My dear American friends:
Sometimes, I feel like wearing a crown of thorns, physically and mentally. Physically, I still have migrating headache as the result of the shingles I had last year. Sometimes, it seems that some of the thorns are remaining and traveling there. Mentally, the many problems of my children are hurting me, in addition to my own. Many of my children come with problems on account of the hardship they had to come through. SOME NEVER CRY AND SOME NEVER LAUGH. Some hate people and some love people too much. Once in a while, we receive new children. I had one new girl the other day, for instance. She had no expression whatever. I told her that I am her new father and she just nodded. Her expressionless expression gave me mixed feelings. I am glad that she accepted me as her new father. But at the same time, I am sad that a child had to go any where people take her and accept anybody as her new father.
Frankly, the thorns that hurt me the most are the problems of my grown-up children. Many of them are doing all right… some are doing great job as ministers, teachers, social workers and even missionaries, but also more than a few are not doing so well. Korean society is a kind of society that looks at orphans somewhat as problem children. They would not give chances to the orphans… especially in a society like Korea where family background is so important. (You may be surprised to hear that even Army would not take orphans.) Many tried hard but many come back to me crying. And there’s not much I can do for them except cry with them. Some girls are taken advantage of by their employers, physically and mentally broken, and come back to me crying, and I cry with them. Actually, I am crying to you, because I know that you will cry with me.
Actually, I am pretty good in CRYING MINISTRY… or more like LISTENING MINISTRY. Many people come crying to me and I listen to their problems. I have no idea what help I can give them, but I listen. Sometimes, the problem solves itself – like the other day, one young man came to me with all kinds of complaints. He said he was quitting Church, but decided to speak up before quitting. And he practically chewed on me for hours. Actually it was more than chewing, he machine-gunned me with all his criticisms. Even if I wanted to say something, I could not find any space in between his bullets of vocabulary… so I just listened. But after one hour, I found that the speed of his machine-gun was slowing down… and he was not chewing any more. He said, “no one listened to me so long before,” and actually, he thanked me for listening. In fact, he said that he was not quitting Church, rather he handed me his Sunday offering and left.
The Easter joint-worship service of Youngyang area was wonderful. There were 36 Churches represented there, and at the invitation thirty-one people came forward. Ten of them decided to become missionaries. Not all of them may actually become missionaries in the foreign field, but I know that all of them will become listening missionaries or crying missionaries. And like Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” A missionary student of mine send me this photograph of praising the Lord in an ocean after baptismal service! We have many missionaries working in Africa. In fact, a couple of them died there, but they are good missionaries. They man not have regular support; they may not have a dugout to live in; and they are constantly attacked by malaria, cobra snakes and burglars; and they may have live with AIDS patients continuously, but they are praising the Lord.
You may have read or saw on TV news about a big train-crash and explosion in North Korea, where more than two hundred died [so far] and three thousand injured. We saw it too and are trying to do everything to help the injured, if we can go there somehow (and I am trying to go.) Did you notice two main things missing there? One of the picture of the rulers, and another thing is TEARS. Even burnt and dying children were not crying… where there is no hope, and not even a comforter, there is no use crying. Actually THEY FORGOT CRYING. Godless society is dried up society. The greatest tragedy of this world is “NO GOD.” When we start losing the sight of God, it is going to be a runaway train. When God is forgotten in the classrooms, in the society and even in Churches, we are going to lose the last Hope and we will see this world perish right before our eyes. For this reason, I thank God for these tears and thank God that we can still cry! Praise the Lord!
Yours because of Calvary,