Seeds Sown; Souls Saved

February 05, 2018

Missionaries brought the Good News to Jung Ok in Korea, and now her goal is to share it with others.

By Jung Ok You

I

thank the Lord for what He has done for me. I was born in Pusan, Korea. Though my parents were not Christians, they were honest and tried to raise their children to be good people.

When my father was fifteen years old, he went to Japan to earn money because, at the time, Korea was a very poor country and oppressed under Japanese rule. There he received some education and became a seaman. During the rough life of a merchant mariner, he began to enjoy drinking. His alcohol habit became worse and worse, to the point he was even given a nickname in Japanese that means “Bring more! Bring more!”

After my father married my mother, he continued working as a seaman, including during my growing up years. Every time his ship pulled into the Portland harbor, Apostolic Faith church members visited and invited the crewmen to church and to their homes. My father wrote letters home, telling us about the Portland church people—that they were wonderful and very kind to all the Koreans. That is how my family was introduced to the Gospel.

Taking English classes from missionaries

In 1967, missionary “Papa” Harold Barrett and his wife, “Mama” Sally moved to Korea to preach this true Gospel. They began holding church services in their house, in a second-floor room that was about ten by fifteen feet in size—it became a small sanctuary that was called the “Upper Room Church.” When I was sixteen years old, my family went there because my father wanted us to go.

I thought I had no sin because I was so diligent and encouraged other students in my middle school. However, I had sin in my heart: lying, hatred, jealousy, and many kinds of wrong things.

At the time, I didn’t know about the Gospel or Jesus. I only wanted to learn English from Mama Barrett, who taught English to Korean seamen and students at that time. One day the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I realized I was a sinner. Before that, I thought I had no sin because I was so diligent and encouraged other students in my middle school. However, I had sin in my heart: lying, hatred, jealousy, and many kinds of wrong things. That day I confessed and repented of all my sins, and God saved me. I was one of the first converts in the Apostolic Faith Church in Korea.

The morning after I met Jesus, I found that I was totally changed. My family and those around me could see the difference. I wanted to share this Gospel with my friends in school, and invited them to the little church there in Pusan. My longing was for souls to be saved, and the people around me recognized that.

After a time, my mother was saved. About one year after that, my father repented of his sins and he was saved too. God delivered him from the drinking habit, and then he prayed hard for the church and for our family. My younger brother and sister also were saved.

We did not have a car, and our house was so far from the church that we had to ride the bus. However, my mother would get severely carsick when she rode the bus, so sometimes she walked to church. It took about one-and-a-half hours to walk that distance, but she wanted to be in God’s house, so she made the effort.

Established in the faith

In 1975, Papa and Mama Barrett left Korea to return to Portland, and most of the church members went to the airport to say goodbye. We were crying when they left, and we were so sad. We felt like children without a mother or father, so when they were gone, we went back to the church and prayed to the Lord. Then the Holy Spirit began to fall on the people. Day by day, the revival continued. One by one, many people prayed through. During that time, I received my sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The revival went on for some weeks, and around fifty people received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That really established the church in Pusan and gave it a strong foundation.

In time, American church members helped our little group and we were able to build a new church in Pusan. The people were spiritually hungry and our Sunday school was filled with more than one hundred children.

After I graduated from high school, my whole family moved to Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. At that time there was no Apostolic Faith Church there. However, Mama and Papa Barrett had returned to Korea, and sometimes they visited the city. There were people in the area who wished for an Apostolic Faith Church there, so the Barretts moved to Seoul and began holding services in their basement apartment. Then, as the group grew larger, we rented various places to hold services.

My father began to pray to the Lord, “Please send Brother Carver (the Superintendent General at that time) from the States, and please give us a church building.” He always prayed that way. God heard his prayer and in time, Brother Carver did visit, and later the Lord gave us a new church building in Seoul. My father was so faithful to pray and serve God until the Lord called him to the Kingdom of Heaven.

It was there in the Seoul church in 1980 that God gave me a Christian husband, Hak Kyung Kim, who was invited to our church by his brother. Hak Kyung had attended a Presbyterian church from the time he was in middle school, but he was saved in the Apostolic Faith Church. He had never smoked, but he drank alcohol, and when he received salvation, God delivered him from that. Later, my husband was sanctified and baptized by the Holy Ghost, and he became an elder in the Seoul church when he was in his early thirties.

Trusting God with my family

In 1985, Hak Kyung had heart surgery to replace two valves in his heart. Back then, that was a very dangerous surgery in Korea, but God helped. Just before his surgery, he shared the Gospel message with other patients in the hospital and told them about Jesus. We had a young son by that time—Simon had been born in 1983—and I was scared as a young wife and mother, but God helped me. As I prayed at the time of Hak Kyung’s surgery, it seemed I could see the angels supporting him around his surgery bed.

Hak Kyung was in the hospital for four months. The surgery was very expensive, and we did not have much money. However, his colleagues gathered funds and donated money for the surgery, so that problem was solved. We knew that was God’s blessing. After Hak Kyung’s recovery, he went back to his job, and he was so diligent and upright that he was promoted to a high position.

We found that all differences of opinion could be smoothed out with God’s help.

Every night we read the Bible and prayed together by the bedside with our son. In every trial and trouble, God always guided and helped us. We never fought. Many people cannot believe that, but we prayed together every night, and we found that all differences of opinion could be smoothed out with God’s help. We had a very happy home throughout our thirty-two years of married life.

When Simon was in middle school, he attended youth meetings at our church and was saved. However, Korean students are very busy, with a tight schedule during high school, and he backslid during that time. He went on to college and then joined the army for the military service that is mandatory in Korea. After his discharge from the army, during youth meetings in Seoul, he was saved again. He told me with tears, “Mom, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” Now he is faithfully serving the Lord. He married last year, and he and his wife attend our Seoul church.

Fifteen years after Hak Kyung’s first surgery, he had a second heart surgery. He was able to go back to work until 2002, and after that he retired because of his health, though for a while he still worked part time in the same company. Then his health condition became worse and worse. One heart valve began leaking blood so he had a third surgery.

Even though Hak Kyung’s physical body was weak, he was always smiling and happy, no matter what situation or trouble he faced. Sometimes people asked me, “Is he a pastor?” In 2012, he had to be hospitalized for six months, and Simon stayed with him every night on a small bed in his room. People were surprised at Simon’s dedication to his father. In fact, someone once asked, “Can I help you by staying with your father?” but he said no, he wanted to help his dad. They loved each other so much.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, during the time my husband was so ill. I had surgery in April, and had radiation about thirty times. Hak Kyung was burdened by my condition, but God helped and I recovered quickly. Now I am cancer free, and I thank God for helping me through that situation.

Looking toward the kingdom of Heaven

I remember that after Papa and Mama Barrett moved back to the United States, he would often write to me because I could speak and write English. He always said, “If we don’t meet again on this earth, we will meet again in the Kingdom of Heaven at the Eastern Gate.” He would quote the verse, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Hak Kyung quoted the same words just before he passed away on December 9, 2012, after he finished his work for God.

Now I know God always has a plan. Sometimes I don’t understand His plan and His will, but He knows what is best for me.

That was a very hard time for me. Sometimes I asked God, “Why? We need him! Our church needs him!” But now I know God always has a plan. Sometimes I don’t understand His plan and His will, but He knows what is best for me. I still miss my husband so much, but I have a hope of meeting him again in the Kingdom of Heaven someday soon. So for now, I try to do my best to help spread this Gospel to others.

My father and mother both passed away in the peace of God. My mother was sanctified in Portland when she attended camp meeting. She was a very shy and quiet person, but she gave her testimony at the camp meeting. Now, most of my family is attending the Seoul church. Last year at the Christmas concert in our Seoul church, thirteen members of our family participated.

I thank God for His blessings to me and my family. I want to serve Him until He calls me Home.

About the author

Jung Ok You is a member of the Apostolic Faith Church in Seoul, Korea. She is grateful for the faithfulness of the Gospel workers in Portland, Oregon, and the missionaries from this organization who brought the message of salvation that made such an impact on her family.