God not only called me, but also this little child

We met Missionary Kang In Duk (SHAM ministry), who has been serving various broken people after being called by God to serve the orphans, widow, and foreigners. After encountering the Gospel, he went through various missions training. With the confidence that he is fully adept in the Scripture and the prayer, he prayed, “God, send me anywhere.” A little while later, God made it known to him that his confident attitude was a reflection of his pride that he thinks that he is able to do God’s work without God. This led to time of waiting and maturing.

-How did you discern God’s will and dedicated to this field?

“I dedicated my life to be a missionary, but the problem was that I was underqualified to go anywhere… With a broken heart, I cried out “Lord, do you even accept someone underqualified like me?” and the Lord gave me a crystal clear confirmation of calling and a bible verse, 1 John 4:16. Then, God led me to the SHAM ministry.

It is true that I love children, but more than that, I sought after the promising word. I confessed to God that I would obey and go to wherever God calls, but I realize that I am not worthy to be called to go anywhere. In this time of utter despair, all I could hold onto was the promising word. I did not fully understand it, but I just held onto it, and I came to see that God is indeed love.”

-After your dedication, was there a time to confirm your calling?

“Before I dedicated myself to the ministry, my father asked bluntly asked the head missionary, “what is there for my son to even do in this ministry?” The head missionary replied, “we have various areas that your son can help with”, but this question still lingered in the head missionary and me. “What can I actually do here?” In the midst of many thoughts, God spoke to the head missionary and me, clarifying that my role is “to love the Lord.”

Many children here are abandoned by their parents. I can see that my love is not capable of covering their sadness and inner scars. I realize and acknowledge that the only thing that can encourage and renew their soul is the God’s love. Therefore, I believe that my role, truly, is to love the Lord. If I were to proclaim the truth that I don’t even believe, my words will be powerless. On the other hand, there is more power to words if I truly believe it. Likewise, if I love the Lord more, more of God’s love will flow out of me. Therefore, the greatest thing I can do here is to love the Lord more. This is the vocation of my calling.”

My role is to love the Lord

The children that the ministry nurtures are from infant to 7 years old. The past year of SHAM missions training, as well as caring for children, has been a blissful time for him to breakdown and rebuild.

-What do you learn in your training?

“I learned quite a lot in the past year. It was a time to deeply learn about faith, obedience, love, worship, meditation, etc. When I thought about meditating the word, I thought it was about spending a good quality time to read the passage and deeply meditate on it until I realize what God is trying to tell me. It was very different for us because our morning schedule is very hectic. It is difficult to even read the entire passage let alone meditating.

During our worship time, we share what each of the members meditated on, and I felt like I failure some days because I ended up sharing unfinished meditation. But on those days, I found myself meditating throughout the day. I kept asking myself, “Why did the Lord say this?” or “What does he want to tell me?” Then I realized, meditation is not limited to the scheduled time of meditation. On days I meditated well and shared everything, the meditation was done for those days because I was successful. But what I realized was that when I felt that I failed at meditating, God speaks to me even more.

As the grace deepened, more of his sinful nature was revealed. God revealed sins in the areas that he was overlooking and was unaware of.”

-What did God reveal about you?

“Throughout various trainings and ministry, I was grasping the knowledge of the Gospel, but I realized it was very difficult to make Gospel into my life. I saw myself failing and committing sins, and I felt as if I was unforgivable. I kept questioning myself, “what am I doing here? After all the trainings and calling, I am no different than the man I used to be…” I was even considering leaving the ministry. I was going to apologize to the head missionary for my incompetence and leave.

In this time of utter despair and guilt, God spoke to me even more personally. Gods spoke tenderly to me that even if no one in this world forgives me, even if I do not forgive myself, God would forgive me. At this, I fell to my knee and begged God to speak to me. God responded by giving me a verse in Ruth, encouraging me that it is okay even if my faith isn’t great. He just wanted me to stay in him and rest under the wings of God. God promised that he will lead my life, and I confessed that I would not run away and remain under his wings. Through this process, I became a SHAM missionary by grace.

At first, his ministry was failures after failures. He was a strong man, trained to be fire fighter, but obviously, caring for children was a completely new to him. He didn’t even know how to use hammer. Despite all this, he learned to obey and experienced the joy of obedience.”

He didn’t know how to take care of children, or how to use hammer

-What area of the ministry do you serve?

“I serve with childcare, facility maintenance, and nursery maintenance. Honestly, all these were loads of burden to me, simply because I didn’t know what and how to do anything with these. But it was surprising to find myself unable to say ‘no.’ What was more surprising was that I respond with ‘yes.’ It is ideal to obey because you are happy, but I’ve learned to be happy by obeying. Regardless of whether I am capable or not, I simply obeyed.

Although the works were burdensome, I was getting more joyous as I obeyed. When I don’t know what or how to do the work, I just start the work. For instance, when the sink leaks, I just jump right into breaking the sink apart even if I don’t know what I’m doing. When I do so, some other brother thankfully jumps in and helps me as if it was his work. (SHAM ministry’s headquarter, Hebron center, houses other mission organizations to form a community.) It’s interesting to see this. I’m thankful that God always send someone to help me, and it is my joy to see God’s perfect work done, regardless of my talent.

The world checks the result of the project to determine success and failure, but our God checks whether we obey out of faith or not. Thankfully, my members view each other with faith, so we do not judge our result. Even if the project does not end the way we wanted it to, we can freely obey because we are in faith.”

-When do you have the hardest time walking in faith?

“It was very difficult to hear my friends say that I was running away from reality. Even my closest friend questioned whether I was running away from reality because I couldn’t find job, or didn’t want to be a firemen. At this, I couldn’t argue that “NO, I am doing this because of joy of salvation!” Rather, I doubted my calling and myself giving myself a hard time. At times to time, I wanted to go back.

However, I believed in God who called me and continued to obey. Because his calling was so clear, I obeyed in the midst of unhappiness and doubt. As I continued to obey, God allowed me to taste the complete joy of his calling. Many times as we live, we come across situations when we don’t feel like obeying. What I’ve learned is that when we obey regardless of our feeling, God will give us joy through obedience.”

When we obey, God pour out the joy of obedience

-You said you never taught children before. How did you obey this?

“Teaching kids were more burdensome than others. Just playing with the kids is so much different than educating them. There are many things that kids must be taught, and it must be taught with truth and love. I get to spend 3 ½ hours, from 9 AM to 12:30 PM, with 6 children aging 5-7. This gets very tough… I don’t know what to teach and what to prepare. Thankfully, I’m learning from my co-teachers majored in early childhood education. This may be a simple task to them, but they seem complicated to me. Either way, I choose to obey because God pours out his joy if I obey.

There was this instance during “Gospel Activity” time when the kids have the chance to touch, feel, and experience the topic. Our topic for the day was the cross, and we had to make a wooden cross the size of the kids. When we were doing this, the kids were laughing and having a fun time. I wanted to reprimand the kids, telling them to be quiet and meditate the cross, but God suddenly told me to look at the cross, not with an adult’s perspective, but with a child’s perspective. As a teacher and an adult, I feel that I need to be serious and solemn before the cross. As a child, however, the cross was joyous and happy thing.

God was revealing this to me through this instance. Jesus walked to the cross out of joy. He walked to the cross, seeing the grand glory beyond the cross. So I taught the kids, “The cross is not a scary or intimidating thing.” Later on I found out that one of my student went to home and told her mom, “Mom, the cross is not a scary thing!” When I heard this, I realized that God himself was being the teacher for the kids, planting the great truth in them. I simply obeyed, and then God teaches me and leads the children. There are many instances like this.”

-I’m sure there are many difficulties in your ministry. How did you overcome them?

“There was a big problem before when one of the kids got hurt badly. The kids were playing on the spin machine, and one kid lost the grip and flew off. He fell on his face, and his gums peeled off from the contact. It was clearly my fault, and it seemed impossible to find God’s goodness in this situation. He was bleeding immensely, and I was able to see the root his teeth. Fortunately, we made it to the hospital fast to get the emergency treatment done. Still, his face was swollen up badly that I couldn’t recognize his face. No one was condemning me for this situation. Rather they were worried that I would feel guilty and helpless. I knew what other missionaries were thinking, but I still couldn’t push away the guilt.

When we go through suffering, we usually think that it’s because of our sins. I, on the other hand, was thinking, ‘why did God allow this suffering to me when I obeyed him?’ For the next couple days after the accident, all I could think at the end of the day was ‘I barely made it through today without trouble.’ All that I could cling onto was the fact that God is greater than me… that God loves the children more than me. I kept reciting a hymn, “I cling onto thee with my fragile faith in this time of trouble. Even though time passes, and anything can happen in this life, I cling onto Jesus.” Going through this, I was reminded of Naomi. Naomi clanged onto God in the times of trouble, and God restored her. Ruth probably saw God through Naomi and realizes that God’s love is great. God probably praised Naomi for allowing others to see God through her life.

Seeing this, I felt like I was in Naomi’s situation. God sent me to be with these children, so that they may see God in my weakness. There probably will be more serious problems coming up. So many things can happen when you are with children. But I learned that in those situations, all I need to do is fall before the Lord and cling onto him. This is how God teaches me to walk in faith.”

-Is there certain topic your community is focusing on in this season?

“We discuss about love a lot nowadays. Honestly, love is the hardest thing to do in this ministry. We all know well to love with not human love, but God’s overflowing love. We know it so well with our head, yet we come across so many reasons why we cannot love. God does specially love one person over other, but I have a ‘special kid’ to me. Kids that I spend more time with, kids that I fall asleep with, kids that follow me more… I realize that my love is human love, and I keep asking, “How do I love with God’s love?… What is love?”

Then I was reminded of the Good Samaritan man and how he was a man of action. Then, God spoke to me saying, “I did not call you here without knowing your weakness. I will stop you if you are loving the wrong way, just simply obey and act.” Then I realize that Jesus not only thought about going to cross, but actually went to the cross. Seeing that even Jesus was a man of action, I was encouraged to fully love without any restriction. I believe that God will stop me if I was going the wrong way.”

-Do you have any new realization about mercy ministry after being involved in SHAM?

“At first, I just pitied the children. Humanely, they many be pitiful. But God made me realize that my perception was wrong. When I was thinking ‘happy,’ I could only think that children with both parents can be happy and those without were not. If happiness was confined to the structure of family, then God made mistakes with these children. With this perception, it’s difficult not to viewed SHAM ministry as a plan B for God’s mistake. Then, God revealed his heart to me.

“I not only called you, but also called these children as well. You aren’t the only one with special calling and special promise. All of these children are called here to be the happiest children, experiencing my perfect love.” Then I got to realize that each of these children have calling of their own… that they were called here to be nurtured under the shadows of God’s wing.”

That’s a fascinating enlightenmentGod truly calls each one of us.

“This one time, one child was first learning how to walk. All the missionaries were gathered to watch the child take the first step, and we were all rejoicing when the child succeeded. Then I was reminded that parents don’t count the number of times children falls before they take first steps. It was really true! We didn’t care about how many times the child fell in the process. Nobody was disappointed or anything. All that we cared about was that the child was able to take the step! And with this, the Lord reminded me that God rejoiced like this when I first took that step of faith. No matter how many times I fell and felt miserable, God only remembers and rejoices over was that single step of faith. I am only where I am after numerous baby steps, and I just have to take another baby step in the times to come. That’s what God rejoices over.

Mercy ministries like SHAM require heavy intercessory prayer. I believe that doors of blessing will open through prayer of saints.”

-Please share your prayer request

“We are praying that God send more children to us. We pray that SHAM will not be limited by our capacities, so we want to serve children that need God’s mercy. Also, we are praying for people to serve with us. I thought God called me to this ministry so that I will give love and mercy, but rather God was teaching and providing love and mercy to me. So we’re praying for children to be loved and people to serve together with.

Lastly, please pray that the children here will grow up to be children of God. As they grow up, they will come to know about their special environment… Please pray that God would protect their hearts from all the thoughts that may rise up.”