Global Woman Highlight | Karen McDonald

Posted on: July 23, 2015 Written by
Global Woman Highlight | Karen McDonald

My name is Karen McDonald.  I am 63 years old, am married, and have 3 grown children and 9 grandkids. I have ministered in and across 5 of the 9 time zones in Russia for 12 years, first in the mid 90s for 1.5 years when our kids were teenagers, and then for 10.5 years (since 2004) with my husband.

It was a dream fulfilled to live and serve in Russia.  We thought that we would be in Russia to the end of our days and probably be buried in our beloved adopted country.  For the last 7.5 years we have worked alongside an indigenous church planting movement that evangelizes the most desperately down and out of society’s cast offs; drug addicts, homeless people, and criminals coming out of prison.  It has been a wild and exciting ride, and we have seen God move in might and miracles; healing disease, lives, and families over and over again.

Ours was a wide open door of effective ministry, but in 2012 God began to shift our purpose from Russia back to America in order to bring what we had learned in Russia to the problems in the US.  In July 2014, we said good bye to everything that was familiar and fulfilling and to people who we dearly loved. We now are living in Indiana and are endeavoring to open a home for discipling drug addicts.

Please pray for my adjustment and reconnection. This last year has been a year of trauma and death for me. Starting in March of 2014 we began to disassemble our home, dissolve our ministry, and say our good byes to loved ones we knew we would, in all probability, never see again in this life.  For 3 months when we arrived back in the States we lived out of boxes in a temporary apartment in New Hampshire, while we took time to go around and thank our supporting churches for their years of support.  The last week in October we moved to Indiana and I have been trying to adjust to this new life. Culturally I am lost, laboring, and struggling with depression.  The only certainty I have in my life is that I know that it was God who directed us to come here, but this has been the hardest transition I have ever made.


©2015 Thrive.

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  • Good to read your story here, Karen… So few words to try and describe years that have profoundly changed you and transformed others.
    It was a blessing to meet you recently in CO. I totally understand your feelings of feeling list in this culture. I’m attending a debriefing retreat with soon and hope for some forward motion.
    Bless you and please feel free to connect when you need an understanding heart and a listening ear

  • Sadie

    Thanks for sharing Karen. It was a great blessing and encouragement to meet you in CO. It is good to know that as we move forward into a uncertain and sometimes scary future we are not alone. There are many other brother’s and sister’s in Christ that God is taking on this difficult journey, and just as I KNOW He will be faithful to you(!) I can trust I am in His loving hands too. Thank you for being honest and letting our Savior take care of you. I hope others around the world that didn’t meet you in person can find encouragement in your real life story!

  • Hello Karen,
    I connected with your story on several points: My husband and I hope to die in France. We grew up in Indianapolis and now 2 of our children are settling in there as young adults. After 15 yrs away from the US, we can’t imagine moving back, as it’s a foreign country to us now.
    My main ministry here is healing broken Christians with the Bethel Sozo method, and I just wanted to write to let you know that I would love to offer you a Skype session, if you are at all interested in a little help to get through this difficult time. My contact info is on our website…

  • Sarah

    Hello Karen, I just want you to know that I will be praying for you. My husband and I left Russia suddenly and unexpectedly due to health reasons in 2012, and have been in the process of adjusting as a family to the USA. We too love Russia, and also planned on living out our days there. Our children were born there, and identify themselves as Russian. It is comforting to me to know that God never changes, regardless of our circumstances. Love to you, and feel free to write if you want to.

  • Claudia

    I feel with you, Karen, and identify with the desire you had to live the rest of your days in Russia. We are in Germany and hope to be here permanently. May you be encouraged and strengthened at this time of transition and adjustment to new surroundings.