My dear American Friends:
You ought to read some of the letters I have been receiving from the audience of my 5:10 AM radio sermons. As I probably mentioned before, the reason for 5:10 in the morning is, for North Korean Christians to be able to listen to the message. They have to go to work for the government (actually 'forced labor') by 6AM and they don't come back until 10PM (labor and 'forced socialistic indoctrination'). However, these letters I am introducing are the letters from South Korea.(no letters can come through the demilitarized zone.) There are some sad letters, but there are more exciting and thrilling letters. One letter started this way, "I am dying by cancer. In the hospital bed, I heard your message one month ago. And it was like a message from Heaven. I started to go to the hospital chapel and I was baptized two nights ago. Now, I am looking forward and ready to meet my Lord. I want to ask you to do one thing for me. Please come and conduct my funeral service." I answered her affirmative, even if her hospital was quite a distance from us. but I must confess that I hesitated somewhat in answering her letter. I could not say "I am looking forward to conduct your funeral." Actually, this was around Christmas time last year. And she is still living. Actually, she goes to Church every Sunday. She is still fighting the cancer, but SHE IS PREVAILING EVERY BATTLE. She sings in the Choir, teaches Sunday School, and people who meet her first time never know that she is fighting cancer. And I felt that introducing her and her letter is the best Christmas message this year!
Let me introduce another letter which I received not too long ago from a man called Shin. It said, "Your message motivated me to read the Bible, but I could not understand. It was like new language to me and I cried..." I know some other people who cried before the Word of God, because they could not understand it, like Jeremiah, like John at Patmos and frankly, I cry sometimes. Two Korean preachers whom I respect the most, beside my own father who died by the bullets of the communists, are Pastors Sohn and Joo. Pastor Sohn was the preacher who adopted a communist who killed his own two sons. Pastor Joo was a preacher who died in the Japanese prison a few months before the liberation, because he refused to worship the Japanese shrines during the occupation of Japan. His biography says that he cried in prison because he could not understand the Will of God. I guess, we all cry. I guess the Jewish people cried a lot before the Coming of our Saviour Jesus. I guess most of them are still crying (you heard about the crying wall), because they did not recognize the Saviour. So Christmas begins with tears. Those who do not cry will not be able to understand the real meaning of Christmas! Let me end this column by quoting one letter which I received from a North Korean Christian (through a third country), "WE ARE CRYING BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THE BIBLE."
One of the Korean Churches' annual Christmas event is the presentation of the underwears for the homeless people, as Korean winter is cold. Last Christmas, as we were presenting underwears, I noticed that many homeless people wanted to have the package boxes also, as they want to use them for WIND-SHIELD. So, to our Church, I suggested to make a nativity scene with baby Jesus and homeless people.
I might mention that next year, that is 2010, will be a special year for me. I was ordained to the ministry on June 2nd, 1960 in Southern California. So it will be my fiftieth year of the ministry. I came back to Korea, a war-torn country, in 1962 with $70.00 in my pocket. As I look back, I don't know how I was able to start a Publishing House, Bible Correspondence School, a Bible College, an Orphanage, Children's Welfare Center, Radio work etc. etc. if it was not God's Providence and Power! And most of all, God gave me a life to live today. Not only that He gives me Power to preach and even to baptize hundreds (this is not easy for a man of my age). I must confess that my prayer is changing. I used to pray "God, give me power to preach to the last minute of my life." Now my prayer is changing to "Please LET ME GO, AFTER I BAPTIZE MY LAST PERSON." I don't know whether it will be a proper prayer, if not, like Mary and Joseph said "Let it be."
So MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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