Tag: Odessa

101 Uniquenesses I Noticed in Beautiful Ukraine | Part II

Online

1. Emoticons are typed differently in Ukraine.  Instead of a smiley face like so: :), you will see them like this: ))).  The bigger the smile, the more of those: ))))))))))))))))))))).  And of course the same goes for the opposite sad face ((((((((((((((((((.

2. Ukrainians and Russians have their own version of Facebook called Vkontkte.  It means Contact.  People can have all kinds of music and movies uploaded on their accounts.

3. It’s a lot easier and a lot more regular for people to take things illegally on the internet including music, movies, books, software, etc.

Body Art

1. Tattoos are not near as commonplace in Ukraine.  Usually if you have a tattoo it means you were in prison.  Each tattoo means something, prison tats that is.

2. Body piercings are much less frequently seen here as well.

Transportation

1. The public buses do not have an electric strip or a cord to pull to chime a bell.  You must walk to the front of the bus and tell the driver where you would like to stop.  Or, if the bus is packed full of people you must pass your fair up through the crowd.   People are extremely cooperative with this in Odessa.

2. To make the bus stop you must hold out your hand.  They won’t just stop because it’s a bus stop.

3. Sometimes there’s no bus stop, or at least a sign that there’s one.  Ukrainians often know the route and seem to instincively know where to catch the buses.

4. Buses in Ukraine are much smaller than the ones in the States.  They can get pretty crowded at times.

5. The bus drivers are pretty crazy.  One guy I know calls it surfing.  Often all the seats are taken and you will have to stand, hold on, and keep your balance.  Watch out for screaking sudden stops.

6. Previously the Odessa airport had no arrival or departure signs.  Well, a new update — they just had em put in!

7. Trains have departments where people can all sleep in open rooms with other people.  It gets quite hot and uncomfortable and there is little privacy.

8. The trains are all pretty old.  I think they have ridden them until the wheels fell off and then just put on some new wheels.

9. A few weeks ago our friend Mark had the front of his van hit buy four policemen out of uniform at 50 MPH, racing four policemen in uniform.

10. Odessa has lots of narrow streets and no freeways. It is a city of over 1 million people and it hugs the curve of the sea, so if you want to go to the other side of town it takes forever!

11. They cannot build a desperately needed underground subway in Odessa because of the endless paths of catacombs.

12. Instead of a fire extinguisher on the trams you will find boxes full of sand for putting out fires.

13. On the airplanes they give you a white papercloth for your head. Why didn’t we think of that?

Restrooms

1. You will not find paper toilet seat covers in the public restrooms. I had grown so accustomed to this. Guess us Americans are spoiled.

2. Like many places in Europe you will sometimes have seperate small rooms for the sink and the toilet.

3. Sometimes public restrooms will not even have a seat.  I’ve even heard stories of people carrying them with them on trips.

Having Babies

1. Often when people are having children they have to travel to their hometown where they have their names registered at the hospital.  It is quite a time consuming ordeal.

2. Due to the low birth rate in Ukraine, when people have a baby they are paid a good amount of money.  I am not sure of the exact amount, but after a month after birth you will be given 1 or 2,000 dollars.  I believe for each child this number increases a bit.

3. The birth rate in Ukraine do to poverty. The poulation in Ukraine and Russia is actually decreasing every year.

Apartments

1. Rental agreements can be very unreliable.  We recently almost had to move out of our flat again because the owner was thinking to sell.  We prayed and he changed his mind.  :), excuse me, ))))).  You’d be as well off spitting in your hand and shaking on it then signing any forms.

2. All the flat buildings, even the new ones being built are the old Soviet style concrete buildings. I do not know why they continue to build these types of buildings, it does not seem very time effcient.

3.  These buildings do not have fire escapes.

4.  All these buildings are heated by radiators.

5. When looking to rent a place, you will not have much luck using a classified.  Maybe use the internet if you want to get ripped off.  People usually hire someone to find a place for them.  Once the place is found and an agreement is signed this person will collect their share.

6. The perceived value of the flats is way too high for what you get.  A nice one bedroom flat would go for 100,000 to 200,000 dollars.

7. When they count rooms in a flat they count every room.  A two bedroom house in the States would be considered a three bedroom house in Ukraine.

8. Many people extend their building size by building bigger balconies.

9. One good thing is there haven’t been any earthquakes or tsunami’s here, so that is good. Just an occasioanl flood. Odessa was flooded this year because the drains are clogged with too much litter.

10. Some people have a second vacation home not far outside of the city by the beach. They call these dachas.

Cultural Dont’s

1. It is considered rude to point at people in Ukraine.

2. Sometimes saying thank you to them sounds insulting.  Don’t be offended if you give someone something and they don’t say thank you.

3. Don’t spit on the street, although it is said to be very common for Ukrainians.

4. Don’t where hats inside buildings. No biggy there right?

Interesting cultural things

1. The number of roses you give someone usually has some kind of significance.  It is not good to give a woman an even number of roses, make sure it is an odd number.

Handicapped

1. The handicapped are called invalids and usually really looked down upon.  Many of them are stuck in their homes to be ignored by society, if they have a home.

2. It is not very common to find delegated parking for the handicapped anywhere.

Eating

1. People in Ukraine say thank you after the meal, not before.

2. They like to eat Carp in Ukraine.  Of course they eat it in China and other places as well.  Only in the States is it considered garbage fish.

3. McDonald’s is usually crazy busy.  I have never seen McDonald’s so crazy busy in the States, except maybe New York, as it is in Odessa almost every time I go there.  Sometimes you can’t even find a place to sit.

4. Ukrainians have very good manners and are very picky about washing their hands.  Often people will want to wash their hands just from coming in from outdoors.

5. Ukrainians in some ways are healthier than Americans as they are satisfied with much smaller portions of food.

6. They eat a lot less meat in Ukraine at far less frequent meals.

7. It is common to see people come back to Ukraine from the States a few pounds heavier than when they left.

8. My wife is a great cook!

At the beach

1. Many guys are into speedos and it is not a thing.

2. People in Ukraine tend to be pretty unashamed of their bodies and don’t have many inhibitions about themselves on the beach either.  In one way I suppose that’s a good thing.

3. The beach along Odessa is great although it gets very crowded sometimes.

4. The water is a little polluted but everyone swims anyway.

5. Many people seem to live on the beach in the summer and look like they go there every day.

Animals

1. In Ukraine they call their cats differently than Americans do.  In the States we say, “here kitty, kitty, kitty…”  In Ukraine cats understand, “ksss, ksss…”

2. There are lots of stray dogs in Ukraine.  Because of the poverty I suppose and not being able to have adequate places to house the strays.  There are quite a lot in our neighborhood.

3. Many people own dogs in Odessa.  It is very common, which I don’t understand because most people live in flats.  They are good sized dogs too.

4. Often people, including ourselves, bring their leftovers or old bones outside for all the stray cats and dogs.

5. It is not good to bring strays into your home as they often carry sicknesses.

Grammar

1. No definite and indefinite articles.  Russians do not use the words, “the” or “a”.  It is in the syntax.

2.  Russians tend to stress every word differently than I naturally do as an American.  It is just one of several things which make learning the language a challenge.

3. Pronunciation is very important.  Unlike English where you can pronounce words different ways, in Russian this can sometimes mean very embarassing things.  Be careful with your pronunciation.

4. Russians know it is hard to learn their language and respect anyone who’s willing to give it an honest try.

5. In Russian people are usually allowed to mix around the sentences more. This is helpful in translating, at least from English to Russian anyway.

Girls

1. I have seen some ads of girls on buildings that definitley wouldn’t legally fly in the States.

2. Girls in Ukraine definitley like glamour and showing their femininity.  A friend who was recently visiting commented that they all look like they are on a runway.

3. High heels and boots are everywhere.

Safety Protocols

1. Often on kids toys at restaurants or public places you will see safety hazards.  In the States these would definitley be some kind of insurance liability.

Movies

1. In the movie theatres they use the same 3D glasses over and over.  If you don’t return them they will charge you $50, even though they are sometimes old and scratched up.

2. The public movie theaters show movies in Russian although most the populace speaks Russian.  I have a friend from Russian who can’t even understand them.

3. At the movie theaters in Ukraine, when you buy your tickets you have assigned seating.  You don’t just buy a ticket and then go in and find your seats.

4. Many people do not go to the movies or buy DVDs but rather download their moves for free on torrent sites.  It’s the way people do it in Ukraine, movies or digital products are usually pirated as a normal part of life.

Cigarettes

1. Cigarettes in Ukrain are dirt cheap.  People can buy a pack of Marlboros for about $1.20, and cheaper cigarettes for half that.

2. Smoking is extremely common in Ukraine. I think they have the second highest smoking rate in all the world.

Pay

1. Payscale is crazy.  Once we had a poster of the payscales for the employees in our flat building.  The cleaning lady was the highest paid.  It is not uncommon to see a claening lady making more than a doctor or a teacher.

2. $500/ month is considered excellent pay and is well above the average earnings in most cities.

3. Most jobs are paid under the table as people wouldn’t survive very well if they paid their required taxes. Most of the economy is in the shadows.

4. In February 2013 a new law will be inacted where people exchanging dollars will have to pay a 15% tax. This is because people will hoard dollars, wait for the value to go up, and then exchange them and this hurts the economy. However, if your check is coming from the States this rule doen’t apply to you.

Lines

1. In public buildings people don’t usually actually stand in lines.  If there is a line for some public service people randomly sit around the room.  So, what you do when you enter the room is ask who is last in line and you know you are after them.

Garbage Cans

1. Garbage cans are often made of heavy thick concrete.  The people who clean them out have to actually reach down inside and take out all the trash.  What a time consuming way to so it.

Trees

1. The bottoms of the tress are painted white in Odessa.  I have been told that people do this to keep bugs off the trees.  It made sense to me then until I saw they painted the bottoms of the concrete poles too to match.  I guess they like the way it looks!

2. In the summer Odessa is beautiful with full green trees everywhere. As well the white flowers come out for a couple weeks on the cherry trees.

Fireworks

1. Go off randomly.  Sometimes through out the year somebody will start lighten off fireworks in your neighborhood.  What would be illegal in the States, here is a birthday celebration!  You can walk into most grocery stores anytime and find them for sale.

Begging

1. When someone is playing music on the street to make money, instaed of putting a cup on the ground there will usually be another person holding a hat and walking up to people.  Guess they have to split the tips between the two of em.

2. It is common to see people faking a handicap or being mute to try and ask people for money.  You can usually tell.

3.  Sometimes beggars can be agressive and even get mad at you if you don’t give them anything.

4. If you get on a bus in the city center sometimes you will have someone get on and give their speech to the entire bus asking for money.  They usually seem to get a couple bucks out of the deal.

Pictures

1. When posing around a monument, a statue or some kind of interesting thing people, especially girls like to hug it.

2. People smile less often for pictures.

Grocery Shopping

1. At the grocery stores you do not weigh your produce in the check out aisle.  Their will be an employee or two in the produce section to weigh everybodies fruits and vegies for them.

2. Bread is often bought without packaging and I wonder how many people’s hands have been on my bread.

3.  Ukraine has amazing chocolate, cookies, sweets, vegetables, and dairy products.

4. There is still no peanut butter here yet.

5. The aisles are usually a much tighter squeeze in the grocery stores in the States.

Mannerisms

1. It isn’t much of a surprise if people get a little edgy or hot tempered with each other and then go about their business as if nothing happened.

2.  Many people are extremely polite and it is common to find etiquette and manners that often seems to be forgotten in the States.

Good Deals

1. I had some pretty good chiropractor appointments for under $20 when I was having back problems.  That’s pretty good!

2. There are places here where you can have good sushi for two people for $15! That’s a pretty good deal!

Books

1. Books are quite a bit cheaper. Usually about half what they would cost in the States.

2. Bibles are usually hardbound instead of leather bound, at least most of the time. There is one modern translation from last year, but they have far fewer translations to choose from than English speakers do.

Good hymns

1. The selection of good Christian hymns to sing is much fewer and far between although there are some around. In time we plan to help these numbers some.

 

Read 101 Uniquenesses I Noticed in Beautiful Ukraine | Part I

 

Have you been to Ukraine? What kind of interesting things did you observe?

Project Odessa Life | Monthly Ministry/Prayer Update | August 2012

Did you know?

Ukraine is considered to be 79.01% Christian by Operation World.

According to Wikipedia a survey from 2006 indicates:

Eastern Orthodox – 26.8%
Catholic – 5.9%
Protestants – 0.9%
Jewish – 0.1%
other – 3.8%
no affiliation/not aware – 62.5%

The Orthodox and the Catholics do not believe the Gospel means Jesus + nothing = everything. They add components to the Gospel which do not belong or they do not teach the Gospel clearly at all.

According to the Joshua Project,

1.1% of the population is unreached
20.5% is nominally reached
78.4% is established (established means it’s at least 2% evangelical)

Over 90% of those unreached people are Muslims.

Also, from Wikipedia,

“Today the largest Protestant groups in Ukraine include Baptists (All-Ukrainian Union of the Association of Evangelical Baptists), Pentecostals (All-Ukrainian Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith-Pentecostals) and Seventh-day Adventists (Ukrainian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists). Of note is Hillsong Church in Kiev. One of the most prominent Protestants in modern Ukraine is the practicing baptist pastor Oleksandr Turchynov, former head of the SBU, Ukraine’s successor to the KGB, and a former acting Prime Minister. Despite the rapid growth, today Protestants in Ukraine remain a small minority in a largely Orthodox Christian country.”

How is it possible that 78.4% of Ukraine is established if less than 1% is considered Protestant?

Did you know?

We need help in Ukraine.

Most missionaries quit before one year on mission?

We are not quitting.

Ministry Highlights

The months of August and September have been extremely eventful for us, so eventful in fact, I am behind on this update over a week. We’ll show you some pictures for an overview. Also you can check out some blog work if you like:

A video of me sharing about my personal prayer life and reviewing Steven Furtick’s “Faith Confessions video.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PtTEdxdIYE?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

My good friend from South Africa, Gert Plotties van Rooyen’s, response was similar to mine:

“So I watched the video and it seems that he’s trying to mix self help ideas with a deeper understanding of what God says. I don’t like the idea that he has a ritual that he believes in before he preaches in the sense that he depends on having done that for God to work. I think he says frames it in the way that he’s preparing himself for the responsibility of speaking Gods word, but it seems like in effect he will just end up trusting in his ritual.

More than that his faith statement could be helpful in so far as reminding ourselves of objective truths secured by Gods saving grace remind us not to trust in ourselves or to depend on our own ability to hold on to God but rather to trust that He is gracious and sovereign and that he will keep us. But his statements seem to be attempting to create the reality which they claim in the name it and claim it tradition of our faith being the thing with secures Gods owing us all our desires. Which is nonsense.

In general I think it is good to pray and to use Gods word even when we struggle believe the things which it says. As we spend time in his word and the Spirit makes it alive in us and grows our understanding and faith that’s awesome. But to say things to activate our faith as if it is dependent entirely on our effort seems like a dangerous idea. My heart already wants to constantly find ways to not need the grace of God but to trust in my own efforts. I need to be reminded to look away from myself and my ability activate anything and to look to Jesus Christ and depend fully on Him because of the objective truth of His death and resurrection being sufficient, and only that being sufficient for me to be welcomed by God. The less it’s about me and my activation techniques the more my life is actually transformed to trust fully in God working in and through me despite my failings and inability so that I can only ascribe the glory to Him. “

A Blog about how important it is for the evangelicals to be united on mission despite denominational differences. Friends in the Foxhole.

A blog post listing the most memorable sermons I’ve heard from the last decade. Most Memorable Messages

Family English Camp!

Please pray for Alla and her little girl. They began coming to church after camp and are hoping they will stay faithfully in fellowship with us.

This is Kristina! A great girl witha really terrific attitude. Please pray for her and her family as they made a decision to follow Christ at camp but we haven’t seen them.

Please pray for Helen and her family. Helen is a super nice lady who was in my advanced Englsih learning class. She needs Jesus!

Pray for Dima, Tolik, Alina, Gera, Elusha, and Gleb.

Family English Camp! An awesome ministry opportunity.

More pictures from camp can be seen here.

You may want to consider being involved in one of these next summer!

Follow up and meetings with new friends after camp.

Mary and Olga are in the upper left. This is after church and Zhenya and I were helping them with some Bible questions. They are young believers, so please pray for them. In the upper middle is Kate. She gave her life to Jesus at camp and has been a faithful friend since. She came over for breakfast and we had Greek iced coffe and homemade Greek yogurt (the morning after the Greek style wedding we attended). We were going through the book of Matthew with her. Please keep her in your prayers as well. Upper right is Jullian sitting to the left. He is a very talented drawer who has had a very rough life. Please pray for his salvation! Zhenya in the middle has been meeting with me once or twice a week and we are helping to improve his English by reading theough Wayne Grudems “20 Basics Every Christian Should Know”. Lower left is Sasha. We are reading through the Gospel of John together. He is very busy with school now so pray we can make time to continue these meetings. On the lower right is Dima. We are reading through a book I have about Jewish culture and practice. He only reads the Torah so we decided this would be a good way for us to improve his English. We also love to play Chess when we meet!

Anton is a Bible College graduate who works in construction and has recently gone back to school. We have been meeting and reading a paragraph of Colossions at a time. After completing a paragraph, we examine the text together and ask 7 Questions:

What does this passage tell me about God?
What does this passage tell me about man? (or myself)
What from this passage really stands out?
What questions do I have about this passage?
What can I apply to my life from this passage?
How is this passage connected to Jesus?
How is this passage connected to the Gospel?
Afterwards, we play chess. :)

More English Clubs Of Course!

Greek Style Wedding of our friends who now live in Romania.

The wedding was ambushed by the rains gods! We were drenched and had to climb up a steep clay hill. It was a disaster! :)

Visit to Dnepropetrovsk for a Pastor’s Conference

Lera and I went to Dnepropetrovsk to a pastor’s conference we were invited to. We got to make some great new friends with Sovereign Grace guys from Dnepro and Germany, Christian book publishers Grace Publishing and In Lumine, and some really great Campus Crusaders.

The Ark (“Kovcheg”) Church released their second Sovereign Grace worship album in Russian!

At the tail end of the conference several pastors from around Ukraine sat for a few hours discussing how to advance the Gospel in Ukraine!

The trip was a tremendous blessing and we were extrememly blessed and encouraged by the people we met. Also, there were two American missionaries preaching in Russian which was a huge encouragement for me as they both learned without any formal classes.

Prayer Needs!

Please pray for the people you see in the pictures!

Please pray fopr a mighty work of God and spread of the Gospel in Odessa and Ukraine!

Ministry Projects you can pray for:

I wrote a tract about the differing theories on who Jesus is. It will be translated into Russian and published. We need a gifted illustrator for the artwork.

We are having personal meetings with heads of outreaches, organizations, and a couple politicians about the future plans for the Discipleship/Recreation Center “Opus Dei”!

Tuesday Night Bible Study! We are almost done going through the Redemption Book on Tuesday nights. We are planning lessons through this book to begin visiting different rehab centers once a week and taking through a ten week counseling program. We are still praying for funding for the translation of the book into Russian and have some possibilities pending.

Pray for our homeless friends Alla and Natasha. Lera met them yesterday while I was with the guys. It was our first contact with them since camp and they are not doing well.

Pray for my learning Russian and the next season coming after our internship. We may begin meeting next spring with a core church plant team and praying together.

Thank you so much!

Giving!

To share in the reward of this work of God with us, follow this link!

One beautiful woman!

If You Only Read One….Make It This One!

Monthly Ministry/Prayer Update

The last couple weeks at camp has been one of the most fruitful and worthwhile things I have ever been involved in! To hear more just follow the link to the NEW VIDEO UPDATE. If you only ever watched just one of my video updates, please make it THIS ONE. :)

 

Click on this sentence to read why some short term missions might be a waste of time when they are not relational.

 
To read up on our current prayer needs simply scroll to the bottom, just above the “People” pics.

 

Just Before Camp the Ladies Had a Craft Day at Our Place

 

The ladies figured the first step in sparking a Jesus Movement in Ukraine would be to turn everyone into hippies. :)

…and Mexican Food for the Guys!

 

What’s a better way to get the guys together than to invite them over for scrumptious burritos. We were happy to have a couple Muslim friends over and had a great discussion over a quote from C.S. Lewis book “Miracles” comparing men to Limpets when trying to describe God.

The Team Prepares for Camp

 

After the team from South Africa flys in, we head to the camp for some training and preparation time. We had servant leaders from many countries working together! South Africa, Ukraine, Nigeria, Conga, U.S., & Canada!

Campers Arrive

 

After the campers arrive and we help them with their bags.

English Assessment Tests

 

Very soon after the campers arrive they go through an exam for placement in their English classes. This is for a lot of us and them, our first contact with them.

Conversations Over Meal Time

 

One of the greatest things about the camp was all the one on one conversations we had. Meal time was a good time to meet new people. As all of the leadership was very intentional about talking to new people I don’t think I sat by the same group twice the entire week.

Morning Meetings

 

Every morning was kicked off with some silly song that got our blood flowing. Then we’d have announcements and a trivia game where throughout the day the campers would have to approach the leaders to find out if they matched the trivia question. This gave us more opportunities for intersting conversations.

Bible Reading and Discussion Time

 

To start off the day we’d have a group come together for a time of Bible reading and discussion. For many, this became their favorite part of camp!

The same group would meet in the afternoon for another discussion time about other topics where we focused on getting to know people and helping people practice their English.

English Class

 

Gert & I were the teachers for the Advanced English Class, so we had the translators as well. The trick was finding words they didn’t know but would be useful for them. We had a great time and I was very impressed by their learning abilities! Poor Sergey, he was the only guy in the class.

Evening Meetings

 

In the evenings we met for some worship in song and a teaching from the Word. Each night focused on a different attribute of God. We spoke about God as creator, God as perfect, God as a just judge which was the night I spoke, God is love, God is Father, and finally a Gospel call night.

Bible Teaching

 

It was a great opportunity to show the youth that the cross is the best display of where God’s justice and love meet!

Conversations

 

All the different conversations we had with the campers was what it was all about. We were very relationship focused and is my favorite thing about these camps! From the first day to the last we worked hard to connect with those God opened up. Many were open and we were surprised at their openess. They saw our sincerity and let us know how much we were appreciated!

Optional Discussion Times

 

The afternoons were open for free time but many of the campers joined us for an optional discussion time. I did a knot tying lesson one day and on another did an intro to the Bible talk. We also talked about God and suffering, had a first aid class, and a premarital talk all of which went very well.

Crafts & Tea Time

 

Various crafts and tea time were prepared for the ladies in the afternoons as well. We are not sure how some ladies actually made it through the door undetected.

Activities

 

The evenings were always filled with a different fun, competitive, and challenging activity where we had to work hard to work as a team to win.

Many of the campers also stayed up late playing all kinds of different games.

Skit Night

 

Our discusiion groups each had to plan and perform a skit together on skit night. You’d be surprised at how creative some of these guys and girls are!

Gospel Night ~ Decisions

 

On the final evening Arkadiy gave an invitaion for those who wanted to repent or had questions regarding it. I was very happy about the way we went about it, not using emotionalism or some kind of spontaneous decision tactic to get people to say a prayer.

I believe for the first time I saw a sound model for how to do an “altar call”.

Translators!

 

Of course none of this could have been done without the help of the translators! Thank you thank you thank you translators!

Banquet & Certificates

 

Back in the City

 

After camp, we are not done yet! We spend more time with the campers at church, the catacombs on a guided tour, seeing the city center where Daria and myself guided a tour for the group, some time at the beach, walking through 411 WWII park and ice cream at the church where the campers say their goodbyes to the team heading home.

 

After Camp

 

After camp is over it doesn’t mean our work is over. The people at our church are very intentional about relationships and discipleship and go the extra mile to stay in touch with as many as we possibly can. New friendships have been forged and a large handful made decisions to turn over their lives to Jesus!

We’re already planning another mexican food and movie night after we finish the second camp.

 

Prayer Requests

 

Please pray for the second camp, the family camp which begins this weekend.
Please pray for those who made a decision and for those whioch are seriously thinking about spiritual things.
Please pray against legalism and empty traditions and for clarity of the Gospel both at these camps and in Ukriane as a whole!
Please pray for the team as we need an extra measure of strength to get through these camps.
Please pray about whether or not God would have you or your church to be involved somehow!
Please pray for Odessa!
Please pray for Ukraine!

Missions exist because worship doesn’t!

THANK YOU!

 

Get Involved

 

Some ways you can be involved:

Prayerfully. If you would like us to send you a prayer card to remind you to pray for us we would be happy to! Just let us know.
Last month a few individuals were extraordinarily generous and we are unspeakably grateful! We are still in need of month to month supporters! Please pray about being involved as a sender of meaningful missions. To give, CLICK HERE!
Let us know if you would like to come in the future on a construction crew, to help with one of these awesome English Camps, or to give away your life so that God would be worshiped by more Ukrainians! Pray about full time missions in Ukraine! It’s worth it!
To send us some socks and underwear (or clothes) for the homeless, CLICK HERE!

 

For More Info on the Camp, watch this video:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydAyemH0Is?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Click on this sentence to read why some short term missions might be a waste of time when they are not relational.

 

People

Camp Pics

 

Many more great pics from camp can be viewed HERE.

Project Odessa Life | Have We Failed? | Monthly Ministry/Prayer Update | May 2012

 
Has Project Odessa Life utterly failed before we’ve barely gotten underway?
 
For the past three months it’s been an intense geographic journey down the West Coast and an intense spiritual journey as well. We had no idea how things would turn out when we stepped out in faith to build a financial and prayer team working with us on God’s mission. Sometimes we faced disappointments, let downs, and even harsh criticisms. However, at the end of the day, frankly, what I remember most is all the encouraging responses, all the great new people God brought into my life, the amazing ways He continues to provide, and the lessons I’ve learned about trust.

It’s amazing to think about the amount of people praying for us! What a humbling thing that so many of God’s people would gladly join us in the battle in prayer. Who are we to receive such support? We serve a great God!

Throughout my Christian life there have been many lessons in trust for me as God has taught me more and more what it means to rest in His sovereignty, love, and infinite wisdom. Now, it’s in a whole other degree, as though someone learning to swim was just dropped in the water. Spiritually, in trusting God, it’s time to sink or swim. Ultimately, whether we are “successful” or not is in God’s hands. Whether or not God brings in the financial support we need is His problem, not ours, this is His work, not ours, and God will fund His work and cannot fail. So we continue forward, with the end goal being worship of Jesus among the nations, and God’s name being hallowed, famed, and made great among the Ukrainian people.

 

“Whether or not God brings in the financial support we need is His problem, not ours, this is His work, not ours…”

 

At one of our final meeting times in Phoenix a friend asked me, “How will you gage your measure of success on the mission field in Ukraine?” I answered, “I believe it was Francis Chan who said, ‘Don’t be afraid of failure! Be afraid of succeeding at things that really don’t matter!’” I would rather fail at missions in Odessa than succeed at many other life plan options! I do not believe we will “fail” and I am very excited about the things to come in Odessa, Ukraine. However, if we were to completely fail, theoretically speaking, we would still not fail. Our job is to live out and preach the Gospel in word and deed. The rest is up to God. I suppose another question you could ask might be, “Can God fail!”

Jesus saves from the American dream! The further I get from that, the more successful I can be considered. Do we want to see lots of fruit and growth among the people in Ukraine? Absolutely, and we will keep you all updated on God’s happenings. But, as of now, I am content and feel successful in that by God’s amazing grace we have defeated the temptation and deception of the American dream!

Thanks for teaming up with us to further the Gospel — the answer, which has the power to transform lives, communities, cities, and Ukraine!

 

“Jesus saves from the American dream! The further I get from that, the more successful I can be considered.”

 

THANKS EVERYONE!

 

I want to express a very sincere thanks to everyone who was so encouraging, supportive, generous, and hospitable on this trip! Thank you all so very much and please be sure to keep in touch here and there! Say hello and remind us to lift you up in prayer.

For an official and public thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible and unforgetably amazing, CLICK RIGHT HERE!

To read Lera’s official personal thank you to everyone, CLICK RIGHT HERE!

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

 

1. Please pray for the organization and planning of our upcoming summer English Camp and other services.

2. Please pray for our marriage and celebrate one year of marriage with us since April 23rd!

3. Please pray for more opportunities to meet with friends for one on one discipleship, both discipling and being discipled.

4. Please pray for our vision to have a recreation center with other facilities built in Odessa!

 

FUTURE BUILDING PROJECT!

 

In Odessa there are no community recreation centers and there are over 4,000 homeless kids in the city, not to mention all the other kids. Sex trafficking is also a major problem in Odessa. Poverty, years of oppression, corruption, sin in and the effects of it can be seen everywhere. God has put it on my heart to pray for the funding of a large center called Opus Dei (Work of God). We will need legal permission of course so you can be in prayer for that. We would like to have a large recreation center and other ministry facilities!

We have friends who are construction workers, roofers, painters, tile layers, framers, concrete masons, an architect and many other skilled workers. It would be great to begin thinking about planning a future trip to Ukraine perhaps two or three years out.

If you are interested in helping towards the funding of this project by talking to my friend who works with Thrivent financial, a full service financial advising company, the only company in the fortune 500 with a AA+ ethical rating,

 

call my Christian friend Matthew Burnias at

1-562-217-5391

 

For more info on Thrivent Financial building projects CLICK HERE!

 

“In Odessa there are no community recreation centers and there are over 4,000 homeless kids in the city.”

 

For each person who uses his financial advising services, more money can be given toward the project!

Funding from this company will be helpful but not enough for this vision. There may be other means of financing this work as well. If anyone has any ideas, please let us know ASAP!

  

Monthly Ministry/Prayer Update | March 2012

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

1 Corinthians 9:27

*To see our SPECIFIC PRAYER REQUESTS, scroll to the bottom. Thank you for praying!

There was a man full of the Spirit who went to preach. He prayed and prepared and studied and prayed and he was ready. As he stood to preach, he looked across the room and there was only one person who had come to hear his message – one. Returning home after delivering his message he reflected on all the hard work he had put into preparing the message. Throughout the course of his life God had strengthened him many times and brought him through many hard trials. He knew that to be a pastor he would have to endure many let downs, and many pains, he knew he would have to have the hide of a rhinoceros and the heart of a dove, he knew that though there was only one person in the crowd, he could not allow the numbers to deter him from doing God’s work. He had to remain faithful and he had to continue trusting in the goodness of God. He told his heart to put its hope in God, although he couldn’t help but wonder why only one person would show up to hear him speak. Finally, he returned home and went to sleep. The next morning he rose early to feed his cow. As he stood feeding his cow, the Lord spoke to him, “here you have just one cow, and do you not rise every day to feed it?”

One month ago I flew into Oregon from Ukraine and I have to say things are going great. There are days when the thought to give up has crossed my mind. I considered throwing in the towel at moments when I just thought I didn’t have any emotional steam left, after preaching in a big room with just a few people, then having to pack up and hit another meeting right away. However, these feelings are fleeting and soon are discarded as the Lord strengthens me to continue on, even when I see no fruit. I’m having to learn more and more that I cannot put my trust in the word of man, but my confidence must be in my heavenly Father. When things looked defeating, my wife and I resolutely determined to continue giving sacrificially, as God would have us do. And from unexpected people and places God began pouring into our cup. Will it overflow?

MINISTRY HIGHLIGHTS

For the last month I have been going to Bible studies, churches, sending out invites and calling numerous people to invite to our missions presentation on Ukraine. I suppose I naively thought in preparation that missions work would be as much a thrill for people to hear about as going to a ballgame or the flea market. The turn outs to these meetings have overall been very poor. Sometimes I don’t raise one single small monthly supporter. However, somehow God has continued to bless the work through unexpected means, be individuals wishing to honor God with their finances who I’ve never met before, or by steadily growing promising financial partners.

One Saturday, after inviting many people to the meeting throughout the week, only one guy showed up. That one guy was a blessing to see. The next day I went to a church where more people wanted to support our ministry in one day then in the whole last month combined.

For a short season, February through April, my focus of ministry will be support raising, while Lera serves with the church in Odessa. Lord willing, by God’s grace, we will raise the needed missionary support in just three months. Many missionaries can spend up to two years doing this. Support Raising is a ministry because we provide an opportunity for people to examine how they are stewarding God’s money, which they’ve been entrusted with, and because it helps foster a missional vision in the church. It is a reminder that each of us should be as directly and radically involved in the great commission, as God is. In some way each of should be doing our part. In Revelation 5 and 7 we see people from every tribe and nation and language worshiping before Jesus. This happens through the work of missions. Missions exist because worship doesn’t!

I would love to ask everyone to sell their house, quit their job, get rid of most of their earthly possessions, leave behind their comforts and privileges of living in the United States and come help us spread the Gospel in Ukraine. Well, if everyone went, there’d be no one to send out and support the goers. All of us have our part.

Do you believe in what we’re doing in Ukraine? If you do, would you team up with us? As we give our lives completely over to furthering the Gospel in Ukraine, would you be a part of the sending team? If you believe in our vision would you join us with just 10 DOLLARS PER MONTH? If a relatively small number of people supported us faithfully with less than the price for two frappacinos a month, we will be full time, long term lifers in Ukraine, penetrating the sub cultures with the Gospel in a country which desperately needs the Gospel!

To worship God in this way and team up with a solid evangelical team, click HERE.

Please notify us if you have made this decision. As part of these ministry endeavors my wife and I would also like to recommend this financial course we took during missionary training in Odessa. You won’t regret it:

Crown Financial Ministries

We would also invite everyone to make a visit to Ukraine, or any other impoverished country for a time. It will forever change your entire perspective!

PICTURE GALLERY

Preparation, invites, and many many phone calls.

Home meetings!

Sharing Jesus, missions and testimonies in public Schools, a Christian school and an addiction Rehab home!

Old friends!

Great food and a fish fire pit! Mike is a great metal worker!

New friends!

Bible Studies!

For my Valentine!

Few people!

Lots o’ people!

Signing up for prayer support!

California Jesus!

Praying for Ukraine!

Staying connected to home and my lovely misses.

PRAYER REQUESTS

1. Pray for daily faithfulness on my end and the end of others involved in the ministry. That hearts would be fully committed to the work even when it’s hard or there is no immediate visible fruit.

2. Pray for Lera who will be taking a trip to Poland with some staff from church to a missions conference. She will have to return home alone as others stay and sight see and I would appreciate prayer for her safety.

3. Pray for the salvation of many souls in Ukraine.

4. Pray for me as I learn Russian. Pray for quick learning and fluency.

5. Pray for our future church plant and for the team God will bring us together with.

6. Pray for Lera as she looks for our next flat and that we get the right deal.

7. Pray for Katya and Marina in Uganda. They were having some difficulties with their situation such as not being treated too well in the house they are staying and the pastor were they are serving teaching that it is okay to have sex if you don’t have HIV.

8. Pray for funds for the Redemption book to be translated into Russian.

9. Pray for Christian rec centers in Ukraine.

10. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the field and for the government.

Thank you all so much. In this battle we truly need your prayers!

“And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, [the church] multiplied.”
Acts 9:31

Jacoby & Lera