Peter & Jill Mehl
Peter Mehl along with his wife, Jill, founded Russian Harvest Ministries when they walked away from a successful business in 1993 and moved their family to Moscow, Russia right after the former Soviet Union collapsed.
Born in Moorhead, Minnesota, Peter was raised in humble surroundings. Life around him included gangs, drugs, and violence. He tried to stay out of it by involvement in sports like wrestling and competitive powerlifting, winning state and regional championships and eventually setting both American and world records in the drug free World Natural Powerlifting Federation.
On February 6th, 1976, Peter married his high school sweetheart, Jill Marie Olson. Five years later on July 3rd, 1981, Peter and Jill having accepted an invitation by friends, attended a Benny Hinn meeting. That night when the altar call was given, they both went forward, repented and received Jesus, vowing to serve Him with hearts of passion. In Jill’s words “Peter went ballistic! He was in church twice on Sunday’s, Wednesday nights, Saturday morning and evening prayer and then involved in anything that had to do with evangelism or missions.”
Peter earned Doctorate in Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Church Administration and Missions. But as he would say, “They hang on my wall – that’s it. The real value comes in a personal and abiding relationship with the Holy Spirit.”
After building several successful businesses and serving in multiple capacities at his home church Peter began hearing the call of God to give everything away and go to the nations, specifically the former Soviet Union. On February 1st, 1993, after giving away his businesses, a real estate firm, land and more Peter took his wife and children and left America to launch Russian Harvest Ministries.
Since that time the ministry has pioneered churches in every state of the nation, trained over 15,000 students, launched Bible schools, missionary training centers, drug rehab centers and much more, with a vision to pioneer 1,000 churches.
May 11, 2017 marked a dramatic change for RHM, when Peter unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord. After Peter's homegoing, Jill stepped into the role as President of RHM. She and the team continue to reach Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Poland for Jesus, knowing that the time is short before the Lord's return. She regularly preaches at the Chernigov church when she is in Ukraine as is sought after to speak in other churches throughout the world. Along with running the ministry, Jill makes herself available to speak in churches, at conferences and mission's conventions.
Outside of RHM, Jill has three grown daughters that she raised with Peter, Christina, Alicia and Satia, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren. She loves to spend time with her family and impart into their lives.
Meet the Leadership Team
From day one it was Peter and Jill's intention to raise up nationals that would catch the vision and be able to continue what they werwe in case they could not be there. This became evident in the beginning years of the ministry when the Mehl's were no longer able to live long term in the country due to government not extending long term visas to the family, then again when Peter died and even more so when the pandemic hit and we were unable to travel overseas at all. The team continued to carry the torch just as the Mehl's have prayed for. We've been extremely blessed by those on our team, and their faithful over the years. They are our family and they live each day as if its their last, with one goal - to reach as many SOULS for Jesus before His return.
RHM INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORS
Vladimir & Natasha Lazuka
At the age of fifteen, Natasha received the miraculous gift of the English language before the Mehl's arrived in Moscow in 1993. She caught the fire of evangelism while watching Peter and Jill evangelize on street corners and has been with the ministry ever since.
Vladimir became a part of the ministry after marrying Natasha. Over the years he proved himself as a great leader. He pastors RHM's Chernigov church, oversees a network of RHM churches in the region and is the international liaison.
The Lazuka's have served as RHM International directors for over twenty-five years and have overseen over 2,500 crusades witnessing tens of thousands coming to Christ. They have two grown sons, Daniel and Elijah.
Zhenya was a former drug addict rescued by RHM. In a service, Peter gave a word that there were some whom God was calling to come alongside him to be trained up in feats of strength. Zhenya heeded the call and 13 years ago and now does Feats of Strength evangelisms in Ukraine as well as other nations to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During this time, he has witnessed thousands of people hear the Gospel and come to Jesus.
He is married to Luda and they have two sons, Efrem and Eleizer.
MEDIA DIRECTOR - FINANCIAL DIRECTOR for SALVATION CHURCH
Sasha & Ira Trofimenko
The Trofimenko's were part of the very first graduating class of the Chernigov Bible School and have been with the ministry since 2004. Sasha is RHM's Media Director and teaches in the Bible School. Ira is the financial director for Salvation Church in Chernigov, Ukraine.
When Russia invaded Ukraine the end of February 2022, they hid from the enemy until they could flee the country for the safety of their children. They are currently living in Denmark while they wait for the war to end. They miss their homeland, friends and family.
They continue to work for RHM and Salvation Church remotely in what they can do online. In Denmark they started a cell church out of their home to reach Ukrainians living in their area. One family is so hungry for the Word of God they drive 70 km with another family asking Sasha and Ira to do a service closer to where they live. The Trofimenko's haven't allowed their refugee status to stop them from continuing in ministry. God is using them right where they are.
They have three children, Slavic, Veronica and Nazor.
ODESSA REGION & EASTERN EUROPE DIRECTOR & LEAD EVANGELIST
Kaaren was just 16 years old when he asked Peter Mehl to disciple him and train him to be an evangelist. Since that day Kaaren has grown in his calling and has become an integral part of the ministry. He currently serves as Director for the Odessa region of Ukraine and all of Eastern Europe, and is lead Evangelist for RHM. He leads hundreds of crusades each year and oversees RHM’s Schools of Evangelism including Time2Go, which is geared to train our youth for a lifestyle of evangelism.
Kaaren is married to the love of his life, Olga and is father to 4 children, Albert, Karina, Gabriel and Grace.
Yan was mentored under Kaaren, just like Peter did for him, and currently leads an evangelism team in the Southern Odessa region of Ukraine and is pastoring the newest church plant in Izmail.
When the war broke out in February 2022, he packed up his family to get them to the border and out of the country for their safety, but the fear of war didn't stop him from immediately returning to the frontlines once he had his family safe. He spent weeks helping people evacuate by bringing them to the border, and in route witnessing to them, leading hundreds to the Lord. Then he would turn around bring humanitarian aid back into the country to help those unable to leave. God has used him greatly this last year. Yan ministers to refugees, goes into villages to help the literally forgotten people who were unable to leave the country; he does street outreaches and oversees the distribution of humanitarian aid to our churches and villages in need.
He is married to Christina and they have two young boys, Nazar and Matthew.
Author, Hell's Best Kept Secret
"God bless Peter Mehl. He has a zeal for the lost; a hunger for the Word, a passion for prayer and a burning love for God that has consumed him. Nothing else matters to him, but the will of God. Peter Mehl is a normal biblical Christian.
It is sad that zealous Christians like him seem to stand out from the rest of the contemporary Body of Christ. They are like coals of fire in the midst of cold and hardened snow. So, those who are on fire for God tend today to be a little isolated. Those around them melt away, as those who are zealous have some sort of horrible disease. And they have. They are horribly diseased because all around them people are sinking into an everlasting hell, and few seem to care. So the laborers are still few. May God use this book to raise up faithful and fiery laborers, whose supreme passion is the will of God..."to seek and save that which is lost."
REV. BOB WEINER
Weiner Ministries International
"I heartily recommend Peter and Jill Mehl Ministries to anyone who wants to further God's kingdom in these tremendous harvest fields. They have the anointing, experience, integrity, vision, energy and methods to get the job done."
PASTOR STEVE QUERNEMOEN,
“The overseas works of Russian Harvest Ministries is an apostolic work ordained by God for these last days. I have been with Peter nine times, in both Russia and Ukraine. The work is real! I was with them in Odessa when the military police came with machine guns and dogs and shut us down. I have seen the work first hand. Thousands are reached for Jesus, churches are being pioneered and leaders trained. I recommend this ministry to pastors, church leaders and everyone looking for a place to invest missions dollars.
Impact Management Solutions
“My wife Debbie and I have been ministry partners with Peter and Jill Mehl since they first took their family to the mission fields of Russia and Ukraine in 1993. We have served as their ministry stateside home base, logistics coordinators, prayer partners and more. A number of descriptive adjectives come to mind for this ministry. First, God has bestowed on Peter and Jill a powerful apostolic anointing. They are fire-starters and church-planters for these end times. Second, God has placed within them an evangelistic fervor of the highest order. They are spiritual warriors in the most classic and truest sense. Their love for the lost is real. And it is contagious! Third, as ministers of the Gospel, they are bold in their proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His soon-coming return, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to His church.