January 1, 2013
On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, 70 missionaries from 8 CIS nations (including 9 guests: P. Abraham, Sarah Kim, Joseph Ahn from Chicago, Peter Chang, Joachim from Germany, Stephen Ahn, Wesley Yoon and Euiseon Kim from Korea) met at a beautiful snow covered place facing the Baltic Sea near St. Petersburg.
Constantin Kalinkin of Moscow welcomed all members with joyful greetings, exclaiming “Merry Christmas!” The meeting began with a special song, “You Raise Me Up” by 3 members of K nation.
The opening message of Caleb Han of UBF St. Petersburg 1 reminded us of God’s abundant blessing for those who faithfully obey the voice of the Lord. (Deut 28:1-14)
On Christmas morning after Group Bible study, P. Abraham Kim delivered the main message from Ephesians Chapter 3 entitled, “A Servant of the Mystery of Jesus Christ.” He helped us all to thank God for this great privilege to be servants of the mystery of Christ. We were greatly encouraged to make this mystery known to all nations beginning with CIS people who are heirs together, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise. He admonished us to know how deep, high, wide and long is the love of Christ and to grow in his love so that we may love one another with God’s love.
His powerful and heart touching message encouraged all of us to write deep testimonies. One very ironic thing was that the men’s group shared their testimonies with many tears out of repentance as well as out of thanks to Jesus. Meanwhile we could hear a lot of laughing and joyful sound so often and so loud from the women's group. We still wonder how the same passage could cause one group to cry and the other group to laugh. That is the mystery of Jesus!
On the morning of Dec. 26, the second message was delivered by Alexey Belykh of Moscow with the title, “Let us be Clothed with the Armor of God.” His message was very quiet but powerful. He emphasized the importance of the word of God, which is a mighty weapon to attack our enemies. Only the word of God can defeat Satan. We were encouraged to depend on the word of God all the more. The closing message was delivered by David Byun from 1 Peter 2:9 about our spiritual identity with the title “Royal Priests”
There were other programs such as 23 chapters’ reports and very special lectures about the book of Revelation by Korean Staff, Stephen Ahn, Church history by Wesley Yoon, review and new strategy of CIS ministry by Dr. Peter Kim of Kiev and CME ministry by Dr. Peter Chang of Germany. Each one was very helpful and useful.
We decided to hold the 2013 CIS directors’ conference in Israel and the 2014 CIS international conference in Moscow (8/21-24) after the European International Conference (8.14-17). There was an ordination ceremony for the 2 national leaders; Alexey Belykh to succeed in the Moscow chapter (effective in March, 2013) and Abraham Vlad in Ukrain. Mark Pang was appointed as the Central Asia region coordinator and Constantin Kalinkin as the coordinator of Russia including Belarus, and 3 Baltic nations.
Among the great works of God, the most noticeable ones were leadership succession to the national leaders. Cyprus is being pioneered by second gens. Astana received government permission as a church when they prayed with a martyrdom spirit. In the midst of difficult self-supporting ministry with not much visible fruit our missionaries remarkably improved their spirituality to endure and persevere in their inner man while their rough character that tends to complain and criticize became softened. Some learned the power of prayer that actually works when they really believed the word of God that comes true always. In spite of the cold weather that went down to minus 20 degrees C, Caleb Han, Sarah Han, Mike Thompson, Daniel Han and all St. Petersburg UBF coworkers worked so sacrificially in order that this conference could be held successfully.
The conference finished with the following prayer topics by P. Abraham Kim: