March 2005

Dear American Friends:
    I bet nobody receive as much chocolate presents as I do on his birthday.  The main reason is because my birthday is around Valentine day and I get all  the extra or left-over chocolates from my children as the birthday presents.  Besides, they know that my wife won't let me eat chocolates and that they  will eventually get them back. Anyway, I am afraid that lot of those western customs or celebrations are invading our country...Valentine day, St. Patrick day and what not. I don't mind Saints' days, but I am hoping (I was hoping) that goblins' day like Halloween will not be imported. WE HAVE ENOUGH DEMONS in Korea without importing western goblins. 

February is a month of graduation for the Korean people. Not only is there  a Lunar New Year's day on which everybody graduate the past year, but also  there are many graduation and commencement services, as the new school  years begin in March. I try to go to as many graduation services of our children as possible and that is not easy. One day last month, I attended three graduation services in one day. I try not to be absent in their graduation, as I remember how lonely I felt when nobody came to my graduations. Our Bible College, Seoul Christian University, had a commencement too.

And this year, we conferred our first Doctor of Theology degree. His thesis was "On the Thought and Theology of Sang Hyun Chae," who happened to be my father who was kidnapped and killed by the communists some fifty years ago. I must say that I learned so much more about my father. Many of his essays, sermons and novels were uncovered and discussed. Under the watchful eyes of Japanese rulers, he had to write these in secret (many from the prison cells) and of course, many of them were destroyed when discovered by the rulers. One of many truth about him that I found out was  that he, like me and many of his followers, had so much pain in his heart. You might say he had "HEART OF FLESH" like Ezekiel said. He was deceived and betrayed not a few times, but he never lost the basic trust in human being. He loved the people, even if, as he said, he did not like some of them. His favorite scripture was in 1 Cor. 13:7, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things..."

I would like to think that I also have that BASIC TRUST IN PEOPLE. I was  also deceived and betrayed many times during my ministry of last forty plus years. Sometimes, I was robbed by my own children. My own students cheated me many times. But I believed that they will come back sooner or later. They may wander wrong way sometimes, and I had to wander around the streets of the prostitution searching for my own children...there were times when my suit was wet with tears as well as my sweat, but I believed that they will come back...and most of them did. Some did not, but I believe that they are on their way prodigal son. 

One of our graduates this year was that kind of run-away boy. During his middle school days, he quit school and ran away with his tuition money. We searched and begged him to come back on newspapers. I searched for him so much until every boy in the city looked like him. He came back three years later dressed like a beggar, and we received him. In fact, we found him sleeping in our Chapel. Later on he said that he remembered the scripture he heard many times, "Come unto me...and I WILL GIVE YOU REST." He studied hard since and now is graduating. He placed his graduation cap on my head and said, "You deserve this." I couldn't say anything as I felt like crying and I didn't want him to see me crying. Again, my father's favorite scripture came back to me. To me, "the ministry" can be defined in that one verse..."Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...." 

Come to think of it we deceived and betrayed our Lord many times, but Christ  never changed his basic trust in us...that we will come back. Often times, I don't like myself, but He liked me and loved me. And He took me back as I was. Did you know that the Chinese character 'LOVE' is made of two characters "ACCEPTING MIND." God looked at my mind and accepted it. He trusted me! And it meant more than anything else to me. These days, I am learning a bit of the meaning of "accepting mind." I spend lot of time holding and feeding our babies. And believe me, they keep dropping all kinds of things on my suits...not only food, milk, soup, but also tears, snivel and even something else. In fact, after a while, I gave up taking my suits to the dry-cleaning. But I feel that I am learning a little bit of the meaning of "Love."

Yours because of Calvary,


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