Billy Graham Center

Interview with Peter Simon Deyneka, Jr. - Collection 381

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Peter Simon Deyneka

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Brief Description.
Interview in which Deyneka talks about his father, Peter Sr; his own education at Wheaton College; and his early Christian work in Alaska, South America and Korea.

Collection 381 [February 28, 2003]
Deyneka, Peter Simon Jr.; 1931-
Interview; 1987

2 Reels of Audio Tape

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Transcripts to T1 & T2 are available.


Peter Simon Deyneka Jr. was born in Chicago on September 13, 1931. He was the second child of Peter and Vera (Demidovich) Deyneka, both of whom had immigrated to the United States from what was then Russian territory. The Deynekas already had one daughter, Ruth, and later had a third child, Lydia. When Peter Jr. was three, his father, who had been an evangelist in the Midwest and a missionary and relief worker in eastern Europe, founded the Russian Gospel Association (later the Slavic Gospel Association), which he headed for the next four decades. The purpose of the organization was to preach the Gospel to Russian (later Slavic) speaking peoples. Peter Jr. from the age of five often traveled with his father as he visited churches to preach and raise support for the Association. At about the age of eight, Peter Jr. committed his life to Christ.

The Deyneka family lived amidst the Russian speaking immigrant community in Chicago. Peter Jr. attended Carl Schurz High School. In high school he was active in the band, where he played the trombone, and the Crusaders Club, a Christian fellowship group, serving as president of the club in his junior year. After graduating from Schurz in 1949 he enrolled as a student at Wheaton College (whose president, V. Raymond Edman, was an old friend of the family). He received his BA in 1953 and then went on to attend Northern Baptist Seminary, from which he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1957. He had already during the time he had been enrolled at Northern Baptist spent one year in Alaska as a SGA worker, serving as a village pastor and evangelist among the Aleut peoples. After graduation he returned to Alaska as a missionary. In 1961 he moved to South America, where he served as director of SGA's Russian Bible Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and taught there for two years and preached in Slavic ethnic colonies throughout South America. Then he moved to Ecuador, where he taped Russian language broadcasts for missionary radio station HCJB in Quito. Radio was again a major part of his next assignment. From 1963-65, after a brief return to the United States, he was loaned to the Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) to work at their station HLKX in Inchon, South Korea. There he was once again involved in developing Russian language evangelistic broadcasts, this time to be broadcast to non-Christian audiences in the Soviet Union. While in Korea, he also worked in his spare time as a civilian military chaplain on United States military bases, assisted young people's groups and preached in local churches.

When he returned to the United States, his next assignment was at SGA's headquarters (now moved to Wheaton) where he became assistant director in 1966. Shortly after his return home, on June 14, 1968, he married Anita Marson. For the next nine years he aided his father, taking over a larger and larger share of the administrative work. Finally in 1975 he became general director upon his father's retirement. (Peter Sr. died in 1987). Peter Jr. continued as head of SGA until 1991. Then his disagreement with the board of the Association over the best way to take advantage over the many new opportunities for building and strengthening the church in Russia due to the collapse of the Soviet Union caused him to resign from SGA and form, together with his wife, a new organization called Peter Deyneka USSR Ministries (later changed to Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries). Through this organization Deyneka planned to serve as a liasion and expeditor between Western evangelistic organizations interested in working in Russia and churches and parachurch organizations in the fomer Soviet Union.

Besides his work for SGA over the years, Deyneka was involved in many other Evangelical ministries. He was a guest lecturer at Fuller Seminary and the Wheaton College Graduate School, a member of the board of directors of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association South American Crusades, Society for the Study of Communism and Religion, and the Roumanian Missionary Society. He also co-wrote with Norman Rohrer a biography of his father called Peter Dynamite (1975) and with his wife Anita Christians in the Shadow of the Kremlin (1974) and A Song in Siberia (1977).

Scope and Content

Peter Deyneka Jr. was interviewed by Wheaton College student Douglas Buchanan on December 11, 1987 at Deyneka's home in Wheaton, IL. The events described in the interview cover the time period from 1931 to 1965. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Start of tape
00:15 Start of interview, introduction
00:45 Growing up as the son of Peter Deyneka Sr.; travels with his father and acting as
his secretary; meeting future Christian leaders through Youth for Christ; advantage of contacts with a wide range of Christian workers
05:45 Paul Rader's influence on Deyneka; Rader committed Deyneka Jr. to the Lord;
being raised in a Russian immigrant community in Chicago; influence of this upbringing; benefits of learning to share
10:30 Reason why Peter Jr. attended Wheaton College; friendship between Peter Sr.
and V. Raymond Edman; spiritual life on Wheaton College campus; deep interest in spiritual renewal; influence of the daily prayer meeting on Leighton Ford, John Wesley White, Ted Seelye and others
16:00 Participating as part of a traveling Gospel team while he was in college; influence
of Wheaton on Deyneka's decision to go into fulltime Christian work at Slavic Gospel Association; periodic growth and decline in student interest in mission work; positive aspects of Wheaton's isolation from the secular world
22:45 In Alaska as a worker for SGA as a village pastor and evangelist among the
Aleut people; other aspects of SGA's work in the early 1950s: South America, refugee camps in Europe, beginnings of radio work; Deyneka's work after seminary in Alaska, Argentina (among Russian speakers), Ecuador and Korea (in Russian language radio work)
27:00 More on Deyneka's evangelistic work among Slavic colonies in South America;
training indigenous Slavic community leaders in South America; broadcasting Russian language programs on station HLKX to Siberia from Korea in the middle 1960s
33:15 Other activities while in Korea, including youth work, serving as a miliary
chaplain; relations at the time between Korea and Japan; underdevelopment and poverty of Korea at the time; early indications of church growth in Korea; development of Billy Kim's ministry; highly charged spiritual atmosphere in Korea
39:45 Reasons for the spiritual vacuum in Korea
41:00 Blank spot on tape
41:45 Continuation of discussion of reasons for the spiritual vacuum in Korea
43:00 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Start of side 2
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:15 Additional factors in the growth of Christianity in Korea; development of Korean
control over evangelism in Korea; Korean mission efforts in Japan; Korea's potential as a mission sending country; need for studies of the growth of Christianity in Korea
07:15 Further discussion of Deyneka's Russian language broadcasting work; limitations of broadcasts of church services as a method of reaching secular audiences; SGA's development of radio programs aimed at communicating the Gospel to secular audiences; TEAM's radio station compound in Inchon; more comments on the poverty of the country
13:00 Acceptance of Americans in Korea; great desire of Koreans to learn English
made them enjoy listening to Deyneka's sermons in English and their translation into Korean; physical coldness of Korean churches during winter
18:00 Korean food; positive relations with the Korean government; unity of the Korean
population during Deyneka's stay there; the Korean school system; concerns of Korean Christians at the time
22:45 End of tape

T2 - side 1
00:00 Start of tape
01:30 Overlap from the end of tape T1
02:15 Deyneka's loss of contact with his friends after he left Korea; unity of the church
in the country; negative aspects in the rapidity of the growth of the church in Korea
06:00 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in 1987 from Peter Deyneka Jr.

Acc.: 87-155
September 28, 1993
Robert Shuster

Accession: 87-155
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 64 minutes, one side only; originally recorded on cassette and transferred to master reel-to-reel tapes. Interview with Peter Deyneka Jr. by Wheaton College student Douglas Buchanan recorded on December 11, 1987. Deyneka describes his relationship to his father Peter Deyneka Sr. who founded the Slavic Gospel Association; his years as a student at Wheaton College; and his work for SGA in Alaska, South America and South Korea; and various aspects of the growth of the church in Korea.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 6 minutes, one side only; originally recorded on cassette and transferred to master reel-to-reel tapes. Conclusion of interview with Peter Deyneka Jr. by Wheaton College student Douglas Buchanan recorded on December 11, 1987. Deyneka describes the growth of the Christian church in Korea.

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Last Revised: 2/28/03
Expiration: indefinite