Recently, I was asked to write an article about a missionary colleague of mine, Nathan Day. Having completed the assignment, I’ve decided to publish it here on our blog. If you’re not familiar with Nathan and his ministry, I would encourage you to get to know his family and to pray for him. If you’re in a missions-minded church, you might even consider printing out this article and giving a copy to your pastor. Good men on the field are hard to find, and those that are laboring for the Kingdom of God deserve our prayers and support.
I met Nathan Day for the first time in 2003 at Bangkok International Airport in Thailand. Standing 6’ 3” tall, he wasn’t hard to pick out as he towered over the crowds of shorter Thais. Nathan had come to Thailand to participate in a new ministry opportunity from No Greater Joy called Nations Training Institute. The goal of this ministry was to train up young men for evangelism overseas by providing them with real, hands-on experience in foreign missions. Today, Nathan is one of the most valuable members of our team, and one of my closest friends. He plays an integral role in our ministry in Ukraine, and I often wonder how I ever got along without him! This is the story of how God led Nathan from his home in Colorado into a life of full-time ministry overseas.
In early 2001 Michael Pearl placed an advertisement in the No Greater Joy magazine inviting men to attend a missions camp at his church in Tennessee. Among those to respond was a quiet, unassuming homeschooler from Colorado: Nathan Day. Although very interested in the camp, Nathan was hesitant to commit due to one of the prerequisites for attending: he would have to pass out several hundred Gospel tracts in his hometown. Those who know Nathan today will likely find it humorous that such a thing could have ever caused him concern. At the time, however, tract distribution was something that Nathan, like many modern Christians, had rarely attempted. Nathan ultimately decided to take the plunge, and soon found that passing out tracts was not quite as insurmountable a task as he had thought.
When the missions camp began in August of that same year, Nathan was there along with about 30 other young men. Together, they spent seven days learning about biblical evangelism and missions techniques from veterans like T.J. Slayman and Tom Gaudet. That week changed Nathan’s life forever, and it became the catalyst which God used to lead Nathan into foreign missions.
Two years later in September of 2003, Nations Training Institute was launched in Bangkok, Thailand, and Nathan was one of the seven young men who enrolled. While in Bangkok, Nathan and the other trainees spent several months participating in a variety of evangelism venues, including literature distribution, English teaching and prison ministry.
As the training time in Bangkok was approaching its end, many of the men began discussing their next steps in ministry. I had already made plans to return to Ukraine, and I invited any who were willing to join me. Nathan decided to come, and in early April of 2004, we arrived in L’viv together.
Nathan didn’t waste any time getting to work. He immediately enrolled in language lessons, studying Ukrainian with a private tutor for many hours every week. Because he was still single at the time, he had the advantage of sharing an apartment with a Ukrainian man, and this allowed him to progress rapidly in his language skills. Just over a year after his arrival in the country, Nathan spoke publicly in Ukrainian for the first time when he taught four sessions at a Bible camp we organized in the Carpathians.
Today, Nathan oversees our entire Ukrainian correspondence course, which reaches nearly 600 students at this writing. During the summer months, he is heavily involved with our Carpathian Mountain Outreach program, which is, in a way, a continuation of the original vision of Nations Training Institute. Nathan also loves numbers, and over the years he has kept valuable statistics which have helped us to maximize the effectiveness of our outreaches. Not only has Nathan been instrumental in taking the Gospel to thousands of unreached Ukrainians, he has also discipled many American young men in the process, leading by example and helping to raise up new laborers for the harvest fields.
In late 2009, Nathan married Katelin Rebsch, and their first child, Melissa, was born in December of 2010. I thank God for Nathan and his family, and would like to ask you to pray for them as they serve with our team, working tirelessly to advance the cause of Christ in Ukraine. You can learn more about Nathan and Katelin by visiting their blog: http://daysinukraine.com.