In August in the Moscow region near from Istra Reservoir there was held atraditional Officers and Corps Leaders Fellowship of the Salvation Army Command in Russia. This is an amazing privilege and opportunity given to us by God, when we can gather with our families and spend time in prayers, testimonies and meditations on the Lord and our relationship with Him.
Each year, we invite special guests from various countries with rich experience of serving as SA officers. This year we had a great privilege to spend time together with Commissioners Kim Pil-soo and Choi Sun-hee. They are the Territorial Leaders of the Salvation Army in South Korea.
Salvationists of Russia and South Korea are united by long-term cooperation. In 1997, Korean salvationists opened the Salvation Army Corps in Vladivostok. In 2005, Russian officers began to serve in this building. We are grateful to Commissioners for the support and assistance that they render to the corps in the Far East of Russia. Last year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Salvation Army in Vladivostok.
Every morning our fellowship began with prayer and biblical studies in small groups. Biblical studies were based on John 15:1-11:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every (branch) that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit.
Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and (so) shall ye be my disciples.
Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and (that) your joy may be made full."
We discussed personal relationships with Christ, our way with Him. What kind of fruit we bring personally to God, what kind of branches on God's vine we are ourselves. We talked about motivation, spiritual discipline, purification, effectiveness and renewal of our relationship with the Lord.
Then we gathered together and enjoyed fellowship with Commissioners, who generously shared the spiritual experience of leadership ministry, their walk with God. Their testimonies, prayers and personal stories have become a wonderful example for our leaders. It was an amazing meeting with a brother and sister in Christ from another culture for us, but they have the same God, the same Army and the same God's Message. Christ was present among us, and He united us, sending dear Commissioners for our fellowship as a special blessing.
We have leaved that place empowered, inspired and encouraged. It was a fascinating three-day journey of self-knowing. Together we tried to answer the question "Who am I?".
"But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for (God's) own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Report from Alexander Kharkov, Lt.Colonel