His first languages were German and Russian. His family moved to Australia in 1949 to escape the Communist invasion of Shanghai.
In 1967, after 8 years as a primary school teacher, Ewald, Cheril, and children served in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with Asia Pacific Christian Mission (APCM—now PIONEERS), as headmaster of an APCM primary school at Samberigi, in the Southern Highlands.
In 1971, he was appointed lecturer at Dauli Teachers College (APCM) where he later became Senior Lecturer in the Teaching of English as a Second Language.
On return from PNG at the end of 1975, Ewald trained at Morling Theological College of New South Wales (NSW), was ordained, and served for 13 years as a pastor with the Baptist Union of NSW.
The Seidels have four adult children, Phillip, Elisabeth (Lisa), Andrew, Deborah (Debbie), and two grandchildren, Joy and Roddy.