My dear American Friends:
Believe or not, this wooden statue of the LAUGHING JESUS was given to me by a hidden Christian in North Korea. A young man traveled walking three days and three nights through all kinds of dangers such as tigers (believe or not), wolves, snakes and North Korean border guards. I never met him, but the hidden Christian artist saw a picture of Jesus only one time, and carved this laughing Jesus secretly. Of course, if he was found carving Jesus, he would have been shot, so the answer he prepared was "I am carving Lenin," So he looks somewhat like Lenin, somewhat like a Korean, but more like Jesus Christ. The reason why he presented it to me was that he wanted to convey the message that there are Christians in North Korea and that they need our prayers. I asked the young man who carried the statue the laughing Jesus, and his answer was "If Jesus is a Saviour for joyless North Korea, He must be Happy News!" I know that He is and that's why His Gospel is "Good News."
I have been using it for my sermons several times. Especially, to my children of Geon Christian Children's Home, I tell them that the true joy is the joy inside, regardless of the circumstances. That's how we can truly "ENjoy." whatever situation that we may be in. If joy is within us, whether we are in prison or North Korea, we can enjoy it over and over again. That's how we can "REjoyce," and again "REjoyce." Actually, it's a kind of joy that overflows... it's surplus joy... it's exploding joy... that's why we can be "joyFUL!" Jesus said in John 7, "those who believe, a river of life will flow from his belly." In John 16:22 He said "This joy no man takes away from you!" I may not be understanding or teaching English right, but it makes sense to me.
I will tell you another "believe or not." Our Korean government, or rather Korean Army, decided to give me the RETIRING ALLOWANCE AFTER FIFTY YEARS. That is, they decided to pay the back-pay fifty years later. I fought in the Korean Army until 1956. We were in the desperate war at that time, and in the Korean Army, there was nothing like salary nor retirement even for an officer (I was a Lieutenant). I must say that I was lucky being released on account of studying abroad. Neither the Korean government nor myself expected to be paid at the retirement. And they decided to pay me after exactly fifty years, and I consider it one of God's miracles! I tell you why I believe so.
I was in China near to the border of North Korea last month, and I met many North Koreans who either defected or going back to North Korea. I met some hidden Christians there and one of them said that they wanted to have a meeting place. They said that U.S. ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR WILL BUY ONE APARTMENT and I promised them that I will send the money. But frankly, I didn't know where I could get the money. That's when this news of the retirement allowance reached me... actually, almost exact amount of money. Wouldn't you say that this is a miracle of God! There are many miracles when you are in His Battle Zone!
The murderous heat of the summer is passing and schools have started. For the Orphanage Director, the start of the schools is the busier than the school teachers... There are uniforms to buy, text books to purchase, shoes to repair and what not... and most of all, the tuitions to prepare! Our children get some discounts in their tuitions, still the tuitions of seventy some school children is not a small stream! In fact, it's a big river and the river is about to flood! In time like this, children who earns scholarship are almost small saviour. A boy came to me the other day with a SCHOLARSHIP CERTIFICATE and said, "It's small, but I did my best." I know that he did his best... in an orphanage, finding a space to read books is not a small task and it may not be a quiet place. And besides, a privilege to use extra light after everyone go to sleep is precious. I was tearfully thankful for his scholarship certificate and I almost bragged on it to our Heavenly Father.... but come to think of it, He is the one who gave him the scholarship! Thank God and thank you.
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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