Opus Dei December Update!

His Name Shall Be Called!


Let’s get right down to business and get to the point. Whatya say?

Last month Lera and I left our church.

Why do such a thing you ask?

Well, to spare you the gruesome details, I was not being fed there by the preaching, and there was some elements where I was strongly convicted about the standards there for the preaching ministry. Especially concerning a solid understanding of inductive Bible study methods with a couple of the leaders. Because of this it raised concerns about the oversight and management of the ministry in myself as well, with the other leaders.

This was not a whimsical decision and I tried tirelessly to start a productive discussion for growth in unity around these, what I consider, essential issues for church government and orderly worship in the church. However, they weren’t compelled to have discussions with me about it.

If anyone is interested in discussing this with me in more depth, please email me. Or, I am happy to Skype. My Skype name is jacobythomasnelson.

Before this happened I was cutting back on some ministry responsibilities to focus more time on learning Russian. This was recently suspended, for the time being, until we can get ahead again financially. I will have to continue learning on my own.

This being stated, we are in a transition period where we could use a lot of prayer for sure. We are not stressed, worried, or discontented. As people with many weaknesses and fears, it is hard to let either of these overcome you when you know who God is.

Ministry Highlights

Lera has finals this month for her English and German classes. It is a very demanding time for her which contributes to our funky limbo phase month we are having. :)

About 4 or 5 months ago Lera picked up the guitar after years of singing on the worship team. She has learned very quickly and I’m very proud of her. She will be leading worship when we begin our home study in February.

I really like this because we get to pick some really great worship songs. Like Chris Tomlin’s Jesus Messiah in Russian!

A few weeks back we were invited to a marriage retreat at another church in town where we met the guys you see in the picture above. They are a team of Campus Crusaders and we’re looking forward to getting together with them soon. Zhenya on the far right invited us to come over for dinner and share our vision for ministry.

The Marriage Conference was great although we thought it was going to be a thing for couples to kind of have a retreat, and not a bunch of counseling to help your marriage, but we enjoyed it very much.

A few weeks ago I spent a week teaching World Religions to the missionary students studying at the training center. Yes, the same one I went to last fall. We learned some interesting things about Scientology, JW’s, Mormonism, Islam, Hare Krishna and others. Hare Krishna’s biggest growth in the last twenty years has been in Eastern Europe and Scientologists think that Xenu brought people to earth be tricking them into a fake income tax inspection millions of years ago! Just a couple fun facts for you.

We invited the Seaside Missionary Training Center Students over for dinner. Most of them will be doing missions in Ukraine or Russia except for the girls who are planning to go to Japan and Peru. Not the girl in the center though. That’s Alyona, my translator for the class.

My friend Hao from Murrieta was sent over by his church to teach IBS. What a blessing! Only problem was he got really sick, so it was hard for him to enjoy the short trip.

The only picture of us together here is in his phone and he couldn’t get it to me so I put these up. One is him in Haiti, and the other is him sharing the Gospel with some girls at the Murrieta mall. I used to witness in that mall a lot! Actually, that’s how I first met Hao was going out witnessing with a mutual friend.

Thanks for coming Hao!

Hao said it was so awesome here he was going to tell everybody he knew to become a missionary to Ukraine and go to Jacoby and Lera’s awesome church! jk, he didn’t say that.

This year for Thanksgiving we were so busy we just skipped the turkey. I know I know—blasphemy! So, it was chicken, potatoes, and friends. Too bad Hao was in bed sick.

It was great to have Dima, Sasha, Masha, Tanya, Zhenya, and Kate over and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The food was awesome!

They asked me what do people do in the U.S. on Thanksgiving. I said, “get together with your family, eat way too much, give thanks for God’s many blessings and watch football on TV!”

Ken and Ron came too! A couple other IM guys. It was great to have them over. Ken was here from the States teaching at the training center and Ron helps with another church in town and teaches English at the Christian University.

Blessings from the States

This small group from Reality LA, led by my friend Devon and his friends, worked together and filled up a box with a ton of socks and underwear- and even some really nice coats. It was so awesome of them! We have dozens of people look at our Socks in a Box webpage every week, and these guys were the first team to actually do it!

God bless! Hoorah!!

Oh, and the boxes of Bible’s Hao brought over for me. Free Gospel’s of John in Russian! Awesome!


Book Project

For those who haven’t noticed yet on facebook, I am working on a book. I would like to invite everyone to participate in this simply by visiting us on facebook and ‘liking’ our page. Participate when you can in any discussions, sign up to download the book on Amazon for free when it comes out, and leave us an honest review.

On Amazon, when an Independent author launches a book, every like, download, and review counts bigtime! Especially in the first few days!

Help us spread the Gospel by participating and supporting the defense of the true Christ!

More information can be found here:


and here



While we are in limbo stage, i.e. Lera has finals this month, we left our church, and are going to Israel in January, and I have been breaking my back (literally), in a chair, trying to do some tent making.

I found the best way for me to make any kind of income way out yonder in Ukraina land would be online, so I’ve been pursuing this pretty aggressively (you know me). So far I have a total of 11 sales online that I know of. It’s small, but it’s a good sign, and we are just getting started.

If you are curious as to what I have going on, you can click on the pics below to see different projects or visit this link under construction (should be ready in a day or two):


Opus Dei Odessa

Van and Brent

I strongly believe the Bible teaches vividly that the mission of the church, and everyone in the church, is to be directly involved in the Great Commission. All of our other decisions in life should be subservient to this overarching strategic and missional life plan. All our goals should be directly supporting this umbrella goal, in the way God has designed for us! If not, we are simply doing it all wrong. No questions to be asked about it.

We are still dreaming big about building a recreation and discipleship/outreach center in Odessa, to be called “Opus Dei”, or “Work of God”. That’s because when it happens it will only be God who could have built it!

We were previously going to work with this other baptist group in the city, who had a building in a park at a great location, but they were too reluctant to sign a simple Gospel confessional statement. I backed out.

Please dream with us. So you know, when I dream I pray and act. It never stays a mere floaty dream in my head (unless God kills it, to which I am happily obliged), and I’ll be very happy to die trying. So, please pray with us. Please act with us. Please die trying with us.

It was a blessing to meet the vice president of our missionas agency, International Messengers, Brent who brought his friend Van for the first time. They were here teaching at the Training Center as well. He was very encouraging regarding our present situation and this project we will begin raising funds for soon.

Thanks Brent! It’s really great to know there are people at the office praying for us we don’t even know yet!

Some Ways to Join Us On Mission

Regarding our financial siuation, I really don’t wanna go into that in much detail. I will just say that we have a good number of faithful support but we still have a need there. Many people came through this month above our average giving, and we thank you very much!

Why should we give up now when we are this close?

If anyone has any questions about this feel, free to email me or Skype. Again, my Skype name is jacobythomasnelson.

For more info click to Join Our Sending Team.

We also now have a shopping center at our website where people can shop for almost anything online.

This way you can be shopping for your regular items, saving money and time, not to mention gas, and sending missionaries out… all with one fell swoop!

Click on the Amazon logo to visit our shopping center!


Right now, DaySpring’s entire Christmas Selection is 25% off! All items are marked down! Starting December 19th, their Christmas Selection will be marked down even further, to at least 50% to 75% off.

DaySpring Christmas Sale, um… yay!

You can also send some socks and undies if you wish! Why not look into it?

Or, one thing I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend is you seriously give some prayerful thought prayer thought prayer to coming to an English Camp this summer! Seriously! Do it! You will thank me.

For those who don’t know what Sevenly is, it is an awesome website which pumps out a different tee each week to raise funds for a different charity.

The shirts are really cool and the charities are great! Not only can you buy a tee and support the work, but if you support through our link, you support us as well!

Give it a look see.


Prayer Needs

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! New Year is actually a bigger holiday in Ukraine than Christmas is, but it is celebrated more like Christmas. They actually don’t seem to want to let the Christmas spirit die, as many people celebrate New Years for weeks! Some people even leave their Christmas tress up til March!

So, from Ukraine, Happy New Year!

Friends–family. We really wanna keep in touch with people as much as possible. It is hard to live life, do ministry, and everything else, and keep up with everybody, but we would love to say hello to you all here and there when you can.

Please reply and update us. Let us know what’s new and how we can be praying for you!

We could really use prayer for:

1. Lera’s health. She has some issue with her thyroid.

2. My health. My back is messed up after years of fishing.

3. Our trip to Israel that we don’t get blown to smithereens. If you are thinking, “what the sam heck they’s goin to Israel ferr if they’s broke?!” Well, we are finally going on our honeymoon. Lera’s granny lives there, isn’t getting any younger and she hasn’t seen her in years. The trip will only cost us about $1,300 for both of us to spend 3 weeks there, and a lot of that money is our normal monthly living expenses. So now you’re sayin, “yes! Go! Go to Israel! Be gone! Right?

4. The Bible study we are starting in February when we get back.

5. A church planting team, with a likeminded vision and the same necessary standards for ministry.

Thank you all so very very much!

Bye for now.

Jacoby and Lera

P.S. For Your Edification

Last month on the blog I wrote about our outreach to the homeless kids in Odessa. You can read about that here:

Ministry Journal

Or you can check out my wife’s and I joint Russian subtitle efforts for these short Truth Project vids. (That was a really weird sentence).

Translation and Subtitle Vids

I also wrote a follow up to my blog

101 Uniquenesses I Noticed in Beautiful Ukraine

It’s called 101 Uniquenesses I Noticed in Beautiful Ukraine | Part II

Here is something I believe you will be deeply ministered to by! Check it out!

God’s Chisel with The Skit Guys on YouTube

And here is the attachment of our Christmas Letter, if it never made it to your physical mailbox.