Russia, Eurasia

Barnaul, Russia

Capitol of the Altai Territory in Siberia
Population: 650,000+ 

Barnaul’s congregation of the Church of Christ

Established in 1992
Currently 120 members, plus children
No paid preacher and no eldership (yet) 

We see a great need for ongoing Biblical teaching in the congregations of God’s people throughout Russia. Youth need a strong Bible foundation to know God and his love for them and His offer of hope. New Christians of all physical ages need to secure their faith quickly by establishing regular study habits that familiarize them with foundational truths. 

The work in Barnaul is a mission that is already in progress. Since 1999, Joseph & Sonia Rhodes have been teaching on a full time basis foundational truths to teens and new Christians in a way that considers and incorporates their Russian culture. It is this mission they want to continue and expand. 


Worked 13 years with FAA as Civil Engineer until moving to Russia in 1999 to be a missionary
Worked evangelistically in public Russian youth camps every summer from 1996 to 2001
Taught various youth and adult classes in U.S.A. and Russia 


Baptized in 1992 at age 26
Worked as a music teacher from 1985 to 2001
Interpreted for American teachers in 13 evangelistic campaigns throughout Russia
Teaches in study groups for women and girls. Also has private studies with individuals
Translates Bible studies and sermons into Russian

Our family

We met in the summer of 1998, corresponded that fall and winter, and courted early in 1999.
We married October 22, 1999.
Mason was born May 5, 2001, and is a US citizen.
Joseph became a legal resident of Russia in July 2000.
Sonia became a legal resident of USA in October 2001. 

A Note from Joseph

During my first summer camp visit to Russia in 1996, as I taught 14 children who heard for the first time ever how God created the world, I realized that God had given me a great blessing when he gave me parents who raised me to know Him and His Word. As I returned to Russia every summer thereafter, I became increasingly aware of Russia’s desperate need for teachers. The extreme idea of moving to Russia to teach and facilitate others in teaching became reality in 1999. In prayerful submission and faithful obedience, I resigned my “secure,” well-paying FAA job and sought to make a real spiritual difference by laying foundations of Bible knowledge in the hearts of Russia’s youth. Now, as an integral part of the body in Barnaul, Sonia and I together lay the foundations with new Christians as well as our congregation’s growing children’s, teen’s, youth and various adult groups. 

Many people are gifted evangelists. Unfortunately, many of the people reached by evangelists are later lost because they have no one to teach them the foundations needed to “keep on” in the faith they proclaimed. We have already been the foundational teachers for many teens and adults and most are still faithful to God. We want to continue in this ministry and also help others fill this role by sharing resources and offering training. We want to continue sharing effectively these and other truths we hold so dear. 

Before we began the FOUNDATIONS ministry, we fully supported ourselves financially and also contributed to our mission work fund by using our personal resources and retirement savings.  Since beginning the FOUNDATIONS ministry in January 2002, God has provided for our personal and mission work needs through many churches, individuals, and 2 trust funds. 

Our ministry is being coordinated closely with the leadership of the congregation of the church of Christ in Barnaul, Russia, so that we can be effective in helping the Lord’s body there. Furthermore, our ministry is being encouraged, aided, and overseen by the leaders of the congregation of the church of Christ in Anderson, South Carolina. All work is subject to the review of the elders of all our supporting congregations: 

Upstate Church of Christ
1136 Brown Road
Anderson, SC 29621


Joseph, Sonia & Mason

Barnaul, Russia



The Good News Committee (GNC) working under the guidance of the elders of the Spanish Fort church of Christ serves to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The GNC receives and reviews applications for financial support for mission works, prayerfully considers each application, informs the congregation on the missionary efforts that have applied for support.  In October of each year, the GNC organizes Harvest Sunday which is the culmination of the committee’s work with the applicants and the congregation’s opportunity to contribute financially to missions’ programs.  While some mission works are spotlighted during Harvest Sunday, the members of the congregation are free to designate their contribution to any work they choose. Following Harvest Sunday, the GNC is responsible for distribution of the funds contributed.

Some of the mission works supported by the Spanish Fort church of Christ have been:

China NOW
Childhaven Children’s Home
Children’s Sunday Contribution
Church of Christ Disaster Relief
Christian Relief Fund-Wells in Kenya-Africa
Easter European Mission – Bibles for European Nations
Guyana—South America
International Student program
Joseph & Sonya Rhodes, missionary in Barnual Russia
Living Hope – Honduras
Mission para Cristo in Nicaragua
Mobile Inner-City church of Christ
Partners in Progress
Refugees in Vienna and Athens
Rainbow Omega
Ronald McDonald House, Mobile
Wells in Ghana-Africa
World Christian Broadcasting
World English Institute
  1)    India - Parbhu Kumar
  2)   Nigeria – Aniefiok Akpan

If you would like more information or are interested in on serving on the GNC, please contact Rick Wyatt (wyatts@gulftel.com). You may also contact any member of the GNC if you have, or know of, a missionary work that you would like considered for support. You will be asked to complete an application that requests basic information on the work, needs, budget, etc.

All glory to Him!

“Do not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’”  John 4:35 (NKJV)

  Guyana, South America



Video conferencing is now helping many of the churches in Guyana. Skype has proven to work very well. The connection with the churches is live and interactive.       

Starting with one location and broadcasting one time per week, the Guyanese rode mini buses, trucks and taxis to come to that location.  Because travel in Guyana is very difficult and somewhat expensive attendance began to decrease so other church locations were added as funds became available. Each location costs $100 per month to maintain the Internet connection. 

Below are the three congregations assisted by Spanish Fort church of Christ:








North Road Church of Christ, Georgetown, Guyana

This is the congregation where two Spanish Fort members, Bennie & Kitty Mullins, worked and where the School of Preaching was located for several years. Current Internet class is a Wednesday night Bible Study for the church. Upcoming offerings:  "Couples’ Class," "Children's Class" and a "Ladies’ Class.”



Blueberry Hill Church of Christ, Wismar Linden, Guyana

Blueberry Hill church of Christ is in the Wismar Linden area of Guyana.  Sheldon Jones is the minister. They have a membership of approximately 30.  Current Internet schedule is a Wednesday night Bible Study, Thursday Bible Study, and a Friday afternoon Lady's Class. Coming soon: Children's Class.

#53 Village Church of Christ, Courantyne, Guyana

#53 Village is in the Courantyne area not far from the Suriname boarder. They are located about 100+ miles east of Linden. Michael Hooper is the minister. Current Internet schedule is a Wednesday night Bible Class. They do not have a building so they meet on the first floor of the preacher's house.
Teach Guyana is a ministry of the Church of Christ in Prattville, AL – contact person is Jerry Cantrell who is one of the elders.



                     CHINA, Asia


The Spanish Fort family has been blessed for many years to be involved in the expanding work in China. Because the country is so far away and the culture is so different, it’s hard for many to imagine going there to share their faith in a place where the gospel is largely unknown. With its growing economy and its desire to become a nation of more influence in the world, China is committed to equipping its present and future leaders with the ability to speak English. Over the past 20 years, the doors to China have been opened to the message of Christ largely by Christians going to China as English teachers.  Our commitment is to send the most enthusiastic, loving, committed and engaging teachers available. This commitment has enabled us to teach with distinction and to build bridges of friendship in China for over twenty rewarding years. Opportunities abound outside of class to interact with students who will seek you out to practice English, learn about your culture and talk about matters of the heart.

Our teachers in China commit, normally, to a full school year which usually lasts 10 or 11 months. A typical English teacher in China will teach 14-16 hours of classes with topics ranging from Oral English or English Writing to American or British Culture, Literature, or History. Chinese universities pay the teacher a salary and provide a furnished apartment with paid utilities. The requirements are: 1) that the teachers hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in some discipline, 2) are native English speakers, and 3) obtain a TEFL certificate. {The leaders in the China ministry will certify teachers during a comprehensive one-week training program.} While helpful, the ability to speak Mandarin Chinese is not required. The Chinese students normally speak English well enough for them to build on in their classes and in their religious discussions. By reaching some of China’s best and brightest through teachers in their universities, we trust that God will use our efforts to impact the future of this progressing nation.

Who Serves?

Whether participants have just completed college or have years of experience under their belts, single adults have a meaningful opportunity to invest in the lives of the people they serve. Because singles often have more free time to build friendships, they are amazed at the depth of the relationships they form with their students. Married couples teaching in China often find that the marriage relationship they model goes a long way toward expressing what they value in their lives. Upon seeing the strong love that couples have for each other, students want to know more about it. Many married couples find that through sharing their lives with students, their own relationship grows and develops as well. A strong family unit can be a powerful magnet to students and those in the community. Most parents find that their children adjust more quickly and easily to life in China than they themselves do.   Parents are encouraged as they see their children build relationships with other children and are surprised at how many doors these simple relationships can open.


While missionaries cannot go to China to openly preach and teach, Christians can still enter the country and spread the good news through living out their faith and through their work. Because of the Communist system in place in China, missionary teachers there do have to be careful about how they conduct themselves and how they interact with the people. Many use American holidays with Christian roots to share some aspects of their faith with their students. Other doors are opened by the curiosity of the Chinese about American culture and Christianity in general and through friendships that naturally develop between teachers and their students. Teachers use these opportunities to invite those who are interested to their apartment to talk more about their questions. Many times these conversations become the basis for an ongoing discovery group. These missionaries also meet with small groups of fellow Christians in their apartments for worship, fellowship, and study.

One thing that is clear is that God has been at work in China for a long time and the number of believers there has been growing in ways that only He can bring about. Our workers in China are seeking to help nurture and equip the family in China, as well as encourage and study with those who are seeking to know God. Of course, God has also used the Chinese people and culture and the Christians there to teach and mold the workers that we send. Their desire is to be a part of what God is doing there and to help the family there grow and shine their light in the dark places of that great country.

If you think this opportunity resonates with your own heart, and if you have a yearning to be a part of something much bigger than yourself, we want to talk with you.

For security reasons, we do not publish the names of our workers or cities in China.

For more information please contact the church office: spanishfortchurchofchrist@gmail.com