March 2007

My dear American Friends:

I was watching two little girls, as we were eating together. The younger girl was six years old and she was sad most of time. I saw the older girl whisper something to the ear of the younger and suddenly the sad face of the younger one blossomed out with a big smile. I wondered what the older girl said, so I asked her later. The girl answered, "Oh, it's nothing, I told her that I will hold her hand tomorrow when we go to school." To our children, little things like holding hands can be the happiest thing in the world.

To us, the month of February is full of happy occasions and in a way, sad occasions. We usually have graduation services of the schools in February. And not a few children graduate all grades of schools in February, and I try to attend every graduation service, which is not easy. One day, I hopped around five different schools, with a camera and a bouquet. The bouquets are not cheap, and I confess that we used one bouquet for several children for the photo taking, but the children were happy (I think.) Our high schools do not, yet, use gowns for graduations, but most of the high schools wear uniforms and graduation time is a good time to take them off and give to the younger class students. In fact, it is a big part of the ceremony.

I already mentioned one particular graduation ceremony at a prison. It's our Bible correspondence school graduation and not a few of our students are prisoners. But they are wonderful students and our graduation service is usually wet with tears of gratitude. And one graduate was a prisoner in death row. He said that he may die soon, but he felt "this correspondence course was the most worthy thing I did in my life."

Soon after the graduation, four of our children decided to be independent and move away from our Home. Believe me, we don't force anybody out, but they usually decide to move out when they graduate high schools. And we try to help them getting ready like renting a room, buying them sleeping "IBULs" and a few dishes etc. like marrying a son or a daughter. And I pray for them. It's an occasion where we don't know whether to cry or smile, like a parents of a marrying daughter. However, if any one of them are not yet baptized, I try to wait until they decide to be baptized. Through my life experience, I learned that there are no stronger person in this world than those who experienced death once, and to me, the Christians are those who died once and born again through regeneration and sanctification of the Cross.

And there are those who graduate the life. And as a minister and a social worker, as well as being a senior minister myself, I meet many people around me who graduate the life. I have just said "good bye... see you again up there," to a friend whom I had a privilege of baptizing one year ago. He was a government official inspecting the air pollution all his life. He was the one who advised me, one time, as I was getting ready for a trip, "If you go to underdeveloped countries, don't drink water - if you go to developed countries, don't breath air." Maybe he drank too much polluted air while inspecting. He became sick of cancer, and spent one year in a hospital. When I went to see him, he complained of the hospital air which made him sicker. He asked me to teach him how to pray so that he could breath some Heavenly air. Actually, he said that he had nothing to do and was tired of the hospital air. In fact, I did a little more than teaching how to pray. I baptized him by his confession of faith, and he kept praying for the next-bed patient, next-room patients, next-hospital patients and actually patients of the world! I feel that he did the greatest thing of his life in his last year. I thank God for reserving the greatest work of our lives in the last years of our lives. Actually, the biggest, the strongest, the greatest and the most beautiful work of our lives is in the last years of lives! the prayers! Thank God for prayers! Thank God for heart, head and lips which can pray to the last moment of our lives!

Yours because of Calvary,

YOON KWON CHAE

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