Acts 1:8: Finding ‘sanity to live life in the sovereignty of God’

*Patrick and Stella Marsh watched as their country shut down in a matter of weeks.

They counted the cost of fulfilling the Great Commission to see their neighbors in Moscow, Russia reached with the gospel. Now, the life they knew has shut down. God’s work has not. Patrick sees this specifically through the Central Asian migrant workers to whom he and his wife minister regularly. 

“Because of the ministry we were seeing—that people were so open to the gospel—we wanted to stay here,” said Patrick, who is pursuing a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies at The College at Southeastern and has served in Moscow with his family for five years. 

COVID-19 presents unique challenges for those ministering around the globe, but God is providing creative solutions to these obstacles. In light of the pandemic, many Central Asians have left the country to go back to their families. Those who have stayed or where not able to get back to their home countries have remained in jobs that present health risks due to the high amount of interaction involved and their living conditions. These jobs often include food or grocery delivery. While Patrick and his family are quarantined, they are choosing to be intentional about ordering food and groceries in order to interact with Central Asians. More importantly, with each Central Asian they encounter, they are giving them gift bags filled with hygienic items, including a mask and a bar of soap to keep workers safe. The bag provides more than physical sustainability, though. It also includes a book with portions of the Scripture and the Jesus film to guide these workers to a knowledge of the gospel. As Patrick puts it, “We’re actually providing a way for them to not only be physically clean but also spiritually clean.” 

What’s even more striking about the mask project is the connection that made the idea a reality. Marsh and his wife had established a relationship with a Muslim family living in an unengaged, unreached part of Russia. As Patrick and his wife sought the Lord’s help on how to obtain masks to care for the Central Asian migrant workers in their city, they received a text message. One of the Muslim family members, a seamstress, told Marsh that their company had mandated them to start making masks instead of regular clothing items. 

Patrick texted back and shared his idea to give out masks to the migrant workers while in lockdown. He asked the family for 1,000 masks. The response? “You’re family. We can make that happen.” In just two days, the couple received 500 masks. Through an unlikely partnership, Patrick and his family hope that with each gift bag, each conversation and each prayer that the gospel is being planted in the lives of Central Asians. 

Though these days feel uncertain, the Lord is teaching Patrick about his sovereignty in all situations. 

“God’s really been teaching me to be satisfied in who he is…because honestly we find our sanity to live life in the sovereignty of God,” he said.   

That sovereignty is what is propelling the gospel forward in a time of crisis. While COVID-19 may be placing lives on hold, God is still using Southeastern students to advance his mission in Russia and throughout the world. 

*Names changed for security reasons


From our local community to the outermost parts of the world, Southeastern students and alumni are reaching people with the gospel by fulfilling the Great Commission. Using the model of Acts 1:8, we want to highlight these stories of how our Southeastern family is serving in North Carolina, North America and around the world. Acts 1:8 Stories create a collective and consistent way to tell the story of Southeastern, one person at a time. From local pastors to missionaries among the unreached, God is doing a great work among students and alumni. Where are they now and where are they going? We can’t wait for you to find out! 

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