By Paul Lee, KOREA
I was born in the Namwon region in the southern part of South Korea where we enjoy beautiful and peaceful places. I was brought up by an authoritarian father and a faithful mother. I have a brother and three sisters. I am the youngest in my family.
My father was a farmer. He was rich, but he liked to drink, smoke and gamble. He gambled all his fortune away. Also, he didn’t care for us children. I don’t remember that my father ever held me in his arms. When he came home drunk, he usually shouted at my mother. My siblings and I were afraid of him. From childhood I was looking for a father’s love because of our home situation.
My mother was always faithful, always a great person. She obeyed her husband and took care of us four children. Even though she had a very difficult life, she always treated me with kindness and love.
When I was a primary school student, a preacher invited me to church. Since then, I have attended church regularly. My father was not a believer, but he was never against my involvement in the church, and my mother always trusted my decisions.
When I was in my fourth year at primary school, my family moved to the Busan region which is the second biggest city in South Korea. We moved because of financial difficulties. My father’s business failed because of his debts. I really liked the little village where we lived, and I never wanted to leave my home town. I cried for the first year in the big city. I missed my friends and home church. I could have been led astray by bad company during that time, but thank God, He had already provided someone who was willing to help me in my spiritual walk. My uncle’s wife was a believer and she guided me to a church. Once again God gave me joy and security among believers.
All through middle school and high school I studied the Bible regularly with my pastor. When I was 14, I attended a prayer meeting with a youth group. For several years I had heard the gospel—that Jesus loved me and died for my sins. I believed the Scripture “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). So I knew about Jesus Christ, but I wanted to know Him personally.
At the youth prayer meeting, the Holy Spirit came upon me in deep conviction. I confessed my sins to God and cried out to Him to come into my life. I knew that now I was a child of God and Jesus was my Savior. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). I sensed Jesus telling me that He loved me very much. I, who had been searching for love, at last found the absolute love, the love of God.
My school years were pleasant. I was very involved in school activities. Leading a cheer group and singing in the chorus were among my many activities.
During my high school years, I spent most of my time actively involved in church activities. My desire to serve God became stronger and stronger. While I was a university student, my vision was to share the gospel with people who had never heard it. Everyday I met people whose eyes were spiritually blind, people who were seeking money and honor. I wanted to tell them that Jesus is their only hope. So, I committed my life to being a Christian worker.
From that time, whenever I heard a message about sharing the gospel in other lands, I was really challenged. So challenged in fact, I tried to get my friends and church members involved as well. Together we prayed for the countries of the world. I also served as leader of the youth group in my church. To prepare myself for further service, I took a discipleship training course with the university.
While I was still at the university, my father died in a car accident. I was very confused by his sudden death because he was not yet a Christian. I struggled because I didn't know why God allowed him to die at that time. Also I couldn’t forgive him for not loving my mother, my siblings and me.
In Korea every young man has to serve in the army. Because I was in charge of a campus ministry, I had planned to join the army after graduation from university. However, after my father’s death, I stopped my university studies in my junior year and joined the army. That decision was my reaction against God because of my disappointment over my father’s death. I had prayed that my father would become a Christian and that he would become a good person who would love me deeply. Because that change did not take place, I was greatly disappointed in God.
In a dream, however, I saw my father rise up from the grave. He said to me, “Why didn’t you tell me more passionately about the gospel before I died?” Through the dream, God showed me again that the greatest priority in life is to share the good news of Christ to those who, like my father, are dying without the knowledge of the way to God.
In a meeting at Mission Korea 1994, I saw a vision (a mental picture) of Revelation 7:9-12. “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’” (Revelation 7:9-12). I was eager to work with the people I read about in that passage.
At that time God also healed my root of bitterness concerning my father. When I prayed to God, I suddenly saw a vision where God the Father hugged me tight and said, “I love you.” Truly, I experienced the Father’s great love for me. I finally found that deep love for which I longed.
Most of my family are now Christians. My mother is a very faithful person for God’s kingdom. She has blessed me in the name of Jesus and is praying for me in the early mornings.
I wanted to be a worker like the Apostle Paul who made tents while he preached the Word of God. So I worked for a company which made monitors and TVs while I tried to engage in Christian work. I worked hard and the company affirmed my ability as a research worker. I liked working for the company, but I also loved to be a Christian worker. In time, I realized that I couldn’t do both kinds of work at the same time. Nevertheless, the experience gave me an understanding of nonbelievers.
In 1998 at the Korea Revival Conference, God gave me the same vision of Revelation 7:9-12 again. I knew His time had come for me to do His ministry as a full-time worker. I quit my job and I studied theology at the seminary.
While I was studying I also planted a church and taught discipleship training. I had a great time and a good relationship with people who wanted to follow Jesus. After serving the church for about three years, I realized that I needed contact with an organization whose workers go abroad. I discovered one in Korea and began working with them as part of their staff in the home office. After a while I felt confident that God wanted me to work with them long term.
In the future I trust that I will be at the forefront of seeing Revelation 7:9-12 fulfilled. I hope that I will go to peoples who do not yet know Christ, but who will one day praise Him at His throne because I brought them the gospel. I want them to know Jesus, God’s Son, who died for them. I want them, too, to find and experience the absolute love of God, the Father.
Instructions For Families
> Top of page