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.”
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!
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
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!