PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • 21. If You Don't Leave We'll Kill You!

  • If You Don't Leave We'll Kill You! 

    "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachalia. And it came to pass in the month of Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jew that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 1:1-2) 

    When I first arrived at Jangpali, the previous church members had all left the church and only a few students still attended. No matter how much I looked, there was no hope. On top of that, if I preached the gospel and the Word, gangsters threatened me saying, "If you don't leave, we'll kill you!" At that time, as I read the book of Nehemiah, I felt as if my situation was so similar to that of Nehemiah's. As the book of Nehemiah strongly touched my heart, it imparted upon me strength and courage. 

    Till then, I hadn't experienced the Word of God being my strength and power. All I did was pray and cry about my difficult situation. The few students that attended church were all naive and young, so they weren't ones I could share my problems with, nor were they able to provide me comfort and strength. I was so scared and staggered, not knowing how to handle the situation before me. 


    Eventually Nehemiah Is Victorious 
    But then, I began to read the book of Nehemiah, and I realized that the things Nehemiah faced were so similar to my experiences. Eventually, Nehemiah wore the grace of King Artaxerxes and was able to go to Jerusalem and build a wall. While on the other hand, Sanballat and Tobiah were against it all, and opposed the building of the wall, interfering with its construction by lying to the people and feeding the prophets with hopeless words. It seemed as if the conditions which he had experienced, were the same ones that I was in here in Jangpali while I tried to preach the gospel and lead the church. But as I continued to read Nehemiah, those circumstances he was in had ended, and Nehemiah eventually finished building the wall and set up the city doors. Therefore, the critics were at a loss for words. Seeing the outcome, I was so thankful. 

    When Nehemiah built the wall, there were people who helped Nehemiah. They were some who built one section of wall, and there were others who repaired the wall on the opposite side of their houses, and there were those who built the wall with their daughters, who built the section of the wall in front of their own houses. There were even some people who didn't participate in the construction as well. 

    Although the young brothers and sisters within the church understood my heart and poured their hearts into helping me, there were some brothers and sisters who were lost in despair, thinking, "Hey, this won't work." There were also others who just stood opposing us, and badmouthed me. 

    As I saw this, I felt that this situation was so similar to that of Nehemiah's. And as I realized that my circumstances were as Nehemiah's, I gained the faith that I'd be victorious, gaining peace, courage, and comfort, just as Nehemiah had. 

    Every week as I read the Book of Nehemiah, I shared the Word when we had Bible studies. It gave the brothers and sisters and I such great, inspiring strength and courage. Although there were people who were against us, and interfered with our work, it didn't serve as a problem in our hearts. The fear, the thought that things wouldn't progress, the thought that we would be beaten out by the gangsters, and the fear of getting hurt all disappeared from my heart. Those were no longer problems, and happiness overflowed in my heart. I continued to have the faith that, "No matter what they may do, we will prevail. God is with us." The gangsters were no longer a problem, and I was thankful. Their threats became weaker, till they no longer bullied us. 

    Even now, whenever I share the words of how Nehemiah built the city walls, I would remember back to those times. Then I truly had faith in God, and after staying there for about a year and a half, as it came time to leave, I realized that God had worked in us according to our faith. Many brothers and sisters received salvation, and those that condemned us were put to shame. 

    If I look back now, in order to give me grace, God had made their hearts stubborn so they would criticize me. God had led my heart allowing me to forget my suffering by reading Nehemiah, and through showing me the Word, he had given me faith. Due to those who condemned and opposed me, my faith grew. I became closer to the Word. God had allowed me the courage to live in the path of believing in the Word. 

    At that time, in Jangpali, within our hearts, we were reading Nehemiah and giving testimonies believing that, "God has done this, and will allow us to be victorious." The thought that, "If we preach the gospel, just as the wall of Jerusalem was strongly built, our church will also grow strongly,"¢®¢®flamed in our hearts. And according to that faith, God had worked in our church one by one, starting from then we witnessed each day. We witnessed the gospel in the market on market days, at the jails, as well as in neighboring towns. The brothers and sisters were happy and joined in. Each evening we gathered and had fellowship, which continued throughout the night. 


    Nehemiah's God, My God 
    Although I had led a ministry for many years till now, there isn't a ministry that remains more in my heart as the one I had led while in Jangpali for a year. And there isn't a time God had given me more strength. Back then, God had helped me. Unable to forget how He lived and worked in me, from time to time, I still reminisce about my time in Jangpali. When I was without aid, God had helped me. When I had nothing to look toward to, He was my hope. And when there was no one to help me, with the Word God, He had motivated my heart, leading me within faith. 

    Before, Nehemiah just seemed like a book within the Bible, but it was a book of hope and motivation for me, who was in Jangpali. Each word and each verse was power that led me, and when I saw it lead me, I was so thankful. Even afterwards, as I read Nehemiah, I would often share the words during retreats or fellowship, and each time I did, it touched me anew. 

    In order to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, God made known to Nehemiah that the walls of the city of Jerusalem had been burned and crushed, who was a servant of Babylon, serving wine to the king. That news brought him much pain. As God's heart was related unto Nehemiah, from then on, He led that heart, solving his problems, and eventually, the walls of Jerusalem were completed. God also provided the strength to overcome the difficulties that were present in building the city walls with the dirt. He resolved the problems, and eventually, the construction was done. 

    To tell you the truth, during those times, as people act upon habit, void of the gospel, it seems impossible and very difficult to raise a true church through the gospel. But I believe that the God who had worked in Nehemiah, and the God who had worked in Jangpali, will still work through me now. And when I see that God is doing His works through me, I have hope and gratitude. 

    The life I led at Jangpali, doesn't remain only as hardships and difficulties. Rather, each situation is kept as a precious jewel, and remains as a precious testimony. When I still think back to that time, I overflow with strength. The God who was with Nehemiah, He, who was with Esther; I feel so glad and blessed that God helps and protects me. I praise God.



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