Dear Friends: September 3, 2003
Thanks to your support both spiritual and financial, our month-long mission to Moscow and Ukraine went great. This mission provided an opportunity for me to learn the joys and frustrations of cross-cultural ministry. From this experience, I learned to approach the people of the former Soviet Union countries in line with their mindset. Furthermore, this mission taught me the faithfulness of the Lord in that He never closes a door without opening a new door.
To make a long story short, the Lord’s thoughts were different from my thoughts (Isa. 55:8). From the beginning, the focus of this mission was centered on teaching at the Russian Army Chaplain’s Seminary in Moscow and holding a Pastor’s Conference in Ukraine. At the request of the local leaders, I prepared myself for teaching in Moscow and Ukraine. However, teaching as such did not take place. The dean of the Russian Army Chaplain’s Seminary had to go to the United States for a fund-raising effort for the next school year. The Ukrainian Pastors’ Conference was cancelled for some uncertain reasons with a simple “I am sorry.”
To begin with, I was frustrated and embarrassed. One morning, however, the Lord spoke to my heart through His Word. While meditating on I Cor. 3:5-9, the Lord revealed that what He was expecting of me was not to grumble but to faithfully plant the seed, knowing that He will cause the growth in His time. Finally the Word of God gave me a new perspective on my dilemma. This experience taught me an invaluable lesson that I must be flexible and never put my agenda in cement at any cross-cultural ministry setting. Later on, a western missionary told me that he Preaching at Tent Crusade
has basically had the same frustrations again and again.
As the Lord closed one door, He opened another door. Instead of teaching the chaplains, I taught lay Christians 2-3 times a day. On top of that, I preached God’s Word to different people at different settings. After all, I ended up giving a lecture from the Bible more than 20 times and preaching five times during the two weeks in Moscow. After my final preaching, the Russian Christians came to me and appealed with tears that I must return to Moscow for further preaching ministry in the near future. They did not forget to ask me that I must convey their gratitude to my partners for sending me there.
Colonel Noskov, the top leader among the chaplains, was the most impressive man I met in Russia. In order to keep his Christian faith pure and exemplary against the pressures coming from the political leaders, Colonel Noskov gave up on his promotion as a general. Giving up his position as a Fleet Commander in the Russian Navy, Noskov became one of the most respected professors at the Russian Military Academy. Recognizing his brilliant carrier as a professional soldier, however, the Russian government granted him a general’s apartment regardless of his rank. Speaking of his son who currently serves as a lieutenant in the Russian Army, Professor Noskov made a remark, which I will never forget. He said, “Dr. Chung, I had to give up a general’s badge because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I promise, however, that I will make Russia a nation where my son will be promoted as a general because of his faith in Jesus Christ.”
In stead of the Pastor’s Conference in Ukraine, the Lord granted me the opportunity to preach at different churches and ministries in various cities and villages. Preaching at the tent evangelistic crusade was one of the most exciting events I have always dreamed of doing. Through these outreach opportunities I became friends with many different Ukrainian pastors and leaders, as well. Of all the meetings, my visit with pastor Sergey, the bishop of the Church of the Living God Union, was most exciting. One of the most influential religious leaders in that region, pastor Sergey was friendly and well-spoken. He gave me the privilege of speaking at his leadership training and he promised that he would work with me in training the Ukrainian and Gypsy pastors and leaders. Finally the ball has been tossed to his court and I will just wait until I hear from him.
Sue and Elaine, my partners in this mission to Ukraine, faithfully served the Lord also by holding women’s leadership seminars and children’s VBS almost everyday at the Gypsy church. In March, Sue received a cancer surgery and in July, she lost her voice due to the infection on her vocal cord. Nevertheless, she did not let her physical illness become a stumbling block to fulfilling the Great Commission in her life. In spite of her physical challenges, Sue always served the team and the Gypsies quietly behind the scene. How beautiful it was to see the way she was serving the people through her attitudes and actions! Since this was Elaine’s third trip to Svalyava, Elaine has become one of the dearest friends to the Gypsies. The Gypsy Christians were so excited when Elaine announced that she would stay there at least for three months on her next mission trip in January 2004.
The old folks at the nursery silently wiped out tears when they were presented the reading glasses which we brought from the United States. The clothes we shipped are to be distributed to the people through the local pastors and leaders when the church leaders will get together in September. A testimony we heard from a sister who coordinated our hospital outreach last year made us tremble in awe of God’s sovereignty. She reminded me of the 7-8 patients who were lying in bed in an intensive care unit at the hospital. As I began to share the gospel with them, three of them renounced even to hear the gospel whereas the rest inclined their ears, accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, and then received a prayer for God’s gracious touch on their bodies. While we were gone to the States, the sister said, they were all healed and went home whereas the three died in the hospital room. Just before their death, however, the three also gave their lives to Jesus Christ. She also told me what happened to the old Baptist suffering from asthma. After I prayed for her, she recovered from her sickness and was discharged from the hospital. We were also told that the barren woman for whom we prayed in that hospital also gave birth to a beautiful daughter whose picture she brought to show us. While hearing all these stories, I felt like I was reading a chapter in the book of Acts.
As you pray for me, please pray that,
1. the seeds we sow this summer shall bear much fruits.
2. the Lord will lay in the bishop Sergey’s heart a burden for training pastors and leaders and that he will begin to cooperate with me for that purpose.
3. the Lord will give me a ministry in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
4. the doors of opportunity to winning 500,000 people in the former Soviet Union countries will open up in full scale.
5. more churches and individuals will be committed to this mission.
6. the Lord will touch the hearts of people as I speak at the Philadelphia United Crusade, September 19-21.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support. Your partnership means a lot. Please visit http://www.ywamconnect.com/sites/davidchung for more reports on how we loved the Lord and His people this summer through our partnership.
Praying for you as well,