Park Inn Hotel in St. Petersburg.
This is where the Russia World Camp is taking place. During this camp, the volunteer group, composed of about 60 Russian students, has been getting the most spotlights. Most of them were students who came to IYF Korean Class with interest in K-pop and Korean dramas. Many of them are also coming to Good News Mission church in Russia after hearing the gospel. Among them, we met the 6 lively Russian students and heard their stories.
Vera (25), Anna (21), Ksyusha (19), Nastya (18), Karina (18), Lena (14)
From left, Anna, Lena, Ksyusha, Vera, and Nastya
Nastya and Karina got into the same school, and both of them liked Korea. They became friends and attended the Korean Class. Compared to the ones in Russia, Korean dramas are touching, and emotions are expressed naturally for people to sympathize easily with them, say the girls. Also Nastya commented that her friend Karina completely changed after meeting the church.
Karina used to be cold, and she barely smiled that people found it hard to talk to her. She used to have a thick wall around her. But now her heart is widely open. She has a bright smile. Many people like Karina now so she is with many friends. When you actually see Karina, she is so bright and lively, that it’s hard to imagine “her past.”
From left, Karian and Nastya
Vera, for all her life until now, has been bounded by the thoughts that she had to do something well. She was always worried in case that she would disappoint her mother; she always tried to act right and present herself to be good in front of the seniors. Even in a university, she tried hard to get good grades and to be good in front of people. Though it was tiresome and weary to live that kind of life, she had no other choice. However, after she received salvation, peace and freedom came into her heart.
She realized that all men are evil, and there is no righteousness in them. In addition, God knows us precisely that we don’t need to try to be good before people, but we just need to rely on God.
What made her the most joyful as she volunteered was the fact that many people came to attend the world camp. Also she hopes that those participants will break themselves from their thoughts to live the life relying on God, just like herself.
Anna waited for the World Camp so much. She devoted much time preparing, and she was so delighted to have it start. She mentioned how preparation was not perfect, especially the performances, but she was so thankful because the opening ceremony was opened with much beauty and grandeur. She liked the performances by Gracias choirs and dances from the youths from other countries. More than anything, though, she particularly liked the sermons by Pastor Ock Soo Park.
Anna came to like Korean dramas and K-pop after getting to know them via internet last year. As she read the subtitles watching the Korean movies, she came to learn basic sentences like “Hello, Thank you, and I am sorry.” She wanted to learn Korean, but it was so expensive to learn some Asian languages in Russia, so she could not even attempt. That time she was invited by her friend to come to the Korean Class ran by IYF. She came to the Korean class with such an excitement, met more youths, and learned about IYF. She said that people from IYF came to her with their hearts and that they were very warm.
Then, she came to 2011 Korea World Camp and volunteered. There she heard many words and came to attend the Good News Mission church in Russia. Afterward, she heard the words in details to accept the gospel.
She said, “I used to hide my problems from others. I was so glad to open up in church and free share my hearts.” Now she opens her heart with others and also gives them fellowship. She was happy to say that now she feels much easy about talking to people.
The freedom unexpectedly given to the youths in Russia after the collapse of communism was indeed a great present. However, their heart with no trace of self-control over desires only grew into a social issue – one like a car without a break.
During the World Camp, the Mind Lecture provided the Russian youths with an explanation about the world of heart, and the students, with hearts like dried sponges, absorbed the lecture from Pastor Ock Soo Park. We believe that this came will remain in them as an unforgettable memory of their life.