As a Seed Hidden in the Frozen Land Springs Up out of the Ground

Shin Dong-rye from Siheung, South Korea

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I moved to the city of Siheung to live together with my younger son. It wasn’t easy to leave a place where I’d lived for over sixty years, but I was happy to move there because my oldest son and daughter too live in that city. But one day, my oldest daughter came and said something that confused me.

“Mom, I heard that there is Heavenly Mother in the Bible.”

Heavenly Mother? I had been Catholic for decades, but never heard about Heavenly Mother. So I didn’t even pretend to listen, but made her leave. After that, I would get mad at her and persecute her a lot so that she would not even want to mention it anymore. However, she constantly tried to let me know the Bible for several years with great earnestness.

‘She’s making that much effort to save me. Why should I make her and myself like enemies? After all, we are mom and daughter. I will change my mind.’

It is said, “No parent can ever persuade a child to do otherwise if the child is determined.” Finally, I made up my mind to start my life of faith with a new life in the Church of God though it had taken me years to do that. As I changed my mind, amazingly enough, the words of the Bible that used to come in one ear and out the other came to my mind. It seemed to make sense that worshiping God by making a certain image is idolatry, so I got rid of all the crosses and statues that I had at home. Then I called my daughter.

“I’ve made up my mind to go to your church from now on.”

It seemed to be unbelievable for her. Since I was determined to do that, I persuaded my younger daughter, who actually went to the Church of God even before her older sister but had been away from the faith for a little while, to go to church together.

In the church, everybody was gentle and they all followed the teachings of the Bible as they are; everything they taught me was right. I felt refreshed and peaceful after the worship service, which I’d never experienced before in my perfunctory life of faith. Getting ready from early in the morning every worship day, I gave thanks to God for allowing me to have true faith.

The word of truth was too good to keep it to myself, so I preached it to whomever I met and asked them to come to the Church of God. I don’t know where I got that courage from; I had been the kind of person who would let others talk and just listen to them in a gathering. However, my courage became weaker as everybody showed an unpleasant look and talked about me in whispers. I became passive like before, being conscious of the way people reacted.

What helped me overcome my fear was the word of God. Apostle Paul who is famous for preaching fearlessly, and Jesus’ disciples like Peter and John suffered a lot while preaching the truth, but they kept their faith. When I heard that, I was comforted and encouraged again. Actually, my reaction was worse than that of those people when I rejected the truth.

I could imagine how my daughter must have felt when I kept denying the truth. It is hard to endure it even when others act that way, then how much harder it would have been for my daughter to endure her mom’s meanness to her. I was sorry to have given her a hard time for a long time, and also thankful that she kept visiting me just because I am her mom. So I told her how thankful and sorry I was.

Turning over a new leaf, I started preaching the word to my family first. In an instant, my grandchildren, oldest son, and husband came to Zion. It was so great especially when I led my husband through the unity of me and my son-in-law, who used to be against my daughter’s faith but changed his mind and has later received a title for the gospel work.

Overcoming fear that was like an obstacle in the gospel, and receiving the blessing of abundant fruits, I was filled with confidence. I felt like I could overcome any kind of hardships. This let me do something I had not dared to try for seventy years. It was to learn the Korean alphabet.

As I had to do all kinds of hard work since I was little, I couldn’t get close to school. Although there were many inconveniences in my life as I didn’t know how to read and write, I kept putting off learning the alphabet because it was hard to make time and to be determined to do so. However, I decided to learn it, wanting to see for myself the Bible that I only learned through the mouths of brothers and sisters. I wished to read the Bible fluently and practice sermons, too. Right away, I enrolled in the Korean alphabet school operated by a local community center.

People say that you can’t learn that fast at the age of seventy because your eyesight and memory aren’t as good as before. However, I was able to understand everything they taught, thanks to God’s help. I was able to memorize the Korean alphabet a lot faster than other people there, and I got to the point where I could write some poems. Soon, I took the advanced course.

I’m so happy to see for myself the meaning of the words which only looked like symbols before, and to show the words to others. When I preached the truth, depending only on what I could remember, it was hard to explain in detail and I wasn’t confident. But ever since I learned how to read, my voice became powerful when preaching the gospel.

I was also blessed to bear fruit by inviting one of my classmates from the Korean alphabet school to “Our Mother” Writing and Photo Exhibition. I was calm while looking around the exhibition with her, but my heart beat fast when she received the truth obediently.

My joy didn’t last long, however, because the sister who was learning the truth little by little closed her mind after hearing hindrances from people around her. It hurt even more because she was my first fruit who was not a family member. While waiting eagerly for her to come back, Heavenly Mother came to my mind.

‘My heart aches just over one person. Then how much more has Mother been heartbroken while taking care of those many children?’

Fathoming Mother’s heart a little, I pledged myself to preach the gospel harder for Mother because what She is most pleased with is one soul’s repentance.

Now I am transcribing the Bible to learn the Bible better, wishing to know the truth better and let others know it. The words, the depth of which was hard to fathom when I only read them, are understood better and engraved upon my heart as I copy each and every word. I can only write one or two pages a day as my knuckles hurt while holding a pencil with my hardened hand, but my goal is to transcribe the whole Bible and understand the meanings of the words in depth, too.

Before meeting the true God, I lived an uneasy life as if I was being chased by something. My whole body was in pain as I only worked and worked, worrying about what to eat and how to live. As if something terrible was going to happen from taking a break at work, I left hospital before making a full recovery when I had a big surgery and went back to work.

My life has completely changed after meeting God. The angelic world where we can be happy forever makes me smile just by imagining it. Or perhaps, it is not too much to say that I’m already living in heaven because I can write a poem about luxuriant midsummer though not fluent, and turn the thin pages of the Bible with my rough fingertips, and write the words of thanks to God.

It feels like I’ve started my life again at an age where I can say I know life. Just as a seed buried in a frozen land throughout winter receives sunlight and springs up out of the ground, I’ve met a new world with Heavenly Mother’s light of life and tender touch. I’d like to repay Mother for Her grace by flowering the gospel with Mother’s love and bearing abundant good fruits.