A beautiful scenery, conversations we had yet to have, and some unwelcome traffic filed our time as we made our way to our next destination; Daejeon (means Great Field or Great War). I did my homework before arriving, so that I would know something about the place where we would spend the next three days. We were met by our host June Lee, and she took us to the Stepanos Praise Mission Center, where we were greeted by both pastors’ Yang, the worship pastor, and some of the congregants who cooked a wonderful meal for us. Female Pastor Yang is the director of the Stepanos Praise Missions Center, while male Pastor Yang is the Senior Pastor of the Church. We sat on the floor in front of a low table, and enjoyed a traditional Korean meal, while we introduced ourselves and talked about our vision and reason for our visit. I have to say that up to this point on our trip, we had not eaten anything we did not enjoy, and we have not met anyone we didn’t love instantly.
The people from the congregation and the missions center were genuinely excited to welcome us, and as explained, they had been praying for my healing ever since they found out we would be visiting Korea. I cannot begin to explain the feeling I get when people tell me they are praying for me. Especially, when I hear that there are people praying for me globally, even though they do not know me personally. It is a humbling feeling that helps me understand how big the family of God truly is. It expands continents, islands, and even races and cultures; a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father!
During our first service at the center, a lady shared that she had been praying for God to perform a miracle in my life ever since she heard I was coming. She shared a scripture with me from Zechariah 3:1-4. She ten told the story that she had bought a new coat that was too big for her. While praying for me, she said the Lord told her that the coat was meant for me, and that she was to give it to me with that scripture in Zechariah. When she said that, one of my first thoughts was, “oh no, she will ask me to put it on in front of all these people! What if it is too small for me? This is going to be so embarrassing!” (don’t judge) Sure enough, they asked me to put it on…I reluctantly did and was surprised when it fit perfectly. I could not believe it! The coat was meant for me! When you read the scripture in Zechariah, then the story and the symbolism will make sense. We serve a God who is supernatural, and one that loves to give us shocking glimpses of himself. I left that meeting feeling humbled and encouraged.
While we were staying with the amazing people who work with the Stepanos Praise Center, We had most of our meals prepared by some of the members (all were amazing!), and our breakfasts at their Cafe, located just a few buildings down from the church. This corner cafe became a special place to us. Cafe San Tre, is an outreach ministry of the Stepanos Praise Missions Center. It is open to the community, and the center uses it to love on people, and provide them with a homey and safe place to relax, and enjoy life. There we saw a healthy example of friendship evangelism manifested through them sharing their famous walnut pies, cheesecake, and coffee varieties, with a hint of love and a listening ear. I tell you, nothing beats that!
I want to tell you about a special man I met at the Cafe. Kwanyoung Jung is a Korean man in his 40’s but you would never know it because he looks so much younger. This man is one of the kindest people I met while in Korea. He especially blessed me because knowing about my condition, he prayed specifically about what kind of beverage to prepare for me. He offered me a cup of coffee and said it was what he felt God direct him to prepare for me. Wow! When I tried it, it was smooth and it had a very clean taste to it. I immediately loved it. He served me this special hand-dripped coffee every time we came for breakfast. He was very proud that God would allow him to bless me this way. This may seem silly to some people, but to me, it was very special and meaningful. This was not an ordinary cup of coffee; it was blessed by a man who took special care in the process and the service to my specific need. I am moved to tears every time I think about it.
Besides the Cafe and the Missions Center, the Presbyterian Church also gave us another opportunity to engage the community. Experiencing worship with these amazing group of believers was beautiful and special. From the moment we walked through the doors of the building, we were greeted by the friendliest people on earth! Someone even pushed the button on the elevator for us, and walked us to our seating area. I was already feeling like royalty, but I realized quickly that they treat all visitors like royalty, and we were no exception. I was especially touched when they brought in all the children to the front. They sat on the stage and listened to the pastor as he shared a bible story with them. He asked them questions about what he was sharing, and then he prayed for them before dismissing them to their classes. I loved it! It is obvious that this congregation puts high value in teaching children and giving them a special place in the service. The congregation meets for lunch afterwards and everyone fellowships before going to their small groups and more fellowship. There is a strong family atmosphere that obviously comes form the pastors’ strong vision. The rest of the time spent with these wonderful people was nothing short of miraculous and inspiring.
Come back next time for another great story about An Emotional Day at Donghaksa Temple.