Quezon UBF in the Philippines
Through this report, we hope to look back at this year and testify God’s wonderful guidance and grace throughout our mission in the Philippines. This year, I would like to thank God for missionary Sarah’s rapid health recovery from her illness. After resting and getting treatment in Korea her health condition improved greatly. After the recovery she returned to the Philippines and then we tried to get new sheep through fishing. We met many sheep through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The sheep were nice and hospitable so we shared good memories together.
This year we came to realize that many students in the Philippines are eager to learn Korean. To respond to their needs we began a Korean Bible Study Class. Many sheep showed interest at first. However, their interest faded away soon and now only one student Kay attends the class. Nonetheless we feel graceful for Kay and hope to invite more students to worship service and Bible study through this class as well.
Inside the University of the Philippines campus there is a large church of the Philippine Protestant Church, where we found a small building to worship and hold the Korean Bible Class. For the first several months we paid the rental fee to the church to use one of their buildings. However, gracefully they decided to allow us to use the building for free for now. It is a very convenient place for sheep and for us since it is located inside the campus. We are grateful for God’s help in finding the right place for the worship service.
In March we held a retreat for two nights and three days. Jemaah attended the conference. She has been faithfully attending the worship service for two years. She is currently a third year student at the University of the Philippines. Sadly, she does not have a father and her sister suffers from autism and epilepsy. In order to support her family she works a part time job and is receiving a scholarship. Through the conference, she learned the importance of prayer and God’s Word. At the conference she also revealed her difficult family story. She testified that she was initially very fearful of death. But after hearing God’s word she was released from the power of death and received the light of the gospel, which overpowered death. She thanked God for his providence in her life.
She has been tithing regularly although I did not tell her about the tithe. She also spends a total of four hours riding an uncomfortable bus to attend the worship service every week. When Missionary Sarah Jeong and I visited her house I was at first surprised because her house is very old and there was no room to study. I wondered how she could enter the National University given her poor family background. Then we met her family members and prayed. We felt that we have to pray for this family and help them. Looking at the National University of the Philippines (UP), there is hope in this university in the near future. UP students so far have never asked us for money no matter how serious is their financial situation. Moreover, the students here are all self-reliant and independent. I am grateful to God for allowing me to serve these great sheep.
I also thank God for my eldest daughter Hannah's dedication to the Philippines mission field. While Msn. Sarah was in Korea she had a hard time managing our home, having one to one bible studies and supporting two students who live in our house. Hannah used to complain about her harsh life in the Philippines and wished she could go back to Korea. Now, however, after realizing Jesus' shed blood on the cross she came to dedicate herself to helping our mission in the Philippines. I am very thankful because her faith is growing every day.
My youngest daughter Sarah is enthusiastic toward academics. Even in the local high school in the Philippines she prepared for the SAT, AP and other exams all by herself and entered Yonsei University two years ago. I hoped and expected her to study well at Yonsei university, graduate and live a comfortable life in Korea since she had a hard life in the Philippines. But she came to develop a passion for the medical field and got accepted at Chungnam University Medical School. After hearing about her acceptance to the medical school, at first I was worried because Korean medical schools require tremendous amount of studying. I wondered why Sarah wants to pursue this difficult path in which she needs to spend at least six more years to graduate. However, I came to think of her entrance to medical school as a blessing when I realized that as a university student, she could join and be trained in God's mission throughout her long stay in the university. I thank God for guiding Sarah to the medical school. I pray that Sarah learns Jesus throughout her studies in Chungnam University medical school and participate well in campus mission.
When I think of my two daughters I become a father to them only through God’s grace because I myself am not qualified to be a father. In the same way I feel that I am not qualified to be a missionary but I became a missionary only by God's grace. Indeed, I am grateful for the grace of God. With the help of Missionary Sarah and my two daughters my mother finally accepted Jesus. It is God's grace that she has undergone a spectacular change in her stance toward God. She abandoned Buddhism that she followed for 50 years. For the past several years we prayed hard for my mother to abandon Buddhism and believe in Jesus, but it was hard for her to change her mind. However when Missionary Sarah and my daughters actively persuaded her to go to church she finally opened her heart and accepted Jesus. She even removed the big Dharma picture of her house. In the past we sneaked away the Buddhist scriptures and a wooden gong so my mother wept. I am really grateful to see her throw the idols away by herself.
As the Korean economy has undergone a critical recession this year my business also experienced a significant decline in the number of projects. I cannot stay at home since I have no work, so I have gone fishing with Missionary Sarah. Now as a missionary I have been here for 10 years. I heard deeply one word; 'Love the Lord your God' at the missionary conference that I attended. Most of my life I was struggling to live for my own glory. I was ashamed of my sin and faults and lived in laziness. I wanted to wake up from this place in daily bread. I prayed that my heart will love and hope for God. Missionary Sarah says that she is deeply touched by the words that God is her true joy even though she does not have a sheep. Though we haven’t borne outward fruit, yet I am grateful for Missionary Sarah’s deep faith in God.
When I look back this year I can only remember my sins and weaknesses, but God has continually poured out his grace. God crowned the year with his bounty. Looking at this grace we feel that God really loves sinners and showers us with his grace. I thank God for his grace and pray that I will meet God personally and his will be done in the New Year.