2010 Bauman Center Mission Report, Russia
I. God’s work through the words of Exodus
In 2010, we studied Exodus from the beginning to the end, dividing it into 21 lectures. The word of God from Exodus gave us new hope and faith in our hearts to look at the Almighty God who called hopeless Israel, slaves in Egypt, to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. For each of us, in serving the pioneering work for three years, it was easy to be tired and entangled by the cross of life that was without visible spiritual growth and fruits. It was easy to be filled with negative thoughts because of hard-hearted Bible students, a difficult spiritual atmosphere of the times, and external stress. However, as we studied the words of Exodus with concentration, each of us came to have faith in Almighty God who lives and works in history, and came to understand and accept the hope of God into our hearts. Then we came to have new strength and courage to serve the pioneering ministry. Through Bible study and the Sunday worship message every week, we experienced the life-giving power of God’s word, which drives out darkness, unbelief, and the negative thoughts of the heart, and God's holy hand that plants hope and gives inner victory. Thanks be to God for renewing the hope to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests through the study of Exodus last year.
Last year, I prayed to finish my Sunday message by Friday and practice the Russian accent and pronunciation in order to powerfully deliver the message. However, exhausted by the cross of much work, I often barely preached the message. The chapters of Exodus were long and difficult to understand. I tried and struggled a lot to catch and accept the essence of the text through reading and thinking over the text and many other messages. Sometimes the burden of preparing a message felt so heavy that I wanted to skip the Sunday worship service. I was like the Israelites in slavery to Egypt who were sick with laziness and their slave nature. However, when I repented of my sins and prepared and preached the hope of God with all my heart, holding on to God’s hope, I experienced that the power of God’s word worked in my heart. I pray that I may take up this cross with all my heart and strength. I pray that I may faithfully prepare messages for John's gospel, and through this, put on the love and compassion of Jesus and grow as a shepherd for Russian students and a servant of God’s word.
II. Fall Bible conference and God’s work in Bible students
In 2010, we had a fall conference at the beginning of October. We held this conference for three days at the Retreat Center “Lipki,” which is 1 hour and 30 minutes from Moscow. We had a sense of problem about the lack of a spiritual environment at conferences in the past, so from June, we had prayer meetings twice a week to prepare for the conference and make a spiritual environment. We tried to hold the conference in a separate building with a hall of an appropriate size and the best environment and prayed earnestly for more than four students to attend the conference. Lecturers prepared the message several times and prayed for God’s word to work powerfully. However, sheep who promised to attend the conference didn’t attend, except Andrei and Olga, due to difficult situations. God helped Andrei to open his closed heart and to have a deep conversation with us without resentment. Second generation missionaries Calvin and Joseph served the conference with special music and their life testimonies. They testified to God’s work and grace in their lives, and all attendees were deeply moved in their hearts. Sister Olga received much grace from their testimonies and came to have a personal relationship with M. Ruth.
Through serving this conference, we, above all, learned the importance of preparing a spiritual atmosphere at a conference with prayer. Even if we are small in number, the spiritual atmosphere was made and God’s word came powerfully when we prayed. And through this, we came to have vision, hope, and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit, and the deep-rooted unbelief and negative thoughts about the conference were removed. In addition, second generation missionaries became co-workers in God’s ministry, and we were filled with new vision and hope that we will experience the great work of the Holy Spirit in a more prepared spiritual environment with many Bible students.
Every Saturday, we held a campus prayer meeting in the front of the dormitory to pray for new Bible students since we couldn’t enter the dormitories. We didn’t get new students, but we came to look at God’s hope for Bauman University students.
Brother George is growing through continuous Bible study. He has deep sorrow and hatred toward his parents due to his complicated family background and the death of his father. He began to recognize himself as a sinner through Bible study with M. Petra. God helped him to resolve the problem of his military duty and he started to pray to God. He did not attend the conference because of his mother’s opposition, but through this, he found his spiritual problems before God and is praying to have a clear spiritual attitude. We pray that he may repent of his sins and be born again.
Andrei has had a personal relationship with us for more than 10 years and attended the annual summer conference, but lost spiritual desire. However, through this year’s conference, he began to have conversations with the missionaries and think about the spiritual world. His problem is that he still wants to understand the gospel by his own reason. We cannot help him with our strength. But we pray that God may have mercy on him and help him repent of his unbelief, accept Jesus as Savior, and commit his life to God.
Sister Natasha is studying the Bible with M. Ruth faithfully. Her spiritual desire, which is deeply tied to her life problems, diminished. We pray that she may know Jesus Christ personally as her Savior through continuous Bible study.
We thank God who helped us serve Lena Yaps, Olga, and Alexei with prayers and Bible study. We are praying that they may continue to have Bible study. This year we served sheep, but we didn’t have concrete fruit. However, through our continual struggle to help Bible students, we found that the biggest problem is our lack of understanding of Russian students. We found that when we understand their darkness, loneliness, and despair with all of our hearts, we didn’t consider them strange people any longer, but God-given sheep and our people, and we could help them. We pray that in the new year we will understand and love Russian sheep with a new heart and serve then with the compassion and love of Jesus. We pray that sin-sick Russian students may be raised as God’s people and be healed.
III. Second generation missionaries
Through faithfully having a children’s worship service, second generation missionaries grew both inwardly and outwardly. Calvin and Joseph are growing as co-workers of God’s mission with their parents. Joseph has a vision to be a missionary in China and is preparing to go to college in Hong Kong. Calvin has vision to be a missionary in Russia. Martin has a vision to be a Middle East missionary. We pray that they may have value systems based on God’s word and have victory and progress in school and every aspect of their lives. Jieun Kim came to know the joy of reading the Bible. John just entered kindergarten. We are praying that they may have further growth this year as precious children of God. This year we are planning to have a separate conference for second generation missionaries.
IV. Financial independence
We thank God that our co-workers are financially independent and are loving one another deeply and co-working together. We haven’t had any outward changes during the past three years of our pioneering ministry, but God helped us to look at the Living and Almighty God of history last year.
M. Jonathan quit his job as part of the Lotte Plaza Management Team last June and started a new business, LED. M. Ruth works as a translator. Please pray for their visa problem and new business. Petra and I are still working in the embassy and in the International Korea Research Foundation. We thank God who provided everything we needed in spite of various problems. We pray that with faith in God our Father, we may be fully independent financially and be able to serve God's ministry.
V. Direction for this year
This year’s key verse for our center is Isaiah 40:31, "…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” “Those who hope in the LORD” means to put our hope only in God and depend on God alone, waiting for his mercy and help with patience. People waiting and trusting in the Lord for a long time will always gain new strength and soar up to the sky like eagles, being led by the Spirit of God. Even running can’t make them tired. They will not fall down no matter how far they walk. This year, we pray that we will expect God’s help, depend on Him, and with patience, wait on him.
1. Go out and invite students more than one time a week
2. Have new Bible students
3. Students may attend the Sunday Worship Service
4. Summer conference
5. Double the number of Bible students
6. Raise up ancestors of faith like Abraham and Sarah from Bauman University
7. Georgi, Andrei, Natasha, Lena, Olga, and sisters may continue to grow and change
8. In four years, establish 3 godly families and 12 disciples
One Word: Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength