The Russian winter is uniquely cold. The degree of coldness is accentuated by the icicles which exceed 1 meter on the edges of the roofs of each building. The snow is piled along the roads of the freezing Russia. However, the weather of temperature -20 degrees had increased to -1 degree recently, seemingly due to the arrival of God’s servant. We could feel the heart of God even in the weather.
The first winter retreat hosting Pastor Ock Soo Park in Russia was held. The time to listen to the sermon with Pastor and the performances of Gracias choir before the sermon: they all seemed like a dream.
We were able to feel the help of God as the retreat went on albeit the ill-preparedness. We could also see how Russia changed each day. However, it was our hearts which changed first. Light entered into our hearts which were filled with darkness and confusion.
Before the retreat, we all had labeled this situation as one of despair, but Jesus’ heart and the Word entered and chased away the filth from our hearts.
“Everyone, you will learn faith after the retreat is over. Just as how the man hit by robbers was half-dead, the Russia we could see was also half dead, but God removed the heart to trust the self through this. God had to kill the heart to trust myself, as that was the only way for God to work.” As we heard the Word the heart inside us directed toward Jesus was revived. Now the faith that Jesus will work is established.
The retreat hosting Pastor Ock Soo Park was held at the Paking Hotel in Saint Petersburg, Russia from February 28th to March 4th. The words of Pastor Ock Soo Park will germinate like spring time in our hearts which were hardening like Siberia. It was a retreat that was hurriedly decided upon but 220 persons from not only Russia but also, Ukraine, Belorussia, Khuzestan and Kirgizstan, revered the words and gathered at the Retreat Center. Guest speaker, Pastor Ock Soo Park preached that the work of God begins when the heart to trust the self is ended and our hearts meet with God’s. The participants, who heard the Word, were happy as the difficulties labeled as despair could no longer be a problem. This Winter Retreat became a precious time for the Russian congregation to hear the true Word and escape their darkness.