Beautiful music. God is so good, and also thank you for your special music today. It was very, very inspiring. You inspire me because you also come out early in the morning to sing in KSM service. There’s no KSM, there’s no ESM. We are one church. And your sense of oneness and love for the community really inspires me, you know, loving the church, that is an expression of our faith. It isn’t an individual faith, personal faith between you and God alone. It is about loving the community. Out of love for the community. You kind of sacrifice. You give yourself for that.
I just came back from Madagascar and I’m very tired right now. The time difference is seven hours and as soon as I got there, I got there around 12 o’clock at night, and their system is so bad. The infrastructure is so bad at the airport. I had to wait around and wait and wait, and by the time I got to my place, to the place we were staying at, it was two o’clock in the morning and because of jet lag, I couldn’t sleep much. That morning at nine o’clock, they started the lectures, so it was kind of a hard time, but I’m glad that I was able to survive and I could feel your prayers every time. Everywhere I went, I felt that you are with me. Your prayer is with me and I really thank you for your prayers. God, I felt the strong hands of God guiding me and leading me. I did teaching in two different places. One in Antananarivo, they call it Tanah, it’s the capital city. And then after that I went to Tama Taboo. Tama Taboo is about a 10-hour drive, but the road is really bad. So 10 hours we drove. So the people from villages came to the capital city. You’ll see the capital city and see what the capital city looks like. I took a little video, so you will see that later, after the sermon. But, I did teaching and there were some pastors and also there were some leaders from the village and there were not that many trained pastors there. They don’t have many pastors, period.
The church where I did my teaching and the minister was reverend Unjatoo. Last time when I went there a few years ago, the membership was 8,000 people. This time I went it was 20,000. It grew almost three times. So many people, so many people. I couldn’t imagine, they started worshipping at 5:30 in the morning, three or four services and it’s incredible, their passion. And I realized that the community of faith does so many good things there. Here, the community of faith, sometimes we’re here just for ourselves sometimes, and it’s just psychological comfort and, you know, all the other things are already prepared, but there, nothing is prepared. Infrastructure’s bad, hospitals are bad, the education system is bad, and their church does so many wonderful things in conjunction with NGO. They work together to build schools. And then, for example, in Korea too, the missionaries came and they established the schools like Yancey university or Yale University, and they created high schools as well. Like that, all the churches were kind of involved in children’s education because they don’t think of sending their kids to school so they don’t get a proper education. For example, the GDP is $450 a year, 450. They live on that. Many people said they went over through the river and then in the sand, they pour us, put a sen and then it has to be reversing to, for construction. So they do that all day and at the end of the day, they get $2, $3 at most. I mean, for us $2 is just nothing. You don’t even think about keeping it. But it is one day worth and medical facility, there are many places where they don’t get medical treatment, especially villages. They don’t have doctors, they don’t even have nurses. So the train kind of first-aid workers and then medical kind of agent whatever. They don’t have medical knowledge, but at least they know what to do in an emergency. So, they are missionaries that are there, they built a hospital and they got permission, a permit from the government. And they also got doctors prepared, but the thing is they don’t have the equipment, medical equipment, to bring. So, there’s an organization in the United States, they collect all the medical equipment, for example, second-hand medical equipment and also some kind of deal didn’t go through well, so there are some new ones and they collect all these medical equipment including an ambulance. So somehow we arranged it so they are going to send that equipment to this hospital. But the thing is, we don’t have delivery money. The delivery is about $25,000. My interpreter, in the village I asked him, “So what happens, do they get surgery?” “No, they don’t usually get surgery. If you get about $2 a day, how can you afford surgery?” “So what, what do you do?” “They just die in the village.” So I gave them some money because his sister has cancer, so she has to get some kind of treatment. So I gave him some money but things like that we cannot even think of doing, it’s a very, very different lifestyle and churches are involved in many schools and hospitals and prison ministries. One prison ministry, I preached at a prison. Oh my goodness, I mean, I was not allowed to take pictures, but it was about a quarter the size of this room, there are like two double beds and they all slept together, and just a few years ago there was a pest going around and everybody got infected and they don’t even have their own separate bed, they just lie down on a double size bed and live like that and they get a meal, one meal a day. And then one meal is just jook, like congee. That’s what they get. And if they have family members, then other family members come in and they provide food so they can survive. But the people who don’t have families, they just survive on one meal. Which is just congee with no nutrition, it just fills their stomach. Just last year, 13 people died of malnutrition and our missionary could see that, but the government would not do anything right now. But they couldn’t just see that. So his strategy was raising funds from Korea, so he brought some money and started giving them meals, and then a doctor diagnosed all 1500 people. They found 190 people were on the list of malnutrition so they provided a meal and stopped people from dying of malnutrition. They do wonderful works there and the need is overwhelming. So $1 here is nothing, but $1 there is very precious and I thank you for your support. Financial support. You raised a fund from the mission dinner and also personally, a lot of KSM members gave money so with their money I could use it very well.
I taught in two places and visited many places. I taught at the mission school in Antananarivo and people came from the villages and the pastors they don’t even have travel costs, bus fee. And so with the money that you gave me, we provided transportation and meals, we provided those while they were there. Then after a 10-hour drive, I went to Komatsu and also their pastors, and local leaders came to here. They knew the scripture pretty well, in Antananarivo our understanding of the scripture is much higher than people in Tohmatabu, so they knew about the scripture very well and in Tohmatabu knew a little less than in Antananarivo. And I taught them how to read the scripture and, I mean, I could feel your prayers when I was teaching and also through all the Bible studies I did there TBS and WBS and all the other Bible studies that are ingrained in me and you taught me a lot about this scripture study. When I did the teaching there they knew scripture very well, but they were hearing almost as though they heard the first time and they’re saying, there is this kind of thing in the scripture. And then there was one doctor, he’s a surgeon, his wife is also a doctor in internal medicine, and then a doctor after the lecture, he came to me. And then he said, “I’ve done bible study for so many years when I was in university and then while as a doctor, I have done so many Bible studies, but I didn’t know that there was so much in the Bible and I learned so much”. He’s about in his thirties he really was able to see the scripture in a new way. Also, in Antananarivo after the lecture, one sharp woman came to me. “I never heard that interpretation of this particular scripture. How did you do it? Can you tell me the process of interpreting the scripture? I’ve never learned this kind of interpretation of the scripture”.
They were just so shocked and they were so interested in the Bible and as she was saying and also he was saying that I was licking the melon all this time. I just knew about the scripture, but I didn’t know that so much is involved in the Bible. And then, they were quite fascinated about the scripture study and so I basically taught them how to read the Bible, how to interpret the Bible and sat down with them. And I started with the scripture. And then one by one I showed them how to interpret the Bible, not just in a religious way, but life study, how you reflect your worldview, how you reflect about your life. Things like that. We had a great time together. I could feel your prayers. God even gave me what I didn’t prepare. All the things that I’ve taught you and when I worked with you just came up from the bottom. All these things, whatever is needed, I was able to communicate that. I believe there’s a work of the spirit and work of your prayer. So I thank you for your prayers, that was so powerful. Through this trip, I could get involved in building a community of faith because a faith community does wonders in Madagascar and a community of faith is very, very necessary there, not just for religious reasons, not just for spiritual reasons, but even for social reasons. They gathered together they do so many good things for the community, for the society, a very exemplary kind of thing they do, as I said, prison and mission, education and hospital, they get involved in every fabric of society, you know, in a very positive way. So they are very well respected by society. Reverend Unjatoo, he’s a minister of the Church which has 20,000 members. It’s only one minister with 20,000 members because they don’t, by law, they don’t allow more than one minister in a church because they don’t have enough ministers. There are so many churches and they don’t have enough ministers. So one church can get only one minister maximum. So with 20,000 people, one minister is running it. But the thing is, all the laypeople like ministers, they work so hard, he doesn’t have to do much, they do all the work.
So this is kind of a very different setting and this reverend Unjatoo, very sharp man, I met him a few years ago and you know, there’s a story when I was in theological school here at the U of T, once I gathered all the theological students from different countries to my home and I provided dinner for them and there was one African man who was there and after the dinner he was talking with me and he was telling me,” I envy you because you are Korean, you have a history and all that stuff,” you know, if I was African and if he said that he came from Madagascar, I wouldn’t know, I didn’t know where Madagascar was and I didn’t know what Madagascar was and he said, you know, we don’t have a history and we are suffering. We were having a conversation and after he finished his Ph.D., he was doing a Ph.D. I was doing a basic degree. And after he finished a Ph.D., he went to France and he taught there and the last time I went to Madagascar he was there teaching at one of the seminaries, and I was so shocked, and then this time I realized that he is a cousin of Reverend Unjatoo. What a fate, I mean, 20, 30 years ago I met him, I didn’t know where he was about and then I met him and I realized that I’m working very closely with Reverend Unjatoo who is his cousin, on their mother’s side. So we are talking and Reverend Unjatoo and three groups are involved. Reverend Unjatoo, for the last few years, he prepared people for missions. About 1500 people. These are the people who committed themselves to go on missions. So 1500 people there and there’s a Senate, the presence of the Senate came and they talked and I wasn’t able to be part of that discussion because I was doing a lecture, and the Senate was involved and they studied all these rural areas of Madagascar, places like, for example, you have to drive about 700 kilometers to get to that place but after that you have to take a boat about eight hours up, and after that they have to walk for five hours to get to this rural area. I mean there’s no road, even the place that we went to, there is no road. So we have to take a boat and it takes forever. This is a much, much more rural area, so that’s how they get there. What they are going to do is, they are all like you, they’re teachers and they’re working for the government and they did all kinds of stuff. So they cannot take more than two weeks of vacation. So with their vacation, they go and plant a church, plant a community of faith. So these two people, will go there and we send two people and then those two people will start the children’s program and also they go door to door and do evangelism, that’s how they build a community of faith and then after one or two weeks, another two people go in and then do that for one year. For a whole year, they’re going to do it. And after one year, you know, people, there is a very big difference here, you know, it’s the sharing phases, it is very difficult and people are very skeptical and all that. But there, they just accept the gospel very easily. So after one year, they will probably build a church there. Once the church is built, then the Senate will send a pastor so that they can start the church. Once they start this church, they start school right beside it. Once they start building the school, they start the medical clinic. So they do the church, school, and clinic, this all goes together and then they do tremendous work for the community. We said we are going to do 10 churches for our church planting, in a way so 10 churches and Reverend Unjatoo will provide the people who will do that. And we’ll provide the fund for that. And Senate will provide their research and also provide a pastor. Once the church is built and probably then they will have to raise money to build a church and all kinds of stuff. This is the first project that they are going to do, a lot of churches are in our town, but there is no church in the rural area. So that’s what they are going to. 10 churches. It takes about a thousand dollars for one church for one year. This is for two people going there, transportation and food and, education material, all that. Only a thousand dollars a year. One church will be built. So I gave $4,000 to start a project. They can start as soon as December. So I first gave $4,000 to start the mission and then after that, I have to raise about 6,000, but I don’t think I have any problem raising 6,000, our church members KSM and ESM, can easily raise 6,000, then the pilot project begins, 10 churches will be established in a year. When I went to prison to deliver the message, oh my goodness, there was such powerful worship in the prison, but their worship is so inspiring, more inspiring than other churches that I went to. We went to a kind of area where you gave the money to build a school there and then went to school. And then right beside the school, there was a church and the Minister of that church, you know what, our weekly offering is 35,000. 35,000 ariary is 10 US dollars. That’s their offering for one week. And with that they built a church. I mean, they save money and also they need to do the roof and all that. So I gave them some money so that they could do the roof. The money that I gave is not much here, but it’s tremendous value over there. So thank you very much for your prayer.
A Giving Life
Today’s the 22nd anniversary of our church. Last 22 years, God blessed us so much. Each one of you is blessed so much by God. I feel that it’s time to give, it’s time to give. From next year, I hope that we can give generously because your money is so precious, so valuable in other parts of the world. So, I hope that we all work together on this project of giving. Let us give whatever we have. Let us not be selfish. Let us not just live for ourselves. Let us live for others. Let us give that kind of mentality. That’s what I would like to challenge you with so that this church becomes a church that is reaching out to the people in need and we are electing to very capable people are for eldership and thank you, Daniel and Veronica, for taking on this job that you’re willing to serve the community. I realize that it’s a small community, but what you did here is just wonderful. You shaped me in many, many different ways. So when I went there, I did that with what you shaped me and I was able to teach them effectively. It’s the same as Saint Paul. He just taught the Philippians, a small church, he sent letters, but that teaching, that’s only to 30, 40 people. But that became the foundation of influencing so many other people in the world. So what you’re doing is not just remaining here. What you’re doing is spreading all over the world in this way. So it is a powerful thing, and I hope that you can all join a Friday Bible study when we study James, we all study together. We challenge each other, we sharpen each other, and we understand a description, not just in a religious way, but in a way of understanding life. And in that way, we can help other people understand the scripture and live out in fullness. That’s what life is. Life is not just about getting or earning money and enjoying it. Life is about giving and life is just getting excited about helping others. And that is what life is and that’s what God called me to live out. So the North American lifestyle can be quite deafening, but we’ll not be victims of this North America affluence. We’ll fight against it and resist against that kind of lifestyle and we’ll regain the spirit of giving, sharing, and loving. That’s what we got to do. That’s what God called us to do. Thank you.