SERVE HIM ONLY
Key Verse: 1 Samuel 7:3
"And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
I praise God who was with us the last one year and led each of us with his word. Even though we often strayed from the word of God, God was faithful to us and worked among us. I want to glorify God by sharing what he did in 2011.
I. Bible Ukraine
1. New Year’s Leadership Conference
We had a leadership conference during Jan. 29-30 at the Kiev center for the Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, and Dnepropetrovskchapters. At the beginning of the new year, God gave us the direction that we must get rid of idols (1Sa 7) and learn from Jesus (Php 2). This was necessary for us because we were in danger of losing our simple faith in God while living in this postmodern era, experiencing more failures than victories in our ministries and jobs. M. John Lee and the leaders repented of their idols and decided to depend on God only. This became the foundation of our ministry and began to restore our spirits. Augustine repented that he tried to please Bible students rather than God. When he tried to please them, they became troublemakers. Matthew repented of his despair. Philippians 2:5, “You attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” helped us to break the walls between us and build a co-working relationship.
During 2011, we studied Mark’s gospel. Mark’s gospel taught us living faith in God. We learned that we could not please God without faith and prayed to learn faith. David gave a lecture on faith every Wednesday. He delivered lectures on Jesus’ resurrection, the gift of God, and the hope of God renewed our faith and strengthened us. Many began to bear fruit with their simple faith in God.
2. The Growth of Vietnamese students
There was a great revival among Vietnamese Bible students. David spread seeds among them. God sent us several sincere disciples from among them. For those who do not know Russian, we held a second worship service. May God raise disciples of Jesus from among them.
We needed to help our CBF ministry as our children grew. In May 2011, we began having a CBF worship service with nine children. For Christmas, children prepared offerings and sang a special song. May God raise them to be good shepherds for world mission.
4. Fall Ukraine United Conference
In September, the Ukraine United Conference was held with the title, “Ukraine, a Holy Nation.” Sixty-five people attended from Odessa. Many leaders served us sacrificially, and we received much grace from the messages. “Jesus, a Friend of Sinners” was a message that particularly touched our hearts. Many sinners repented and received the forgiveness of sins. This conference became a revival for our sisters.
Alisha lived as an instrument of wickedness for many years not knowing who to love. During the spring semester, she began Bible study with Tanya Judanova. God’s word has the power to change any kind of sinner. During the conference, she confessed numerous sins, repented, and wrote her life testimony. God changed her into a new creation. She began to serve God and God rewarded her with family persecution. But she testified to the love of God to her family members. She serves the worship service with music and cleans the Bible center. She also cooks and teaches aerobic dances for the sisters.
Sister Inna heard, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” For the first time, she discovered herself as a sinner. Through testimony writing, she received forgiveness. She only studied the Bible for a short time, but never skipped the worship service. Sister Bera also was changed through the conference and began to serve the ministry. Sister Natasha wanted to solve her problem with her own effort, but she was only disappointed by people. She repented and came back to Jesus and began to live by faith. She serves other sisters and prays together with them. Natasha, who is in high school, lived in darkness due to a broken family. She was changed and began to attend the Sunday worship service with joy. She decorated the Christmas worship service place, offering her talent.
After the conference, Pastor Abraham Kim, Dr. James Suh from Kyungsung, Dr. Peter Kim from Kiev, and M. John and Grace Park visited the Odessa chapter. They prayed for Odessa and had graceful fellowship with us. After the conference, the Holy Spirit worked mightily among us and filled us with joy. We had a special thanksgiving celebration on October 20 after we completed the study of Mark’s gospel. Praise God for his mercy!
When we prepared the Christmas worship service, we had a prayer topic to plant simple gospel faith in our Bible students. For this purpose, we gave up our traditional ideas. The worship service began with a drama. Through the drama, “Counseling Call,” everybody opened their hearts. We worshiped our humble king Jesus. King Jesus was revealed through the Christmas Cantata. The message was the last program. Through the Christmas message, everybody met the baby Jesus and experienced his humbleness and grace. The worship service was full of joy and freedom. Ninety attendees accepted Jesus as their king. Eight house churches prepared food and served us. I thank God for Kook and Sister Alisha. Thank God for using M. John Lee as a messenger and M. Grace Lee as a prayer servant. Thank God for the beautiful co-working among eight house churches.
II. World Mission
1. World Mission Report in Seoul
There was a UBF 50th Anniversary World Mission Report in Korea on May 29. Eight people attended from Odessa. God used UBF for 50 years for world mission. God saved many young people and raised them up to be spiritual leaders.
Postmodernism, relativism, and anti-church movements fight against us. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves to effectively work in this environment. Through WMR, God gave us the direction to maintain one-to-one Bible study, the discipleship ministry, testimony writing, and house churches. Mother Barry’s Matthew 24 lecture planted a clear hope for Jesus’ second coming. Everybody received much grace knowing that our labor is not in vain. We renewed our calling as missionaries and Bible teachers. We prayed at Seoul National University and Gongju University. We were served by Anam UBF co-workers and M. John Lee’s family. May God bless them.
2. Missionaries from Odessa
God sent several disciples as missionaries to other countries:
1) Joseph Pesto - Tanzania
Brother Joseph Pesto, who graduated from Law School, went back to his country Tanzania as a missionary. He accepted God’s vision to be used by God for his country like Joseph in Genesis.
2) M. - Vietnam
In August 2011, Brother M. graduated from the College of Ocean Science and went back to Vietnam. For a long time, he didn’t accept Jesus. But God worked in his heart and he was born again. He then lived together with other brothers and served the work of God. According to his prayer, we sent him as a missionary to Vietnam. He currently studies the Bible with his relatives and attends the church.
3) Ira –The Netherlands
Sister Ira attended the worship service from high school. She served the worship service by playing the piano for one year. She had an opportunity to study for a Master’s degree in Amsterdam from April 2011. We were worried about her, but God kept her faith. She served students with Bible study. We ordained her as a missionary and sent her out. She prays to give good fruits to Jesus.
When we reviewed the work of the Holy Spirit, we realized that we need much prayer and support for our missionaries. God wants to send many missionaries from Ukraine, but we haven’t offered much. God has been a good shepherd to us. God turned our weaknesses and mistakes into good. Praise God.