Testimony at Gideon’s Convention, Orange, 24 April 2016

I used to be an army officer in the Defence Force of South Korea for two years since 1983. One day I picked up a piece of paper at the army campus near DMZ of North Korean border, assuming that it was one of the political propaganda flown from North Korea. Before I destroyed it, I happened to read it and discovered it was not a piece of propaganda but some words from the Bible. I don’t remember exactly word by word what was written on the piece of paper. But I do remember that it was about “eternal life”. The two words “eternal life” did not go away from my mind for a few hours and made me think of my own life. Then I began to feel something which I had never felt before. I felt that I had some kind of life inside me. I came to know that my flesh and bones were not my life but only a container that held my life. That life which I felt that I had was the eternal life. By reading and pondering over the word of God, I came to have the eternal life. It was a strong conversion experience. The next morning I got up from my bed and came out of my residence and saw the sky and the earth. And I knew I was in a new heaven and the ground where I put my feet was a new earth. My unquenchable thirst for alcohol disappeared instantly at that conversion moment. I was born from above.

I knew the second lieutenant Kwon (my junior officer in the same army) had been praying for me for a long time before I had that conversion experience. He was trilled when he found out what God has done for me and began to spend time with me regularly reading his bible and teaching me Christians songs. I felt that I also needed a bible to read. And I remembered that I had a little blue bible on the bookshelf of my study room at my home. My home was long distance away from the DMZ zone. Anyway the bible which I had on my bookshelf was Gideon’s Bible and I had never read it until then. But it was what I needed urgently and desperately. So I wrote a letter to my mother asking her to send it to me by registered express mail. When I got it, It became my precious and closest friend since then. I grew on the word of God day by day.

Many years (perhaps 12 years or so) have gone passed since then. I came to Australia and became an ordained minister of the Uniting Church in Narromine, NSW. I had gone through the process of becoming a church minister within the Uniting Church denomination. I was considered to be a good student and the lecturers gave me a lot of theological books to read as assignment readings. Most of the books were those written by “so called” well-known liberal theologians of modern western countries. I became a minister of liberal theological mind, not believing every word of the Bible as God’s words. I always studied hard with my commentary books on the passages of the Bible before I brought my sermons to my congregation. The Bible became a hard subject that needs to be interpreted with much study, rather than much prayers.

One day I was invited to a Gideon’s dinner at Dubbo, NSW, where I share my testimony of my very first Bible in the army. It was one of Gideon’s bibles, I said. Then I looked around the people gathered at the Gideon’s dinner night as well as many little pocket Bibles stacked up on the tables for distribution. Then I found myself thinking, “Gee, who could understand those difficult ancient books?” While I was thinking this way, something hit my spiritual cord inside of me and I thought again, “what am I thinking about? Those books are the same as my first bible and I read it over and over again when I got saved and I enjoyed reading it”

Then, I realised that somehow I had been drifted a long way from my first love for the Word of the Lord. I knew I was very sick spiritually, I mean I needed healing in my spirit. The Gideon community and their faithful work of distributing the pocket bibles inspired me to see my spiritual condition.

It took a while for me to recover my first love for God’s words. Since then, I have been enjoying reading my bible with innocent pure heart, relying on the guide of the Holy Spirit. And I know it’s not much information and heaps of biblical knowledges which people need in order to understand God’s words. But, it is by prayer and faith, anyone can hear God’s voice through the readings of the Bible. We are reading three chapters of the Bible during the morning prayer time in the Orange Prayer House these days. And we hear God speaking to us even today. I thank God for Gideon’s faithful ministry of providing Bibles to all people who need Jesus.