Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - November/December 2007

A recent view from our window

Merry Christmas from the Nelsons

English Club
Danelle and I have enjoyed using the Bible to teach English to an eager group of young Ukrainians. God is speaking to their hearts concerning eternal issues. Please ask Him to bring them to true repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus. Paul prayed for the Jews,

“My heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”   Romans 10:1

Vlaude and Lena help us lead the English club. In two weeks they are expecting their first child (a son). Everyone in the group is excited! Please pray for Lena and her baby.
Church Multiplication in Ukraine
God has been leading our GCM staff in Europe to evaluate our effectiveness. Our goal has always been to make disciples who will plant churches that will start other churches. We are returning to a more simple concept of church where each person has opportunity to participate in the meetings, like in 1 Corinthians 14:26,

“When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”

We also want to see these churches led by Ukrainians where every Christian develops a passion to reach the lost – churches that are “mission driven.” Please pray for us! We sense our desperate need for God’s grace to practice this with Ukrainians. We are so very thankful for each and every one of you! Your prayers and financial support make this a reality.
Awaken Conference
Danelle, Merry and I will join more than 200 other believers from all over Europe for Awaken, our semi-annual Great Commission Europe conference. We will gather in Germany from January 2-6, 2008 to hear from God’s word, worship in many languages and enjoy fellowship and the beautiful German countryside. Please pray for our hearts to be prepared to act on what God shows us, for rich fellowship and for safe travel for all.
Family News
God provided a way for our daughter Julie and our granddaughter Jasper to visit us in November. Julie is due in May with their second child! I read this verse today and it reminded me of the effect of their lives upon us.
“The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.” Acts 28:15
Jasper's First Snow Jasper's First McDonald's Swinging with Aunt Merry
Here are some recent photos of our children. We thank God for these precious lives!!!
Whitney & Micah Grace & Stephanie Scott & Maria Julie, Jasper & Matthew

Matt & Amanda
Can you tell who gets the most press? We are proud grand-parents and thankful for each of our kids! We appreciate your financial support this year. It not only pays our bills, but it reveals your love for us and strengthens our faith in Christ as our Provider!

Thank you for your kindness, support and prayers!

Yours in our Savior’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - October 2007

Pastors Summit
The European Pastors met in Germany for our annual summit to discuss our vision and core values because we are forming Great Commission Europe (GCE). We all agreed that God wants us to be starting churches that will reproduce and reach Europe with the gospel.
We committed ourselves to God to plant self-supporting, missionary churches that are led by nationals. We enjoyed the rich times of prayer, fellowship and discussion.
The European Churches have a conference every two years called Awaken. We will gather in Germany from January 2-6, 2008 where our Pastor’s Summit was just held. We are asking God to bring 300 young people from all over Europe to this event. Danelle, Merry and I will attend and we have invited some friends from Russia too. Please pray for this to be a life-changing time!

Ukranian Elections
Last month’s parliamentary elections appear to be positive, but you never know around here. (smiley) There was a 62% voter turn out. President Viktor Yushinko and Yulia Tymoshenko may work together in a pro-Western coalition. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian party are still very much alive and well. Russia has pressured Ukraine recently by using Ukraine’s gas debt as leverage.
English Club
Eight new people have attended our English Club. They are an enthusiastic group of young people. Please ask God to open blind eyes and reveal Himself through us.

“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”   John 15:11

A distinguishing mark of a Spirit-filled Christian is joy. The joy that comes from Christ living in us, and the Holy Spirit empowering us, sets us apart from the world. The devil is constantly trying to rob you of this joy. Don’t let him! A joyful Christian will encourage believers and the lost will see Jesus in us and be converted. Joy is attractive! Christ is attractive! Choose to obey God and rely on the Holy Spirit so that His joy will be in you. This is God’s will for you and glorifies Christ. Rejoice in the Lord always!

Yours in our Savior’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - September 2007

Kickoff English Club
Danelle and I met with our friends Vlaude and Lena last night to plan our English club. We will begin this weekly outreach on Tuesday, September 25th. We ask you to pray for God to bring new people and draw them to Jesus. We already have several new folks who plan to attend.
Ukraine Elections Soon!
Ukraine will have national elections September 30th, about the time you read this letter. Please pray for Ukrainians to care enough to vote, to believe they can make a difference and understand that only Jesus Christ can provide real hope! They need a revival!

Moscow Marathon
My friend Ivan and I traveled to Moscow where I ran the Marathon and he ran the 10K. Ivan is a lawyer and a new believer. We had rich fellowship during our travels, shared the gospel with numerous people and saw God answer our prayers.
It rained very hard and the wind was blowing like crazy during the marathon, but God gave me grace to finish in four hours. We met my friend Julia in Moscow. She became a Christian in 2003 in Belgorod during the English class. It was so good to see her growing strong in Christ. She was so hospitable to us that I told her we could see Jesus living in her. Praise God! Then we went to Belgorod to visit Svetlana, my first interpreter, and her family. Sveta became a believer in 1994 and is also growing in her faith. God has blessed her and her husband Max (far right) with a new baby named Uliana (in grandfather’s arms)!

Please pray for:
  • European Pastor’s Summit
  • Mentoring the leaders at Spring of Hope Church
  • Open doors for outreach at the Sports School
  • Perseverance in learning Russian
  • Merry and the students at KCA to grow in Christ
  • Julie and Jasper’s visit to Kiev in October

United with you to reach Ukrainians with the gospel,

Steve and Danelle

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - August 2007

Pray for Ukrainian Missionaries
Danelle, Merry and I leave Atlanta, Georgia on August 17th to return to Kiev, Ukraine to serve God by spreading the gospel of Christ. The gospel is a message that brings hope and peace to people who are lost, dead in sin and deceived by Satan. It is about how to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ - the Savior of the world! It is about real freedom. It is beautiful! Thank you all for sending us on this mission. We want to be more effective in reaching out, loving and helping Ukrainians own the mission, God’s mission. We need God’s grace and we need your fervent prayers! Specific requests:
  1. Pray for our team to be more catalytic. We want to start new English clubs, new churches and empower and train new Ukrainian leaders. Pray for boldness.
  2. Pray for Danelle and I as we work alongside young couples to evangelize their friends and neighbors using their apartments so they will take more ownership.
  3. Pray for the outreach at a local Sports School near our home. I have a good relationship with some of the coaches. We want opportunities to be with students.
  4. Continued perseverance in learning the Russian language.
  5. A great Senior year for Merry and wisdom for her choice of college.
Your prayers are crucial to our success. We are expecting God to work! Pray for Ukraine Government
President Yushenko dissolved the parliament this spring and there will be new elections in September. Please ask God for a peaceful and fair election and for Ukrainians to not be apathetic but to vote. Pray they would also understand even good government is not the hope they are looking for. It is a crucial election and could affect our work in Ukraine!
Summer with Family
Our summer was a wonderful blessing. First of all, we were so thankful to be with my parents, our children, and our perfect granddaughter, as well as many of you. In June, Steve and Merry went to JH Ranch in California through the generosity of a good friend and had some great bonding time together. We went to the beach with Steve’s family, a family reunion in Pennsylvania with Danelle’s family, the mountains with our children, and have eaten the summer away. We look forward to walking it all off in Ukraine. Whitney’s premier art exhibition at Timothy Tew Gallery in Atlanta was a big success in July and we couldn’t be prouder. As we separate again, please pray for us as we are more aware than ever of the spiritual battle for our lives – if Satan can’t get us to quit he can get at us by targeting our family.

A Funny from my friend Will: “What do you get if you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic? Someone who stays awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - May 2007 (Spring!)

Spring in Ukraine
Spring is especially welcomed here in Ukraine because it signals the end of the long, cold winter! These are some pictures I took at the Botanical Gardens last weekend. Although ironically, it is snowing as I write this on May 2nd!
Russian School Ending
We are approaching the end of our two years of Russian school. We have finals at the end of this month. It has stretched our faith and our minds!
English Club
We have enjoyed reaching out to our neighbors with the gospel through our English club each week. Here are some photos in our home. The young couple on the left, Vlaude and Lena, recently discovered they will have their first child in December! We’re men-toring this couple from Spring of Hope Church.
We continue to build relationships with Alexander and Sveta at the pool, Nadia, Anatoly, Bakrom and Feruz at the market, and our neighbors Natalie and Vlaude.
Summer Plans
We are thankful for the opportunity to be in Atlanta this summer. Our daughter Merry will be working at Foundations for the Future. Merry and I will also go to JH Ranch for a Father/Daughter Adventure. My brother and sister have highly recommended JH Ranch from their experience. Merry will also attend GCM high school Leadership Training (LT). I will travel to Missouri to attend the Great Commission Pastor’s Conference. Of course we will visit family, friends and churches. We hope we can see many of you saints!.
“As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” Psalm 16:3
Please Pray for these needs. Thank you!
  • Russian School: We would do well on the final exams at the end of May.
  • Political crisis: President Yushinko dissolved parliament and has called for new elections in June. We are safe, but there is a serious struggle for power that will affect many.
  • Salvation: That God would open the hearts of all of those mentioned above.
  • Merry: That her summer work experience would build her character. That LT would build her faith. That JH Ranch would knit our hearts closer to Jesus and each other.
  • Summer: That God would give us quality time with our children, family and friends.
  • Support: Thank you for supporting us! Your gifts make it possible for us to serve here.


Yours to reach the lost and make disciples,

Steve and Danelle

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Nelson Newsletter - March 2007

Spiritual Life in Ukraine
President Victor Yushchenko attended Epiphany celebrations on January 19th. He joined many Ukrainians plunging into the icy Dnieper River to ensure that their year will be prosperous. In his speech, the President said, “On this day, we speak about spiritual purification. Today, we are cleansing ourselves with the blessed water. Ukrainians have always believed this curative water of the Jordan helps end quarrels and hatred, envy and rancor. I really want this Holy Epiphany to heal and unite our souls, help us prosper and bless us with health.” This gives you an idea of the religious environment we are working in. Many Ukrainians do not know how to have a personal relationship with God based on simple faith in the work of Christ on the cross. There are many rituals that cloud the issue and salvation is often confused with doing good works to earn eternal life.
Russian Class
We returned to Kiev on Sunday and started back to school on Monday! Forget jetlag! We are working hard in our Russian class to learn this difficult language. God has helped us and your prayers are effective. Thank you! We only have three more months. Yea! We can relate to the following story.
A Polish immigrant went to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test.  The optician showed him a card with the letters:
'C Z W Y X N O S T A C Z.'
"Can you read this?" the optician asked.  "Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy!"
English Club
Starts Danelle and I started a weekly English Club a few weeks ago in our apartment to reach out in our neighbors. There are six coming so far. Two of these are a young couple from our church, Vlaude and Lena, that we are working with. Please pray for hearts open to God’s love and spiritual births!
Scott and Maria
Matthew and Amanda

Two Son’s Married
We had a wonderful month in America, with the highlight of our visit being the weddings of our two sons. We celebrated Christmas and New Years and visited with many of you. We also moved all of our possessions out of Scott’s house. Matthew graduated from the University of Georgia. My father fell and was in the hospital for a week recovering from a fractured jaw, broken teeth and a cut lip. He recovered remarkably, praise God! Then I had knee surgery the day after Christmas. Other than that, it was a quiet and restful time!

Please continue to pray for my work with the leaders of Spring of Hope Church, our English club outreach and our Russian. We are learning to trust God and His word as never before. “With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”  2 Chronicles 32:8

We appreciate your love, support and prayers. We are a team!

Love in Christ,

Steve, Danelle and Merry