Once when I was in missionary school, I went to a Presbyterian church mission’s headquarters in Dongsan-dong, on an errand for the missionary. I was shocked when I got there, I had discovered a new country I have never seen before. The missionaries were living in a little America they had made in Korea. They used U.S.A made laundry machines, refrigerators, televisions, drank American coffee, etc. and used everything made in the U.S. They had made to look just like America, and hired Koreans to cook, clean, and look after the garden. As I saw this I was so shocked to the point of thinking, “Does this sort of world really exist?”
After running my errand I returned and saw that the missionaries of our missionary school lived very poorly. Our missionary’s children wore rubber shoes, and unlike other missionaries from other missions who drove foreign cars, they rode their bicycles. And while starving they preached the gospel and trained us.
Those Koreans who trained under those rich missionaries, what could they have learned from them? Each day they received money from the rich missionaries and listened to them. However, the missionaries who taught us didn’t give us any money. Yet they didn’t discriminate against us just because we were Korean, but treated us as brothers. We were able to enter their room without a second thought, and we ate our meals at the same table with them. When I think back after many years, I am very thankful.
The missionaries tried their hardest to teach us faith. When things were difficult and we starved and were hungry, they starved with us, teaching us the method of depending on God. You don’t understand how precious is the world of faith I learned from them. When I was in Ahpgok-dong, Guhchang Jangpal-li, when I was serving in the army, and especially when I lived in Kimchun, if I hadn’t lived in faith as the missionaries had taught me, I would not have been able to live due to fear.
We had hardships from time to time, but God was precise in giving us food to eat. At times I did starve. When I think about it now, I was in a situation to starve to death when I was at Kimchun. But as I saw God feeding me moment by moment in such circumstances, I was able to experience and taste God.
January 25th, 1972, my wife gave birth to the most beautiful daughter in the world. I was worried about labor as I saw my wife’s stomach became bigger and bigger. How were we to give birth when we did not have money, and I had no idea what was waiting for us at the labor. But my sister-in-law was working at a hospital in Seoul at that time and she sincerely asked us to have the baby at the hospital she worked at.
One day I was thinking to take my wife who was in her last month of pregnancy to our sister-in-law’s house to have the baby. But I had no money whatsoever. My wife took a small gold ring she had to a jeweler called Display Place, and the owner took one look at us, did not say anything and counted seven thousand won and gave it to us. That morning we took the seven thousand won and got on the local train. Kimchun to Seoul, nowadays it is a distance that only takes two hours, but the local train of that time stopped at every station and by the time we arrived at Seoul, although we left in the morning, it had already started to grow dark.
We got off at Noryangjin Station and went to my sister-in-law’s house and she gladly welcomed us. It had been a long time since my wife had been to her sister’s, and she was so happy and joyful. It was my first time seeing my wife that happy. My wife called her friends and said that she would come over tomorrow, so prepare lots of good food. She called many places, and I saw that her friends too were very happy. We ate very much that night.
It was past ten o’ clock and my wife said that her stomach hurt. I thought, “It’s probably because she ate a lot of dinner, and can’t digest it all.” But my sister-in-law called an ambulance. Although my wife said, “Why did you call an ambulance?” She said, “Stay put, I know everything,” and moved quickly. When the ambulance arrived, my wife’s contractions quickened. It seemed as if the day long train ride might have caused her to give birth earlier. That night when we arrived at the hospital in the ambulance, it was twelve o’clock. I waited in the hospital’s lobby. Then, on January 25th at 2:55 in the morning, God had given us a daughter.
Although she gave birth, we didn’t have the hospital fee, and things we needed. That evening my sister-in-law walked in very happy, and said, “I didn’t have any money, but today I received my salary and have money!” She had bought a blanket and things we needed. I had once said this to my mother-in-law,
“God knows me very well. Whenever I prayed for a shirt or pants He had given it to me, when I prayed for socks, shoes, or gloves He always gave me a pair. This is because God knows how many hands and feet I have. Although I live alone now, when I have a wife, a son and daughter, and my family grows, I believe that God will fill in what I lack.”
This was true. I had nothing, but my sister-in-law bought everything needed for a baby. When I saw how happy my sister-in-law was, I believed that God had truly done this.
When I lived alone things were difficult, and even when I lived with my wife. But the more my family grew, within His grace God filled things so nothing would lack. Even though I have my wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, The Lord who fed and clothed me then and now is amazing.
I cannot express in words how thankful I am for God who didn’t allow my testimony to be in vain. After my daughter was born, we did not become poorer, but through my daughter, there were many times we ate. When my son was born, we didn’t worry about what he would eat, or money for his education, but because of him God provided for us so we were able to eat and dress even better.
When we were hungry and things were difficult in the past, it wasn’t because God’s hand was short. God did this to train us, and after those times had passed, God provided for us without lack. As I saw this, I couldn’t help but to praise and thank God. God is always living amongst us, and knows our needs.
Now my son and daughter are all grown and I have a grandson. Much time has passed. During those years I have spent joyous times with many who have come and gone, and it repeats with new people entering my life, but as my family, my wife, daughter, and son, continue to remain in my life, we endure hardships and taste joy together. Through this we have become a true family. When I see God, who has raised them and has allowed them to do His work, I truly believe that it wasn’t I, but God who has fed and dressed them. That is why I cannot deny that it was God who worked, and they are not my son and daughter, but are the son and daughter of God. That is how God led us. I praise and thank God.