Friday, November 21, 2008

Nelson Newsletter - November 2008

Greetings from Ukraine! Thank you for your vital part of our work here. Here’s the latest news.

Safe Haven Orphanage Bagdon (with goatee and glasses) and his wife Anya (holding their son) continue their fine work with older orphans at Safe Haven. They invite specific orphans who are interested in spiritual matters, when they leave the state orphanage (have graduated), to come and live with them at Safe Haven. Safe Haven is a Christian ministry which teaches young people life skills, helps them get jobs, and/or attend college. God has radically changed many of their lives! Also, there’s a house church that meets at Safe Haven and the orphans are a vital part of it. Danelle has met with the women of the church several times to study the Bible and answer their questions about marriage and children. We are excited for this opportunity to build into their lives. Recently, they started another church!

clip_image002[7]Family Affairs On Saturday, October 11th, my father passed away. Donald H. Nelson lived for 85 years and was happily married to my mother for almost 60 years. We got the call in Ukraine from my family and left the next day for Atlanta. The funeral service was a sweet time of remembering my dad, celebrating his life here and his eternal life with Christ. It truly captured his life and personality and glorified God. My brother, sister and I all spoke, along with his pastor and friend, Bryan Pillsbury. Our daughter Grace sang several songs, and David Carnes played the piano, as requested by my father. The trip was bitter-sweet. We were able to be there for the birth of James Stephen Nelson, Scott and Maria’s first child. And we were able to attend the opera, in which our daughter Grace had the lead. She amazed us all! We thank God for my father and all the great memories he gave us. We miss you dad!

Prayer Requests “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
1. Mentoring. Pray for us to have love and wisdom as we mentor Ukrainians.
2. Revival. Pray for God’s love for the lost to motivate Ukrainians to evangelize.
3. Disciples. Pray specifically for Maxim and Lena, Ivan, Vlad and Lena, and Bagdon and Anya to be committed to God’s plans for Ukraine and to be effective in making disciples.
4. Russian. We continue to need God’s grace to persevere in learning Russian.
5. Sports School. Pray for our future Bible study with Vlad (coach) & Elena. They initiated this!
6. Mother. Pray for God’s grace to strengthen my mother as she adjusts to life without dad.

Yours in our Savior’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nelson Newsletter - October 2008

International Church Conference God brought 50 men and women from Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine for a four day conference. They were invited to participate because they are practicing house/simple church in their countries and want to multiply these churches. It was a unique conference with many open discussions where we shared from our heart what God was teaching us. The love and unity was amazing, considering that most of these believers had never met. We discussed leadership, discipleship, and evangelism. Several times we prayed together, asking God to save specific unbelievers. We also asked God to send out more workers into the harvest. Please pray for our role in their lives. This may involve traveling to their countries to encourage and train them. Did you notice that Danelle has a halo? Is it the reflection from my running jacket, or did I truly marry an angel?
Our House Church We meet in our home each Sunday as a church with a small group of young believers. The concept of each person participating is catching on very well. We would like to see them own this and run with it, leading people to Christ and multiplying these groups across Kiev and Ukraine.
Sports School Outreach Olympic coach Vladimir and his son Anton came to our apartment recently. Danelle and I answered their many questions about God and shared Christ with them. Praise God!
New Ministry Video David Mansfield was here helping us make a new video about our ministry in Ukraine. We are thankful for David’s expertise, and we eagerly anticipate the results!

Prayer Requests
  1. Our language studies: Danelle has a new tutor she likes. We would both persevere.
  2. Our health: it has been one area of spiritual attack.
  3. Our house church: the young believers mature and that God would save people through us.
  4. New churches: in Cherkose, Chernigov, and the countries above.
  5. The birth of James Nelson: for Maria and James to be safe and healthy. It will be soon!
  6. My father (Don Nelson): health problems.
Serving Christ in Ukraine because of you,
Steve and Danelle

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nelson Newsletter - August 2008

Greetings from “Hot ‘Lanta!” We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Atlanta this summer, and it has been hot! God has given us quality time with our children, my parents and friends. We spoke in several churches, had parties for our supporters in Atlanta and Columbia, SC, and met with many of you personally to share about our work in Ukraine. We felt God’s amazing love and grace and it refreshed our souls! Thank you all for being on our team! Speaking of teams, did you watch the Olympics? (Did you notice the gold in our newsletter?) There were many nights where we gathered with family and friends to see the amazing feats performed in Beijing. We were looking for my Ukrainian friends – coaches and athletes with whom I have shared God’s love and truth. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to get to heaven by winning a race, by your performance? Salvation is a free gift of God! I had a chance today to explain that to Brian, a plumber from New York, who was here fixing a leak. He said he was very open and eagerly took the Bible and booklet I offered him. Praise God! The harvest is plentiful saints! Look around you today and be ready to give an account for the hope that is within you.
Russia Invading Georgia Many of you have asked us about what impact Russia’s invasion of Georgia will have on us in Ukraine. We don’t see any immediate danger. Russia will continue to put pressure on Ukraine and others in Europe by controlling the natural gas supply. Please pray for peace in Georgia!

Ministry To Orphans Bagdon and his wife Anya (on right, in white) do an excellent job ministering to former orphans. They help them transition to the real world - finding jobs or attending college. They invite them to live with them where they hear the gospel and see God’s love daily. They disciple them if they trust Christ as their Savior. Here is a baptism of three new believers. About 7-8 have given their lives to Christ this year! They asked Danelle and I disciple them and to help with the church meeting in their home. It has been a pleasure to work with such kind people!
Mentoring Men My main purpose is to mentor young men. It is so simple - living life together, serving others together and being a friend. In June I spent several days with Ivan at his home in southern Ukraine where I met has grandfather (right) and mother. Ivan appreciated the rich spiritual conversations we had. So did I!
Prayer Requests After three years of living in Ukraine, we are more adjusted to the culture, more fluent in the language, and also we are empty nesters; therefore we are trusting God, and anticipating a year of great fruitfulness Here are some specific requests.
  • Kiev Simple Church Conference (Sept. 11-14)
  • Great Commission Europe Pastors/Wives Conference (Sept 30-Oct 4)
  • Effective Mentoring With Maxim, Ivan, Vlad and Serge.
  • Starting New Churches in Kiev and Chernigov
  • Stephanie, Grace & Merry In College
  • Matthew, Julie & Jasper Living In NYC
  • Scott and Maria’s Baby Due In October

Yours in Christ’s Love,

Steve and Danelle

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nelson Newsletter - June 2008

Dear friends – God’s grace and peace! We praise Him every time we think of you. You are our joy and our crown! Thank you for your faithful partnership in spreading the gospel in Ukraine. Here are some recent ways that God has been moving…

English Club These are pictures of our English Club picnic in the forest last month. They loved the delicious American hamburgers and baked beans! We ate, relaxed, threw the Frisbee, and Serge (above in the yellow shirt) shared how he came to know Christ. God has been drawing our neighbor Natalie (on the left with her son) to Christ through His word, our friendship and your prayers. Sasha (on the right, standing next to Maxim Rakovich) is also very open to the gospel. Please pray for him to trust Christ as his Savior!
 Relational Evangelism God has provided some excellent opportunities to share Christ through relationships. Recently, Maxim and I had a deep conversation with Bakrom, a Muslim from Tajikistan, who works in the market. He asked numerous sincere questions about Christianity. Also, Danelle and I returned to Chernigov to visit our new friends, Nic and Tanya (at left). Their children performed in the town square, dancing in their colorful, traditional Ukrainian outfits. Hundreds of young people performed on that cold, cloudy day. We missed the last bus to Kiev, and ended up spending the night with Nic and Tanya! It was God’s way of giving us more time together! Pray for them.

Finances Danelle and I thank you from the bottom of our heart for your financial support! You have made it possible for us to serve Christ here for three years without being concerned about how to pay the rent or buy food. Unfortunately, as most of you know, the dollar has taken a hit in Europe, as well as the cost of living in Ukraine continues to increase. Our rent alone has gone up 60% since we came. Please ask God to supply our needs. Also, think about how you might help us. Some of you may want to begin supporting us at $25 or $50 a month through GCM (address on second page). Others may want to increase the amount you have been sending us. Know that all you do is appreciated by us, and that God sees your sacrifices, and He will reward you!

Family News We have more good news! Scott and Marie are expecting a son in October! This will be our first grandson. Praise

God! Mother and baby are doing well. Merry officially graduated from KCA and is on her way to Georgia College and State this fall. Julie and Matthew are moving to New York where Matthew will attend graduate school at Hunter College in art. Whitney recently returned from a three month internship in New York, through Savannah College of Art and Design.

Josh We joined our friends Timmy and Kenyon Powers, and several hundred Ukrainians, to listen to Josh McDowell speak about what he called the greatest need in America and Ukraine – The Missing Fathers. His message was powerful. In essence he said that fathers need to have close relationships with their children, not just rules. Josh is a speech writer for President Bush on issues related to the family. He was asked by the president what he thought was the greatest problem in America. He told him that it was the breakdown in the relationship between fathers and their children. He admonished us in practical ways how to love our sons and daughters. I (Steve) thank God for Josh, who was instrumental in my salvation 37 years ago in Clemson.
Summer Plans Danelle and I will be in Atlanta this summer parenting our three youngest girls, working on our support, and visiting with many of you and our families. We plan to help Julie and Matthew move to New York in July, and take our girls to college in August. Then we will return to Ukraine as empty-nesters for the first time in 31 years! We can’t believe it will be our fourth year of ministry overseas. We couldn’t do it without you!

You are our joy!

Steve and Danelle

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nelson Newsletter April/May 2008

Greetings! Here are just a few highlights of our ministry this spring.

English Club We are nearing the end of our time with these dear people before our summer break. We will have a few more meetings and a picnic. God has giving us a great love for them, and a desire to see them find eternal life. Please ask God to reveal their need for His forgiveness and new life. We are meeting with Ivan and a few others who are serious about growing in Christ.
Ivan, Luba & Danelle Ira, Maxim & Ivan Victoria
Business Seminar Our friend Dale Dixon teaches a business seminar in the city of Chernigov several times a year. He invited me to come speak last week. It was a privilege to share the gospel on Friday morning at the Prayer Breakfast (right). I met Nikoli and his wife Tanya (left) at the banquet and we connected immediately. The next day Danelle and I spent several hours with them discussing the gospel. They are very interested anback together! God impressed on my heart to simply love them - to be their friends, and leave their salvation to Him. Please pray for them!
 Merry Our baby has grown up and is getting ready to leave the nest! Merry was recently inducted into the National Honor Society (pictured here). She and Danelle will return to Georgia on June 2nd. She will work and attend High School Leadership Training this summer. Then she will enter Georgia College and State. I will arrive in Atlanta on June 23rd to work on our support, and to spend time with many of you, as well as our family. Danelle and I will return to Ukraine on August 27th.
We thank God for each of you, your support, your prayers and your abiding friendship! We wish we could sit down and talk to you all personally. We will do that in heaven!!!
Yours in Christ’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nelson Newsletter - March 2008

Greetings from the Nelsons!
We hope that this letter finds you encouraged in God’s goodness and unfailing love. Maybe your faith has taken a hit. It is our prayer that God will use these words to build your faith and strengthen your resolve. I recently read where Paul said to his young disciple Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” All of us are in a fight, a daily struggle of faith. Will we trust God or not? One thing that motivated Paul was the reward Jesus would give him in heaven. “And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Keep your eyes on Jesus and the prize He has for you - that will strengthen your faith! He is worthy of our all!
Sports School Our ministry at the local sports school continues to grow. Thank you for praying! I am convinced that is the reason we are seeing the openness to Christ. We have shared the gospel with several trainers (coaches). Vladimir (below) and his wife Elena visited Danelle and I last week and said they want to study the Bible together! Praise God! Please ask God to continue this work of grace in them. Watch my very unprofessional videos of the sports school ministry on our web site at Thank you to those of you who made it financially possible for Maxim to work with me. Some of the athletes we are working with will compete in the Olympics this summer in Beijing. Serge Demiduk is the best hurdler in Europe at this time.
Serge, Steve, Dmitri, Vladimir Steve and Maxim Steve & Coach Vladimir

English Club The eagerness to learn English and study the Bible makes our weekly time something Danelle and I anticipate. Please continue to ask God to save these dear friends.
Family Our family received some tragic news recently. Our daughter Julie was 6 ½ months pregnant with her second child, Flannery Meredith Newton. Her baby died and went to be with the Lord on March 2nd. It has been very difficult for Julie and Matthew. We appreciate the prayers and support that so many of you have shown them. We all look forward to seeing Flannery when we see the Lord Jesus. “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18
Love from your fellow sojourners,

Steve and Danelle

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Outreach at the Ukrainian Sports School

For the past 2 years I have been asking God to save athletes and coaches at this sports school. I have run on the track weekly to build relationships with the hope of sharing the gospel with them.

My friend Maxim and I spend two days a week hanging out here. We have had several opportunities to share the gospel with coaches and athletes. God is working! Please pray for revival!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nelson Newsletter January/February 2008

Greetings in the name of Christ from sunny Ukraine! It has been a relatively mild winter by Ukrainian standards and today the sun is actually shinning. Yea! We don't see the sun very often in the winter, even if the temperatures are mild. "Mild" means the highs are in the lower 30's instead of lower 20's or less. We anticipate spring with great enthusiasm! Here are some things God done with us over the past month.
Awaken Conference
Danelle, Merry and I traveled to Germany for our Great Commission Europe conference (Awaken) held the first week of the year. Over 200 European believers gathered in a scenic remote setting to hear from God and be awakened to His story, His mission and His love. GCE staff David and Mindy Henson did an excellent job organizing this conference! Julia is a good friend we led to Christ five years ago in Russia. She came to the conference to grow, helped translate the messages and went home greatly encouraged!
Marshmallows! Hensons (center) Merry, Danelle, & Julia from Russia Evening Coffee House
English Club
God has been answering your prayers for this outreach to unbelievers! He brought five new people last week who squeezed into our tiny living room to learn English and study the gospel of Matthew. Four of these new folks are lawyers. Igor is a mechanical engineer who attends our club and has expressed a desire to get together outside of class. Please pray for God to soften his heart and save him.
Sports School and Maxim
We have been praying for two and a half years for the opportunity to speak to athletes at the sports school about Christ, without seeing visible results. Many times I have gone to the track to run and talk with the coaches and runners. I have shown an interest in their lives with the hope of them trusting Christ some day. Last week I hired Maxim to be my translator so that I could have deeper conversations with people. Max is a godly young man who has worked with our missionaries for many years. I will be building into Max's life as well as utilizing him to evangelize and mentor leaders. He shares my passion for the lost and discipleship in Ukraine. I will need to raise extra funds to cover his employment. Please pray about helping cover the extra $400 a month.  Please pray for God to use us to lead many to Christ, as well as start new churches. I am excited about the new possibilities! As always, pray for us to learn Russian! J
Merry's Future
We thank God for Merry and the special time we have had with her here in Ukraine. She has grown in Christ over the last three years, being an encouragement to us and her friends at KCA. She will graduate in May and plans to attend Georgia College & State University in the fall. Please pray for her to finish strong and be prepared for the transition to college and life in America.

We thank God for each of you!

Steve and Danelle