→Missionary work: internal link
Father Jacob's life was not without its personal sufferings. 1836 and 1837 were to bring successively the death of his beloved wife Anna in March 1836, the destruction by fire of his home in July 1836, and the death of his father, Yegor, in 1837. After considering the message of these misfortunes, he petitioned his bishop to return to Irkutsk so that he could enter a [[monastic]] life. A year later he request was granted contingent on the arrival of his replacement. But none came. Soon [[Bishop]] Innocent arrived and invited Father Jacob to accompany him on a trip to Kamchatka. During the voyage Bishop Innocent seemed to have accomplished three things with Father Jacob: with the healing salve of the [[Holy Spirit]] provided words of comfort, dissuaded Father Jacob from entering a [[monastery]], and revealed to the saintly priest the Savior's true plan for his life that was for him to preach [[Christ]] to those deep in the Alaskan interior.
On [[December 30]], 1844, St. Innocent appointed him head of the new Kvikhpak Mission to bring the light of Christ to the people along the Yukon River. With two young Creole assistants, Innokentii Shayashnikov and Konstantin Lukin, and his nephew Vasili Netsvetov, Father Jacob established his headquarters in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Ikogmiute. From there, now known as Russian Mission, he traveled to the settlements for hundreds of miles along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, visiting the inhabitants of settlements along the way. For the next twenty years he learned new languages, met new people and cultures, invented another alphabet, and built more churches and communities. At the invitation of the native leaders he traveled as far as the Innoko River baptizing hundreds from many, and often formerly hostile, tribes. He continued even as his health deteriorated.
Yet the devil's presence came to stir up spurious and slanderous charges against him in 1863. To clear the air his Bishop Peter called him to Sitka where he was cleared of all the charges. As his health worsened he remained in Sitka serving at the Tlingit chapel until his death on [[July 26]], 1864. He was 60 years old.