My dear American Friends:
Happy New Year!
I like the way Moses ended his life. The Lord took him to the top of Mount Nebo and showed him the future of his people. Lots of people end up their lives seeing and thinking of their past life. But MOSES ENDED BY SEEING THE FUTURE! I like that! and I wish to end my life seeing (within my mind) the future of these children! Of course some people will see it different. After all those battles and wondering in the desert, Moses ended up not being able to go into the promised land. So what! It really doesn't matter. When God calls, we go. That's where our work ends! and no regrets! (To me, to end a life when God says 'end' is a successful life). And that's the way I feel this days. Not only I am rather old and weak, but also the military situation in Korea is such that some of our children ask, when they wake up in the morning, "DIDN'T THE WAR START LAST NIGHT?"
Sometimes, some people ask "Why are you, that is South and North Korea, fighting so much?" as if we are a bunch of trigger happy children. I think some of you know the situation when Korea was divided. Actually, we were the victim of the power struggle between the world powers at the end of the World War II and the beginning of the cold war. In fact, the story is that the 38th parallel line was drawn up by some American and Russian staff officers (even if our soldiers also fought against Japanese Imperialism). And we are still struggling in between the big powers of the world today. Anyway, now the world is so small today that, like they say, when one big country sneezes, the rest of the world catches cold.
On Christmas, I preached about the Angel's song in Luke 2:14 and emphasized "Peace on earth, peace AMONG MEN WITH WHOM HE IS PLEASED." I also quoted from Isaiah 11:6-10 "The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra...For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord." The Peace, real Peace, true Peace will come only when this world repents and turns back to Christ. I used to take load of my children on a van and drive them to the prisons to sing. They sang this song from Isaiah 11. The prison chapel was packed by the inmates, no less than 3000, and they were not the most attentive listeners. But when our children sang this song, the auditorium was so silent that, like you say, you could hear a pin drop. I saw tears on the cheeks of many inmates! That's how they yearn for Peace... that's how we yearn for peace.
To many of our children at Geon Christian Children's Home, Christmas story is 'my story.' As Jesus was born in a manger, some of our children were born in in the streets, even in a toilet. Like Jesus had to flee to Egypt as soon as He was born, some of our children had to escape from North Korea and wander through many streets of the foreign land. Like many babies were killed, some of the brothers and sisters, even parents of our children died in the streets, until they found and settled at Geon Christian Children's Home. We had a rather fat boy in our Home who drew pictures very well. One year, I asked him to draw a nativity scene for our Christmas program. He did a fine job, but I found that he drew everybody rather fat...fat shepherds, fat magis, fat Joseph, fat Maria and even a fat baby
Jesus. Everybody said that he should draw again, but I liked the way he related himself...you see, CHRISTMAS WAS HIS STORY ALSO.
Good thing about the continuing military tension is that people are praying more and the more people come to Church. But even if people come or not, the Church will continue. I remember, during the Japanese persecution at the end of World War II, only a handful of people came to Church, but my father used to preach like there were thousand audience. I remember the time when our Church had no attendants but my wife, I preached and shouted so that the neighbors will listen anyway. So, with the loudest voice, I wish you the Lord's Blessings, healing and happiness in this New Year! Actually, as you see in the enclosed picture, the South Korean Christians made the TALLEST LIGHTED CHRISTMAS TREE in the front line, where many North Korean could see, and sang the loudest 'Joy to the world.'
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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