January 2007

My dear American Friends:

I used to instruct my Seminary students to pray and pull at least one pine tree by the root, as they pray all night in the prayer mountain on the New Year's eve. On the New Year's eve., some people go to all night party, some people go to Church for the first communion of the year, and some Korean Bible College students go to the prayer mountain and pray all night usually hanging on to a pine tree. They pray so hard that sometimes some of those young pine trees are pulled out by the roots in the morning. It may not be right ecologically, but those prayers moved mountains and changed the nations! I realize that I am getting too old to pull a tree by the root, but I have heard and I know that there are still many Korean Christians who spend all night on New Year's Eve in those mountains praying. And believe me, Korean New Year's Eves are not warm. They often go down -- way below freezing point, and those Christians cover themselves with vinyl plastic sheets like in the enclosed pictures, and keep praying.
They often fast as they pray in the prayer mountain.... some of them as long as forty days. The critical time is when they start to eat again. They have to be very careful eating after fasting. In fact, recently a wife of a Korean preacher passed away on account of improper eating after fasting, but I know many Korean preachers who fasted forty days and became stronger in faith and ministry. Our Geon Children's Home used to take care of those preachers who fasted and became sick by improper feeding. We know how to feed those patients. I remember one particular preacher who lived in our Home for over a year due to the same reason, but now he is a senior preacher of the largest Church of Christ in Korea!
For last whole month, I shouted in the Churches "Open your doors for the lost and hungry!" I felt that Churches, particularly those big denominational Churches, are becoming rich and closed. I felt that Church doors are becoming too high for the smaller people to enter. There are at least six hundred homeless people around Seoul railroad station sleeping on the frozen subway floor covering themselves with newspapers or vinyl sheets. So "Why are those Church doors closed?" I shouted and I decided to do something about it, so a bunch of Korean preachers bought hundreds of underwears and gave out to those homeless people on Christmas eve. It was a moving event and it looked like a mountain was moving, as the homeless people were there as many as a mountain. But we know that we probably saved more than a few people from freezing to death this winter.
I published, last year, a little book called "Prescription of Life." It has sub-title saying "for the health of your mind, read a page or two when your hearts are hungry," and the book has been quite popular. I decided not to sell them, but if I did, I probably made good money. But then, if I did, my heart probably became very poor and hungry to death. Last year, to our birthday children, I gave one of those little books with some cash, as birthday present. In fact, another book of mine called "KEYS of LIFE" is about to be published. And I am considering it as my New Year gift to the world.
Our children, each and every one of them, received little gifts for Christmas and New Year. It took days for us to buy personal presents for 85 children and 20 workers, but for each of them, it probably was not much.... perhaps socks, a mitten, a toy, a book etc. Little things may not be much to some people who have room full of toys, but to our children, they are treasures. So the joy of Christmas and New year doubles and triples to those who had not much to begin with. The scripture for my New Year sermon will be Psalm 30: 5 "Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yours because of Calvary,

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