PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • 9. God Led Me To Decide My Heart / Penniless Mission Trip / The Lord Who …

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    God Led Me To Decide My Heart

     

    Missionary school life was very simple. We woke up early in the mornings, and gathered for individual time of prayer and Bible reading, then afterwards we held a prayer meeting. After our prayer meeting we would eat breakfast and clean up. Next was our morning Bible study, and afterwards we usually took the time to go out and witness. Life in missionary school looked very simple, but it was very different from the spiritual world I had, while attending a Presbyterian Church in the past. Missionary school led my heart to a new world I never before imagined.

     

    Before salvation I was such a troublemaker, I constantly worried my father.However, when I received salvation and went to the missionary school, my dad was very happy. He was curious as to how I lived in missionary school. He would often deliberately come to the missionary school and ask Missionary Dick about the life I led. My dad asked me, "You'll be needing money for food and rent, what will you do?" "I depend on God," was my reply. But I guess he still felt a bit uneasy, because each month he would send me a sack of rice. The rice my dad sent brought us great joy, because we had no other food. We were able to sustain three months with the rice he had sent us.

     

    However, one day a brother came to me and quietly said, "Brother Park, it's great that your dad brings rice for us to eat, but till when are you going to depend on him?" At first I didn't understand what he meant. Because I lacked in many ways, compared to the other students, I was proud that my family sent rice for me to share it with the others. But that brother sincerely fellowshipped with me and advised, "Brother Park, since you have stepped into the path of faith in God, don't rely on your father or the world that lies before you, rather, pray and depend on God for your food."

     

    "Your dad isn't going to live forever, nor are you going to always be by his side, do you think you can go on foreign mission depending on your dad? Tell your dad not to send you rice anymore. Instead of depending on him, pray to God and learn to receive even the little things from God."

     

    We often heard this during bible study so it was easy to understand. But when I thought of not receiving rice from my father I felt burdened, and so I hesitated. At that time I was unable to have the faith that the brother had. Nonetheless I followed the brother's advice and told my dad not to send rice. My father was worried and asked, "Then how are you going to live?" I told him, "We're all okay. Father, you no longer have to worry about us. Please don't send the rice." However, because I lacked faith I began to worry and was a bit nervous.

     

    That year I spent training at missionary school made me see that I shouldn't rely on the world, that I shouldn't look to myself, and that I shouldn't look to the situation that is set before my eyes, but to depend on God and to trust only in him. I came to realize that having to trust the Lord, and not the world that is seen through one's eyes, was very biblical.

     

    Since the atmosphere of missionary school was based upon trust in the Lord, even though I had many questions thinking, 'How is this possible for someone with so little faith as me?' I decided in my heart to take this path. There remained a part of me that had no idea how I was going to trust only in God, but I believed that there is none other than Jesus who can truly help me in my life, and that when I looked solely upon the Lord, He would protect me.

     

    After deciding to walk that path of faith, I prayed with heart that, "I no longer had the help of my father or others, the only one I had to look to was God." From then my prayers became more sincere. As I prayed, the heart to look up to God grew. However, I also thought, 'still, wouldn't there be someone willing to help me?' And I would look towards people who might be able to help.

     

     

    Penniless Mission Trip

     

    One day the missionary announced, "In a week you'll be leaving for a money less mission trip so keep this in mind and be prepared." We were a bit frightened when we thought of going on the money less mission trip, so we spent that week praying.

     

    The morning that we left for the mission trip the missionary called us together and set us up in pairs. Next, he took all the money that was in his pockets and laid them out on the floor and said, "Brothers I want you all to do the same." The money from all the brothers' pockets didn't amount to much when gathered, but the missionary made us put it all in the offering bin, and gave us just enough money to leave the outskirts of Daegu.

     

    Our team had to go towards Youngchun in Pohang city for our mission trip. We rode the bus as far as our money would take us, then we got off and walked towards Youngchun. Rather than thinking to witness, all we thought of was, "Where are we going to sleep? Where are we going to eat? And where are we going to catch a ride?" Even as we witnessed we thought, 'I wish someone would feed us, or give us a place to rest...'

     

    We arrived at Youngchun and began to preach. It was already evening and we had spent the whole day walking without a bite to eat, and so we were very fatigued. We witnessed till nine at night but not a single person came and invited us to have dinner.It was 9:30, and we could no longer witness, so we started to walk towards Kyungju. 10 o' clock passed, then 11 o' clock, as morning approached we were so tired that we couldn't bear to walk any longer. I earnestly wanted to find a bridge to go under to rest, and so I told this to the brother who was by me.

     

    "I'm so tired. I can't stand it. Let's go under a bridge and take a nap. I'm tired, cold and hungry having walked non stop without lunch nor dinner."

     

    "Brother Park, let's be patient for just a bit more. Wouldn't you think that God has prepared a place for us?"

     

    Hearing what that brother said, I continued to walk. But as we walked I once again began to whine like a child.

    "Brother, I can't walk any longer. Let's take a short nap. Let's just find a place and sleep before we continue on."

     

    "Brother Park, when things get difficult, it gives us a great incentive to look to the Lord! God probably has something prepared for us, let's just go a bit further."

     

    And so I had to continue to follow the brother. It was dawn and the dew began to set as I lagged behind with a crabby heart. I was cold, hungry and tired. We were walking past a small church in the country when I once again exclaimed, "Let's rest for a moment." I guess the brother felt bad and had pity on me, because he agreed to go in.

     

    Most churches in the country leave their doors open, so we simply walked right in and began to pray before the lectern. The brother kept on praying, however, I immediately fell asleep. I had been sleeping when I woke up to strange sounds, which were the prayers of people who came to pray in the morning. The co-pastor of the church saw my weary figure on the floor and went inside and prepared a place for me to rest. To my relief, the brother I was with was a friend of the co-pastor of that church. My fellow brother led the early morning prayer meeting. We were served the breakfast of that day and fellowshipped with him. And we started to go toward Pohang.

     

    While walking the next morning, we stopped before a cemetery to read the Bible and pray, and then we went as far as Ahngang. As soon as we got there we went from house to house preaching the gospel. When a family from that place listened to the words we preached, they asked us to stay at their house and to continue to preach the word. We stayed at that house a week and went from house to house preaching the gospel. Although our present situation was fine, and there was nothing to worry about, due to my lack of faith I began to worry ahead of time about what might next. Therefore, we gracefully spent that week with the family.

     

    When we left, that family had given us bus fare.Yet, that fare was just enough for only one person to return to Daegu. With that money, the two of us was able to only get as far as Kyugngiu, so we went there. We were witnessing within the train when someone tapped our shoulders and asked to see us. Wanting to treat us to a meal, he escorted us to a restaurant, but it was closed. He commented saying, "Today I wanted to buy a meal for those witnessing, but this restaurant is closed. Let's go try a different place." So we went to a different restaurant, but they were closed as well. And so he said, "I made some time within my busy schedule today because I wanted to treat you to a meal, but all the restaurants seem to be closed, so what if I just give you some money so that you can get a bite to eat before you leave," while handing us some money.

     

    I don't remember how much he had given us, but it was just enough to pay for the fare back to Daegu, as well as for us to buy lunch to eat. God had enabled this to happen, because if the restaurant had not been closed and the gentleman had bought us lunch, we wouldn't have had the fare to return to Daegu. Through this incident my heart stood stronger believing that, "God really protects and looks after us."

     

    Before going to missionary school I said I believed in God, but I had lived according to worldly and humanistic ways. But when those methods no longer worked, that's when I attempted to trust in the Lord. However at missionary school we were able to train to depend on God and forsake the possible ways of man. I'm truly a foolish and naive person, but as I received training I was able to experience faith in my heart little by little.

     

    Later we were able to go on a money less mission trip a second time. We were told to travel towards Chungdo. Even the missionaries, who were unable to speak Korean, filled their bags with fliers and went empty handed. As I saw this I felt, "They truly live by faith, and they are teaching us this same faith."

     

    Even in the mission trip headed towards Milyang Chungdo, we didn't depend on people, and experienced God helping us. We had finished our money less mission trip to Milyang and started walking towards Daegu on Friday in order to get there by Saturday afternoon. We passed Chungdo and approached the vicinity of Kyungsan that evening. We had starved all day and were fatigued. The night crept up on us, and there was no place for us to sleep.

     

    As we approached Kyungsan we stumbled upon an elder who had passed out on the road. The elder was drunk and his face was hurt. We couldn't abandon the old man who lay there drunk, so we helped him up and aided him to Kyungsan where he said he lived. We had to walk 8 kilometers before reaching Kyungsan, but we were so tired. As the brother and I both stood on either side, helping the wavering elder, he would mumble, "My shoes!" to find that his shoes were gone. In that dark we groped around for his shoes and placed them back on his feet and continued on our journey, when a while later he would once again shout, "My shoes!" I became so fed up to the point that I wanted to just leave him there. But as we walked about another 4 kilometers he was able to recollect his thoughts, and the way his footsteps became smoother. By the time we approached Kyungsan he was nearly awaken from his drunkenness.

     

    It was 11 at night when we arrived at Kyungsan. There was a street lamp located at the towns entrance where a group of kids were hanging out. As we entered, the youths eyed us. Then one among them suddenly exclaimed, "Dad, where are you coming from?" he was surprised to see his wounded father and asked how he got hurt. We told him in detail how we came to accompany the elder home. The youth with such gratitude invited us to his house. We ended up spending the night at his house. It was past 12 am when we arrived, but that family prepared dinner for us with sincerity. With the time we had, we preached the gospel. We were so tired that when one preached the gospel the other slept, then when the one who slept would wake up and preach the word, the other would sleep. This is how we preached the gospel. That night we ate and slept at their house and the next day we safely returned to Daegu with train tickets they had purchased for us.

     

     

    The Lord Who Opens Our Paths Towards God

     

    God did not leave us in our hardships. He always helped us from situations that seemed impossible in human perspective. But because we do not believe that God will help us we become insecure and frantic, and end up using human methods. As we received training in missionary school, we learned not the teachings of this world, but of God.

     

    God allowed a way for us to be led by Him, by causing us to lean on Him and to be lead by His voice. There were many times when I followed my fleshly ambitions and the temptations of the world, but at those instances God did not let me fall into the sins of the world and its temptations, rather, He opened a way for me to follow Him. When I think about this grace I can only say that the time spent at missionary school was blessed. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

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