PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • God Who Never Disappoints Anyone Who Seeks Him

  • I don’t remember how I spent my first week in the Communication Training Center since I didn’t even have chance to think about anything being tortured by the seniors. From the second week, as I started to get accustomed to it, the heart that wanted to pray, to read the Bible and to have worship service was developing strongly in my heart. One Saturday evening, I called one of my colleagues during the resting time and witnessed the gospel to him. His name was Soon-jong Song, who heard the Words of truth and was assured of his salvation. Later another friend named Chang-won Kim listened to the gospel from me and received salvation as well. The three of us put our hearts together saying “Let’s witness the gospel to the other trainees and have service in this center on Sundays.” I conducted the service and Brother Soon-jong Song invited the trainees while Brother Chang-won Kim stayed in the quarters and took care of the personal chores of all of us.


    There were many difficulties because I was a trainee and wanted to conduct worship service. They normally didn’t allow trainees to go to religious activities even on holidays since there were frequent desertions in those days. I managed to get approval from the commander, officer and sergeant on duty as well as chiefs of each quarter but we didn’t have a chapel to have service. We were visiting every single quarter and shouted “Anybody who wants to join the service, come forward!” and about a hundred trainees gathered, yet we didn’t have any place to have service. We were having service in a valley trembling in the cold weather of winter. 


    Every time I finished preaching the Word, I invited, “If there is anybody who wants to believe in Jesus, please raise your hand and come forward.” And many people came out. We preached the gospel of the forgiveness of sin. The number of the people was increasing as time went by from one hundred, to two hundred, to three hundred. . . . I was able to preach the gospel to many trainees there.


    One morning while on the way going to the place for training class for that day, I heard a paging announcement from the headquarter saying “Ock Soo Park of ROC 311th Class! Report to the headquarter office!” I worried a bit because they hardly ever call a trainee for good news. As I entered into the headquarter office, the chief education officer who was a lieutenant said “Oh! PSC (Private Second Class) Park, would you sit here, please?” My eyes popped wide open in surprise. A private second class soldier should be commanded with some words of curse but this lieutenant very politely gave me a seat.

    PSC Park! What were you doing before you came into the army?”

    “I was working as a preacher.”

    “Ah! I guessed so. I also was zealous before I joined the army. I, however, lost all the faith, drinking and smoking cigarettes since I came into the army and finally became the same as the worldly people. I always felt bad living like that. Yesterday, I heard singing of hymns and traced it to the valley where I saw you conducting worship service with a congregation of trainees. I couldn’t sleep throughout last night, thinking ‘What am I doing, being an officer, when a private second class is doing the works of God like that?’ I was struggling a great deal in my heart. PSC Park! I would like to help the work you are doing. Isn’t there anyway I can help?”

    “Yes, Officer! We do not have a place for worship. I would like you to allow us to use one of the classrooms.”

    “Oh, that is not difficult.”

    The chief education officer said to one of the sergeants beside him.

    “Sergeant Kim, give a key for the theater 16 to PSC Park so he can have service anytime he wants.”

    That was how I could get the service place and could get close to the chief officer personally. He often told me “PSC Park, please pray for me and preach the Words to me whenever you find a chance.”

    All the trainees were supposed to be dispatched to the camps where they are posted after 16 weeks of training. Two friends and I discussed this matter. “One of us three has to remain here. Who will lead the service if all of us go away? Let’s pray that at least one of us may stay.” We started to pray asking God to allow one of us to stay in this camp so that the works of the gospel may continue. After 16 weeks passed we had to graduate. I was promoted to a private first class on the day of the graduation and I went to the chief education officer to express my gratitude.

    I said “Officer! I really thank you for helping me in so many ways while I was here. We are graduating today.”

    The chief education officer said “Hold one minute, PFC Park! I have something to tell you. I was aware that you are graduating today and as a matter of fact, I was trying to send you to a nice post. I was thinking about this camp and that camp for you, but I came to conclusion to let you stay here, because I think that it would be helpful for my spiritual life if you are with me. Please don’t be disappointed and help me do the works of the gospel in this camp.”

    “Yes, sir! Well noted.”

    I was extremely happy when I was walking out of the office. I was praying to God that I would be able to remain to witness the gospel in this Communication Training Center but it seemed impossible. In order for a trainee to go to a camp he wanted he had to be in the top five or he had to have a so called “special background” and I was neither outstanding nor had a background. I was ranked the 13th when I graduated. It was impossible for me to stay in the training center according to the situation. I could not restrain my thankful heart so I ran to the bunker where I always knelt down and prayed.

    “Lord, You are the true living God. You are the living God who never disappoints anyone who prays to You. Where would there be another one like You? Lord, You are the best!”

    That bunker was well constructed to seal the sound perfectly; no matter how I shouted aloud inside, once I locked the door no one would be disturbed. I prayed shouting prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord. Tears of indescribable thanks were flowing from my eyes. Finally I could spend my army life in that training center by the grace of God witnessing the gospel to countless soldiers until I was discharged from military service.

    (An excerpt from A Grain of Mustard Seed by Pastor Ock Soo Park)

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