So while on the topic of plastic surgery… I ask EN if she ever thought of going under the knife. Most girl’s have numerous complexes and wish some part of their face or body can be fixed.. well most Korean girls at least. So while on that topic, she tells me she has, for a while actually. But recently, she had I guess a little epiphany. She told me, “Say I did get surgery.. mmm, on my nose for example.. Then for some odd reason, I suddenly die and right in front of me is God. He looks at me and tells me ‘EN, that’s not the nose I gave you..’” (So deep huh? shoot gave me 닭살..)
Well…Interpret it any way you like but I’m most definitely glad someone I care for understands what she has, and is satisfied/만족해 with the gift of Life God gave EN.
A Man, Son, Father & Husband…
Becoming a man who won’t give up when nothing is going well, never running away from obstacles but facing them head on.
Respecting those who are closest to you. Being careful with the tongue and wise with the brain.
Taking full responsibility for your wife and children, and taking on the burden and supporting your family with all that you can give, physically, mentally, spiritually, financially. Even if it means digging holes for the rest of your life.
Lastly, learning what TRUE LOVE is. 1 Corinthians 13.
Srolanh Kampuchea… 1.1
After thinking back these short 3 weeks since returning back from Cambodia, yikes…I really, literally hit rock bottom; Spiritually, mentally, physically. To plainly put it, I was a messed up little boy. I was in a worse state compared to before I left for Cambodia. I simply didn’t do anything correctly. All the things I’ve been praying for and about in Cambodia and basically my entire life, I did nothing to reinforce those prayers. I just simply let Satan and sin enter my life entirely…All the things I’ve been hoping for when I returned back home, nothing. I simply did not go back to the basics. I didn’t even have basics. I was just living my life unprepared, spur of the moment, doing whatever pleased me, regardless of the harm done to others, a life full of pride. Yea.. That is one big thing I learned in the mission field. My pride. I have so much pride. My whole life, was full of pride, but inside my head, I grew up thinking, ‘I’m perfectly fine, I have some problems but not as bad as others, I know so much more than others, my life is a lot more peaceful than others, my life is not as messed up as others.’ Thinking now, what a fool I was for thinking that way and criticizing others, thinking I was much more superior compared to others when in reality, I’m really nothing. But what made me come to this realization? And why do I emphasize on my pride so much? It’s been a struggle for me throughout my life and especially college. Since joining KCCC (Korea Campus Crusade for Christ) I realized there was something I was struggling with, but I didn’t quite know and I couldn’t quite grasp what that was. But through the meeting of one person in particular, she helped me slowly come to realize what I was struggling with. During one night, she sat me down before Open Chapel (KCCC Bible Study) and asked if I knew what I was struggling with, what my relationship with God is, how I am a really big person-pleaser instead of a God-pleaser. I had all the answers to her questions. I have been answering those same questions my whole life with my youth teachers back at home. But even though I shared with her these things, something was still not satisfying. Something was still tripping me up. And she knew clearly that something was bothering me. We ended up praying about it and about the other things I shared. From that moment on, I had to pray and really seek out that mysterious ‘obstacle’ that I was struggling with. So how does this relate with this mission trip to Cambodia? Simple.
Cambodia opened up my eyes. In so many different ways. I expected some things before arriving at Cambodia, but all those expectations were blown out of proportion the moment I arrived with my team. The day of leaving, I felt ready to serve, ready to face the world. I was Very excited. To start, the 18-hour plane ride seemed very short. Every morning began with a passage from Acts, which clearly reflected our purpose in Cambodia, one chapter a day starting from Acts 2. Our first day started in Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek genocidal center or simply the Killing Fields. These two places were the very places which jumpstarted my mission. I’ve heard and read many articles and stories, but personally going there and witnessing what went on in those two places were heartbreaking; Seeing the countless pictures of the dead, innocent humans hanging on the walls, seeing the numerous pits at the Killing Fields where over a hundred of men, women, and children were simply slaughtered. In addition, at Tuol Sleng our team was blessed with the opportunity to meet one of the few survivors of the genocide. Upon hearing his stories and learning what happened from his point of view, it filled my heart with both anger and happiness. Anger at the people who committed these cruel actions and also happiness because our team, even though our time was short, were able to have the chance to help the Cambodians in helping them know Christ when they were most vulnerable.
Srolanh Kampuchea… 1.2
On that same day, our team went out and prayed for the five campuses where our team was going to be at for the next three weeks. (NUM, IU, PUC, RUPP, ITC) Each of these campuses had one thing in common: there was little to no SoonJangs (Disciple Makers) or to Cambodians, Key students. Upon hearing that there were little to none, it made me wonder what that campus would be like. Coming from UCSD where there were so many SoonJangs, it was hard to imagine. The very next day along with the following three weeks, I was placed in IU campus, a medical/health centered university with three other teammates. Knowing how medical students study back in the US, it was definitely a challenge to meet students who were just hanging out or socializing in the school café or hallways. However, through patience and faith in God, we were able to meet a handful of people everyday. Each day, each one of the members would meet about three to five people everyday. During our meetings, with the help of some Key students, we would get to know the brothers or sisters; what kind of background they come from, their interests, sometimes their thoughts on religion, and what they want to do with the major they chose. One common response we got when we asked what they want to do with their majors was that they wanted to help their nation’s people. Each and every one of the students we met all said they loved Cambodia very much and would do anything to help it grow. Upon hearing their responses, it made me think of the US and myself. Many students don’t know what to do as college students and not many think of studying hard to help the nation or its people. Even though some students back home have big dreams for the future, many don’t really care for the future or have the passion to study. Many live for the moment, wasting so much precious time. This made me realize that Cambodia had so much potential to grow to be become a nation as strong as the US, just with the right guidance and Christ in their lives. Once given the chance, we witnessed to some of the students with the Four Spiritual Laws (a small booklet explaining God’s love for us, how sin separates us from God, but through Christ, we are saved and can experience God’s unconditional love). Some rejected from the beginning, some had to leave after reading through only half the booklet, and many simply didn’t accept Christ in the end due to many reasons. Some reasons, which were that their families were all Buddhist and as a result would be difficult to believe in Christ, or because they needed to focus on medical school for now and nothing else, or that they believe that all religions are true and they are okay with accepting all religions. That is the current state of Cambodia, just like statistics state; there aren’t many Christians and too many Buddhists. However, we didn’t let the statistics hinder us and simply trusted in Him and carried on.
Srolanh Kampuchea… 1.3
Almost everyday, about half the people we met ended up accepting Christ. Praise the Lord! But our job didn’t end there. Our job was to be disciple-makers. As a result, each and every one of my teammates as for myself tried our best to have follow-ups (explaining and ensuring new believers that Christ is in their lives and that no other gods can be in their life) with the students who accepted. But like I said, as medical students, they don’t have much spare time. If we looked at our numbers, out of the nearly fifty percent acceptances, only a handful was able to have follow-ups. Some members of the team such as myself didn’t have any follow-ups and some were blessed with a couple. Even though it wasn’t much, I still praised God for using us to really advance His kingdom. By the second week, fatigue hit me slowly and witnessing became harder. Each morning was harder to wake up to, each student I tried to communicate to in the easiest English possible with a few Cambodian phrases combined became tougher. After one week of what would be considered “successful” and fruitful, the second week was simply dry. Mainly because of my laziness and my dependence on results. Both these things really hindered me from seeing the bigger picture. Watching many of my teammates “successfully” witnessing some having follow-ups made me a little envious and really question my method of witnessing. Was something I was doing wrong? Was I not praying enough before went out to meet the students? Many questions went on in my head and I could not quite understand why God was making it hard for me and why I didn’t have as “good” results as the others. These questions and thoughts were answered while reading Romans 8 and while talking with my team leader. As Christians, our only job is to share the Gospel and leave the results up to God. It is impossible for us to know the end results and it is also impossible to change the results. We are not gods but simply servants of God. It is simply through our faith and prayer that the people we witness to can come to know Christ. My team leader told me, if their heart is not open, no matter what we do, Christ couldn’t come in. We can’t force it in them. Faith has to be self-willing. From that moment on, even though it frustrated me to see many students not accepting Christ, I knew that it was all up to God. It is through Him that I am in Cambodia, it is through Him that I have the chance to witness, and it is through Him that I can do anything. However, knowing that we are human, not being able to share the Gospel to the students as much as my other teammates still discouraged me and Satan really got the better of me. While still trying to make friends and share the Gospel with the students a passage from Romans 8, “Present Suffering and Future Glory” really comforted me and gave me strength. The passage clearly states in verses 24-25 “…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
The following morning, while taking a short break with a few of the Key students, I heard a quiet voice behind my back and the Key students said that there was a girl who wanted to talk with me. I was a little startled, but after talking with her, I came to know that she was a Buddhist who had a lot of interest in Christianity. Her entire family was Buddhist except for her one aunt who was Christian. She began to explain that she saw much happiness and joy in the way her aunt was living her life as a Christian and would be interested in it herself. I understood that this sister needed Christ, and that her heart was open to hear the Gospel. I shared the 4 Spiritual Laws with her and she understood everything and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. I brought her over to the Key students and she quickly became friends with them and was also interested in Cambodia CCC and attending church. I did not have much time to spend with her, but I am currently hoping and praying that the Key students will really guide her in her walk with Christ and help her really throw away all her doubts, fears, and insecurities and have complete dependence on God.
Srolanh Kampuchea… 1.4
Aside from witnessing, our team had a chance to run English classes everyday after witnessing during the mornings. Every day had a different topic and we taught vocabulary, creating sentences, and speech. Our task was to teach English, but more than that we were simply trying to bring as many non-believers to have fellowship with the Key students and us and hopefully help them to know Christ. During Saturdays, for two weeks we had the chance to run Beautiful Life, Cambodia CCC’s version of Open Chapel. During those times, we were able to worship our Father through praise, share testimonies, give messages, and present Gospel skits. Each of those moments were short, but our team saw so much growth in all of the students we met and really was able to experience the Spirit working in each one of the students. Back in the hotel, we had daily team meetings where we shared our experiences at our campuses and prayed for many different topics. And before we slept, we each had a chance to share our life stories. During some nights, I had a chance to talk with my team leader and with older brothers and sisters. Through them, I learned so many valuable lessons regarding friendship, women and dating, sharing the Gospel, and personal struggles. With friendship, it is of greatest importance to have many brothers as friends rather than sisters as friends. There are many things that sisters can’t understand that brothers can and it is very important to be able to share my struggles with my brothers and vice versa. With women and dating, it is first very important to be in constant prayer for my future and especially if I am waiting for someone, to pray for them and myself. It is also important to know the essentials in a relationship: communication with the person you like/love, attraction to that person, a stable mental state on both ends, a strong spiritual state on both ends, and the characteristics which are appealing to me. Without even one of these, a relationship can be difficult and would be best to not even start until I am ready. With my personal struggles, I was able to know my biggest struggle and problem: pride. Through out my life, I grew up thinking that I should and can do everything by myself, without anyone else’s help. Even when I was struggling with something that I myself couldn’t handle, I still tried on my own. I had to do things my own way and by doing that, I would gain acceptance and satisfaction from others. There was nothing humble in my life and Christ was definitely not the center of my life even though I believed he was. With my talks with a few older sisters, they rebuked me, but at that moment I was in no place to defend myself. What they were saying was true and it was true that I needed to be more humble, be careful with my words and actions and really seek God in every aspect of my life. To throw down my pride and to allow others and Christ to help me. And with sharing the Gospel. The important things about sharing the Gospel are love, taking initiative, and sharing. I am to love each and everyone I meet, and it is my job to take the initiative and start a conversation. Almost never does a person approach me and ask for me to share the Gospel to them. And to share the Gospel and to leave the results up to God. As a Christian, it is important to really pray and trust in the Lord and to have patience. He told us that to those who wait, there would be great reward in the end.
Srolanh Kampuchea… 1.5
Many people say that short-term mission trips don’t really benefit the mission field but instead the individual, and long-term mission trips is what really benefits the mission field. But after the short three weeks in Cambodia, I saw much change in both Cambodia and myself. The Heavenly Kingdom grew by almost one hundred fifty more brothers and sisters and many more were brought back to Christ. At each of the campuses, God expanded the number of followers by about at least five and many more experienced God’s unconditional love. For myself, many of my questions were answered, and was able to learn much more about life and my walk with Christ. Seeing so much that has happened through the grace of God, I am truly blessed and strongly believe that whether it be short-term or long-term, through our trust in our heavenly Father, everyone is blessed. Now, as I am back in the states, I strongly pray that I would never forget the many blessings I received in Cambodia and to really apply everything I learned there back at home. America is a place of great comfort and many distractions. As I return back to UCSD as a SoonJang myself, I really pray and ask for prayer that God will really help me struggle through my comfortable and distracting life and really be able to serve him at home by loving and respecting my family and friends, at church by serving the people there and really help reinforce God’s word, and through KCCC, bringing up my future Soonwons (disciples) to also be strong believers and followers of Christ, to constantly be witnessing and expanding the Kingdom of God, and lastly to really fall in love with God.
Thank you to all my supporters, family, and friends and to those who are praying for me. I really praise God for what He has done in my life and bringing each and everyone of you into my life. Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony also.
In Love of Christ,