January 2020 Viewpoint
Jeong Min Kim is District Superintendent of our churches in South Korea and serves as our Seoul pastor. His sermon excerpt titled “Where Are You?” in the Sermon Excerpts article reminds me of a walk I took while attending the 2006 Seoul camp meeting. A habit of rising early coupled with jet lag from our recent flight motivated me to walk alone from the Seoul church’s guest apartment to a coffee shop over a mile away. Being directionally challenged, I mentally marked my path lest I should find myself lost in a foreign land. I successfully reached the coffee shop and later returned to the apartment without incident, though a bit anxious.
Being lost is something most of us try to avoid. I write this column just one month after my mother’s passing. Her memorial service reminded me that there was a time when my mother was lost. Oh, she had no problem finding her way around geographically—she always knew where she had come from, what her current location was, and where she was going. Yet, she was spiritually lost.
When I was a teenager, Mom, who loved country western music, taught herself to play the guitar. A couple of years later she entered a talent contest at our county fair in Roseburg, Oregon, where she was “discovered” by the leader of a local band. Soon she was performing with that band almost every other night at county fairs, grange halls, local celebrations, and even in a country western nightclub—places my parents had never frequented during their marriage.
In giving her account of those days, Mom wrote, “The whole thing became a horrible experience. After about six months I wanted out. How miserable I was! I didn’t like the surroundings—there was a lot of drinking, and the things I saw upset me. I knew I didn’t belong there. The music that once had been so much fun had led me into a nightmare. Now I had no idea how to get out.” She was truly lost!
Her situation continued until the end of that year, when she sang before hundreds of New Year’s Eve revelers. She later wrote, “. . . on January 1, 1975, at 11:30 at night, I got down on my knees in my living room and prayed, ‘Lord, if You can straighten up the mess that I have made of my life, I’ll do anything You want.’ I wept my heart out, but when I got up from my knees, I knew that finally everything was all right. There was such peace in my heart! The Lord had saved me.” That night, Mom was found!
My mom did what any spiritually lost person must do to be found: she repented and was saved. From that time, she continued to live for the Lord until her passing on September 23, 2019. Today, though in a sense one could say I have “lost” my mom, in another sense she is not lost because I know right where she is—Mom is in Heaven! And I have the hope of seeing her again one day.
As you read the contents of this magazine, may you be all the more inspired to live for God each day. Should Jesus tarry until your life ends, may your loved ones be able to recall how you were found, and know that you are not lost, but are waiting for them in Heaven.