(Korean version is available here.)
Greetings from Ireland to friends and families around the globe!
I pray that this update finds you well wherever you are and you would find peace and strength in Christ for your everyday life. I would like to update you on our family and ministries for college students and the homeless and more for the last several months. First of all, I want you to know that all this has been possible because of your prayers and support. Thank you so much! Please read on and pray with us continually.
Kevin’s been back for the summer after successfully finishing his first year in college. Seunghee and I had waited so long for him. It had never been an easy process for him to go to college in another country last year in a little over one year after we came to Ireland. On the contrary, we have seen so many miraculous provisions of God for his college fees for the last year. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support! Last semester, Kevin started working a part-time job in college as a Sports Event Assistant. Starting next semester, he will also work as a Residential Assistant on top of it. He’ll able to cover more than all his housing, meals, and personal spendings. This is a big favor of the Lord! Next semester’s tuition and fees are still a significant need to be met yet. Please pray that he (actually I) would only trust in the Lord and overcome all the challenges about his college.
For Hyejin, she started working on her SAT earlier this year and says that she’d like to take a gap year before going to college to study arts. I like the idea of a gap year. Yujin still is a teenager who is into dance and music.
Though Sligo is a bit remote town in the west of Ireland, we’ve got a big university, IT Sligo with many students from all over Europe, Africa, and Asia. Sometime last year, I began to feel a bit of burden for them because they were many, yet there wasn’t a single ministry that’s just focusing on them. But I had ignored it for a while because I wanted to focus only on developing and launching the SOSM. Finally, Christmas came, and everybody left for home except a few international students. I just had to do something for them, then. So we invited them over for Christmas dinner to our home, and that was the beginning of the college ministry here. Right now, it’s a summer break, but we have about 20 Irish, British, and Malaysian students coming to our regular meetings. (Picture above: College ministry meeting with Irish, British, Malaysian students, with a visiting team from Rostrevor DTS)
I’m still facing tremendous challenges to launching the SOSM in Ireland, especially for mobilizing trainees. It’s encouraging that the church around the world is still growing in number in 2017, but paradoxically the number of full-time missionaries have gone down since the year 2000. This year, I got a report that all of 4 SOSM’s in North America were canceled because they didn’t get enough applications. That was unprecedented in the modern missions era. Many, if not most, of millennials are from broken, dysfunctional families and, I think, they became convinced that marriage is not trustworthy which is supposed to be the most foundational commitment relationship. I believe that along with the dysfunction of the smart phone, it has become a primary hinderance to their devotion to God and commitment to missions.
We must see at least 200,000 young new missionaries in a few years if we are serious about accomplishing the Great Commission in our generation. Please join me in prayer every day that God would heal this young generation and raise them up for His kingdom. But also, my generation, who are the fathers and mothers of the millennials, has to be healed up at the same time, because they need mentors as they go out to the mission field. If we don’t see them rising, we’ll see many, many more of them forced to go to the battle field in a decade. Why? I can explain it, but not in a few words. Nevertheless, it’s a daunting truth.
In October, I’m going to run a Bible storytelling workshop, Simply The Story here in Sligo which was originally going to be part of SOSM, but this time it will be a stand-alone training for anyone in Ireland. Bible storytelling is a proven, effective way of reaching out to people and planting churches, whether they are children in your community, colleagues at work, families and friends around, or even Muslims in Islamic countries. Please pray with me that this workshop will serve believers in Ireland to become excellent storytellers of the Bible and lead many to Jesus.
In the meantime, I’ve got encouraging news from the homeless ministry which had been slow for a long while. I’ve been staying close to particularly two of the homeless among those who come to Open Cafe every Wednesday. One of them is leaving his homeless life soon with help from many others. He found Jesus a few years ago while in a life-threatening crisis. Thanks to God, now I’m privileged to disciple him. A few months ago, he learned that his grown-up son is coming to visit him this summer, the first time in 15 years. This makes him excited yet anxious. As a father, now he’s been determined to change even more for his son, to provide him with a proper place to stay when he comes. This highly motivated him to leave a homeless life and get a home. It shows his heart has been pretty much healed up, though his body is not yet for his past drug abuse. For the last few months, he has put much efforts to make it happen and now he is only few steps away from renting a small apartment. Please pray for a favor on him and healing in his relationship with his son.
This fall, we need to file for another extension of our visa, but this time at the Justice Department in Dublin. It’s a little harder and takes much longer to get it, and the total costs are about 2,000 Euro. Please pray for a smooth and fast process. We would also appreciate it much if you want to help us for this financially.
Seunghee is still homeschooling Hyejin and helping me for many parts in ministries, particularly for the college ministry. In August, I’m making a short visit to Korea for a few weeks to teach in YWAM. I hope to see some of you who are in Korea during the time. It will be only me without my family, though.
I want to give you another short update in the fall. Till then, I pray that the enabling power of victorious King Jesus will fill your life!