My dear American Friends:
I bought a small cake for me and celebrated myself. It has been fifty years yesterday since I started to minister a small Church. It was right after the cease fire in the Korean war. I was asked to minister a small flock in the front line. I just got out of the military duty and was eager to work. For the Church building, they had an old US military tent, and for the pulpit, they had some old GI C-ration boxes. For the baptistry, near by creek was sufficient, but there were always the danger of mines exploding or bullets flying, so we reserved an old military oil-drum for that purpose. What I really liked the best was the Church bell which was a shining shell of a howitzer bullet and it rang better than any other Church bell. When the wind blew hard, the tent and the pulpit were gone, but the bell and the people were there. There was nothing like microphone, but my young voice carried well and drew practically everybody of the village. People sat on the ground or old straw mattresses and they were all over the places; in front of me, back of me, beside me and even on top of me. (there were some windows in the tent and some children climbed the tent and looked through the window over me.) but they listened very carefully. The preacher was young and inexperienced, but the audience was THE BEST I EVER HAD!
Actually, the audience were young and old and all kinds; from three generation Christians to the impossibles. I remember there was a grand-ma whom people called "Grand-ma evil spirit" in the literal translation. The reason why she was called so was because she was one of those loan-sharks and was using lot of girls for the immoral practices. I felt that I ought to reach her somehow. One time, I went to talk to her and she shut the door so hard on my nose that my nose bled. So the next time when I went, I did not go close to the door. I took some of my Gospel tracts, shouted over the fence "Grandma, believe in Jesus," and turned around and ran home. I did it many many times. One Sunday morning, as I was preaching in the Church I saw her coming through the back door and sat listening to the sermon for over an hour and when the invitation was given, she came forward. According to her testimony, she was sitting in her toilet and she wanted something to read, and there were plenty of Gospel tracts all around her. She started to read one by one, and by the time when she ran out of them, she wanted to come to Church. She gave her life to Christ on the same day and SHE STARTED TO CHANGE! She still had that job of loan sharking... she would go to the people who borrowed money from her and they say "Please Grandma, have mercy, give us a couple more weeks." She would say, "No, I can not. But if you promise me that you will go to Church next Sunday, I might give you one more week." And she used to have Church full of people who borrowed money from her.
I can not say that I started many Churches, I can not say that I started big Churches (some Korean Churches claim to have over hundred thousand members), but I thank the Lord that God gave me chances to start many small struggling Churches among refugees, defectors and the poor oppressed people in the slum areas... kind of Church where people want to go to cry. (I was happy to find "cry room" signs in American Churches). During the last fifty years, our Bible College students grew from 17 (started in 1965) to over 700. Korean Christian Churches grew from 50 to over 500. Korean Christians in general, grew from a half million to over ten million Christians and the most significant of all, we had no more than two Korean missionaries, now there are OVER 5000 KOREAN MISSIONARIES all over the world! My ministry started from the ruins of the war still smoking. And I am afraid that Korea is still smoking... with the nuclear weapons this time. Korea was surrounded by the enemies fifty years ago... and I am afraid that Korea is still surrounded by the Atheistic forces; billions of people in the Red China, Socialistic Mongolia, Viet Congs, still wandering Russia and of course the most closed and militant North Korea all around us. And Still the only Hope is the preaching of the Gospel I BELIEVE!!
I am afraid that I aged a little bit shouting the motto of the Gospel. And all kind of physical enemies attacked me too. (This days, my left leg was attacked and it takes more than two legs to get up, but I am still shouting. In fact, I am planning to go to China this month.) I have a dream, I have a dream of evangelizing whole Asia! And I can see the dreams when I close my eyes. One of our children asked me the other day "Why people close their eyes when they pray." I don't know about "them," but If I open my eyes, I only see what's in front. When I close my eyes, I can see Asia, and the world and God's Hands on it. Truly, I can say that I CLOSE MY EYES TO BE ABLE TO SEE!
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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