Second day at the RSM was spent the same way as the first day. The VBS message for the children was about the miracles of five loaves of bread and two fish. “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” ……… So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” (John 6:9-13) I sat down with children and heard this message. And I hoped and prayed that all the children who were there would be used as the little boy in the Bible throughout their lifetime. Above all, I prayed that my little service, even though it was too small to even mention about it would be used as miraculously as the five loaves of bread and the two fish in the hands of Jesus Christ.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”(Philippians 4:13) First day at the RSM was not easy because it started out with strenuous labor work. In the morning, men put slates on the roof of a barn that was in the process of being built. Women started to paint inside walls of a room which would soon to be occupied by many youth girls. We all sweated a lot not only because it was hard work but also we had many trial-and-errors in figuring out the right way of doing the work. It was more so for the men because none of them had experience of doing that particular task before. However in the afternoon when we were together with children of the ranch and running the VBS, the sweating day’s experience was all forgotten. We Sang with the puppets, “Jesus loves little Children, all the children of the world….”. We shared a salvation message, we decorated hats together. And at the end of the day, we made meal together and shared it with everyone there. Thanks to God, truly, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”(Romans 10:13-15)
About 26 hours after we -the mission team- left the church(CCSV), arrived at the RSM which was located in the middle of nowhere. There were nothing around the ranch except rocky hills and mountains. Only some cars and trucks were passing by on the road next to the ranch. On about 500 acres of the land a few school buildings, dorms and kitchen, animal barns and a chapel were built. According to the Pastor who had come to this ranch as a volunteer several times when the ranch had just begun to be developed, the founder started the ranch with just a small part of the building and a small kitchen. But over the 30 years, with help of many Christian Volunteers like us they kept expanding the living quarters little by little. Now the place was running as a registered public school with about 150 students. They were also providing Christian Education to the kids through faithful staff and help of outsiders like us, mission volunteers. As we met with the founder couple, I was reminded by the early missionaries to Korea who had gone to an unknown world without anything but just with a passion for gospel. I thought that their feet were truly beautiful for without them, my feet could not be on this blessed ground at this moment. May many more feet continuously run with passion for Jesus Christ our Lord not only to this place but to many more unreached corners of the world.
While I was waiting my husband to finish putting some gas into the car, I plugged few strands of impatient gray hair that came out through my freshly darkened hair. Until I got married, I was like a deer running up and down the hill without any hesitation. I used to drive an old red station wagon with full of church youths through the infamous canyons of Payson in Arizona. Back then, my short hair was healthy and shiny, and of course without any gray. At this moment, after 25 years of marriage, I, with salt and peppered hair- if not colored- put up, am sitting next to my husband. In a few minutes, we will be driving along the road to Lake Tahoe in Northern California which is so similar to the road to Payson Valley. Then, I would be able to enjoy a simple yet fantastic feast of reminiscence as I reopen each page of our 25 year old memoir. Just the thought about it made my eyes wet. 25 years ago on a very hot day of mid August, we, the two very young naive souls, got married. We didn’t care about the fiery heat, nor the poor finance. We were just happy to be together. The officiating minister told us, “The world that you will face won’t be like a rose garden, you will inevitably have to confront with many afflictions and adversities. But in any circumstance, always ‘Seek Yi First Kingdom of God(Matthew 6:33)’, then our Lord will take good care of you.” To this message we simply answered, “Sure, we will do that, no problem as long as we can be together.” Then we made that verse as out Family Motto. And there were three wedding gifts which we stubbornly carried along with us wherever we went. Those were two framed Bible verses, one with ‘The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want(Psalm 23:1)’ and the other with ‘Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him. And He shall bring it to pass(Psalm 37:5).’ And another one was a picture ‘Angelus’ painted by Jean Francois Millet framed by my sister who was then a starving college student working her heart out to make her tuition and allowance. As I recollect our 25 years, we didn’t do anything but just carrying those few wedding gifts around. That was all we did. At the time we had our first son; while we were moving around many places according to the jobs; when we got our second son; at the times we inevitably had to move to different churches, all we did was trying our best to hang on to those verses. Really that was all we did. And today as I was recollecting, I realized that our God must have liked the naivety very much. As I had put all of my possession in to a very naive young man, rejecting all the other capable much more mature bachelors, it seemed like our Lord put all of His in to us. For all the years we were together, we’d never felt that we didn’t have enough. I couldn’t think of anything to complain. I was just content as the way it was. Still, we are not rich, we are not famous, we don’t have power. However, my husband, two sons and me, we all love in Christ in joy or sorrow. We all are striving to do our best in our daily lives. What more can anyone want? Without our Lord’s blessing, this couldn’t be possible. I felt so thankful. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. After a quiet sunset dinner, we started to head back home. From this moment on, we will try our best to make another set of life’s memoir – a little more mature one this time, to be able to stop everything and quietly bow down our heads at the sound of the evening bell just like the couple in the ‘Angelus.’
For this new year family worship, we meditated on Proverbs Chapter 3. Especially, verses 5 & 6 are highlight of the entire chapter.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”(Proverbs 3:5-6)
Lord, bless our family to keep this simple wisdom all this year through.
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
With these words in our mind, 8 of us from our church headed down to Mexico, to a ranch located on a very distant place from a normal and usual habitat. For half of us, it was first time ever mission trip to a different country. Throughout the preparation period, there were a lot of terrible stories and rumors about trip to Mexico hung around just to add to our burden of leaving family, work, and comfort behind. For these few days, I became slowly to realize why Jesus said the above words to His disciples and the people gathered around Him. As for the Gospel’s sake, I think we need to remind these verses more often. Unless we deny everything, we can’t just step out of our boundary to do any extra ordinary things. It’s more so when within our boundary, the Gospel is considered to be too cheap to even think about it. Yet my heart aches as I think about the place where I live, greater San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The words from Matthew 23:37-39 pound my heart, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together , as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!……..”
Well, when I return, I shall do my best to be witness to what I experienced from this mission trip to pound the ears to hear in my neighborhood.
For year 2010, my new year’s resolution was to become a warrior of prayer. As I face another new year, 2011, here I am sat down to make a new year’s resolution to be a prayer warrior again. Because of an unsatisfactory result of the past or never fulfilling nature of the task which I can’t tell, but somehow, I feel I need to renew this particular one for many many more years. At a recent revival gathering of a local church, the speaker gave a powerful message about prayer using Prophet Elijah as an excellent role model. The message points were:
1. Hardships or obstacles make people to pray. (17:1)
2. The essence of prayer is the heart of the praying person.
3. The warriors of prayer make challenges to impossibles. (18:19)
4. Faith is a must to have for a prayer warrior. (18:37-38, Eph. 6:16)
5. People of prayer never refuse cross. (18:22)
6. Warriors of prayer can recognize the sign of emerging blessings from God. (18:41)
7. Thus, let us be one of the 7000 reserved prayer warriors. (19:18) Oh, yes Lord help me to be a stronger warrior of prayer for this year.
Yesterday, my husband and I left our younger son at his college dormitory. Two months ago our older son finished his college and started his new career. They’ve just started their new beginnings, though each at different point, yet both at the same life’s journey. Whenever I think about these two young men, my heart jumps with joy and thankfulness. This morning, as I meditate and think about the two, these verses came to my mind and want to give to them.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”(Proverbs 1:7)
“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to our soul, discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness.”
“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and He let none of His words fall to the ground……. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed Himself to Samuel through His word.” I read a poem that was written by a Korean poet some time ago. If I remember it correctly, it could be translated something like this; Is there any flower that grows without being shaken? Any and every beautiful flower that is on this earth, Is shaken and shaken to blossom and bloom. Being shaken it stands sturdy and strong, Is there any love that can mature without being shaken? Is there any flower that grows without being wet? Any and every shiny flower that is on this earth, Is soaked and soaked to blossom and bloom. Being wet it blossomed kindly and warmly, Is there any life one can live without being wet? Not only I but almost everyone in this world will agree to the fact that it is so hard to do a mature love. And to live a perfect life is never possible. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be possible to live and love better and more maturely no matter how severe the shaking or the soaking might be, if the Lord is with you as He was with Samuel?
“My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in our deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God…..The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; upon them he has set the world….. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” This is Hannah’s song of praise and thanksgiving to God. This song has sometimes been termed the “Magnificent of the OT” because it is so similar to the Magnificent of the NT(Mary’s song, Luke 1:46-55).
This prayer shows that the supreme source of Hannah’s joy is not in the child, but in the God who has answered her prayer. How may times has my God answered my prayers? Big and small, countless times, He answered to my prayers. Yet, I have not given Him earnest song of praise and thanksgiving which never ceases. I am just finishing up a chapter of my life (For yesterday was my younger son’s High School graduation.). Now, for another one of my life’s chapter, I shall work toward making ultimate song of praise and thanksgiving to our(together with my better half that He appointed to me) awesome God. And this chapter I presume will be a never ending one, for the song will be never ending even after we meet our Lord in heaven. Thank you Lord, my Joy, my Rock, my Deliverer.