New Life, you are as real as they come.
When I was in the mission field, my wife called and told me that my mother would undergo an open-heart surgery. Although I wanted to come home early upon hearing the news, I had a duty to fulfill. I wept out loud in solitude. I wanted my team to cry with me, but I kept telling myself, “I am a soldier of Christ.”
Should a soldier of Christ hold back his or her tears from the rest of the platoon while war is being raged? Should a solider of Christ stay focused on leading the platoon forward to accomplish their mission regardless of personal circumstances? Solomon tells us that there is a time for everything (Ecc. 3:1-14).
After a victorious ministry in a mountain village called “Mae Hae,” we headed back to the Mission Center in Chiang Mai. While everyone was asleep in the truck, Missionary Kim Tae Min shared with me a painful memory from his past. He told me that over twenty years ago, he told his father that he wanted to become a missionary, but his father was reluctant to take him seriously. When the departure time drew near, he told his father that he would be leaving for Thailand. Days before his departure, he got a call from home telling him that his father had died.
Missionary Kim Tae Min said that all his relatives blamed him for the death. They accused him of breaking his father’s heart, because his father had always planned to live together with him, but he was leaving for Thailand. Missionary Kim Tae Min said, “First five years in Thailand were the most painful time of my life, but God comforted me.” Then, he turned to me and said, “God will also comfort you.” I wanted to cry on his shoulders, but I fought back my tears.
Once we got back to the base, I called home to find out about my mother’s condition. Weeping, my wife told me that my mom was paralyzed due to the extended sedation and internal bleeding. Missionary JJ wanted to arrange my flight back to U.S. immediately, but I told him that I had work to finish. That night, I asked the Lord to allow me to see my mother alive, but even if He didn’t I would still praise Him.
During a morning prayer time in Thailand, Tony Luong wanted to pray for me, and he started weeping for me. I so appreciated Tony’s love because Christ comforted me deeply through him. The day I got back was HOP night. Before the service, Pastor Eric gave me a hug, and Philip and many others comforted me with encouraging words. When everyone laid hands on me to pray, I was deeply moved. Others went out of their way to help my family. I will never forget to be at your sides in your times of trouble and pain.
Last Sunday, by the guidance of Pastor Eric, a struggling brother wanted to meet up with me on Monday, so I agreed to meet with him for lunch. However, on Monday morning, my sister and niece told my wife that my mother only had hours or a day, and I began to weep. Although I wanted to go home and prepare to fly back to Maryland immediately, I gathered myself, wiped away my tears, and went to meet with that struggling brother.
I felt a boldness in my heart to counsel the brother with God’s Word. We all have a duty to fight for others, because Bible says, “Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment” (Jude 22-23 NLT).
Tomorrow, I am heading back to Maryland to see my mother for the last time here on earth. New Life, my family appreciates all your loving prayers and kind words of encouragement. When we get back, let us continue to build and expand the Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28).
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