GLADSTONE - Missionaries Leonid Regheta and his wife, Leanna, will be the guest speakers at the United Evangelical Covenant Church, 305 S. 9th St. in Gladstone on Sunday. The service begins at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.
Regheta represented the Department of World Mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church since becoming a short-term missionary to Magadan, Russia, in 1997. The couple, who are from Ukraine and Russia, were commissioned as project missionaries to work with local-church initiatives in Russia, Ukraine and Baltic countries.
Leonid grew up in the Ukrainian underground church with both grandfathers pastoring during the Communist era of persecutions. He decided to follow Jesus and, after he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1989 as religious refugees, they settled in the Seattle area.
After a two-year mission assignment in Magadan, Leonid returned to the U.S. to study at North Park Theological Seminary. During his first year of studies, he was chosen as one of six seminary students in North America to be a recipient of the Sandy Ford Graduate Fellowship. Through the program, he has been mentored by Drs. Leighton Ford and Lon Allison.
Leonid met and married Leanna and, in 2006, was nominated to be part of Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization events in Malaysia, Hungary and South Africa.
Following several years of ministry in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Regheta family was forced to return to the U.S. in 2007 due to the government shift on religious visa policy. World Mission created a U.S.-based project for the couple, remaining hopeful of their future return to Eastern Europe.
Currently based in Texas, the Reghetas travel to and continue facilitating ministry in Russia while ministering to Russian-speaking immigrants in Texas. In 2011, they planted River of Life Russian Church in Dallas where Leanna has been instrumental in setting up Sunday school, worship team and women's ministries.
In partnership with the Swedish Covenant Church, new mission initiatives in Russia include sports camps, English clubs and a pastoral care project.
Both Leonid and Leanna agree, "We are blessed to participate in these ministries and are fulfilled with the desire to continue sharing the Gospel with people yet in darkness. No purpose in this life can be more worthwhile."
Leonid received his bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, master's of divinity degree from North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, and has studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Russian Christian Humanities Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Leanna received a registered nursing degree from Asset Medical Institute in Russia.
The couple's home church is Quest Church in Seattle.