General Director’s Letter

May 22, 2017

“You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God.” (2 Peter 3:11b-12a)

God blessed the 2017 New Year continental directors/coordinators’ conferences held last December and January in the seven continental regions with the theme, “Look Forward to the Day of God” (2Pe 3:1-18). Our Lord said, “Look, I am coming soon!” (Rev 22:7,12, 20)  When our Lord comes again, he will reward all our labor for him and for his gospel and lead us into a new heaven and a new earth. Let’s remember that our only true hope is the Day of God. Let’s pray earnestly so that we, our children and Bible students may live for the things that will not be burned up on the Day of God, but that which will last forever. With the joy of the true and sure hope of Jesus’ Second Coming, may we all live holy and godly lives, giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.

Thank God for renewing our calling and identity as God’s people through the 2016 UBF World Mission Report in Korea. I am deeply thankful to God for his life-giving work through your life of love for God and his flock of sheep. I also thank God for all who are with you for their lives as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. I’d like to share the highlights of God’s work, prayer topics of each continental region, and some announcements.

Overview of God’s Work

In 2016, God sent out 45 UBF missionaries from Korea (27), USA (8), Venezuela (5), Uganda (2), Indonesia (1), Philippines (1), and Thailand (1) to 13 countries. Two countries (Ethiopia and Tunisia) were newly reached and six new UBF chapters were planted (USA 3, Canada 1, Ethiopia 1, Mexico 1). The average UBF Sunday worship attendees world-wide was around 8,930 (Korea 3,440, North America 2,150, Asia 880, Latin America 800, Europe 660, CIS 440, Africa 420, Oceania 80, M.E. 60), showing a steady growth. A total of 1,748 UBF missionaries are serving in 334 chapters in 95 countries.

Missionaries sent in the previous years:

2013   53 (Korea 43, Philippines 5, USA 4, Germany 1)
2014   46 (Korea 38, USA 3, India 2, Hong Kong 2, Ukraine 1)
2015   37 (Korea 35, Philippines 1, South Africa 1)

Africa: God has raised 30 UBF families of native leaders in 14 countries of Africa. On April 13-16, 2017, the Eastern Africa region had a graceful Bible conference in Kenya with 215 attendees (Kenya 100, Uganda 92, Rwanda 7, Ethiopia 3, guests 13). The Eastern region chapters have a prayer topic for sending out missionaries to Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Tanzania. The Northern, Southern, and Western regions of Africa are preparing for conferences to be held in August. Please pray that African native leaders may take stewardship to prepare fruitful conferences. Through 2014 UBF worldwide Christmas offerings, the Bible House in Juba, South Sudan was successfully constructed. The Juba chapter director, Shp. Padiet Deng, and leaders deeply thank all chapters for their help. South Sudan has been in civil war since 2013. Please pray for reconciliation and peace in South Sudan. Through Shp. Oyor Moses of South Sudan who went to Cairo for his doctoral study, God raised two Egyptian shepherds, Ayman and Mamdou. They are serving student ministry in Cairo and Asuit. Medical missionaries Dr. Samuel and Mary Yoo from Uganda began a new ministry in Ethiopia. Please pray for the growth of Egypt and Ethiopia UBF. Please pray for Africa UBF to reach out to the campuses in 54 countries of Africa.

Asia: Through 30 years of ministry of Msn. Jimmy and Maria Lee, God has established seven chapters in India, sending out missionaries. Msn. Jimmy and JNU/DU leaders thank the UBF community for the 2016 Christmas offerings they received for their new Bible houses. There is a powerful work of the Holy Spirit among Hindu students at Delhi University. God is working among their family members and friends in the midst of persecutions. Please pray for God’s work in China and India, the two countries that have the largest population in the world. On March 3, 2017, Chicago chapter hosted “Japan Night,” inviting five missionaries and three native/2nd-gen leaders of Japan UBF. We thanked God who has worked with UBF missionaries for the past 30 years through miracles, wonders and signs in the midst of many challenges. Please pray that God may raise the Christian population in Japan from 1% to 3.5% of the whole population to be the salt and light of the nation and to send out missionaries. Asian UBF in 15 countries is praying to reach 48 countries in Asia including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, and North Korea. 

CIS: Moscow UBF is growing through the beautiful coworking between native leaders and missionaries. Last January Shp. Alexey Belykh was re-elected to serve as chapter director for another four years. The local government changed the use of the Moscow UBF Bible house from a religious property to a business property and charged a tax 10 times higher than it used to be. The hearing of Moscow UBF’s appeal at the higher court is set on June 5. Please pray for a favorable and just outcome from the court. Growth of native leadership and stewardship in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine through the support of missionaries is a beautiful work of God. CIS UBF in 8 countries is praying to send out missionaries to 7 countries—Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan.  

Europe: The European coordinators/directors’ conference was held in Macedonia, the homeland of Alexander the Great and Mother Theresa. Msn. Barnabas and Petra Kang’s family came to Macedonia 11 years ago. He started selling Korean instant noodles (ramyun). But people didn’t know what it was, so it did not sell. His family had to eat unsold ramyun day after day. As the family held on to God’s words of Deuteronomy 8:3, God blessed Barnabas to become the owner of an Asian food store. God also blessed Msn. Petra to be the Korean language professor at the National University of Macedonia. In many European chapters, God is raising native and 2nd-gen young leaders. Please pray that these emerging generation leaders may have God’s kingdom vision and missionary calling. Drs. Lukas and Lydia Kim (Koln UBF, Germany) are praying to go to Finland next year. Europe UBF in 24 countries is praying to reach out to Albania, Netherlands, and Slovenia.

Latin America: The Latin America coordinators/directors’ conference was held in Belize where silver missionaries Moses and Sarah Chang from Washington DC are ministering. There was a beautiful engagement ceremony between the first native leaders couple, Dillon and Shanelle. Young people of the country often live together without marriage. But the couple didn’t date, seeking spiritual growth first. Their joyful engagement planted hope of a happy marriage in the hearts of 20 growing leaders. Venezuela is still in the midst of economic and political crisis. But God blessed Venezuela UBF to send out six missionaries to Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. Brazil hosted the second Young Leaders’ conference. Latin America UBF in 18 countries is praying to reach out to 5 Caribbean countries—Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Middle East: Love and unity among the M.E. UBF families is wonderful. Please pray for the work of God among the leaders and 2nd-gens in the Middle East. Please pray for the 4.8 million Syrian refugees in the Middle East and Europe to hear the gospel.

Oceania: There are seven UBF chapters in Australia and New Zealand. God is raising emerging young leaders-- Andrew and Anna Yoo, the first-married young leaders, and others. Please pray that P. Kevin Albright of Chicago, International HQ representative for Oceania, may be a good mentor for the native and 2nd-gen leaders in Oceania.

Developments in recent years:

2013   Bethesda Medical Center in Uganda opened. UBF Historical Museum in Gwangju, Korea opened. European young adults had “New Beginning” conference. “Encounter” conference has been held annually since 2014. 

2014   Bible Resources Library (archive of UBF messages and Bible study/education materials) opened on ubf.org website (please contact ubfwebdev@gmail.com to get password). HQ History Committee and Chicago UBF began hosting mission report night: Canada Night (2014), Campus Night (2015), Mexico Night (2016), Japan Night (2017).

2015   North America UBF adopted Chapter Guidelines. Latin America began Young Leaders’ conference.

2016   North America UBF began Emerging Leaders Cohort. Staff/Leaders online education course on Church History opened and Christian Doctrines and other courses will be offered (To take the courses, please contact Kevin Albright kevinubf@yahoo.com). Financial support policy for retired long-term missionaries were adopted by International Executive Board and International Advisory Members (administered by HQ Retirement/Relief Committee; chair Daniel Yang dyang121@gmail.com). 

Since 2012, Dr. John and Sarah Jun have visited the continents to serve missionaries/leaders continuing education (CME): Europe (2012), CIS (2013), Oceania (2014), Asia (2015), Asia/Latin America (2016), and Africa (2017). 

Upcoming Events:

   2017   Africa Regional Bible conferences; Oceania Bible conference (Dec. 8-10)

   2018   International Summer Bible Conference (August 9-12 at Louisville, KY, USA)

   2019   European/CIS International Bible conferences

   2020   Latin America regional Bible conferences

Announcements

1. Succession and appointments

Vice General Directors: At the UBF International Executive Board (IEB) meeting held on February 24-25, 2017 near Chicago, all of the 11 board members and Mother Sarah Barry and Dr. John Jun (honorary members) agreed that UBF needs vice GDs for a team leadership. P. Ron Ward (Chicago chapter director and International HQ Education Committee chair) and Msn. Moses Yoon (director of Jongro/Gwanak 3 chapters and Korea UBF World Mission director) were recommended. I am pleased to announce their appointments as Vice General Directors effective April 1, 2017. I will work closely with them to serve the UBF community world-wide. P. Ron will mainly take care of education of staff and native leaders and Msn. Moses Yoon will mainly take care of UBF missionaries world-wide. We will also work together to serve our emerging generation leaders and build up partnership with the greater Christian communities around the world. 

New Korea UBF Director:  P. Moses Lee (Sungdong chapter director and Korea UBF General Secretary) was elected to succeed P. David Kim as Korea UBF Director. Inauguration ceremony will be held on June 12, 2017. (Honorific titles are omitted.) 

International Executive Board (IEB) members: We honor the senior leaders who served as IEB members in recent years—James Kim (North America UBF president, 2008-2014), Daniel Yang (North America UBF vice-president, 2008-2014), Daniel Rhee (Korea senior staff, 2010-2014), Mark Yoon (North America senior staff, 2013-2014), and Jacob Lee (North America senior staff, 2013-2017). We also welcome new IEB members—Abraham Jeong (Korea senior staff, 2015-2018), Moses Lee (Korea senior staff, 2015-2020), Augustine Sohn (new North America UBF president, 2015-2022), Timothy Rhee (Latin America senior staff, 2015-2018), and Henry Park (North America senior staff, 2018-2021). IEB is composed of 11 members (Korea 4, North America 4, Europe 1, Latin America 1, General Director). An IEB member serves for a term of 4 years, and can be re-elected for another consecutive term. 

New International Advisory Members (IAM):  Paul Kim (Korea, 2014), Isaac Choi (Korea, 2014), Moses Yoon (Korea, 2014), Elias Park (Latin America, 2014), M. Y. (M.E, 2014), Caleb Han (CIS, 2016), and James Lee (Zimbabwe, Africa, 2016). Currently IAM consists of 93 members (incumbent/honorary GDs 3, USA/Canada 29, Korea 19, Europe 9, Asia 8, Africa 8, CIS 8, Latin America 5, Oceania 2, M.E. 2).

Continental/Regional Coordinators: In 2015, Peter Lee (Indonesia) succeeded Daniel Jeong (Japan) as Asia coordinator. In 2016, Caleb Han (Russia) succeeded David Byun (Kazakhstan) as CIS coordinator. James Lee (Zimbabwe) succeeded Andrew Kim (Sudan) as Africa coordinator. Mark Vucekovich was reappointed as North America coordinator for a second term (2016-2019). Walter Nett was re-elected as European coordinator for a second term (2016-2019). In 2017, Mark Lee (Macquarie, Australia) succeeded Aquila Lee (Sydney, Australia) as Oceania coordinator. The term of continental coordinators is 4 years and can be reappointed once for a consecutive term (effective since 2006).

National Coordinators:  In 2015, Livingstone Kang succeeded Luke Lim as Makerere chapter director and Uganda coordinator. Bernabe Choi succeeded Abraham Hwang as Mexico coordinator. Edwar Ti succeeded M. Josue Ham as Guatemala UBF director. Josue Ham was appointed as Central America/Caribbean coordinator. In 2016, Joshua Kim succeeded Peter Lee as Indonesia coordinator. Matthew Lim succeeded Paul Kwon as Mongolia coordinator. Andy Ahn succeeded Joshua Hong as Singapore coordinator. Timothy Kang succeeded the late Caleb Kim as director of Riga chapter, Latvia. In 2017, Bruno Aussant (Nantes) was appointed as France coordinator. National coordinators are elected by recommendations of the majority of chapter directors in their nations and serve a term of 4 years. The term of the current national coordinators other than those listed here is January 2016 - December 2019. Their term will be automatically extended every 4 years unless new national coordinators are recommended and appointed by the General Director (refer to General Director’s letter dated October 25, 2013). 

International HQ International Coordinator: Jacob Lee (Washington DC UBF director) will serve as HQ International coordinator and World Mission Department chair after Joseph Ahn (Chicago, 2011-2016) and David Baik (New York UBF director, 2016-2017), effective June 1, 2017.   

International HQ Representatives: In 2015, David Baik (New York) succeeded Joseph Ahn (Chicago) as HQ representative for Latin America. John Kwon (Los Angeles) succeeded Isaac Kim as HQ representative for Africa. In 2017, Kevin Albright (Chicago) is appointed as HQ representative for Oceania.

2. Relief from Christmas Offerings

I’d like to express deep thanks for all chapters for participating in UBF International HQ’s annual relief efforts through Christmas offerings. Since 2011, Christmas offerings collected at HQ were dedicated to international relief and internal relief in alternate years as follows:

 

     Year     Amount (USD)                              Relief Activities

     2011       $205,586      North Korea ($157,568), South Sudan food ($36,518), Turkey

                                         earthquake ($6,500), Thailand flood ($5,000)  

     2012       $259,842      Bethesda Medical Center, Uganda (upgrade of medical

                                         equipment)

     2013       $134,415      Philippines typhoon ($67,245), PUST in North Korea

                                         ($30,000), South Sudan ($19,670), Muslim mission-The Voice

                                         of the Martyrs ($10,000), Healthcare relief-A Cup of Water

                                         International ($7,500)

     2014       $176,150*    UBF Bible houses (South Sudan $86,215, Philippines

                                         $59,605), other relief ($10,330), reserve ($20,000)

                                         * Korea UBF contributed $30,373.

     2015       $161,831      Syrian refugees ($70,000), Haiti hurricane relief ($13,549),

                                         Healthcare relief ($11,000), Ecuador earthquake relief

                                         ($10,000), Ukrainian refugees ($5,000), reserve ($52,281)

     2016      $192,109       India UBF Bible houses (JNU $150,000, DU $42,109)

 

Korea UBF also collected and sent relief funds in recent years as follows:

      

     Year  Amount (S. Korean Won)                Relief Activities

     2013   W81,337,999   Philippines typhoon (W20,000,000), South Sudan food

                                         (W20,000,000), Ukraine refugees (W4,999,999), North Korea

                                         (PUST & medical W18,000,000), internal relief (W18,338,000)

     2014 W125,000,712    Nepal earthquake relief (W60,000,000), Syrian refugees

                                         (W30,000,000), South Sudan and Philippines UBF Bible

                                         houses (W35,000,712)

     2015  W60,000,000    Syrian refugees’ relief (W40,000,000), PUST, North Korea

                                        (W20,000,000)

     2016  W88,845,266    India Bible house   

 

3. Short Term Missions

Short term missions (STM) provides excellent opportunities for young people to serve Jesus’ world mission command, widen their understanding and vision for the world, and experience spiritual breakthrough. I would like to ask all UBF chapters to encourage young leaders including our children to volunteer on short term missions. HQ STM Committee (chair Richard Choi, Chicago) and P. Mark Vucekovich (North America coordinator) work to link mission fields (continental UBF chapters) and STM volunteers. STM Committee will be further organized to include other continents, working with Korea UBF. The following opportunities are open:

International mission school principal/English teacher: Hope Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (contact M. Mark Bang jesusinmark@gmail.com)

English teachers or music servants: volunteers for São Paulo, Brazil, Bolivia, and Greece UBF

Medical mission: Uganda and other countries

HQ World Mission Department will work with Korea UBF to develop recruiting, education and training programs for STM volunteers. For effective Short Term Missions, please inform the STM Committee (rchoi308@sbcglobal.net, phone 1-773-366-2410) or P. Mark Vucekovich (lincolnparkubf@gmail.com): (a) Hosting chapter’s name/country, (b) Area of service needed and desired period of volunteer service, (c) conditions for the volunteers’ stay and prayer topics, and (d) if your chapter has volunteer(s), their names and areas they can serve.

4. Emerging Leaders Cohort (ELC)

HQ Education Department (Chair P. Ron Ward, ELC committee: P. Kevin Albright, Dr. Augustine Suh, P. Teddy Hembekides) worked with the General Director for over a year to prepare an education/leadership development program for emerging key leaders in UBF. The ELC is a platform where key emerging leaders and senior leaders in our ministry meet to build up relationships, learn from one another, and share vision for the future of UBF community and ministry. The program is composed of three 1-year courses that cover 18 topics (6 topics for each yearly course) in Christian discipleship and ministries. Each topic is expounded through Bible study, book reading/reports/ discussions, reflection writing, and field work. Participants meet one Saturday every 6 weeks (total about 36 weeks for 6 sessions a year). Leaders outside of Chicago/USA may participate online. The six topics (sessions) covered by three courses are:

     Course 1 (Essentials A): God and His Reign; Grace, Sonship & Faith; Worship;

                     Walking by the Spirit; Word of God; Prayer

     Course 2 (Essentials B): Calling; Community of Christ; Lordship of Christ; Character

                     Formation; Shepherding & Counseling; Outreach

     Course 3 (Advanced): Worldviews/Apologetics; Disciple-Making; UBF Vision &

                     Mission Strategy; Spiritual Warfare; Leadership; Marriage & Family

From September 2016 to April 2017, a pilot cohort of Course 1 was offered for six emerging leaders from chapters in the Midwest of USA (Triton 2, Chicago 1, IIT 1, Minneapolis 1, Toledo 1).  All six of them have eagerly and enthusiastically participated in Course 1 and want to continue for Course 2.  From September 9, 2017 – April 28, 2018, the ELC Course 1 will be offered again to leaders who have a minimum of 3 years of solid Bible study, God’s calling and shepherding experience, and are recommended by chapter directors. The applicants should submit a brief life testimony to P. Kevin Albright (kevinubf@yahoo.com) by July 31, 2017 to join this cohort.

For more detailed information, please refer to the link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lB01ca4mYdhLoYTuJ_KyjK69IHa2iUBs8hPQjTLnXyg/edit#slide=id.p4

5. 2018 ISBC

The 2018 International Summer Bible Conference (ISBC) will be held on August 9-12, 2018 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. North America senior staff and the ISBC program committee met in November 2016 and April 2017 to pray and discuss the layout of the conference. The proposed program is as follows:

  • Theme:  HIS KINGDOM (Mt 6:10)
  • Vision/Purpose
  1. See the vision of God’s Kingdom
  2. Refresh and inspire Kingdom workers for world missions
  • Main program

2 GBSs and main messages (MBF/HBF separately)
Evening/Sunday messages
2 World Mission Nights (Thursday & Friday evenings)
2 Peer/Interest Group sessions (Friday afternoon)
Special lecture (by Dr. John L. Fain, director of International Ministries of the PIONEERS)
Reflection writing/sharing (Saturday afternoon)
Kingdom Festival (Saturday night)

  • Optional post-ISBC programs for international delegates (August 12-14)

Missionaries-Shepherds conference (study of Hebrews)
Tours: Grand Canyon, LA, NY, Washington DC, Toronto (Niagara Falls), Louisville/Chicago

The 2018 ISBC registration website will be open by August 2017 so that students may be able to pay the conference fee by installments. An international 2018 ISBC Coordination Committee that is composed of Korea staff, continental/regional coordinators and recommended workers will be formed for preparation of the conference.

UBF international Bible conferences have been an inspirational force for our members to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Since 2004, more than 2,500 people from more than 80 nations have gathered in one place. Many have met Christ for the first time and others have accepted his missionary calling. The international conference is a time to see that the work of God is much greater than we ever imagined. It is a time to learn from each other and to network. It is a time for us to confirm God’s calling and renew our identity as kingdom workers. The church today faces many challenges. Nonetheless the Spirit of God is working mightily as ever through his people who believe and obey. Please pray that God may inspire many young leaders with his vision through preparation of the ISBC. Please also pray that we, the UBF community, may rekindle the flame of our calling and passion for world missions.

Prayer Topics

Please pray for

  1. living holy and godly lives looking forward to the Day of God;
  2. evangelization of all the cities and campuses of the world by raising 100,000 Bible teachers and missionaries in this generation; and
  3. mobilizing Short Term Missions of students and graduates.
  4. 2017 Africa regional conferences (hosting country);
    Northern Region (South Sudan, Egypt,): August 11-13
    ​Southern Region (S. Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe): August 17-20
    ​Western Region (Nigeria, Ghana): August 24-27
  5. healing and comfort for sick coworkers and their full restoration: Joseph S., Jung M L., Joanna J. (C nation), Caleb Han (Russia), Rebekah Kim, Henky, William Kim, Marie Kim (Indonesia), Elizabeth Yoon (Serbia), Danny Kim (Brazil), Isabel (Dominican Rep.), Edith (El Salvador), Eugenia (Peru), Mary Kim (S. Africa), Timothy Kang Jr. (Latvia), Thomas Kang (Japan), Hannah Lee (Poland), Noah You, Samuel Kum (Germany), Lydia Lee (Greece), Esther Lee, Rucy Park (Korea),William Jung, Aromi Kim, Samuel Lim, David Choo, Joseph Lim, Cooper Diaz (USA).

     Please pray that M. Sarah Barry may be strengthened to walk well.

May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus be always with you and all the brothers and sisters.

In Christ,

Abraham T. Kim

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