Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Missions Report - December 2005

Our first snow!
THE UNCHANGING HEART OF GOD. God’s desire is the same today as it was when He sent His Son to this planet the first Christmas. God still loves each and every person and wants them to turn from sin and trust in His Son for eternal life. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…” Titus 3:4, 5
The beautiful thing is that God wants to use each and every one of us to reveal His Son to the lost. The Great Commission is much more than just getting a message out, it is living a life filled with the Holy Spirit every day so those who don’t know Him will see Jesus in us and be interested in hearing the gospel message.
OUR PRAYER FOR YOU. We pray that this Christmas you will overflow with thanks to your Savior and that you will renew your commitment to love the lost in your world to such an extent that they will see Jesus in you and hear about His love from your lips. Please pray this same prayer for us as we serve the people of Ukraine as your representatives.
The view from our apartment windows.
THREE MONTHS IN. Thank you all for sending us on this great adventure to Ukraine! We have been here for 3 months - learning a lot about God, ourselves, the missionaries and the people of Ukraine. Our focus continues to be learning Russian and ministering to the Americans on our team and the Ukrainians we can communicate with.

Merry is now playing basketball with her high school team. Grace started a Bible study with the high school girls at KCA. She loves her voice and piano lessons and hopes to go to Shorter College next year and major in voice. Danelle holds us all together by helping the girls with school papers, holding my feet to the fire studying Russian and always preparing good meals. I do the wash. Surprised? Me too.

I have also continued to run, even in the snow and cold. We praise God for you and our awesome team. We are thankful for your faithful prayers and financial support. It is not possible to do what we do without you.
We had Andre, Pastor of Spring Hope,
& his wife Viola & daughter Paullina
over for dinner.

Please contact Great Commission Ministries if you wish to help us financially with an end of the year gift. This will help us to continue to serve in Ukraine. Your gifts to Great Commission Ministries on our behalf are tax deductible and reap eternal dividends. :-) Thanks!

We love you all so much,


Steve, Danelle, Grace, and Merry

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Missions Report - November 2005

Our Faith Tested
You do not have to move to another country to have your faith tested, but it is definitely one way to find out how strong your relationship with Jesus really is! “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 “Why me Lord,” we ask. “Why now? Why is this hardship/difficulty in my life?” This is why He prunes us, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” The process never ends. The circumstances change, but the method of pruning, for the purpose of bearing more fruit to glorify God will continue until we go home. Know it! Understand and be thankful. “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines.” (Verse 6) That is always God’s motive and His purpose in all pruning! This is what we have been experiencing here in Ukraine and it is also what God is doing in your life, wherever you live. We pray for you to bear more fruit for Christ!

Russian Language
Thank you for praying for us as we study Russian! We like our teacher Galina. She keeps patiently pushing us along. Danelle loves grammar (yuck!) and she helps me understand it and keep trying. She is a blessing! We also have a new language helper named Ksusha who comes over in the afternoon to help us. Pray for us to make opportunities to get out and use it more to help us learn.

Some of the young people who came
to the Almaz Church Conference
English Club
Kenyon Powers has faithfully led English clubs in her home for years as a means to share the gospel of Christ. Recently she invited me to come on Tuesday nights since there have been some young men attending. I have loved it! It is “My cup of tea!” Please pray for those attending to come to our Lord. Our veterinarian has expressed an interest in coming as well (we wonder if that is the whole reason we have had sick kittens!). Please pray Vitalic would attend and come to know Jesus.

Timmy speaking at the
conference...He is the tiny
spec in the background!!
Almaz Church Conference a Success
The Almaz Church hosted a very successful conference last month with 500 young people from all over Ukraine in attendance. The conference called “Upgrade,” lasted three days, and 10 churches were represented. It was impressive to us to see the quality of organization, the cheerful serving by the Almaz believers and the hunger for God’s word by all in attendance. The seminars, worship, drama and evening teaching were all a work of God. Praise His name! Future work with these believers is why we are going to language school!

Preaching at Spring of Hope
I was invited to speak at one of our GCM churches, Spring of Hope, a few weeks ago. It was a joy to see so many friends going on for Christ. Pastor Andre is now working full time for a newspaper and the church is considering appointing several new pastors to help him. Please pray for these men to seek God and know His will. Pray for the church to cling to Christ as their leader and stay encouraged during this unsettled time.

Mentoring Men
The first Sunday we were here, Victor, a young man I have known for a few years through our summer English camp, asked me if we could get together consistently. We have been spending time together in God’s word, running and get to know each other better. Please pray for Victor to grow in faith and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. He recently graduated from college and is trying to get a job as well.

Grace & some new friends
Girls Making Friends
Grace and Merry are feeling more at home here every day. They are making friends at school, participating in after school activities and helping lead the worship for the youth group.

Thank you all for remembering us in your prayers. It is kind of a weird time in our lives right now since we are not doing much “ministry” and go to school full time. We miss the ministry, but we are convinced this is God’s plan right now, and we minister to each other and our team.

In His Love,

Steve, Danelle, Grace, & Merry

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Missions Report - September 2005

They shipped us over in a scoff!
(Russian for closet)

Greetings from Ukraine!
Well, we have been here for four weeks and things are actually going pretty smoothly. We finally bought some chairs on Friday – up until now we have had these little hard stools for the kitchen table (the room is too small to fit chairs) and some kitchen chairs around the table in the hallway that are so fragile you have to sit on them very gingerly. Our sofa will arrive in a few weeks, so in the meantime the four of us take turns sitting on our two comfortable – and they ARE comfortable - chairs.
Language school has been incredibly challenging. The first day we met our teachers was interesting. They filed into the room, 4 young women and one
Our teacher Galina
& student Amberlee
older woman. The young women were smiling and laughing but the older woman didn’t look at anyone, no smile, very severe looking - I thought of Boris and Natasha (from the cartoon “Rocky and Bullwinkle” – I know I am dating myself) – this was Natasha 25 years later! I kept praying “Lord, not her, Lord, not her” Guess what? We got her – actually she is very sweet (and very hard), but the challenge is she speaks very little English and explaining all of the grammar is almost impossible. First of all, a T is an M, an H is an N, a P is an R, etc., etc., etc... Then every word changes depending on whether it is a subject or an object or an object of a preposition. When it is plural instead of adding an s or es, you add an e, or bl or a or ya or etc., etc., etc., you just have to memorize and know it – and this is just the beginning. Our tutor, Svetlana, explains everything in English at night that Galina taught us in the morning.
Timmy & Kenyon Powers
Last Thursday I was freshly reminded about why we are here. We had dinner with Sasha and Olya, one of the Ukrainian pastors and his wife. We left their home kind of late and so took a taxi instead of the metro. Taking a taxi involves sticking out your hand and someone will stop in a minute and you say “Will you take me to X for such and such price?” and then you hop in. Most people (at least the ones that I have been with) just ride – not Steve. He spends the entire time trying to talk to the driver. This time we have a driver who speaks a little bit of English and Steve with his little bit of Russian made an interesting conversation. After trying to talk back and forth – a situation I find draining but Steve finds energizing, it finally comes out that the man is also a Christian. Then the man clearly says out of the blue “God is good” and he and Steve agree several times “God is good”. We were riding over the Dneiper River and I had tears in my eyes – God is good, He has given us such a privilege to serve Him here and see Him come through in ways we have never experienced. To say we are out of our comfort zone would be putting it mildly.

When we were moving from our home I discovered an old cross stitch I had done years ago. I ended up packing it and it is now hanging in our kitchen.
Psalm 37: 3, 4

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness;
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
This has become our theme – trust God, do good to the people here, and dwell in Ukraine and be faithful – delight ourselves in Him and He will give us our heart’s desire.

Merry & Spoon
Grace & Blencheke
That is the Russian word for
Our cat in America is Pancake.
We simply can’t thank all of you enough for your prayers and support. We would not be able to do this without you.
Would you please pray:
  1. Language school would go well – that we would persevere (it is SO hard and draining!) Pray that we would learn quickly and deeply.

  2. The girls got 2 kittens and then after a few days we found out that they have kitty fever and a 20% chance of living - so Steve and I are giving EACH cat 4 shots every night – last night one bit Steve and I stuck myself with the needle! (There is a great story behind this but no time to tell you now - for now just know we sterilize the needles with vodka – that is what the doctor told me to buy!)

  3. That our children and parents would continue to do well in our absence.

  4. Grace and Merry continue to adjust and make friends. Their school has a retreat September 30 – pray they would bond with some and grow in their relationship with God.

  5. Grace has incredible piano and voice teachers – another great story for another time – pray she would really enjoy it and not feel overwhelmed and she would learn a lot.

  6. Grow in love and unity with the team here in Kiev.
Steve’s first race in Ukraine.
Masha & Laurie cheering.

If you care to receive only an e-mail copy of this newsletter please send us an email request.

Yours in Christ’s unchanging love,

Steve, Danelle, Grace and Merry

Friday, August 26, 2005

Missions Report - August 2005

Steve and Zoyia

New Life in Kiev, Ukraine

We are here safe and sound here in Kiev. The trip was an adventure. God was in control though. That is what Danelle kept telling me. I was struggling to believe this when we started. We had a two hour delay in Atlanta as we sat on the runway in a thunder storm for 2 hours! It made us miss our connecting flight in Amsterdam. It was a God-thing though. I sat next to a mother and daughter from Odessa, Ukraine. They were on their way back from vacationing in Cuba. The daughter spoke English and we talked about knowing God through Christ for several hours. She asked Christ to forgive her sins and take control of her life toward the end of our conversation. It was beautiful! Please pray for Zoyia to grow and get involved in a good fellowship here. She is 17 and will be studing here in Kiev for 4 years. I spoke to her a few days ago and she expressed interest in coming to church and pursuing God. Now I understand what He was doing in Atlanta with the storm.
When we finally arrived in Kiev we were short 3 pieces of luggage. They came late the next night though. Only three things were broken. Praise God!
We have been working hard at getting settled, buying food and things for the flat. It is not easy to be here at times, many emotions and thoughts of sadness leaving our family and friends, but God is keeping us encouraged by His word and through each other. The team here has been a great support, especially the Powers family!
We had our first Russian class yesterday and had a language helper come over last night. It is a challenge, but God is giving grace.
Our language helper is Svetlana. I have known her several years and she is a very good Christian and member of the church we are working with. So it seems like an answer to our prayers. Sveta has a very good job right now and is praying about quitting so she can tutor us and work for the church. Her mom is not happy about it though. Please pray for her in this big decision.


Steve, Danelle, Grace and Merry

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Missions Report - July 2005

Missions Training in Colorado
In July GCM sent us to Missionary Training International (MTI) for five weeks of training to prepare us for our overseas work. It was awesome! The staff at MTI were all veteran missionaries who wanted each of us to be successful on the field. They sincerely cared for us! They were knowledgeable because of their experiences and knew what cultural challenges we would face. They told us that it would be difficult and why. They also prepared us on how to avoid these common pitfalls.
The language acquisition was also very helpful. They encouraged us to “own” our language learning and not be overly dependant on a school or teacher to help us learn Russian. If we were going to learn Russian it was going to depend on us. They explained the importance of hiring a language helper, getting out into the community and using the language and emphasizing listening and understanding before speaking. It gave Danelle and a lot of hope as we looked at the “huge mountain” of learning Russian. We were told to enjoy learning, to have fun, even though it would be difficult.
Our friends from our home church, Woodstock Community Church, and all over America came along side us in the last few weeks, offering support in many ways. We received the love of God from our family and friends and this made this step of faith possible. We praise God for everyone who gave us gifts, the financial and emotional support, the serving and the prayers. We know what it is like to be sent to share Christ in a foreign country with strong support from a great team!

We love you all!

Steve, Danelle, Grace and Merry

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Missions Report - May 2005

Dear Friends,

This is a brief letter about our status on moving to Ukraine and other recent issues.

Thanks to each of you who have given to support Danelle and I! The move to Ukraine becomes more real each day. We sense God’s call stronger each day and thank you all for your gifts and prayers to allow us this privilege. A special thanks to the Smiths and Hickmans for hosting a reception for us in Columbia, SC. Several people indicated they want to help us and it was fun to see old friends! We are currently at 85% of our support goal. GCM will release us to go when we reach 100%. Please pray for this to happen by July 4th when we go to Colorado for 5 weeks of training. We plan to leave for Ukraine shortly after we return on August 23rd.

Remembering the time at Georgia will always bring great joy to my heart. Thank you all for interceding for the students and for me as I preached the gospel and made disciples. It was an honor to represent you all and our Lord Jesus. Here are some of their thoughts.


How your ministry affected me: I had been reading the Bible and I believed in Christ, but I still was not grounded in an understanding of what it means to believe in Christ. At that point I wasn't sure that I was matter-of-factly going to Heaven. I met you in front of the library (2 years ago) and you asked me if I was a Christian. I said yes-- I believed. But then you asked me if I knew I was going to Heaven. I had thought that I was and I had just read the passage in Romans 10 about believing and being save, but I saw in inside myself that the belief that I was forgiven was very weak. (It was very hard for me to accept God's grace.) Then you invited me to a Bible study and I've been going to some form of that original group ever since.

As for my life now, I still have a hard time accepting God's love. I want so much for that piece of knowledge to sink from my brain to my heart. It would change everything. It would be a domino effect into my life and the people around me. I'm still very insecure about myself and what God thinks of me. My prayer is for that to change. I love you Steve. Thank you for being there at the right time.



Our good friends Eric Morris and Sarah Fletcher were in our ministry at Georgia. They will be married on June 10th! We thank God for them!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Missions Report - April 2005

Thank you to those who have already joined our team and are supporting us to serve God in Ukraine! We appreciate your sacrifice that makes our ministry overseas possible. There are also many of you who have expressed a desire to help us and have yet to send in your gift.

We need to have 100% of our support raised by July 4th since that is when we will be beginning our five weeks of training in Colorado and we plan to leave shortly after we finish. However, we will not be allowed to go overseas until all of our support is raised. If we leave after August, Grace may not go since it would disrupt her senior year of high school. If she doesn’t go, this will make the adjustment more difficult for Merry and so we are believing God to get us there in time for their school. In addition, the school Danelle and I will attend begins in late August and if we are delayed we will not be able to start until January. Our language acquisition is essential to effective ministry and so we believe we need to be there about August 20th.

To date, we have raised 35% of our annual support. A dear friend has offered to match $1 for every $3 of new annual support we raise, up to $16,000! This will cover all of our special needs of training and moving. I have enclosed a support form for your convenience. This would greatly help us to evaluate our support status, even if you plan to begin supporting us at a later date. You can indicate on the form when you plan to begin your support. We are sincerely grateful and humbled by the sacrifice of so many and we are convinced many, many lives will be changed through your investment. To God be the glory!

I will be preaching at the University of Georgia three more Wednesdays. Please pray for a harvest of students before I ride off into the sunset. It will be difficult to leave Pastor Chet Boyd, Richard, Bryan, Eric, Doug , Melanie, Daniel, Louise and the rest of the saints in Athens. I have been serving for 5 years on the campus.

I got a call about six weeks ago from a student named Jackie who listened to me speak and often asked questions. She told me she had given control of her life to Christ last night and she was so happy she wanted to sing and dance! I spent some time with her last Wednesday after I finished. She is reading her Bible and said God is changing her life!

Here are some pictures of me preaching a few weeks ago.

After eight and a half years of living at 486 Tamarack Dr in Canton, Georgia we are selling our house! Why? Because, after 52 years of living in America, Danelle and I are going to live in Ukraine to preach the gospel, train pastors and plant churches. It is becoming more real each day. Please pray for the house to sell quickly.

Yours in Christ’s unfailing love,


Monday, February 7, 2005

Missions Report - February 2005

Dear Friends,

We have been praying for months about moving to Ukraine to be missionaries, as many of you know. Thank you for praying for us! We applied to be on staff with Great Commission Ministries (GCM) back in September.
Timmy Powers, my long-time
old guy friend and missionary
Pastor Andre, one of the leaders
I will be serving
We have currently been accepted by GCM as associate staff and all that remains is for us to raise our financial support. We are excited, trusting God and working hard to see this happen! We are also fixing up our house to sell. Danelle, Grace, Merry and I will attend a three week class in Colorado to prepare us for the cultural transition.

Danelle and I will also attend an additional two week language preparation class to that will enable us to learn Russian more quickly. An old guy like me needs all the help he can get learning Russian! GCM requires all it’s employees to attend these classes so they can be effective in their ministry.

I have been working in Ukraine for ten years preaching the gospel and now my dream of training national leaders and planting churches will become more of a reality. This is an enormous step of faith for Danelle, the girls and myself. We are leaving our family, friends, country and home. It is very difficult! But, we sense God’s calling over the past ten years, and especially the past 7 months. Danelle and I have been committed to world evangelism through church planting before we were married almost 30 years ago and we are honored to go.

We need your help to make this ministry in Ukraine possible! We would like each of you to be on our team!. How? By praying and giving you will send us to reach Ukrainians with the gospel of Christ! Many of you have supported us in the past and for that we are most grateful! We need people to support us monthly with special gifts. Some of you may even be able to increase your commitment. We have been raising our monthly support still need to raise an additional $2,500 per month. Anything you are able to do to help us reach that goal as soon as possible is greatly appreciated and helps us to plan our departure to Kiev. We would like to go in August so that Merry and Grace can begin school on time. For this to happen, we will also need to raise one-time gifts of $15,000 to cover the tuition for the classes in Colorado and to pay for our flights to Colorado and to Ukraine along with our moving expenses. Please ask God if you can help with these immediate needs. Thank you very much!

Yours in our Savior’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Thursday, January 6, 2005

2005 WCC Missions Letter

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel.” Philippians 1:3-5
Thank you for your participation in the gospel through Woodstock Community Church missions. Your gifts have made it possible for us to reach thousands of people who are lost in darkness and sin with the good news of our Savior! We were able to send teams on mission trips to Ukraine and Honduras where they shared Christ with hundreds through English clubs and the health clinic respectively.

I was greatly encouraged last week to hear about Felix, a young Ukrainian student from our English club who got saved, who is going on as a disciple of Christ. My friend Masha, who also became a believer in my English class several years ago, said that Felix had shared some verses with her over the phone last week when she was going through a difficult time! Praise God for “fruit that remains!” John 15:16

Your gifts also made it possible for us to help Maria, a special needs child from Honduras, and to continue to proclaim the gospel through public preaching to hundreds of students at the University of Georgia. Let us pray for an even greater harvest in 2005!

May God bless you for your generous hearts motivated by your love for the lost!

Yours in our Savior’s love,

Steve Nelson
Missions Pastor