Our Story

30 Years of Shining God's Light

In 1993, John Maisel and Bud Toole stepped out in bold obedience to launch a ministry focused on taking the gospel to the spiritually darkest places in the world. Over the past 30 years, God has worked through East-West to take the gospel to millions of unreached people and multiply scores of disciples and churches.

East-West has grown from operating in one Soviet-era nation to working in more than 40 nations and partnering with thousands of local believers where the name of Jesus is unknown. We do this with one goal in mind—glorifying God by multiplying followers of Jesus in the world’s spiritually darkest areas.


44 countries of

10 major
world regions

30 years
of ministry


John Maisel travels behind the Iron Curtain for the first time
East West Maisels Men
Working covertly in the Soviet Union, John worked alongside other field workers to share the gospel and train church leaders.
East-West Ministries International is founded
East West EarlyDaysofEW

John asked his friend, Bud Toole, to join him in starting a new ministry with the aim of training indigenous pastors.

Ministry expands beyond Russia
Women in central asia drink tea on the side of a hill

East-West began expanding its reach to the 10/40 Window, broadening ministry to unreached people groups elsewhere.

East-West launches church planting movement strategies on the field
woman looks on to a church service in africa taking place outside

Ministry began strategically focusing on planting churches among unreached people groups. 

Kurt Nelson becomes President and CEO
Kurt Nelson is prayed over by John Maisel and the board when he became CEO

Kurt took on greater leadership responsibilities as John Maisel solely focused on his role as Founder and Chairman Emeritus.

East-West narrows its ministry focus to disciple making strategies
East West EW Cuba 01132013 2 8941 Edit

While still desiring to see churches planted, East-West shifted focus to primarily multiplying healthy disciples.

East-West celebrates 25 years of ministry
East West IndiaChurch

Over the course of 25 years, East-West saw God plant more than 100,000 churches and multiply more than 1 million disciples.

East-West Ministries International rebrands to East-West
East West BrandRefresh

Though the mission remained the same, East-West simplified its name and logo.

East-West celebrates 30 years of ministry
East West 30Years

Three decades into ministry, East-West continues reaching the unreached by mobilizing the Church, equipping local leaders, and multiplying disciples and churches.


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Discover more about East-West’s values, theology, and impact among the unreached.