Our Story

East-West Ministries began because two men couldn’t resist the call of Christ’s great mission . . . go into the world and multiply His disciples.

A New Need

East-West Founders John Maisel and Bud Toole spent the 1980s traveling secretly behind the Iron Curtain. During this time, the two men trained 4,000 to 5,000 students underground through Biblical Education by Extension (BEE).

Communist governments soon collapsed—resulting in the fall of the Iron Curtain in the early 1990s. The 300 million people who had been taught the doctrines of atheism began to seek real answers . . . resulting in an incredible spiritual hunger.

A new need arose—to train church planters and pastors in these nations characterized by restricted Christian activity during its 70 years of communism. John Maisel and Bud Toole recognized this need and responded.

A New Opportunity

In May 1993, East-West Ministries International was established to train and mentor faithful and reliable national pastors. These pastors could then become a catalyst for indigenous church growth—evangelizing the lost, equipping new believers, and establishing grace-oriented churches.

Since 1993, the Lord has been faithful in expanding the reach of East-West Ministries. During this time of expansion and development, East-West has grown from two men to 200 staff members volunteers and hundreds of national partners.

Now in 54 countries, our staff is privileged to lead many strategic and creative ministries. We work primarily in limited access countries and among unreached and unengaged people groups around the world. East-West has offices in Plano, Texas; Houston, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Moscow, Russia; Seville, Spain; New Delhi, India; and Central Asia.

A New Chapter

As the organization continued its development, the leadership of East-West experienced transition in June of 2010. East-West founder, John Maisel, assumed the title of Chairman of the Board Emeritus, and Kurt Nelson, formerly Vice President of Field Ministries, succeeded as President and CEO of East-West.

After the completion of what some called an “impossible” 10 year vision to reach 50 million people with the gospel, East-West began pursuing another audacious vision in 2013, which is only attainable through God’s power—making 1 million disciples of Jesus Christ over the next 5 years. 

Through our continued efforts to mobilize the Body of Christ, evangelize the lost, equip local leaders, and plant churches that multiply by relying on the Holy Spirit and His power, we believe God can once more do the “impossible.”

As East-West continues to pursue the unreached for the sake of the gospel, we recognize that we are only a part of the bigger story that God Himself is writing.

Our story represents the journey that God is leading us through. Our story is part of the Church’s story. Our story is part of Ravanniah’s story, a leper from India whose life has been transformed by the hope he found in the gospel . . . and our story can be part of your story, too.