PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • 7. Greater in Peace and farther from the World / Missionary School / Trai…

  • 7. Greater in Peace and farther from the World / Missionary School / Trai…

     

     

    Greater in Peace and farther from the World

     

    After receiving salvation, God led me away from the people of the world. Back then I wasted my time either hanging out with the young adults at church or gathering with my friends at their house or our meeting place to do bad things. But as I received salvation and I testified the salvation I had received, my friends started to deny me one by one. When meeting my friends I couldn't help but to give my salvation testimony. I thought that they too would be enthusiastic as I was and say, 'I should receive salvation too!' But rather than to be happy, they thought strangely of me. The time I spent at the church side room with my friends naturally diminished. Rather, I started to help out my dad with his work at home, and when I had spare time, I read the bible.

    When I first read the bible, there wasn't much I neither understood nor realized. However, my heart was peaceful, and I became reluctant to put the Bible down. A peace I never experienced before resided in my heart. I always said to myself, " I'll just read this verse, then I'll put it down. Just this part right here..." I would end up reading all of Matthew, then all of the book of Mark... This happened often.

     

    To tell you the truth, my life then was so disturbing. Having done many bad things, I always felt as if I was on the run. But after receiving salvation, although my situation was the same, my heart was at peace. I no longer enjoyed hanging out with worldly friends, and as I continued to read the bible my heart settled down.

     

    Missionary School

     

    Back then elder Moon lived not to far from us. He fixed hair trimmers at the marketplace in our countryside for a living. He lived very poorly. Elder Moon was a bit different from just your average person. He was a model citizen and person with a profound heart. I had always had a deep respect for him. I often went to his house to play and hear stories. One day when I went over, he beckoned me to him.

     

    "Ock-soo, what do you do these days?"

    "There isn't much I do, but hang around."

    "That isn't good. There's a great opportunity that just arose and I was wanting to tell you about it..."

    "Elder, what kind of opportunity?"

    "Have you ever heard of missionary school? It's the kind of school where missionaries from America or other foreign countries come to Korea to train Koreans to become great servants of God. There is a new one that just started, and I would like for you to go."

    "Elder, can a person as I go to such a place?"

    "Yeah, of course. If you go there, you'll be living with American people, so you'll always eat western foods, chocolate and drink coffee.... You don't know what a great place it is."

    The elder often talked of 'living with Americans, and eating western foods.' However, my heart wasn't into those things. I was more worried that I wouldn't be qualified to go to a missionary school. But I immediately told the elder that I would go. The reality that I lived in was so wearisome and unpleasant that I wanted to seek for refuge away from it.

     

    I prepared to go to missionary school by going to my friends' photography studio and taking a picture, which I used to put together my application. Afterwards, according to the elder, I went to Taegu and there met Missionary Dick for the first time.

     

    When we first met, it was difficult for us to converse. Missionary Dick wasn't fluent in Korean, nor was I fluent in English, but he told me to meet him at the second floor of the Taegu Theology School that evening, where a translator would be waiting so we could talk. So, I headed to the second floor of the Taegu Theology School.

     

    That missionary school was started by the born-again missionaries, amongst the many missionaries from various missions. As they came to Korea and saw the Korean churches, they realized that although there were many people who attended church, there weren't churches that led the souls to being born again, and that testified the truth. That is why, in order to raise new spiritual workers, they had started that missionary school. It was a school that was started through fasting and tears of the missionaries.

    The missionaries announced that they were choosing about ten people out of the whole country, and I was discouraged because I didn't believe that I could pass the test. Luckily Brother Sung-joon Kim who had translated for Missionary Gee-soo Gil at our old church was also there, so I asked, "Brother Kim, I wan to enter the missionary school too. What am I supposed to do?" Brother Kim responded by saying, "Brother Park, I too want to enter this missionary school, but things don't go exactly according to the way I want either." As he said this he told me a couple of things this missionary school valued; listening to them, I felt there was no way I could get in.

     

    Although I found this out afterwards, they didn't look at one's ability to speak English or how smart one was. They wanted to know if you were born again or not, because they were looking for born-again Christians. So, the missionary asked me a few questions concerning my spiritual life, and I responded by telling him a few things that had been going on in my life. And to my surprise, the missionary admitted me into the missionary school.

     

    The missionary school building was fashioned like a Japanese building and was located behind an elementary school in Samduk, Taegu. Dick York, Marlon Baker, Terric Worl, Harry Wymen, and other missionaries trained and taught us the Word.

     

    During the day we mainly had Bible study at the missionary school. The Word that I heard then, I had never heard before while attending church in my life. Each word one by one found its place in my heart, and to me it was such a great grace. I was nineteen years old, and till then all I was told to do at church was to try my hardest, all they stressed at church had been my actions. But what I heard at missionary school wasn't to do or not do things. They explained the scriptures, word by word, which planted faith in our hearts. The missionaries never once told us to do something. But after listening to the Word, the desire to read the Bible, pray, and preach the gospel rose in our hearts. I couldn't help but be amazed.

     

    Training to depend on God

     

    Not only the Word, but the life training and testimonies were more astonishing. My father had been sending me a sack of rice each month. He did this because he was so happy that I had directed my unruly life towards one of faith, training at the missionary school. But the brothers told me to tell my father not to send the rice. The reason was because I was supposed to be living by faith, not depending on my father. And so, there was a time I was a bit stunned.

     

    The missionary taught us to live a life of faith in real everyday life. He told us not to make money, not to bring money from home, nor to borrow from anyone, nor act as if you needed money, but to solely pray to the Lord. He enabled us to understand through questions such as, 'If you are in the deep jungles of Africa or Brazil preaching the gospel and you confront hardship, will you be able to receive help from your father who is many miles away in your native country? Can your father help you when you are in the jungle and you encounter a tiger or leopard? No, right? We should have faith in God only. Trust the Lord in all things, and depend upon Him.' And he required of us such training in our daily lives.

     

    Of course we prayed much before the Lord. And we knew in knowledge that He would answer our prayers. However, since we failed to truly believe that God would provide, we always tried to find humanistic methods of going about and doing things even after having prayed. However, I was in a different situation. Since we were told not to bring money, I had to tell my father to stop bringing me rice. I told my father that we lived by faith, when he asked how I would eat, but he didn't understand. No matter what, the provisions of rice from home halted, and I too started to pray. But just because I prayed, I didn't think that God would hear my prayers.

     

    Do You Have a Father?

     

    One day we were sitting starving, when the missionary walked in and asked,

     

    "Did you eat?"

    "No we didn't"

    "Why not?"

    "Because we had no food..."

    "Why don't you have any food?"

    "Because we couldn't buy any."

    "Why didn't you buy any?"

    "We didn't have money."

    I didn't know it was wrong to starve, but the missionary reprimanded us for not having faith.

    "Do you have a father?"

    "Yes, I have a father."

    "If you ask your father for food does he give it to you or not?"

    "He gives me food."

    "Then why couldn't you receive it from God? What kind of faith is that?"

     

    I couldn't understand what he was trying to say at all. It was hard on me as well as the missionary who taught me. But since the missionary had stood firm that God would hear our prayers, and that we were to never ask of others nor show our need, but to pray to God; so there was no other direction for us to turn to. It's true that at first we starved much and went through many hardships, but since we couldn't help but go through that training, we had to depend on the Lord.

     

    Some brothers said they prayed, and God had answered their prayers, but I didn't easily believe them. If by chance we happened to have some food, I couldn't understand if it was God answering our prayers, or just someone who gave us rice because they felt bad seeing us starve. Through those situations, the missionary taught us to depend upon God one step at a time. At first it seemed impossible, but God had started to wake the faith in my heart one by one. There were many times where we were hungry and very tired, but the missionary led us to truly depend and trust only in the Lord.

     

    If we look around ourselves, there are many pastors who say they're doing God's work. On the other hand, because they are unable to put their lives in God's hands, they struggle due to money. The works of the gospel is God's work, then why wouldn't God help if there were need for money while preaching the gospel? Looking back I can't fully express in words how precious the training in faith we received at the missionary school was. Regardless, through those trying times, God had taught me to trust in Him even for materialistic things. He made it so that I would rely solely upon Him. That is why even though many years have past, I still do not display nor reveal my needs to others. Rather, whenever there was something I needed, I prayed before the Lord, and so was able to have many testimonies of the aid He has bestowed upon me.

     

    Training to preach the Gospel

     

    Another training we received was in preaching the gospel. Before being born again I would just say, "Believe in Jesus. Attend church." But the missionaries did not teach us how to gather the congregation, they taught us how to teach others how they can be born again and sin free. Not only that, but we were sent out everyday in the afternoon to actually witness to others. Those brothers and sisters who went out to witness in the afternoon had always returned full of joy. They were happy, discussing who had received salvation that day. It was so graceful when the souls who the brothers and sisters witnessed to came out during Sunday services to share their testimony.

     

    Yet, it was strange that, although I preached the gospel sharing all the scriptures I knew starting from Genesis to revelations, there wasn't a single person who received salvation through me. The time was flying by, and the work of salvation was arising through others around me, but no matter how hard I tried there was no one who was saved through me.

     

    Once I met this young adult and thought, 'I'm for sure going to lead this young man to salvation,' and so I started to diligently teach him the Bible. One time I spent the whole day preaching the gospel to him. I was not surprised to see him leave, not having received salvation. You don't know how discouraged I became. But that young man came the following Sunday and got up to give a testimony. For a second there I was shocked. I began to wonder and hope that maybe he did receive salvation from the words I preached to him. But he gave a testimony saying, "When I spoke with Brother Park I didn't understand and it gave me a headache, but when I spoke with brother Ryu I was easily able to understand and precisely receive salvation." I was so disappointed. There was never a day I was let down as much as that Sunday. So the more I thought about it, the more I started to try harder to lead others to salvation. 

     



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    Autobiography
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