October 29, 2019

Coming Close to God

Lee Pyung-hwa from Seoul, Korea

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When I was in my first year of middle school, I learned the Bible deeply at Zion. Actually, I started to go to church with my family when I was a child, but that was my first time to study the words of God seriously.

I had been always proud of myself, thinking I knew the Bible to some degree even though I was young. However, the prophecies of the Bible and their fulfillment made me feel as if I had never experienced the Bible before; the Bible was full of testimonies that I couldn’t deny, and God truly existed.

I was so happy to be able to completely believe both in God and the Bible that I wrote a letter of thanks to God: ‘Thank You, God! I realized many things today. From now on, please allow me to follow You all the time.’

Since then, I developed a habit of praying to God. The prayer I offered up to God at the end of each day was like a letter to God, and it was also a diary to reflect on myself and repent. I could freely open up to God even the agonies I couldn’t share with my friends or parents. I felt like God, who used to far away, came close to me.

One day, I invited my friends to church, who misunderstood our church. That day too, I eagerly prayed to God, hoping that they would resolve their misunderstandings and realize the truth. God answered my prayer several days later. Two friends of mine, who visited our church, explained to the other classmates the words they heard at the church. Thanks to them, my other friends said, “I will visit your church once.” They came and confirmed that the Church of God is the true church following the teachings of the Bible. One of them realized the truth and received a new life. I was grateful to God. I continued walking with God through prayer even after I became a young adult. I had a dream to become a prophet of the gospel, and the opportunity to be close to God and broaden the horizons of my faith was given to me. It was a short term mission to the Philippines. I arrived in the Philippines with my heavenly family members who shared the same goal, having great expectations.

When I arrived in Quezon City, immense heat was waiting for me. The sunlight was strong; if I did not use an umbrella, it was difficult to walk and even open my eyes. It was bearable for several days, but after two weeks, my physical strength was drained and I just endured day after day with my mental strength. However, the local members’ passion was hotter than the heat. Some members worked at night, but they preached after having a short rest. Some members walked more than an hour under the heat to take care of the brothers and sisters. Their faith was hotter than a melting furnace. Looking at those heavenly family members, I felt like a frog in a well—I couldn’t endure the heat even for a moment! When I thought about how many members would be full of faith around the world, I became alert spiritually, and prayers arose to God.

Looking at my heavenly family members, I regained my strength and prayed earnestly; there was a language barrier and my body couldn’t keep up, so the only One I could rely on was God.

The joy of bearing fruit was great after going through difficulties and desperation. I experienced the happiest moment of my life as I witnessed many people, who were wandering without knowing the truth, repent like little lambs and were led into the arms of God.

After finishing the short-term mission in the Philippines for a month, I came back to Korea and made a plan for another short-term mission. While staying in the Philippines, my wish to become a prophet became stronger, and for that, I wanted to have more experiences of the gospel.

My second destination was San Jose, which was about six hours away from Quezon City. There too, our heavenly family members, who were like precious jewels, were eagerly waiting to hear the good news of salvation.

It was when I delivered the words of God to a student at the university. The student’s brother came to deliver something to him, and I was compelled to preach to him. I explained the commands of God and the rules of men through the Bible. He was surprised and wanted to know more. A few days later, he was blessed with a new life.

As the new members increased one after another, they constantly came to my mind even when I was eating or about to sleep. There were many words of the Bible I wanted to let them know, but due to the language barrier, I couldn’t do fully. This made me anxious and I began to worry that they probably would not realize the truth well. So when I saw them on the Sabbath day, I was overwhelmed. I keenly felt how precious one soul is.

Returning from the six-month preaching in the Philippines, I pondered over the reason why the gospel result in the Philippines ended up better than in Korea, despite the language barrier, different culture, and worse environment.

I simply thought that it was because I was overseas, and that there were more people who believed in God in the Philippines. However, that was not the answer. The reason was that my mindset in Korea was different than that in the Philippines. In the Philippines, from the time I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night, my day was filled with spiritual things. Until my departure, I looked at the Bible to wake one more soul and put all my strength into taking care of the heavenly family members.

I didn’t do that in Korea. I spent time meaninglessly, thinking I could preach anytime I wanted. Even though my dream was to be a prophet, I lived a complacent life to my shame.

If I dedicate myself to the gospel without wasting time just as I did in the Philippines, I will be able to bear many good fruits whether I am overseas or in Korea. With a new determination, I prepared the way to be a prophet and focused on the gospel. While I was doing that, God allowed me to lead a brother to Zion. While he was walking on the street, the brother listened to the words of the truth and continued to study by coming to church every day. Although he moved away right after receiving the truth, he keeps every service without missing a single one. I cannot forget what he said to me: “I’m thankful to God that I met you under God’s grace and have hope for heaven.”

Now, I’m preparing to serve in the military. Through the military life, my faith will be deepened and broadened just like my overseas mission trip. While trying to be faithful to my military life, I will make every effort not to be far away from God by praying continually and studying God’s words diligently. I will reveal God’s glory with good deeds, not neglecting finding my lost heavenly family members.

When I do God’s will by relying on God, I will be able to accomplish my goal even in difficult situations and environments. Since God allowed me to grow through many processes for a long time, I will be a prophet that faithfully carries out the mission in the military and in the global gospel field in the future as well.

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