Amidst the burning prayers of churches worldwide, the first HORA* Conference was held at New York Evergreen Church from July 1st to July 4th. The official title of this year’s conference was “Re:2017 NY Conference” with the theme of “Re:member, Re:turn, & be Re:deemed” (Isa 44:21-22).
Roughly 250 members, comprised of youths and speakers from seventeen churches worldwide, participated in this conference. Two hotels were fully booked and thirteen vans tirelessly transported the participants back and forth. This large number of participants that were led to this place of the Word was far greater than expected, testifying of the fruition of God’s grace. While most churches arrived by plane, the members of Bethesda Church from Arkansas drove 32 hours in three vans to New York. Bethesda Church’s feat exemplified how passionate these youths were towards the Word of redemptive history.
Several services and meetings were held on how to abundantly and effectively spread the Word of redemptive history. Many other programs were also prepared for interaction between speakers and the youth. I wish to share my blessed firsthand experience in the services, seminars, and events from the conference.
* HORA: The History of Redemption for All Nations
1. Main Worship Services
From the conference’s opening to its close, there were total of five main worship services. On the first day, the opening service was preached by Rev. Yaohan Elnitiarta from New Covenant Church in Shanghai, China. Through the theme of the conference, Rev. Yaohan gave a profound sermon on the creation, fall, restoration, and fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan.
For Lord’s day service on the second day, Rev. John Dabney from Bethesda Church, Arkansas gave the sermon titled, “Are You Ready?” Very much like his open character, he freely used the pulpit and gave the sermon using various broad gestures. He used his loud, passionate voice to give the message to the youth about the need to always be ready to stand in holiness before God. Five female youth members from Bethesda Church prepared the offering worship and gave thanks and glory to God through their free and unique body worship. After the service, all conference participants gathered together for group photos on the pulpit of Evergreen Church’s Zion Sanctuary. The pulpit was so overflowing with participants and speakers that there wasn’t enough space move at all. It was truly a scene of grace.
Praise worship took place that second evening. The youth and young adults gathered and stood before the Word of redemptive history, once again feeling the fire of God’s love. The various bands that gathered from all around the globe was also full of God’s grace. Every participant was filled with thanksgiving, praising with joy and tearfully repenting in prayer. Rev. Samuel Kim from First Faith Church, Washington D.C. gave the sermon entitled, “A Reed Like a Measuring Rod,” a precious message that explained how our bodies are temples given by God, and that God’s words are the reeds of truth with which we must daily measure ourselves. Praise continued after the sermon. Every time that the conference’s theme song, “Chosen Generation” by Chris Tomlin, was performed, all the participants came together and praised God in one voice, receiving their calling as the chosen generation.
On the evening of the third day, Rev. Samuel Kim from Singapore gave a keynote lecture. He presented his sermon in ways that related to the younger generations, brightening up the sanctuary with his charm and wit. Rev. Samuel Kim discussed how to open the closed doors of the Garden of Eden, making connections to the ninth book of the History of Redemption series. He mentioned the process of entering the tabernacle, and concluded that our services are the keys to opening those doors. All the youth and young adults expressed the great blessing they received from the Keynote Conference.
The conference ended the morning of the last day with the closing service led by Rev. John Kim of Washington’s Green Pastures Presbyterian Church. His sermon, “We Are God’s Ambassadors,” resonated with the youths who are the chosen generation called to become God’s ambassadors. His message truly captured the purpose of the three-night, four-day conference, that we all must remember, return, and be redeemed by the Word of God.
2. Breakout Sessions
There were a total of five breakout seminar sessions. The participants were divided by age groups: middle school, high school, college, and young adults. With a different speaker for each session, the groups dispersed throughout the church’s four sanctuaries. In order to make the lectures more appealing and understandable, each speaker had specially-prepared lectures according to each group’s age and environment. The most distinguishing characteristic of this conference was that every part of it was held entirely in English. The participants were able hear the Word in their native language, enabling them to receive direct understanding and grace. HORA fruitfully succeeded in its goal to fulfill the “A” of its name: All Nations.
The seminars’ main themes were: “Why must we study redemptive history?”, “Holiness and peer pressure,” “Dating and marriage,” “Evangelism (How do you effectively pass on the History of Redemption?)” and “Calling and vision.” These essential themes must be recovered by the youth who will later proclaim the Word of redemptive history to the world, therefore each subject was thoroughly covered in order for the youth to correctly and biblically understand it. Sensitive and curious topics were discussed and shared with pastors during these precious meetings.
3. Small Group Discussions
The four age groups were divided into 18 smaller groups for more intimate discussion. The discussions became heated as the youth debated on sensitive topics that concern them yet they are unsure of. They debated on how they could apply to their lives the biblical resolutions that the pastors lectured during the seminar. These issues were discussed from multiple perspectives due to the diversity of the participants, each sharing of their own culture and lifestyle from home. Through opportunities like this, our youths, who must spread the Word of redemptive history, gained another precious chapter in understanding the holiness we must aim for as true people of God.
The fellowship programs can never be neglected in large youth gatherings, where they have fun, come together, and share in laughter. On the evening of the first night, all the students gathered in the gym for icebreaker games. All the participants shared laughter as they held hands and mingled in a circle while listening to instructions.
On the second day, the students spent their afternoon in carnival rides at the church parking lot. The highlight of the outdoor activities was dunking the ministers and group leaders into a large tank of water. The indoor gym held a basketball tournament that fueled the outgoing spirit of the students while building teamwork.
On the third day, the students participated in a scavenger hunt, ordering game, and other activities. Makeup was drawn on the faces on the losing team, resulting in much laughter and delightment in everyone’s heart.
For the last night of the conference, the church held a large barbecue party. Much like a big festival, the students all spent time with each other while eating delicious briskets and sirloins. Knowing that it was their last night together, everyone was reluctant to separate and kept delaying the time to return back to their respective hotels. Newfound friends took countless photos, treasuring the precious memories they shared together at the conference.
5. Helping Hands
Assistants and volunteers physically and spiritually supported every event throughout the conference.
First, we thank our nine pastors and missionaries who shared the precious Word of redemptive history to the many youth and young adults. Sharing their own experiences and concerns from when they were younger to realistically portray the Word, these seniors in faith provided the spiritual food necessary for the youth’s faiths to mature with the the Word of redemptive history.
New York Evergreen Church’s women’s ministry served in preparing every meal for the conference. God’s grace was upon them as they fed 250 people three times a day for four days and three nights straight. The participants always constantly brought up how delicious the meals were. The conference was able to proceed and conclude well, thanks to the servings of the women’s ministry.
Additionally, the men’s ministry provided transportation to all participants. They drove a total of 13 vans, every morning and night, to and from the hotel, church, and airport. Their abidance to time significantly helped this conference flow according to the set schedule.
Lastly, the broadcasting team and the band from New York Evergreen Church also served God. From setting the stage to meticulously handling the audio, visuals, screen, and lighting, the broadcasting team’s dedicated preparation within God’s grace was what progressed the conference.
Furthermore, the band’s great performances also helped raise God high at each praise.
In the “Re:2017 Conference” the youths came together as one under the Pyungkang spiritual banner: they were passed on the faith of the history of redemption. The fact that the Word was delivered in English, as well as the fact that the Word of redemptive history was made to fit the youth’s age group, were all matters that allowed for the youth to more actively participate in the conference. The gathering of roughly 250 people in a single location was only possible through the grace of the Father, which also bolstered youth’s passionate hearts towards the Word of redemptive history. The parents of the youth were thankful for this event that was a celebration of God’s grace passing on the faith down the generations. With the announcement of the next “Re:2018 Conference,” the youths returned to their respective churches with hope of the calling of the History of Redemption, anticipating their next encounter.
Reporter: Evangelist Sae Woong Han (Green Hill Church, FL, USA)
Translators: In Bok Lee (Gerizim Hope Church, GA, USA)
Enoch Yoo (Living Hope Church, ON, Canada)
Euna Kim (Gerizim Hope Church, GA, USA)
*The reporter and translators were all present at the conference.
1. Peter Savrides,
Evergreen Hill Church, NY (USA) ? High school student
First of all, I received so much grace with every praise that was sung. I was grateful to be able to give glory to God through the praise of His Word. Also, with the Word that I received through this conference, it helped strengthen my faith. I felt that four days seemed too short. I hope that the next conference will be extended. To be able to praise, listen to the Word of God, and pray with others in one heart and faith was simply astonishing.
2. Angelo Israel,
Green Pastures Church, WA (USA) ? High school student
It was a remarkable time of deeply thinking about the Word that was given throughout every worship. I felt that God was a hundred percent with us. While we praised, I was so moved in that I could open my heart and praise God with my own voice. I hope there will be more small group discussion time during the next seminar. The seminar and the group discussion regarding dating and marriage were especially memorable to me. I wanted to debate more, but the time was too short. In school, there are many friends and rivals who do not believe in God. However, many friends and families who worship God were gathered in this place. Every individual listened to and understood each other.