By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission
Kiyong Kwon had 20 church members when he planted his first church in South Korea, and he was delighted to see a young stranger show up for the first Sabbath service.
“Why did you come to this small church?” Kwon asked.
“I just don’t have any luck,” the guest replied. “But someone told me that if I went to a new church, it would bring me luck.”
Kwon offered Bible studies, and the young man was baptized.
But Kwon wanted even more members. One day, he prayed from morning to evening, “Please give me people. Give me souls to fill this church.”
The next day, a neighbor stopped Kwon. “Yesterday, I felt like going to church,” she said. “Please take me to your church.”
The day after that, Kwon got a phone call. “My sister is an Adventist who has wanted me to go to church for 10 years, but I have never gone,” the caller said. “But now I feel like going.”
Kwon studied the Bible with both women, and both were baptized.
More than 40 people were baptized that first year. A year later, when the 98th person was baptized, Kwon prayed for 100 baptisms. He then remembered a woman whom he hadn’t seen in three years. He found her running a children’s art school, and he visited her with flowers. “You should be that 100th person to be baptized at my church,” he told her.
When the woman agreed, Kiyong informed her that she needed Bible studies first and to expect him at her home the next evening. “Make sure your husband is there, too,” he said.
After Kwon left, the woman called her husband, a devout Buddhist and a business owner, who recently had decided to learn English. He had purchased several English-language books, including a Bible, and had been struggling to read the Bible at his office. In desperation, he prayed, “If You are the real God, send someone to teach me the Bible.”
At that moment, his wife called and announced, “Elder Kwon will come to our house tomorrow to teach us the Bible.”
“Her husband was shocked beyond words,” Kwon said.
The next day, Kwon found the married couple and their adult children eagerly waiting to study the Bible. The whole family was baptized.