October 2006

My dear American Friends: 

Have you ever seen a floating Church. I am helping one of those in Cambodia and am sending you a picture of it. That whole area is a swamp area. When the snow melts on the Himalayan mountains, the water reaches Northern Cambodia in the summer and makes a number of villages a huge lake. People build their houses like four legged boxes and have to move around four or five times a year. Actually their main transportations are boats and many of them LIVE in their boats. So, one of our (Korean) missionaries decided to build a ship Church for them and now it's floating and worshipping! It really feels glorious when you worship in it, because IT MOVES AND SHAKES YOU AS YOU PRAISE and sing, because the waves move you and shake you, like you are moved by the Spirit. As you pray you have to pray aloud, like we always do in the Korean Church, because you are challenged not only by the waves beating the sides of the floating Church, but also by the constant noise of the boat engines. It almost feels like you are starting the engines of your faith! Right now, I am trying to help them by purchasing some Church boats, instead of Church buses, and it is a lot cheaper than the Church buses. 

Talking about starting engines, our faith needs to be started. Lot of people carry faith without starting, and therefore they never know the power of the faith. It's like carrying a can of food without opening and never knowing the taste. Faith is an action, IT IS SOMETHING TO DO. I wonder why there is no English word like "faithing." In a country like Korea, or in a country like Viet Nam where I have just visited, people cannot see you, people do not recognize you unless you do some acts of faith. There are so many people in the first place, and so much challenge. You can see all those different people of different faiths swarming to win your heart. Even communism is no longer an ism in these countries, it's a faith of totalitarianism, ONE MAN POWER and they challenge you with that Power. So, in these countries, faith is a war and battles to be won everyday. When I lectured on homiletics in a Vietnamese Bible Seminary, we HAD TO HOLD THE CLASS ON A NATIONAL HOLIDAY and with several guards. 

Like I said, there are so many people in the smaller countries, in the first place... 12 million in Japan, 7.5 million in Korea, 10 million in Viet Nam and billions in China! While we were in Viet Nam, we travelled in an Ambulance, because the guiding Korean missionary also operates a hospital and there were patients constantly. And there were so many motorcycles, thousands of them encircling you so that you just have to move as they move. In fact, some of them, especially some trucks, blew horns behind us... I have never heard of cars blowing horns trying to pass ambulances. Because we were in an ambulance, we visited many hospitals and one village of Hansen's disease (leprosy). In fact, I have seen a CHURCH BUILDING BUILT WITH THEIR HANDLESS ARMS and fingers decayed or eaten by ants. I have some pictures of it and will include in one of my later letters. You ought to see it, you ought to see the building and see how mysteriously God works and how thankful we should be. 

Talking about the handless arms, we have raised both handicapped children and some children of Hansen's disease too. And we have raised many children who are mentally handicapped... children who never laugh, for instance. Children who had to face so much tragedy in their lives that they stopped laughing. They are like rocks. If you place them in a corner of a room, they will stay there without moving for hours. They are interested in food, but practically in nothing else. Sometimes they rock themselves back and forth, or scratch their faces until they bleed, but they neither smile nor cry. So, when they start to smile, or even start to cry, it's a birthday party for us! I am afraid that we can not make them keep laughing, as an orphanage can never be like home, but I believe that just as good circumstances and good environment is important to raise children, RAISING GOOD CHILDREN EVEN IN NOT-SO-FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT, if not more so. This world is trying so hard to provide good educational tools and circumstances, but I wonder if they are really helping this world! What we need is good Christian education. There is no better text book than the Bible. Thank God for the Bible in this Thanksgiving season! 

Yours because of Calvary 

YOON KWON CHAE