Kiev mission report
(Fall Bible conference 2003 in Bonn)
Missionary Dr. Peter Kim
Key Verse Exodus 9:6
"…a kingdom of priests and a holy nation"
Kiev UBF was pioneered in September 1991, 12 years ago. We coworked with the house churches of Msn. Markus and Esther Kim and Msn. John and Maria Peace from Chicago. Beginning with the house church of Shp. Abraham Vlad and Shps. Sarah Maria, there are six shepherd house churches (shp. Abraham Vlad & shps. Maria, shp. Ivan & shps. Priscilla, sh. Point and shps. Rebekah, sh. Jacob & shps. Joan of Ark, sh. Andrew and shps. Hanna, sh. Heart-moving Sasha & shps. Anna). There is an "eagle-team," an "hope-team," a "little-Jesus-team" and an "oasis-team." They are growing as disciples of Jesus. We are praying for 150 1:1 Bible studies, 120 Sunday service attendants, 1,000 disciples of Jesus and 500 women missionaries. As we prayed with this prayer topic, God blessed Shp. Anastasia as the firstfruit of our prayer and sent her as a missionary to the USA. Nowadays, Shps. Ruth is preparing herself to be a missionary to Chicago UBF. Many sheep and many disciple-candidates are ready to be sent out as missionaries wherever God will send them, and they are growing as disciples of Jesus. Now I want to report about how God has worked mightily among us, and what kind of faith God wants us to have.
I. "Five loaves and two fish" faith
In John 6:9 we can learn Andrew's faith: "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" We are calling this faith, "five loaves and two fish" faith or "Andrew's faith." Humanly speaking, such a faith is ridiculous. But through this faith we can learn the principle of life and creation. The faith God has taught us in the world mission field was also the "five loaves and two fish" faith. As we arrived in Kiev, we had nearly nothing; we just had a lack of language, material and food. When we arrived in Kiev it was Winter. Because of the crumble of the USSR we had nothing to eat. In order to buy bread we had to wait for one or two hours, but after waiting for two hours they often said that there was no bread left. I remember how Shp. Jochen Schweitzer visited us, and after we served him, for us there was nothing left to eat. He asked why he had to eat alone and we answered: "We already ate." Always, when I see Shp. Jochen Schweitzer I think about this and chuckle. At that time I wondered why I had to suffer in such surroundings because of the cold and the hunger, and I became sorrowful. At that time, Andrew's faith encouraged me and gave me direction: "Okay, I must not think about what I don't have but I have to think about what I do have and what I can do with it, although it might be very little. With that I can come to Jesus and please him." God has blessed us to serve the discipleship ministry. When we thought about what we didn't have and searched for excuses, we were always sorrowful. When we wanted to obey God's word and learn "five loaves and two fish" faith, we could experience how fruitful our life of faith could be. After beginning Bible study, at offering time Shp. Andrey Shpagin kept his money for himself and spent it only for his own needs. But when he accepted "five loaves and two fish" faith, he became a man who is serving God's ministry most sacrificially. At every conference he pays for those who can't afford the conference fee. At the international conference he supported one poor shepherd by buying his airplane ticket. Up to now we are not rich. But as we learned "five loaves and two fish" faith, what we have or what we do not have was not important because God's work is the work of "five loaves and two fish" faith and the work of those who have "five loaves and two fish" faith.
II. All things are possible for him who believes
Mark 9:23 says: "'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.'" In this verse Jesus says: "All things are possible for him who believes." Jesus taught: "All things are possible for him who believes." With Jesus' power the evil spirit of a possessed man could be driven out. But here we learn that Jesus' power can work through those who believe in Jesus' power. If we have faith, God reveals his power to us.
Therefore it was necessary for me to be healed of my unbelief and have absolute faith. When we wanted to serve the discipleship ministry, the first enemy was the power of unbelief. Satan tempted us continually so that we might despair and fall into unbelief. We struggled to serve the discipleship ministry, to invite sheep day and night, to stay in the center from early morning to late evening and to serve sheep with God's word and food. I thought that after two or three years our discipleship ministry would have a strong foundation. But every sheep ran away, one by one, when we did not raise them up based on the word of God. The sheep we had hope for all ran away. One sheep who had common life with us ran away during a meeting and took away a lot of expensive things from our house. My coworker had to experience a lot of stress because of this, and within six years she had several miscarrieges. She had to go to the hospital very often. When the sheep ran away, the missionaries also got very grumpy and went back to Korea. My house church was the only house church that stayed in Kiev. To serve the ministry in Kiev alone was like digging a hole in the ground with my forehead. I thought to serve world mission was rubbish. I was so discouraged that I lost my spirit and could not serve world mission anymore. I prayed: "Lord, I cannot serve world mission anymore if you won't ask others to serve world mission; I can't do it by myself." But God rebuked my unbelief and gave me his word from Mark 9:23: "'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.'" I never imagined that the fact that I could not feed sheep was a problem of my faith. But Jesus said: "Everything is possible for him who believes." The reason I could not raise up disciples was my unbelief. I cried out like the father: "I believe, help my unbelief!" I could accept that this was the way to be healed of my unbelief.
I prayed wholeheartedly that God would help me in my disbelief. When I practically repented my unbelief and believed in the Almighty God, God began the discipleship ministry in Kiev. Shp. Vlad lost his mother. Because of the power of death he was lost in fear and desire and got very sick. When we first visited him in his dormitory, he was like the dead son of the widow in Luke 7, full of helplessness and deep despair. God gave him new life through common life and Bible study from Isaiah 53:4,5 and raised him up as an Abraham faith for the students in Kiev. Shp. Sarah Maria was like the Samaritan woman because she deeply indulged in her thirst for love and desire. She was bound by the power of desire and nobody could put hope in her. But the word of God had power so that she was born again through John 4, and she established the first house church and could cowork together with us wholeheartedly as our firstfruits. When we held on to this word, "All things are possible for him who believes," and kept faith and believed in God who is almighty and alive, and who works through believers, God began to do his great work for the past ten years. God raised up spiritual and sacrificial disciples of Jesus, sent out a missionary and raised up thirty spiritual and sacrificial shepherds. Through this I learned that it is most important in God's ministry that a leader have unmoveable faith.
III. Faith in God of vision and hope
God had a great hope for the Israelite slaves to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation and fulfilled the Exodus. He let the Israelites grow in his calling according to his hope. God trained this nation to overcome their slave mentality in order to be changed to a holy nation according to God's hope. When we studied Ukrainian history, we learned that the problem of the Ukrainians was that they had no good shepherd. Someone who bears the pain of the sheep with God's hope and vision and leads them on the right way is a good leader. Although the present situation might be very difficult, there is hope and vision when there is a spiritual leader. God planted Exodus 19:5,6 verses in our hearts, and through this word he revealed his hope. Although there was nothing that we could see directly, we prayed at every meeting with God's hope and heart to bless us to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation: Ukraine, a shepherd nation and a missionary-sending nation. We prayed and prayed with this vision day and night.
This vision of God challenged us and gave us strong holy desire. Although our situation might be hopeless, God trains us so that we can see that God will use Ukraine in the 21st century as a Zion of the gospel and as a shepherd nation. I often shout a lot at the airport: "Lord, make this airport 100 times bigger, so that many nations may come to us and arrive here at this airport." Amen! We drove to the airport diligently so that our vision might not be theoretical but practical, and we invited many international shepherds to visit us. We prayed to pioneer 24 regions in the Ukraine and to send out shepherds as pioneers in God's time. God has answered our prayer and he raises up many servants of prayer for Ukraine, where you can find nothing. God blessed our vision and our prayer and sent out Shps. Anastasia as our first missionary. The house churches of Vladimir and Joanne, Point and Heart-Moving Sasha receive leadership training and are ready to be sent out as pioneers. We prayed and thought about what we can do to change Ukraine into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Then God revealed his vision to raise up pretty Ukrainian shepherdesses as disciples of Jesus and send them out into the whole world. We could have the vision to raise up 1,000 disciples of Jesus, to send out 500 missionaries and to raise up 24 spiritual leaders for the 24 regions of Ukraine. When we prayed with this hope in our hearts faithfully, God led many shepherdesses to us and raised them up as missionary candidates. God answered our prayer so that 112 sheep attended the last Summer Bible conference together with Shp. Michael Chrustowski, and 84 disciples and disciple-candidates participated at the Autumn Bible conference entitled, "A disciple of Jesus means sacrifice and reward." They have learned Jesus' disciple-ship and made a decision to be used as spiritual leaders at all costs. We prayed according to God's word to have faith and vision, although we couldn't see anything. We have learned that God blesses our hope and fulfills it, although it looks very small at the beginning. I thank God that he gave us his vision to serve world campus mission and to pioneer the whole world with the gospel. I thank God for Bonn cowork-ers who have prayed faithfully for our ministry in Kiev for the past 12 years and have supported us. We confess that the secret of how we could serve the discipleship-mak-ing ministry victoriously is the prayer and love of coworkers. May God bless each one of you to accept God's hope and vision. May God bless the Ukraine to be a shepherd nation that sends out 500 women missionaries.
One Word: Ukraine – A Kingdom of Priests and Holy Nation