“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2)
This conference took place at the evangelical seminary building located about 40 km away from Kiev UBF centre, on January 2 (Sat.) to 4 (Mon.). 77 people (including 3 from Korea, 8 from USA, 1 from Canada, 2 from Germany) attended this conference.
God blessed this conference abundantly, especially through the words of God. S. Augustine Zhdanov from Odessa gave the opening message entitled “Give thanks in all circumstance” on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. His message led the attendees to think of God who works for the good of his people through all situations favourable or adverse, as Kimchi is made delicious through all the ingredients. In the evening M. Point James from Istanbul delivered the main lecture I, “I am God Almighty” on Genesis 17:1-27. His message covered the whole chapter, but had a clear point that we may depend on God Almighty, personally believing God’s promise to make each one a father or a mother of many nations. His life of mission in Istanbul for the last 10 years has been very precious. God accepted the prayer and sacrifice of M. Point and his wife Rebekah and established the first house church between Abraham Nikolav and Sarah Nevin last October, which was indeed by the power of God Almighty.
On the first day evening there were chapter reports. The work of God was going in each chapter despite very poor economic conditions and unsteady political situations in CIS countries. Especially God blessed his work in Bishkek and Osh in Kirgizstan in the pat year, since the 2015 New Year coordinators conference was held there.
On the second day there were Group Bible Studies divided into 5 groups. After that Pastor Abraham Kim gave the main lecture II, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” on Hebrews 12:1-29, interpreted by M. Stephen Kim. The message encouraged us to run the race marked out for each one with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who endured the cross for the joy set before him and won the final victory. With eternal perspective of life we need to fix our eyes on Jesus in our race of faith. Then we wrote a testimony for the whole afternoon and shared it group by group. In the evening at the whole meeting, 6 representatives shared their testimonies: Andrew Mun (from Perm), David Byun (from Astana), Francis Yoon (from Astana II), Rebekah Gerus (from Odessa), Grace Kim (from Osh), and Anna Kim (from Misis, Moscow). All deeply testified to the grace of our Lord Jesus and their renewed faith in him. Particularly M. David Byun confessed that 2015 was the hardest year to him and his wife Pauline in their mission life, but God miraculously restored them through this conference. He deeply thanked God for his mercy and grace. Evidently the testimony sharing meeting was the highlight of the conference. All of our CIS coworkers’ testimonies were so graceful because they have run their race of faith with perseverance in the midst of many hardships in their mission field. It was a privilege for me to attend this conference, hear their living testimonies and find their prayer topics. Through my own testimony writing I learned that I need to fix my eyes on Jesus above organization, system, tasks, people, events, problems and any other distractions.
On that evening after the testimony sharing, Dr. Paul Hong from Toledo presented a lecture about “God’s sovereignty and life management.” The lecture covered the variety of fields and many great people. But surprisingly his conclusion was that to fix our eyes on Jesus is the best life management and so we don’t’ need any other life management. That conclusion was true and agreeable to all, and fitting to this conference. On the third day M. David Kim from Indianapolis presented a lecture about “effective 1:1 Bible study.” His point was that when we keep the grace of Jesus every day, we can serve effective 1:1 Bible study ministry. For only Jesus’ grace enables us to go to the campus, talk with the students, invite them to Bible study and serve them with the words of God, following our Lord Jesus who is the eternal Word but became flesh. S. Wesley Yoon from Korea gave the closing message, “The law from Zion” on Isaiah 2:1-4. He shared God’s vision that when we have the word of God, many people of the world will come to the mountain of the Lord to study the Bible.
At this conference M. Kaleb Han from St. Petersburg was raised as the next coordinator for CIS with 4 year term. M. Timothy Kang was raised as the director of Riga UBF, Latvia working together with M. Esther Kim. M. Anna Kim served God’s ministry in Misis in Moscow sacrificially for many years bring up 4 sons all by herself. In thanks to God for her life of faith M. Paul Choi was raised as the director of Misis UBF after her.
After the conference there was a wedding between Stamatis from Greece and Akmaral from Astana, Kazakhstan at Kiev centre. Pastor Abraham officiated the wedding with the words of God in Matthew 6:33. There was a reception in the same place right after the wedding ceremony. Many celebrating programs including singing and dancing were offered. It took around 4 hours. The couple was full of joy and thanks. I could see that God really poured out his blessing upon this intercontinental marriage done only by faith.
From the following day, Tuesday, there was a whole Bible reading meeting for three full days at Dr. Peter Kim’s house. 14 people joined and 10 people remained to the end. The point of the whole Bible reading intensively in such a short period was to learn the heart of God for sinners and his hope revealed in his redemptive work and history. Those who could read with spirit and speed mostly read and it worked very well. As we read the Bible together from Genesis, our hearts were deeply moved by God’s heart for sinners, especially through Isaiah and Revelation. God’s word was indeed living and active. We went through about 2/3 of the Bible, though not the whole. Thank God for this unique and precious meeting.
We were very grateful to God for Dr. Peter and Sarah Kim and other Kiev’ coworkers’ who made a perfect environment through their whole-hearted serving for this conference and for the wedding and for the whole Bible reading meeting.
Thank Jesus who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, our Saviour and Lord. He is the focal point of the Bible and our life of faith. May the words, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” may guide us in our race of faith throughout this year, 2016 personally and ministry-wise.