Overcoming Poverty

Become United With the Lord Through the Spirit!

My first tour of duty in the Vietnam War was in 1966 and my second in 1967. I then returned to South Korea in 1969. I had earned and saved a great deal of money from my army allowance, so before I returned, I decided to buy a television and a tape recorder in Vietnam and bring them back home. I thought that they would be useful to have because they were quite valuable at the time.

Back at home, as I was walking one day, I heard a voice say,

“If you’re not going to use the things you bought, and they’ll rust over time anyways, why not sell them and build a church in Seokmakri instead? Use them to save lives, like Noah building the Ark.” 

Even though I had heard the voice clearly, I pretended that I hadn’t heard anything. As I continued walking, Jesus inspired me again, saying,

“Are you going to keep on pretending not to hear me? There’s no one else around; I’m talking to you…”

I paused for a moment and reflected on Jesus’ words. It’s true that I wasn’t using the television, and it was rusting away slowly. Sometimes it got rained on, and although I attempted to cover it, it was impossible to keep it from rusting. I even tried cleaning it with some anti-rust polish, but it just began to rust even more. Jesus continually suggested that we sell the television and build a church for lives instead. But back then, televisions were precious, so I was reluctant to give it up even though our village didn’t have any electricity. I kept praying that we would get electricity, but nothing was ever said about it. Nonetheless, I put the television in the room that I shared with my brothers, and when I was bored, I’d go in and look at it. I was really pleased. But since I couldn’t use it, it was pretty useless.

I tried to find a nearby place that had electricity and found out that there was electricity in Jinsan. So I walked eight kilometers to Jinsan while carrying the television so that I could watch it. I brought it to school and even watched Apollo 16 being launched! Soon, groups of people started to gather and watch together with me. I felt so proud that I owned a television and even began thinking about how much money I could charge each person who watched it, just like how bookstores earned money by renting out comic books. However, Jesus was still telling me to sell it, so I continued to pretend that I never heard him.

Despite pretending not to hear Jesus, I knew that I couldn’t defy the words of my Savior. So I came up with the idea to keep the tape recorder and give the television to him first. I knew that I had to give him one of them eventually because Jesus isn’t just anyone; he saved me when I was about to die in Vietnam—how could I just ignore him? So, I decided to give him the television. Worldly broadcasts on the television didn’t really interest me anyway, so there wouldn’t be much benefit to keeping it.

I kept the tape recorder instead and used it to record sermons. I’d listen to the recordings repeatedly so that I understood them. At the time, Elder Un-Mong Na’s revival rallies were renowned. So I went and recorded what he was saying and listened to the recorded sermon multiple times. 

After a while, even though I’d already given up the television, it seemed like God was urging me to give up the recorder as well. I was suddenly overcome with thanksgiving for how God had saved me when I was in Vietnam, so I conceded. At first, I handed over the recorder reluctantly, but later, I made up my mind firmly. 

Since I wouldn’t have received much money regardless of whom I sold it to, I sold it to my older brother for $100. So now I had a pile of money. In today’s terms, it would be roughly equivalent to $10,000. I wrapped the enormous bundle of money in a newspaper and took it to the church.

Isaiah 46:11

“From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”

About Author

Shinki is that IT Gig, that go to person for computer related issues.

In his spare time he runs, cycles, and exercise with the trinity in mind.