After encountering Jesus Christ at the apex of her suffering, Deaconess Kim Yu Kyung experienced overflowing joy and peace. She could not help but to share the good news to everyone she meets. We were able to meet Deaconess Kim who is so proud of God who restored her life and the world.
-How did you begin your life as an evangelist?
I was born in an unbeliever’s family, but after encountering Jesus Christ, I could not help but to share this good news! When I got to experience and realize that God’s words are true, I immediately wanted to share it to my family. Afterward, evangelism wasn’t a special event, but part of my daily life. When I get in taxi, I share it to the taxi driver; at bus stop, to the people waiting for bus; in the college campus, I share it to college students.
Back in the days, I was the one thinking “why would you do that in the street? Why do they have to bother people so much?” I was the one persecuting the evangelists. When I see people rejecting the Gospel, I see my old self in them, so I just pray for them. Sometimes, God encourages me through people. Some people gives me hot drink in cold winter, or some proclaim that they have met Jesus Christ too. There’s great joy in sharing the Gospel because evangelism is not about seeing the result. Whether they come back to Christ or not is up to the Lord.
Evangelism is not a special event, but part of daily life.
-Do you still evangelism like that?
Nowadays I evangelize with a church team. I met a pastor with a passion for evangelism. After sharing with him, we organized a team. Every Wednesday, 10 people gather and divide up into 3 teams to go to apartments, factories, and schools near by to share how Jesus was good news to them. When we meet children, we give them our hand made cookies. We visit people who are hurt by church and people who can’t go to church because of physical limitation to worship with them. We wouldn’t have known all these lost souls if we didn’t go out to the street.
-How did you encounter Christ?
I have two daughters. When I was in my late 30s, I became close to a mom in my daughter’s kindergarten and she kept insisted me to come to church. I was raised in a Buddhist background and had a bad image of the church, so I didn’t want to go. But I started to attend church as she kept insisting. Going to church was fine, but I found myself unchanged at the end of my second year.
I wanted to be transformed, so I made two dedications. First, I will attend all the Sunday worship. Second, I will give tithe. At the moment, I had to raise my two daughters on my own, so I didn’t have secure finance. Dedicating to give tithe was a big decision for me. Even so, the thirst in my heart was not satiated. I was getting sick of this unbearable life where I had to act like it’s okay and I’m happy. I questioned why I was born this way and why I had to live this kind of life.
I come from a broken family where my abusive dad cheated on my mom. I thought I was raised pretty well despite all the drama. Well, the same nightmare haunted me back as my husband cheated on me. I was deeply wounded and I was frightened that this nightmare will haunt my two daughters as well. All I thought about was suicidal method and proper time. I was a dead person living.
Around that time, I attended a training with the theme of “finding myself” after being recommended by the church pastor. I thought to myself, “it isn’t late to end my life after I found the answer,” and I threw my everything at it.
-What was the answer you found?
One day, I got a homework. I was suppose to write down a list of 10 people that I needed to forgive and tell myself that I will forgive them. Yea, it was a childish homework, but I did it anyway. After sending my kids to the kindergarten, I started writing down the names. I was thinking, “yes I am a sinner and there is no reason not to forgive them.”
But as I was about to write the 10th name, I stopped and burst into anger. “I forgave nine people, so it’s okay!” As I was about to crumble the paper, I felt the Lord speaking to me. I was even more angry and argued to God saying, “Lord, you know what this person did to me. I cannot forgive this person!” I just could not stay put when the Lord shed light upon my deepest, darkest secret. I could not understand why God did not condemn the other person, but insisted on me to forgive.
When I was in 5th grade, I went through consistent sexual abuse by one of my teacher. When I resisted, the teacher slapped my face in front of my friends. It felt like all the problems were happening because of me, so I could not tell anyone about this. I could not burden my mother with another problem when she has so many problems with dad. With all that’s happening, I told myself to be strong enough to protect myself. Later on, sexual abuse ended when mom transferred me to a better school in Seoul, but my shame still remained. I had no choice but to cover my life with lies.
With forgiveness came the flood of tears
-You must have went through a lot…
Lord spoke to my heart, “Yu Kyung, I was crucified to the cross before everyone. I know what shame is, and I received the shame for you.” Honestly, the cross to me meant nothing much to me really. It was just a part of a story in the bible. But through this, I begin to actually understand the love of Christ. I begin to believe that my selfish ego has died with Christ. God spoke tenderly to me as if he spoke to a child, and through that, I got to realize that I am a sinner.
After taking a deep breath, I proclaimed to forgive the 10th person, and all the tears I held back flooded out of my eyes. I never cried like that before. Ever since, peace and freedom were in my heart. I finally was able to see Jesus Christ and myself. I didn’t have to try to believe, but I knew that I was a child of God.
My first prayer afterward was this, “God, you are so silly! My almighty God should not be hung on the cross. You are the king! It is incomprehensible that you died for someone so worthless like me.” After this prayer, I confessed, “Lord Jesus, I just want to live like you.”
Ever since then, I got to realize that the lyric of the praises I was singing was all about the love of Christ. When I read the bible, it felt so real to me. My eyes opened up to souls that needed the Gospel. Also, I got to realize that I could not be omitted from the world mission. I prayed one hour a day for the world mission.
In 2008, God called me to stand before holistic Gospel through the Good News School. I was contemplating to go because I felt that I already knew about God, but I went regardless because I felt that there is a reason for God calling me there. I didn’t know it back then, but it sure was a necessary time for God to train me for storms that were coming.
My husband was running a business in Japan for a while, and he was diagnosed to have cancer. He had to come back to Korea to be hospitalized, so the only source of finance was cut off from my family. I knew that God was the Lord of everything, but I went through tremendous stress with the given situation. I had no money for the bus, so I had to walk 2 hours… we had no food to eat, so I just held onto the refrigerator to pray over and over again. My husband was worrying that we might live like a homeless people, so I reminded him that God was taking care of our lives, and I found myself a part time job.
I was hoping that my husband will be healed and we can have walked the spiritual journey together. I prayed for it, and I believed that God would answer it. One day, I shared my how Gospel was a good news to me. I told him about God’s kingdom and the good news. To live with our daughter together in heaven, that he had to believe in Jesus Christ. And he accepted the gospel and even decided to be baptized a week later.
But five days later, I got a call from my father in law that my husband passed away… I was just so confused and shocked at such a sudden death. The Lord assured me that he is with him, and it was enough to calm me down.
Experiencing unity of the family by the grace of the cross
-I am amazed by how the Lord shaped your life with his grace. I’m curious as to how the journey of faith progressed?
Because I was raised in a broken family, and because my children had to be raised in one as well, I had special interest in the future generation. Also, knowing that my life is related to the world, I was hopeful that through restoration of my family, the broken families throughout the world could be restored as well.
Then, at age 41, the Lord put in the thought of re-marriage to me. At first, I considered it a devil’s lie, so I said no, but it was indeed Lord speaking to me. Although I said I will surrender myself to God, the concept of re-marriage was like death to me…
But God opened up my heart to it again. I met a guy at a Gospel Training school. We initially just had fellowship in the truth, but eventually, we got more intimate. Later on, we shared our relationships to our families, and eventually we got married.
-It’s a family born out of obedience.
It was first time for me to have a God fearing family, so there were many conflicts in the beginning.
It was impossible to match us to each other without the power of the cross. I realized that building a family was like building a church. It took some time for my daughters to deeply understand the stepfather’s true intention. Whether my husband and I go to a mission field, or even go to heaven, our hope is that our daughters live their lives according to the Gospel.
I wanted to teach them to trust God with finance as well, so we didn’t provide them much. They had to trust that God will provide them with needed finance. I made them move out at age 28 as well. At first, it was very difficult for them… but now, they not only understands, but also encourages us.
-It was a time for all of the family to experience the power of the Gospel.
Yes. Although she didn’t say it, my first daughter had it difficult whenever there was a conflict with her stepfather. When she stood before the Gospel, God gave her heart to obey the stepfather, encouraging her that obedience to stepfather is same as obedience to God. When she returned home from the training school, she wrote a honest letter to the stepfather.
Restoration begins to take place ever since then. We were able to trust and love each other. Despite the conflicts, we are happy. We talk and share our struggles, and through each one of our lives, Christ was reflected. With our family, I can boldly state that Gospel has the power to unify! God led me to re-marriage so that I can experience the joy of restoration.
-I heard you’ve been sharing the Gospel to the young generation. Can you tell us about it?
Ever since 2009, there was a Gospel retreat for teenagers, and I have been serving since the beginning. At our first retreat., our number was few, and I was wondering whether teenagers can truly accept the Gospel.
But Gospel indeed was powerful. Students and staff all tasted the power of the Gospel. We believed that such experience should not just end with one retreat, so we’ve been serving ever since.
Power of the Gospel, passed down to future generation
-Are you getting blessed serving the future generations?
I get to see that our students suffer very much, and it is amazing to see them transformed through the Gospel. As adults, we know what kind of struggles the students will eventually go through in the society, so we always lift them up in prayer. Sometimes, the kids who grew up come up to us and tell us that they’ve become missionaries. It sure is good to see the fruit of the labor.
The Gospel retreat always had more than 100 people, including the staff, but recently the number has gone down. I am a treasurer, so I can quickly calculate the finance. Finance is always rough because the Gospel retreat is mostly ran with offering. Due to many situational problems, other staffs and I get stressed, but God always finds way to work things out.
A recent Gospel retreat was hosted with just 30 people, but to our surprise, we finished it with sufficient finance. Every time God blesses us in a way we cannot think.
-Do you have any prayer request?
I always pray that my family will turn back to God. Both my family and my husband’s family are nonbelievers. There’s difficulty following this, but because of it, we seek the Lord even more. I also pray that more future generations will rise to be witnesses of our God.