The motherland is calm. It is really peaceful despite the war stories in American newspapers. Although it is a tense situation, there isn’t too much to worry about. You cannot see the forest when you are in it, likewise the people in the forest are in peace. I have been thinking and learning a lot during my short visit to the motherland. I learned especially a lot through a documentary film about the beautiful life of Missionary Seo-Pyeong Seo (Elisabeth J. Shepping). I was able to preview this film at the Global Leadership Forum held in Busan. This film is a story made by CGNTV, on a female missionary who served as a German-American missionary to the poor and oppressed land of Chosun(Korea) about 100 years ago.
Seo, Seo-pyeong, who was called “Little Jesus”, was a blue-eyed missionary who had lived as a Korean for 22 years and who was better suited with the title of “mother” than missionary or nurse. The name Seo, Seo-pyeong(徐舒平) means “slowly calmly” in Chinese. The story of missionary Seo, Seo-pyeong, who gave everything she had to the poor and finished her life with malnutrition, was a touching and resonating story. It has already been released in Seoul and will be released in Los Angeles. I hope that we all will watch this movie when it comes to show in Los Angeles.
Missionary Seo, Seo-pyeong was born in Germany without knowing who her father was. Her beginning was a tragedy. Her mother left for the United States with leaving her young daughter behind. Since her mother left for the United States, she grew up in her grandma’s hands. When her grandmother died, she went to the United States alone at the age of twelve years old to find her mother, but sadly she was abandoned again by her mother. However Missionary Seo, who grew up beautifully with the grace of God, came to the land of Chosun after listening to the news of Chosun.
Missionary Seo came to the land of Chosun and healed many wounded souls with the love of Christ. She gave names to Korean women who were living without names and raised 14 orphans in considering them as her own children. She cared for widows who had nowhere to go. In the room where the missionary lived poorly, there was a note on a wall saying “not success but service”. I was able to learn a lot through the life of a missionary who lived with the goal of serving rather than succeeding in life. I also felt ashamed of the life that I lived so far.
Missionary Seo experienced the grace of recovery through Jesus. The wounded woman who had been abandoned by her mother lived a life of healing many hurt people with Jesus’ love. The missionary stood up again every time she fell in a difficult path of life. She did not give in to the trials and hardships that tormented her life. She had not been a slave to the wounded past. She chose love. She chose service. She chose to build up people who were poor and suffering. She helped numerous people to stand up against failure and hardship. In a difficult circumstance, she lived the life that helped people in even more difficult situations. Her life is the story of “Bounce Back”.
Yesterday I met Kim Hyun-joong, who wrote a book called “Bounce Back.” With the introduction of Pastor Cho Bong-hee of Mok-dong Global Village Church, I was able to meet and have fellowship with Mr. Kim along with Pastor Han Ki-chae of the Central Holiness Church. “Bounce Back,” written by Mr. Kim, is the book that recorded the secrets of people bouncing back like a ball without falling down during failures and frustrations. It says, “To bounce back is to recover and to regain the original purpose and orbit and to improve even after suffering from failure and adversity.” Bouncing back means restoration and growth. Bouncing back means resilience. Resilience is the force to bounce back up like a Yo-Yo. It is not a problem to fall, but it is a problem to not stand up again. The person who can rise again every time he falls is an excellent person. Excellent people are not those who did not fail. They are those who rise again from the failure.
I once experienced a failure as a pastor of Korean immigrant church. But with the grace of God and your help, I was able to start afresh. The message that I share from the motherland is a drama of ‘reversal’. The gospel Jesus gave us is a drama of the reverse. The gospel is a story that begins tragically, but ends with joy. The cross and resurrection of Jesus is the climax of the drama of ‘reversal’. Even when I am here, my heart is sore and heavy whenever I think about brothers and sisters who are going through difficulties. Beloved Saints, be strengthened in the Lord. Do not be discouraged but get up again and again to move forward. Please keep interceding for me so that I may finish the rest of the schedule well and return. Blessings.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.