주기도 축복의삶 나눔 공동체
The following is my testimony translated into English that I shared at the Grace Korean Church in California.
The greatest miracle in this world is how I came to believe in Jesus Christ.
My house was a Buddhist family and my parents were devoted to teachings from both Buddhism and traditional Korean shamanism.
My father was operating two large passenger ferry ships while living in Mok-Po.
The name of the ferry from Mok-Po to Jeju was Kyung-Joo Ho, and from Pusan to Jeju was called Duk-Nam Ho.
Several fishing boats also belonged to my dad. He would offer sacrifices to the spirits with the pig's head and he would even call local shaman priests and make a ruckus.
My mother took a bath every evening at 8pm and wore white clothes as she sat near the living room to read the Buddhist scripture for roughly 2 hours each day.
My mom also went up to the peak of Yue-Dal mountain to offer her relentless service to the statue of Four-Heavens-King every month through rain and the snow.
My parents believed that Buddha was the reason for their success in business, accumulation of wealth, and even their acquiring of their Jeep that no one had at that time.
The difficulty started when my father expanded his business to Seoul when he was still just a young CEO with not much experience as a top manager. Repeated sea accidents marred the business. One of the major incidents was one of my father's ships being hijacked to North Korean seas by the Communists. This big incident received enough attention to be made into a movie called Revolt of the Ferry at a later date.
On top of that, my father was betrayed by several close partners, and we had no choice but to relocate to Pusan. My family went from one end of the social spectrum to the other.
One of his relatives, who received support from my father to become a powerful and successful Congressman with the position of Executive Secretary of the Conservative Party, also turned his back on my family.
During my sensitive years of adolescence, this gave me unbearable disappointment. I began to slip. I grew resentment towards life. I became suicidal and was considering becoming a monk.
I got rejected to my dream college and I was living in Song-Do, which was a major entertainment center. I made many bad friends and was out in the streets until very late at night drinking and smoking. I also began to get involved in fights and was on the path to becoming a local gangster.
My mom was troubled by me all the more because I was the eldest son of the family. My dad was operating a pharmacy and I became friends with one of the loyal customers of our pharmacy.
Right now, he is an Elder at Paraguay Asuncion Church. I started to go to church because of his invitation.
I was more interested in pretty girls than any religious service. I used to make fun of prayer by saying "noodles" or "Ulmyun"”Nangmyun” instead of "amen" when people were closing in prayer.
One day, an American missionary was speaking in an evangelical gathering. I heard the gospel and received Jesus as my Savior and Lord.
Change occurred after that point. My thoughts and speech began to change. I was inspired and touched to hear the amazing blessing about God's love for me and salvation obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.
Everything became new and my perspective toward life was altered forever. From that moment, I began to pray for the salvation of my parents. Several times a week, I went into the church sanctuary and shouted my prayers to God. I was praying so loud that others started to avoid the hours I went to church.
A few pastors and leaders of the church gave me a nick name "Prayer General"
Then, my grandfather's funeral ceremony came about. All family members and relatives gathered. The moment came to bow down and pay respect to my grandfather who passed away.
The night before, I equipped myself with all-night prayer. I resolved not to partake in bowing down to the table of my grandfather.
"I shall not be in fear. It will be fine even if I get beat up and scolded! I will not bow down no matter what!" I told myself. It was not because I lost respect and honor towards my ancestors.
But because I serve God and I should not bow before my ancestors in worship. In God's Words, through reading the second of the Ten Commandments, I was convicted that bowing down in the shrine of my grandfather is a form of idol worship and I decided not to compromise my faith.
The time came and everyone gathered at the ancestor worship time.
Everyone began to bow down. Only I stood up like a pole. I did not even bend my knees. One of my aunts was a leader of one of the Buddhist temples. She shouted, "Why don't you bow down?"
I replied in a bold voice, "I cannot bow down!"
"How in the world did we raise our eldest son of our family to become such pathetic shape! He will ruin our family. He needs to be erased from our family tree!” retorted my aunt.
My eldest aunt became engulfed in fury. My dad was upset and shouted at me.
"You! You! If you don't bow down to our ancestors, I will take you out of our family line. Bow down right this moment!" As he was shouting at me, he grabbed a wooden washing club and began to pound on me. I had to run away from that place. The only thing I could do was to escape.
(If I had stayed there and been killed, I wouldn't have been able to meet you all today…)
I felt bad for my parents and other relatives but my faith in God was more important than anything else. I ran straight out of my home and went up to the mountain and to the prayer place and I cried out to God as I held a nearby pine tree with enough force to rip the bark off.
I prayed even more fervently for my parents’ salvation from that day forth.
Then one day, my father was invited to a birthday celebration of one of the devoted Elders in our neighborhood. The Elder watched me sympathetically every time as I prayed for my parents. This Elder showed special favor towards by father and urged my father to attend one of the evangelical meetings where an American missionary was speaking.
My father attended that meeting with his Elder friend and received Jesus Christ into his heart! Hallelujah!!
When my father returned, he asked my church pastor to come over. But a youth pastor came because the senior pastor was ill. It was immensely difficult to convert my mother. The youth pastor who came to our house told my mother, "When Jesus Christ comes back; every Christian believer will be raised to the sky and will be with God forever. When that day comes, you'll be the only one on the ground looking up since you do not believe in Jesus." My mother seemed to be shocked at that thought.
It was too much to think that her loving family would fly away when Jesus comes back and she would be alone and be eternally separated.
That image and the statement from the youth pastor resonated in her ears throughout the night and finally my mother came to church and decided to believe in Jesus! Hallelujah!!
With my mother accepted Jesus, my whole family became believers.
Nowadays I can only thank God for His unending grace as I see my older sister, younger sister, and my younger brothers faithfully serving God. “Oh, Lord! Thank you! Was not my whole family headed to hell without believing in Jesus? What then is this? What grace is this?
Thank you for bringing salvation to my whole family and allowing us to believe in Jesus. Hallelujah!'
I invited my parents to come to the USA to live with us in 1991. They lived with us for about four and half years in Orlando. After that, they moved to L.A., CA. My father served as a retired Elder at Los Angeles Philadelphia Korean Presbyterian Church, while my mother served as one of the women leaders. My mother prays for me with tears every morning.
My father went to be with the Lord in January of 2006. There was unspeakable sorrow but we gave thanks to God. Because my father accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord and lived a life of faith for many years, the sorrow turned into thanksgiving towards God.
I had to spesk at the funeral service, what we called Send-off Service to Heaven, as a family representative. I did not say "Father, good bye." Rather, I said "Father, see you again, I'll see you again in heaven"
I can only give thanks and praise to God because God heard my prayers and answered me just as it is written in Acts 16:31 "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household"
If any of you who are listening to this testimony have family members who are not believers, I pray that God's miraculous grace of faith and salvation will come to your family too. We have to evangelize our family. We must pray for your unsaved family members.
I may not ever have an opportunity to meet some of you. But I believe I will be able to meet with every one of you who are living with the hope of eternity in heaven. I bless you that all the works in your life will be well and that you'll be healthy in Spirit and in body until we meet again in heaven.
I hope that we will be able to live with the hope of reuniting with all our beloved family and friends who went to heaven before us, who placed their faith in Jesus.This is why we can sing Hymn Number 293 in the midst of hope:
“We shall meet in heaven again.
On that morning on that place, dear pilgrim prepare the way.
We shall meet again without delay.
Let us meet again on that land, on that gate of Heaven, let us meet again, let us meet again, on that morning on that day, we shall meet again on that gate.”
I bless you that you will be able to thank God for the greatest miracle: that you believed in Jesus and got saved.
When I was in senior year of high school, I prayed and consulted with my parents about my college admissions. My parents saw how their eldest son was sinking into the wrong path before Jesus came into my life. Because of that, they did not want me to go to a secular university. They did not even want to consider me being a businessman or a politician. Even though my father was a new believer, he made a decision to offer to God his eldest son who was the first fruit of salvation in our family.
My parents encouraged me to go to a Seminary. During my special early morning prayer,
I decided in my heart that I would learn more about God's love and forgiveness and about the Word of Truth. And my vision was to teach young people.
I applied and was acceped to Goshin University. It was during one of the Chapels when I was in my 2nd year of Goshin University when Dr. Banshik Hong gave a sermon with the title, "Conversion of Nicodemus"
I received much blessing and inspiration through that sermon. By that time, I had been a Christian a few years and was attending a church regularly. However I had to repent for my bad personality and prideful heart. I spent several hours crying and rolling on the ground as I confessed my sin and thus even missed my classes.
God filled me with His Holy Spirit of repentance and changed my character and the personality of my flesh. That is why I was completely broken. I was broken so much that the Holy Spirit was able to fill me up.
Everyone can have this experience after believing in Jesus. Through brokenness, we can avoid being a problematic pastor in church or believer in the family. I hope that you'll humble yourselves and be broken before God. I pray that you will have that kind of experience. My value system, perspective towards life, death and philosophy of life completely changed after I had that experience.
I decided to give my whole life to the dream of teaching the young generation about the way of God's Truth. I began to pray for God's leading in my life after I experienced transformation.
I was called first to serve at Pusan Chongmo Church. From there, God led me to Suh Daeshin Church and to First Suh Daeshin church to be youth pastor.
I saw one youth group in one of the churches experiencing a revival and saw it grow from 20 students to over 100 students. God allowed His signs and miracles to follow me when I was completely broken and wholly committed to God in teaching others.
One day, one of the students told me something was wrong with her mother. She told me to quickly come and help out her mom. I knew that her father died in a car accident three months ago and that her mother was living only with her children. I thought I cannot be there alone. Why? Because I was a young single male youth pastor. So I called some older female deacons from my church to go with me.
When I came into the house, I saw the student's mother lying down in the room and I got goosebumps just from her looking up on me. I knew in that moment that she was under the control of a evil spirit. I asked the deacons to help her sit up and went behind the student's mother and sang hymns and read Bible passages. And soon we began to pray.
I placed my hand on her head and prayed three times in a loud voice: "I command in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, come out of this daughter of God who believes in Jesus as her Lord and Savior!"
Suddenly she looked towards me and my body went stiff. I thought she was staring at me. Yet she looked past me towards the wall. She looked at the clock and was telling us that it's not yet time for her to go out. What was that?!
"In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I command you, don't delay and get out of her now!!"
At that moment, the mother of the student began to wail and cry. It was the beginning of her repentance.
"Pastor, forgive me. I was so lonely after my husband died and I could not bear thinking about living the rest of my life like this. So I went to a bar and got drunk, met a guy and sinned, and as I was returning home I felt my body acting weird and it came to this."
She asked me, "would Jesus forgive me still?" "Yes, He forgives. Don't sin like this any more."
"Yes, Pastor. Thank you". As she was saying thank you, she was trying to grab my hands so I told the deacons to hold her hands. I saw her eyes and it had returned to being right again. The weird things that were around her mouth disappeared. Her face color turned from dark blue to her normal complexion.
Next Sunday I saw her coming out early in the morning to clean the hardwood floor of the church.
When she saw me, she smiled and said, "Thank you, pastor!" Hallelujah!!!
Evil Spirits always try to look for an opening in the children of God so that they can knock us down. Whenever that happens, command them to go away in the name of Jesus Christ.
I believe when we can command them through prayer, evil spirits will fall back and we will see the power of God displayed in our lives. The youth group experienced significant revival as students found out of the story of casting out an evil spirit. We need to be wholeheartedly committed to the Lord and be transformed by Him.
That is when God will work in our lives so that through us, He may also change others.
I pray that you too would believe that God's power will be displayed through your lives.
I spent my time as a student of Goshin University with youth group students as I committed and prayed fervently. My college life was without regrets.
A few years later, it was the time when I was serving ChoongHyun Church and attending ChongShin Theological Seminary. Some church leaders and elders cared and offered help to get me married since I was a handsome and smart young man (! ) (this may be an incident of self-praise).
For three consecutive years in my Seminary, I served the student body as president. 1st semester of my 3rd year, one of the leaders asked me whether I found a good girlfriend to marry. The leader said there were many fine ladies in ChongHyun Church and told me he would introduce me to one if I hadn’t found any yet at my church.
I had some expectations. But he was silent for several months.
About half a year later, he finally told me that he had someone in mind to introduce to me. The appointment was set for that on one afternoon. I first attended a wedding ceremony of my friend and I left to get to the meeting place with plenty of time.
Unfortunately, I got on a wrong bus and ended up in another place. It was long past the appointment time when I managed to get back to the right place. The lady who was going to be introduced to me looked tired of waiting and was about to leave. She sat down as she saw me. I was really sorry but began to talk with her.
I had a very great first impression of her. I was thankful to her for waiting for me long past the appointment time. From that day on, I prayed and sought God's leading about our future.
We wanted to know each other deeper and were interested in dating. One day, I had to go to NonSan city to meet her. At that time she was teaching English at Saint Paul Girls’ High School in NonSan. We met to eat together and talked about future visions as we had tea.
I escorted her to her living place and I went on to a local motel. I woke up early the next morning, perhaps because of my habit of early Morning Prayer. I wanted to go back to sleep but was unable to. So I went to NonSan First Methodist Church to attend their early morning prayer.
At the church, I was praying fervently in tears about my future and for her. During the prayer, I had several moments of inclination to visit her house. After I finished praying, I decided to visit her even though it was early. But what was this? I saw a crowd of people in front of her house.
I felt worried. I was looking for her and asked, "What happened here in this house?"
When I asked around "Where's Miss Choi, the teacher who teaches at Saint Paul girls’ High School?" Somebody responded, "It seems like she passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning. She was taken to a hospital totally passed out." My heart sank and my vision darkened. I ran with all my strength and got into a taxi to go to the hospital.
I cried out to God, "Please save her! God, please save her! Lord..." My throat closed up. The taxi driver looked at me as if I was some insane person. I ran into the hospital and shouted out loudly, "Where's the teacher of Saint Paul High School who was carried here?"
Someone asked me if I was her husband. We didn't even have time to clear that up.
The doctor probably thought I was her husband even though we were not even engaged.
I was in such an urgent mode that I didn't answer the doctor and ran to the emergency room to find her lying unconscious with an oxygen mask around her face that had turned pale white as paper.
It was shocking.
Tears rolled down my face. The doctor came to tell me, "It was such a miracle that she was found early. If not she would be in real trouble. We did emergency treatment so she should wake up soon. We were fortune enough to save her life, but..." The doctor was hesitant. "Doctor, please tell me." "We saved her life but would need to see what happens next."
The doctor was worried about damage and side effects of poisoning. "She may have lost her memory and may not recognize people. Prepare your heart before she wakes up."
I was so thankful that she's alive. "So what if she cannot recognize me. She just needs to wake up. Thank you for saving her." I bowed down several times and thanked the doctor.
I got a wet towel and washed her face several times. I gathered all my strength to sing hymns dozens of times sitting next to her. (Hymn) "I lift my eyes up to the mountain, where does my help comes from? Jehovah God who made the heavens and earth will help you. Lord never sleeps and protects your feet from slipping. God will always protect His chosen people..."
Do you have times of difficulties and hardship as you adjust in this country? Do you have hurts because of relationships, money, or hurtful words? How many times do we have heartaches as we live with our spouses and raising children? Every time difficulty comes, sing this song "I lift my eyes up to the mountain…”
I believe songs that you sing with the Word of God will become your strength. I still sing that song whenever I face a difficult and hard time.
I kept on singing in front of her, "I lift my eyes up to the mountain, and where my help does come from. Jehovah God who made the heavens and earth will help you."
I sang it again and again and prayed.
After some time passed by she seemed to be regaining her conscious. As she became conscious, she said "thank you" to me. I worried that she might still experience memory loss. Yet she was awake and talking. When I saw her talking, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "Lord, thank you!"
As time passed on, she became her old self without side effects. We were able to get closer to one another.
Do you know what I said? I said to her, "I think Satan was trying to split us up. But I want to marry you”. Some time later, I proposed to her and she answered me with a bright smile.
In early 1978, we were able to get engaged in Seoul by the grace and leading of God. Dr. Heebo Kim was the presider for our engagement.
After the engagement, we got married on April 22nd when flowers were at their peak on a bright Spring day at SongDo Church, which is my home church. We stood before the pastor and many guests who came to bless us. After we got married, we talked to one another. When you got carbon monoxide poisoning, we weren't even engaged.
What if we wanted to talk more and I stayed at your house? We may have both died together without even being engaged or married. ”
I might have died with her and people would have found an unmarried man sleeping with an unmarried woman. And I was a youth pastor at that time. Our shame would have probably lessened God's glory in our lives. When I think about that, I still shudder.
We almost got into some serious trouble. We may even have regretted it after we died. But, we are alive and I can share of this grace and blessing! Hallelujah!
(The night before my son got married in Los Angeles. I told my son, "you know that you cannot sleep with your girlfriend before marriage, right?"
"Of course, dad!"
"Yes, son. Thank you. I trust in you. But, where are you going to sleep the night before your wedding day? Why not spend the night with us?"
"No, dad. I will just stay in my school dorm. I just need 10 minutes in the morning to put on a suit and a tie")
After I got married, my wife was teaching English at a high school in Seoul.
One day, we had great news. My wife said, “I’m pregnant!” That word gave huge happiness to our family. But happiness was only for a brief moment. My wife tightly held her stomach and was in great pain.
We were all shocked on the day we got the results back from the doctors. "She has a problem in her appendix and she needs surgery right away. If she doesn't go through surgery quickly, both she and the baby will be in danger," said my uncle who was a doctor.
At that point, my wife was 3 months into the pregnancy. It was not just a matter of simple appendix removal.
Many told us that she needed to abort the child. It was because the anesthetics and antibiotics needed to perform surgery on the appendix could cause damage to the unborn child and may result in severe birth defects.
My wife heard from her fellow school teacher that one of the teachers took cold medicine during pregnancy and had birth defects.
We found out about so many different cases of birth defects that happened during pregnancy and were greatly troubled.
I sought counseling from other older pastors and professors but there seemed to be no clear way to solve the problem.
My wife was adamant. "It is our first child that God gave us and we cannot give up. Abortion is murder that takes away the life that God gave. Abortion is a huge sin and I don't want to repent for the rest of my life."
My wife got a leave of absence because of her health condition and went down to Busan where my parents lived. We went to every famous doctor in Busan.
Every doctor that we met told us that we need to go through abortion first before they would perform surgery.
While we were going through very tough times, we were able to find a true Christian doctor who agreed to do the surgery without going through abortion.
We decided to perform the surgery in Busan Children's Hospital, which was where my younger sister was working as a nurse.
We got the surgery date and soon my wife was admitted to the hospital.
I held her hands on the day of surgery and prayed. After that, I was only waiting for the surgery to be over.
Soon, the doctor was able to remove the appendix. The doctor even showed me the appendix that was severely infected. The surgery was conducted without problems. Even though we had to go through several difficulties, my wife came out of the hospital and returned to teach in Seoul.
Until the baby was born, she walked up and down five to six floors every day as she taught the students because there was no elevator in the school my wife was teaching at.
Soon came the day of the delivery. After 17 hours of contractions we finally heard a strong cry of our child. "Congratulations, it is a son!" What do you think my exhausted wife did? She carefully examined our son from head to toe several times. She wanted to know for sure that the baby was healthy. Our son was healthy and had no problems. Hallelujah! The doctor told us that we has a very handsome and healthy son. My son was born under God's grace and grew healthily, though we could have lost him if we had made a wrong judgment that one moment.
We came to America when our child, Heebo, was two years old. So my son is almost like a 2nd generation. When Heebo was a very young child, we used Korean in family worship and in praying for meals. He was quite good in Korean but he wanted to only speak English as he began to attend school. I made a stern decision.
I declared to my son that he will simply not get fed if he doesn't speak in Korean at home. He cried and made a ruckus. Yet we didn't ease out of this one. We continuously taught how to read and write in Korean as well.
There was, however, a fruit to this ordeal. After he got into college, as he was beginning his college life he called me one day.
"Dad, thank you. There's something I gotta thank you for."
"What is it?"
"Thank you for raising me to be able to speak Korean," he said.
Even these days, I get a phone call from him every day as he lives in California and I live in Orlando. When I answer the phone, I greet him in Korean and he replies in Korean and this has become our standard everyday greeting.
A while ago, I told my son who was at that time preparing to get married.
"It would be so awesome if dad and mom could hear your voice everyday until we go to heaven - even after your marriage."
"Of course, you will" was my son's reply.
It's very convenient and great that my son can speak in Korean. Now I believe that teaching our children to be able to speak in their mother's tongue, Korean, is a huge responsibility of parents who come to live in America.
When my son turned six years old, he clearly understood the Gospel and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. He began to grow in faith from that moment on. I believe it is very important to check whether or not your children believe in Jesus and that they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I believe Parents carry a huge responsibility in their children's faith in Jesus.
My son graduated from middle school with good grades and went to attend Dr. Phillips High School near our home. It was a rather famous public school in Florida state and had roughly 4000 students.
It was such a great school that students from Dr. Phillips were accepted to the best schools in America every year. My son graduated with the highest standing and with the most scholarships among his class of 900 students.
My son took several AP (Advanced Placement) classes and various other special classes during his four years in high school and received an A in every subject. And thus he became valedictorian and got an opportunity to speak at graduation, where about ten thousand students and family members gathered.
My son’s graduation speech was our family's testimony. The following is a portion of his graduation speech.
Eighteen Years ago, when my mom was three months pregnant, she had to have her appendix removed. Her doctors were afraid that the surgery would be harmful to the unborn child, and they strongly recommended an abortion.
After a great deal of prayer, however, my parents decided to follow the wisdom of a verse in Proverbs: " "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. "
Their faith in the Lord's love and grace is the reason why I am standing here before you today.
Over the years, my parents have taught me to rely not on my own strength and judgment, but on that of a higher power.
And so it is with my final words that I urge all of you to trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, for in a world so thoroughly self indulged, complicated, and uncertain as the one we live in, Jesus can guide you down the path of peace and prosperity that is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
May God bless you all!
A few of the audience shouted "hallelujah" when Heebo mentioned the name of Jesus clearly and a huge roar and applause erupted after the speech was over. During this short speech, there were four moments where my son had to stop speaking because of thunderous applause. It was truly a happy day. We were so thankful to God for everything He had done.
We praised God who answered our prayers and sustained the life of my son.
How can we not be thankful to God who gave our son a clear mind that introduced Jesus clearly to ten thousand people?
Heebo received an acceptance letter from several great colleges but he decided to go to the California Institute of Technology.
On several occasions, my wife and I pleaded with Heebo as he was preparing to enter college that he should live a life according to John 3:16. We said, 'God has given us a dream since you were young that just as God sent Jesus to save humanity because of His great love, you should also live to love those who are suffering in this world.
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but receive eternal life. Heebo is continuously developing his vision. He told me that he wants to contribute to the world as a scientist. He also told us that he has a dream to receive the Nobel Prize and to give God the glory when he speaks as a Nobel laureate.
I want to continue my testimony and give glory to God who did a miracle of a dollar and kept on doing miracles of "plus".
It was in 1981 that I came to America as an international student. I wanted to learn more and experience a larger scale.
Chong Hyun Church recommended me to return to the church after I studied and that the church would support my tuition and living expenses.
But I gave up on that great offer and turned in my resignation and chose the "suffering road".
My wife had to work day and night during my studies in America to pay for my tuition and fees and to support the family.
It took a long time for me to finish my Ph.D.
It was because I had experienced difficulties of pastoring in different environments during my studies.
The greatest blessing in the ministry is sharing the Gospel of God's love and forgiveness.
It was my first ministry field after immigrating to America. I pioneered a new church around 80 miles away from the church I was serving at. It was very cold and snowy during the winter.
My car slid on the icy road and flipped upside down as it got plunged into a pile of snow. Our God sent heavenly angels and sustained our lives. My time doesn't permit me to tell you about all of the similar testimonies.
I also pioneered a church near a military base to help out the wives of multi-ethnic families.
There were many wives, and this one person in particular, who drank and smoked a lot and fought with their husband.
I saw a beautiful sight of transformation as the Gospel entered her life and she sat with her husband every week for the worship service with a completely changed attitude. I was first called "uncle" as I began to evangelize to the wives of military servicemen. However the people began to call me "teacher" as they believed and began a life of faith.
When some of them had to move to another base, they would come and cry with my wife and I. We wept together. Everyone changes when the Gospel enters their life. I urge you to share the Gospel in and out of season.
Even though 25 years have passed since we left there, the love continues on. I cannot forget of the love of the church family who still sends us various herbs and vegetables year after year.
I also cannot forget about a person who wept out loud and pleaded with me to stay and promised to support us for the rest of our lives.
This is a story about a Korean doctor. This doctor was a cancer specialist.
But he himself got stomach cancer and went through several surgeries.
Even after the surgeries, the cancer spread too much and he was forced to give up and was waiting for his final day.
He had kept this fact a secret even from his fellow doctors. But word got out and one of the wives of his friends came to me and told me the situation. She said, "He is not a believer - so please
share God’s love with him and pray for him."
I visited the hospital, even though it was a bit far from where I lived.
It was a special executive room and it was filled with flowers.
The doctor was startled when I visited because I was a total stranger to him.
I told him that I was a pastor from a nearby city and I asked him whether I could share with him about God’s love. He gave me permission and I shared about Jesus’ love for him. Then I asked him if he would accept Jesus into his heart. His answer was yes! He followed me to say the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus with tears in his eyes and became a believer. Hallelujah!
I prayed for him.
"God have mercy on your son who now repented his sin and received salvation through Jesus Christ..." I placed my hands on the doctor and prayed fervently for God's healing touch. After I prayed I told him to believe that God can heal him. I asked him simply to thank God for His healing touch without doubt. Outside his hospital room his family was discussing the upcoming funeral service. He was expected to pass away within a week or so.
When I came back home I continued to pray for him. I also sent him my sermon tapes and bible study materials so that he could pray and study the Word of God.
About one month passed. I received a letter from the doctor we prayed for. My wife said, "Maybe he has passed away" but we both said, "though he passed away, he must be in heaven because he received Christ." We opened the envelope. Inside the envelope were a check and a thank you letter. I still have that letter.
On his card he said, « Thank you so much! Thank you for sharing God's love and the gospel of salvation through Jesus to an arrogant sinner like me. When you placed your hand on my stomach and prayed for me, I felt very warm in my core and I experienced the illness leaving me in the name of Jesus, even though I was already given a death sentence. I give glory to God.....I could not eat anything before but now my stomach is moving again and I'm eating porridge. I'm increasing my intake of food and my weight is coming back and I'm beginning to exercise more and more everyday....»
Praise God! My wife and I both said, «Hallelujah!»
Four months had passed by. My wife and I went to a Christmas banquet hosted by one of the regional Korean organizations. Many people gathered and were shocked to see Dr. Chang at the party. Some people were saying how Pastor Seok Won Kim prayed for the doctor.
My wife and I gave all the glory to our Lord. I pray that all of you here tonight will believe that God can heal when we ask in faith. God's miraculous work can be done here at this moment also.
Later that same year, we moved to Columbus, Ohio. I wanted to continue my studies at a nearby seminary. While I was studying there, I received help from an American church to pioneer a church plant for Korean students who came to study at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
The church began as we evangelized to some international students at Ohio State University through bible studies and discipleship training. Within two years, the church grew to 200 people with Korean students and Korean American doctors being the majority of the congregation. It was a sizable Korean church in America 20 years ago.
One of the international students who participated in the bible studies and discipleship training was Dr. Sung Min Park, who is now the National Director of Korea Campus Crusade for Christ (KCCC). I remember writing a letter of recommendation for Dr. Park as he finished his Doctoral studies at OSU and moved on to Trinity Seminary.
There is no way to express the joy that I get when people receive Jesus into their heart - whether it is individually or in a group setting.
Several years later, we moved to Florida. I began to serve as a pastor in Orlando in January, 1990. My wife became a staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) Headquarters in Orlando. I too came on staff of CCCI.
Ministry at the CCC International Headquarters gave me daily inspiration. I give thanks to God for giving me the oppertunity to work with Dr. Bill Bright, who was the founder of CCCI, and expanding my vision through his leadership.
It is truly a pity that I cannot share with you all the testimonies regarding my wife and I traveling through nations of the world for short term missions with CCCI during our many years of ministry there. Those type of testimonies would be better delivered by my wife. There are over 30 professional ministries within CCCI, and there is so much to learn, as you can imagine.
A few years after I joined CCCI, our church was looking for a property. One day, someone told me about a plot of land that was suitable for a church, so I went there. It was 7.5 acres and had a 120-ft towering cross.It was close to the airport and had a huge mall nearby. Also, it was close to the major attractions like Disney World. Everything seemed to fit perfectly for our needs and I wanted to purchase it.
The previous church closed down in 1981 and nobody was maintaining the facilities.
The concrete building was on the verge of collapsing. It was a den for the homeless and drug addicts, and the land was filled with weeds like a jungle.
I contacted the broker and asked about the price and he said $750,000.00 dollars. Our church had no way to pay for it. But I prayed reckless prayer. "Give us this land." "We will make this into a holy place where people would offer worship to You. And we would like to host and take care of missionary kids who want to come to the US for study and also for spiritual training.
But we didn't have that much money. Lord help us! We continually prayed.
We kept on praying, "Give us this land or open up another way" At that time, my initial 5-year commitment as a missionary that I made to God was about to end. It was truly frustrating for me.
There were a few invitations from bigger churches for me to come to be their pastor at that time. I was split in my heart and was waiting for God's answer for my future direction.
I was in continual prayer and I turned in an application to join the Classis of Reformed Church in America. I took a test after they reviewed my documents at a Classis Meeting.
It was March 7th, 1996. I became the full member of the Florida Classis.
I attended the general session the next morning. There was an agenda item with an interesting issue.
It was a motion to sell off a property in Orlando after the general session. The issue was to be decided after lunch and was in the final phase of decision by the members. My ears opened up as I heard the word "property in Orlando"
"Orlando! Where in Orlando would this land be?" I asked my wife next to me. My wife had no idea. After the session, I ran to the president of the board. I asked in excitement, "Where is this land located that you’re going to sell in Orlando?" "It's near Sand Lake in Orlando," he answered.
I asked him, "How big is the land?" "It's about 7.5 acres", he said. I continued my inquiry.
"Isn't there a huge cross tower that's over 125 feet on that land?" The president then asked me, "Pastor Kim, how do you know about this land?"
I just nodded my head and said, "I know. I know it very well."
At that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me strong courage. I felt an electrifying sensation at the thought, 'perhaps this is the land that God has prepared for me'.
I told the president, "Don't sell that land."
The president asked me, "Pastor Kim. Do you have money to purchase the land then?"
I didn't have that kind of money but I boldly asked him to give the property to us. The president showed me a smile and had an inquisitive expression on his face. I told him in confidence not to sell the land to anyone else. The president ended our talk by saying: “The committee is going to discuss it during the lunch and this issue will be up after lunch to the assembly, and the final decision will be made then."
My wife and I prayed throughout lunch time. This was the land that we saw and prayed for a year and a half ago. This was just astonishing. That land was not sold until I became a member of the Reformed Church! The real estate company could not sell or manage it any longer, and the ownership went back to the Florida Classis of the Reformed Church in America, who was the original owner of the property.
Before that afternoon assembly, they asked us not to join that session, as they were going to discuss the land in Orlando.
Afternoon session was over and the presedent and a few leaders came to us and spoke,
“We are going to lease the land in Orlando to Pastor Kim and sign a contract to give him the right to use that land for one dollar." We could not believe it! God answered our prayer!
It was not a dream. It was real. I was so moved that I threw both of my hands up and shouted, "Hallelujah!"
Other members of the assembly encouraged me. "Pastor Kim, I know you'll be able to manage that land well." After the meeting was over, I couldn't calm down and held onto my driving wheel and started out to go back to Orlando. I prayed.
"God, thank you so much for your grace. Which one among the missionaries' children received so much pain of physical, emotional, and educational deprivation that you're allowing this to happen? Since you gave me the land to fulfill the dream, I will do my best."
I missed the road sign to Orlando with excitement and took a wrong turn which caused us to drive about 30 more miles. But it did not matter to me. We were so thankful. It was a full year and six months after our first prayer for the land. God didn't answer me back then.
Before I went to the Classis meeting, I already had given it up even though I prayed for the land, as there was no answer right a way. I was about to erase the whole deal in my memory.
So I simply wanted my church to be associated with the denomination and was ready to move on.
I was going to join 1st, then request my church to be joined FL classis of Reformed Church in America.
My wife and I had no idea about what was going on with the property after we prayed. We did not know the ownership of the property we prayed for went back to the Florida Classis at all.
We decided to go by the property when we came back to Orlando from that meeting, We were happy to know that God answered our prayer indeed. We held hands together and sang "God is so good" Tears of joy rolled down as my wife and I stood on the land that God gave.
I came to America in the fall of 1981 and this church closed down in the fall of 1981, we found out later. I took it as the land that God held onto in order to give it to us. God answered our prayer! It seems to me that God held the property for 15 years until He trained and refined me and I was ready to receive this blessing.
We prayed for a land to build a church, mission center, and dorms for the missionary kids and God worked to answer. I believe that God didn't want this land - once set apart for His Name - to be used for any other purpose.
We had no idea the first owner of the property was the Florida Classis of Reformed Church in America and they had sold it to a local development company as they closed the existing R.C.A. church on that property in 1981. The company tried to sell the property as a whole and as housing developments for 15 years, but they were not able to. Eventually, ownership went back to the Florida Classis as the company was not paying mortgages and taxes to the county on the property. And Florida Clasis was going to sell the property to a local church, as they had an offer.
My wife and I believe it was God who orchestrated all these things and also believe that He did not want this former church property to become a housing development. We earnestly prayed for God to give it to us, “Lord, if no one wants this property, please give it to us. We will make it a place where people can worship You. If it is Your Will, please make it to be a holy ground again through our church.”
One day, I was mowing the the grass on the church property and I had to visit a house nearby to use the restroom and for a drink of water. An old Caucasian grandfather who lived in the house introduced himself and told me that he lived in that same house for 20 years. He knew the history of the church and the surrounding area very well.
The grandfather asked me, "Are you a gardener?"
I thought about it for a moment and answered him, "yes, for now, I guess you can call me the gardener. But I'm not from a company, I'm a pastor and a missionary."
The elderly person asked me, "What do you want to do on this property?"
"I want to build a church here along with a Mission Center," I answered.
Then, the elderly person told me an unbelievable thing.
"Do you know who lives in that corner house right there?"
"No, I don't"
"That's the house of the former pastor who served the church until 15 years ago when the church closed its doors. He still lives there"
I was happy to find out the previous pastor and his wife were still there, and I went towards the house right away. The wife of the pastor greeted me warmly. She told me after the greeting, "I saw the land becoming barren as 15 years passed by. I prayed earnestly to God that he would allow this land to be used for holy purposes and I finally get to meet you, Pastor Kim!"
She was overjoyed even as she dried her now teary eyes.
I really liked the former pastor’s house. It looked suitable to be used as a temporary place of worship until the sanctuary was fully built. I was planning to do house church worship and meetings for the time being. I didn't know how long it would take for the sanctuary to be ready but I had faith that God would allow us a new building, since He gave it to us.
But when I told the wife of the previous pastor about my plans, she told me to give the hope up, since her daughter was going to buy the house and move in.
But I did not get discouraged. I circled around the house as Israelites circled around Jericho every time I visited the church property and prayed to God, "give me this house."
I didn't pray that the house would collapse as the case of Jericho's walls, though. I prayed that God would simply provide us with that house.
As I was continuing on with my routine for a while, one day the pastor's wife called to let me know that she would sell the house to me. I asked her why she made a sudden change of mind. She told me hesitantly about what happened. The pastor's mother who had lived near Orlando Sea World suddenly passed away due to a heart attack. So they were moving into the house of the pastor's mother.
I was sorry to hear that but I saw it as an answer to my prayer. I asked her about her daughter who was going to buy the house to move in. She answered that her daughter has young children and didn't want to relocate anytime soon.
Pastor's wife told me that she would give me the first chance to buy the house, since I was the first person to ask her to sell the house. It was a sudden development and it startled me, but I wanted to gather money to buy that house. But my credit wasn’t that great back then and it was not easy to get a mortgage from the bank.
I told my wife that we need to go ahead and purchase the house. She replied with a simple question, "Where is the money? Show me the money!" She told me to show her the money to buy the house. She wanted some concrete plans. I suggested that we should withdraw from our retirement account to pay for the house. I told her that we could make the down payment with that. At first, my wife was adamantly against the idea. But she eventually bent her will to my earnest and sincere requests.
We took the financial damage for early withdrawal of my retirement account and made the down payment.
We were able to land a 30 year loan for the house and purchased the house after some complications. The day of moving into the house was fast approaching.
A representative from Reformed Church in America of General Synod visited us to see the status of the church building project. At that time, we almost ran out of money and did not know how to continue. He recommended that it would be better that we stop and give up on the project. I told him, "People calculate with money and try to build the house of God through their financial calculations. Yes, indeed, money is needed. But God will use people who calculate with faith to finish His sanctuary."
He said, "amen" to my statement. But even as he said that, his head was moving left to right.
He was really at a loss with my plight.
I didn't want to miss out on this chance. I told him, "I bought a house and I am going to move in soon so that it would be easy for me to come and help the building project. And I am going to continually ask God to finish the building of His sanctuary."
"Where is this house?", he asked. "It's right on the corner of the property and it used to be the parsonage of the previous senior pastor. I led him to the newly purchased house and told him, "I will use this house as a temporary church and as classrooms for the Sunday school."
It was at that moment that the representative of the RCA held my hands and spoke to me.
"Pastor Kim, I will return to the Synod and apply for a grant for your church project.
. I will try my best to help you. Wait just a little bit longer. Cheer up."
After three weeks, I was holding a check with an amount of $60,000 in my hands.
It was truly a free grant from the Synod. It was really God's miracle!
I pray that you too will experience miracles of God as you engage in the Lord's work.
When we almost finished with the construction, we needed to bring in some chairs for the new building. We needed more money for the chairs but we didn't have any.
Then one day, I saw an ad in the local Sunday newspaper in Orlando.
There was an American church that placed an ad that they were looking for a church that they could donate their pews to. It said to apply in writing if any churches were interested.
I wrote the letter late into the night with the help of my wife. The very next morning, I went straight to that church. When the church door opened and the secretary came out, I greeted her and handed her the letter.
I smiled and said, "This is on a first come, first served basis, right?" She smiled and asked me to go back and wait for their reply. Three weeks later, we got an answer from them.
"We received requests from 38 churches after we put up that ad. You turned in the application first and the content of your letter was very touching. We'll give you the pews. Take heart."
I took a look at the pews when I got to that church. They were the perfect size and perfect numbers for our new sanctuary, as they wanted to give away 20 pews and that was the exact numbers of pews we needed! On the top of that, I never saw such sturdy pews in my life. These are but a few testimonies of countless miracles involved in building our new sanctuary. More details of these stories can be found in the book “Miracle of a dollar."
Finally, the new sanctuary was completed. January of 2001 was our opening service at the new Chong Hyun Church of Orlando building. We had the first Sunday service in the morning with eight people in the sanctuary that could hold about 250.
That afternoon was the Thanksgiving Celebration Service and it was offered in two languages with simultaneous translation. About 200 people came to celebrate with us. Among our guests were Florida Classis pastors, elders, members and other believers from nearby Korean churches.
I have a dream of KIMCHE to help to fulfill the task of missions. (KIMCHE stands for Korean International Mission & Church for Heart Expansion). I believe this dream and vision that came to me, a first generation immigrant, should be continued on with all subsequent generations of Korean-Americans. Koreans love kimche. We cannot forget the taste of it. Even people who have lived in America for over a decade still crave kimche. It is because of the taste of kimche. There is this unique blend of sweet, sour, and spicy tastes, and it's perfect to have it on top of steamy white rice. It's so good that sometimes, you wouldn't even know who's eating with you.
My vision is to share the taste, the savory taste of salvation and eternal life found in Jesus to all the people of this world. Hallelujah!!
I believe that God is preparing faithful people, churches, and other pastors to accomplish this vision together. Perhaps this is a vision that began to grow the moment I set my foot on American soil.
My dear friends, our home country Korea received so much blessing that it is hard to find any example if it in history. Korea now became a rich country. But I do not think that is the true blessing.
What is a bigger blessing? As many of you know, Korea became the number two missionary sending nation in the world. I believe this is the true blessing God gave us, to become the priest nation for this world in this generation.
I remembered a moment a while ago when I laughed out loud in the midst of difficult times. It was back when we got our church property. It was one of those special Orlando hot summer days.
I was mowing the 7 acres of the church property for hours. Some days I really questioned whether God gave me this property just so that I could mow the grass.
'God, you know I’m not a gardener. You know, don't You?'
In the hot summer days of Orlando, it thunders and rains nearly every day, and so the grass grows up at an accelerated pace. I can almost hear the grass growing in this land that is strangely resembling a golf course.
We had to mow the grass almost every week during the summer time. Some of our church members helped, but not always. On that perticular day, I was mowing the grass again and I was covered in dirt and sweat. I saw my face and it was like those construction workers who clean up chimneys. It was a face that had a sticky mixture of sweat and dirt.
I quickly shook off some sweat and dust and got into my car to go to my office at the CCC International Headquarters. Back then, CCC Headquarters were within a mile from the property, so it was a simple crossing of the road to get there.
I was waiting for the signal light to change and I saw myself in the rear view mirror.
Sad and humble clothing with a face that was completely covered in dirt came into the mirror.
"How did I end up like this? Lord! You let me do all this studying and I was about to leave this place after 5 years as a CCC missionary. But no, you gave me this land for a dollar and you tied me down here!! Do you just want me to become this pathetic grass-cutting person for the rest of my life?" I muttered. And there was a laughter that we experience in a moment of utter speechlessness.
I began to laugh at that moment in loud laughter and I couldn't stop it very well. After much laughter came a voice from the bottom of my stomach, "hahaha! God, thank You!"
It just wouldn't stop. I laughed with relentless passion and shouted "God, thank you" again and again.
The laughing didn't stop even when I returned to CCC headquarters and took a quick shower. I came back to my office and knelt down to pray. Why such bursts of laughter? Why the "hahaha! God, thank You" ? I was praying and questioning God. I have spoken in tongues before but this was not speaking in tongues.
At that moment, the Word of God from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 came to my mind.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus".
When do we laugh out loud; Ha Ha Ha? It's an expression of rejoicing. To whom do you pray? We pray to God! And we give thanks to Him as well.
I said those words repeatedly because it was an expression of my thanksgiving to God.
By the grace of God, I understood the meaning of the Scripture from 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 and realized the power of "hahaha! God, thank You!” That resonated from my heart and I regained peace and security that comes from God only.
I'm sure you know of Apostle Paul's ministry. He was a missionary. He was a pastor.
He was also a teacher - in modern days, perhaps a professor. He was able to successfully carry out all of his callings and roles. He was a man of miracles.
I pray that we too will have this kind of spiritual experience with God. If you are a believer of God, I pray that you have a Bible verse that could change your whole life around. I hope that you'll become the visionaries of God who will alter the destiny of the world by the Word that is given to you by the grace of God.
I believe God will fill all the needs as you open your mouth widely. I pray for millions of true Christians to rise up from Koreans to help fulfill the Great Commision of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We need to live according to God's will. Every moment of our lives, we need to depend on Him and His Word.
Before you do anything or any projects, start with a heart of rejoicing. When you want to do anything , check your heart. If you do not have joy in your heart, I don't believe it is the will of God.
Pray!! Pray continually before you do anything.
If you cannot pray continually about the things you want to do, that must not be of God's will.
Give thanks in all circumstances. Do give thanks before you do anything. If you cannot thank God, that work must not be the will of God. These three components became a life-long testimony of Paul.
For example, if you are going to steal money from someone, would you have joy in your heart? Can you pray about it to God continually? Can you give thanks to God for it?
Rejoicing faith, I hope that you will be rejoicing believers.
Prayerful faith, I hope that you will be praying believers.
Thankful faith, I hope that you will be thankful believers.
With these three things, I bless you that you will be the ones who have testimonies and who can bring God’s miracles.
If your faith is of such size, you will only be able to thank God in that size.
If your faith is so big, you will rejoice that big.
You heard many different kinds of testimonies from me but I know you have lots of personal testimonies as well. May you keep all the blessings of your testimonies until you stand before God.
Now you should show your changed life. And everyday try saying, "hahaha! God, thank you!" Try it in front of the mirror. When you meet people, do it again.
From now on, I will just do "hahaha! God, thank you!"
No matter what happens, no matter who I meet, no matter where I go, no matter the time, no matter the task, "hahaha! God, thank you!"
We only live one life. I pray that we will rejoice in the Lord everyday of our lives and say, "God, thank you". On the moment of being called to return to God and enter the heavenly city, I pray that you all can say God, thank you! .
God called even someone like me, forgave all my sins, and adopted me as His son - though I was heading for eternal death and destruction. So I am merely doing my best as God holds me in His hand to partake in His Great Commission.
Dreams belong to those who can nurture them. Most of us sitting here are 1st generation immigrants to America. But let us together dream that God's Kingdom will be preached to all people on this planet.
Last year, I published a book called " Miracle of a dollar, plus plus"
After the One Dollar Miracle, God gave me a dream of "plus" though my son.
Many of you may know because this story has been carried through major media outlets.
The child who lived because of the faith of his mother who stood against abortion grew to maturity.
My son received the spotlight from mass media for researching a new mechanism related to AIDS. He had written several reaserch papers before he finished his Ph.D. One of his research papers was published in Nature Structual & Moleculer Biology, where many scientists hope to publish their articles.
I remember what my son told the interviewers.
"Jesus, 2000 years ago, gave a huge amount of concern and interest to those who were the outcasts and rejects of society. He had mercy on them and healed them, even those with leprosy. He also had mercy on sinners and even on prostitutes.
"If Jesus would walk in our modern day, I believe He would have mercy on those with AIDS and heal them"
The dream that my son has to bring hope to everyone who is suffering from AIDS is a blessing that came as a 'plus' after the miracle of a dollar. I know that God will also add as a 'plus' even more miracles and blessings on the top of all these. I give all the glory to the Lord!
There are three types of persons in this world. First is "natural man" and this is those who don't believe in Jesus.
It doesn't matter how many times they have gone to church. They are not a children of God yet.
These kind of people should put their faith in Jesus right now. I pray that they would repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their God and Savior.
The second type of person is Spirit-filled person. It is he who has Jesus in his heart. They are those who confessed Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. The ruler of their heart is Jesus. They are filled with the Spirit and they bear the fruit of the Spirit.
The third type of person is carnal man. He believes in Jesus but the center of his heart frequently changes its master. He tries to live with his own power. This kind of person is ill in his spirit and often in his flesh and lives in defeat and frustration. Most people could belong in this catagory.
Let's close our eyes right now. It doesn't matter who brought you to this church.
If you only live a "church life" but have not personally received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, please raise your hand. Yes, there's nothing to be ashamed of. Please pray after me.
" Dear Jesus, I want to know you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer with me, your sins are forgiven. You have eternal life. You became a citizen of heaven.
I ask those who are in the 3rd category. Place your hand on your chest and pray.
Though you believe in Jesus, you are still not broken and molded. You are still the owner of your heart. There is no difference between you and the people of the world even though you believe. Once you step out the church door, a life of hell begins.
We need to repent! Let us pray in repentance. I pray that you will be people filled with the Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit comes to fill us, we can make history, just like when the Holy Spirit came at the Pentecost.
May God bless you richly as you continue to serve our God and continue your journey to heaven!
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