Sunday, December 28, 2008

(D-34) Surprise! Amanda is now engaged!

We had a family reunion in Englewood, CO over the Christmas. On the 26th of December, James Hansen asked for my permission to marry Amanda. That evening, James proposed to Amanda to marry him and Amanda accepted the proposal. Praise God for the wonderful and exciting news to our family! Now I know that God had another reason for the delay in our departure for Rwanda until January 2009: he wanted us to experience this moment of excitement.

Both James and Amanda have graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. James is the class of 2007 and Amanda is the class of 2008. James is now in pilot training in Oklahoma while Amanda is in inteligence training in Texas. They hoped to be stationed at the same location after their trainings are over in May for Amanda and in August for James. They both love and worship Jesus as their Savior and Lord. At their request, today (December 27) I have reviewed the biblical principles for Christian financial stewardship so that they may establish their understanding of stewardship printicples on the right foundation. Praise the Lord for their desire to learn the stewardship principles and to develop their biblical lifestyle. They have been dating for the past two and half years. They have proudly kept their relationship pure and I am happy to bless their engagement for marriage.

Amanda is our first child and thus we do not have any experience in getting our children married. We have heard several tips, but without direct experience Kristin and I feel lost somewhat. What makes the matters a little more complicated is the logistics. They plan to get married in Denver, CO in May 2009 as soon as Amanda finishes her training and while Kristin and I will be back to the states to attend the graduation ceremony for Joyce in May. So all preparation will have to be done remotely since Kris and I will be in Rwanda, Amanda will be in Texas, James will be in Oklahoma while the wedding will take place in Colorado. Oh boy...

These issues will somehow find their answers and solutions as time goes by. For the moment, we are excited about the great news and about the change in our family dynamics, which will result from Amanda's marriage. We will have a new son!

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will walk with them in their wedding preparation process remotely while they continue their training;
* the good Lord will bond their love and commitment more strongly while they go through the preparation and when they begin a new life as a couple; and
* the good Lord will help them learn the biblical principles in financial management correctly and apply them to their lives to be living witnesses to the world.

It is the awesome God who has prepared all these blessings in advance to give us joy and excitement. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey

Monday, December 22, 2008

(D-40) A Fasting that God has chosen...

Fasting helps focus on God when we pray. It helps partake the pain that comes from refraining from foods, but it also helps reduce the life noises so that we may focus on prayer and God.

At times, fasting has been used to fight against injustice. Many political leaders have used the fasting as a way to emphasize their points on certain issues. In this case, fasting is a threat tactic, attracting attention from people.

Isa. 58:6,7 describes the fasting that God has chosen and desires.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?...

I see two implications in this passage:

First, our religious acts, such as fasting, should be in tune with the will of the creator. Clearly, the creator's will in this passage is in seeing the least taken care of.

Second, our religious acts, such as fasting, should be pragmatic enough to do His will, rather than passively refraining from eating food. When we partake in taking care of the poor, the oppressed, the homeless, the naked, and the family, it represents the fasting in the eyes of God.

Please pray that:

* we remain in tune with God's will all the time;
* we do what God desires for fasting; and
* we will help the underprivileged as a mission for the godly purpose.

What a pragmatic way to do fasting it is to help the underprivileged! Praise the Lord for His divine revelation in helping the underprivileged! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(D-45) The Last Board Meeting Day...

Once a month, there has been the regular board meeting at the bank. Today was the day.

Each board meeting requires a lot of time and energy for the preparation. Today was no exception.

However it ends, there has been great relief after the meeting. Today was no exception.

Today's board meeting was the last one for 2008 and the last one for me at this bank. Today was the day.

- Jeffrey

Monday, December 15, 2008

(D-47) A sailboat, not a power boat...

You may wonder what the title means. It was about what our ministry model should be. Let me elaborate.

A power boat moves by the power of the engine, regardless of the direction of the wind. It is controlled usually by the captain of the boat. Other crews have certain roles, but usually assisting ones.

On the other hand, a sail boat moves by the power of the wind. It has a captain, too, but the captain coordinates the crews to take actions towards one goal: sailing into a direction in light of the power and direction of the wind. The crews will have to work together: partnership.

This discussion was part of the Project BGAN Executive Committee's Retreat over the last weekend (Dec. 12-14) in the Pocono Mountains. The sail boat theory appealed to me strongly because it compares very well to many ministry or organizational models.

An organization led by a strong leader is like a power boat while an organization led by an effective team or partnership is like a sail boat. The sail boat model depicts more of a biblical model because it requires all stakeholders to sense the direction of the wind (discerning the will of the Holy Spirit) instead of trying to bulldoze everything with a strong leadership. The power boat model depicts more of a self-righteous organization that depends on its own resources more than the Lord and His power. It makes great sense and draws a nice picture. I need to study more on this analogy.

It was a blessing to fellowship with three missionaries currently focusing on mobilization. Just being together with these godly people was encouraging. Sharing thoughts on where the divine wind is blowing was uplifting and enlightening. Sharing how God has been working in our lives was enriching. Praying for each other was greatly empowering. And exploring various options for Project BGAN's future ministry foci was inspiring and challenging.

They will continue to trot the world, preaching the gospel, presenting biblical mission models, providing safe harbor ministries for Kingdom workers, teaching leaders effective leadership, networking God's people for the Kingdom purposes, and pulling resources for the Kingdom causes. May God bless them wherever they go!

Please pray that:

* the Lord will give us the clarity on the Mission and Vision Statements for Project BGAN;
* the Lord will provide us with His people and resources for re-defined Kingdom purposes; and
* the Lord will guide us through the transition time swiftly before we leave for Rwanda.

Praise the Lord for the blessings that we received from the retreat! - Jeffrey

Friday, December 12, 2008

(D-50) Two More Remaining Projects Done...

Today was one of productive days for transition. I took MC Kim, my successor, to be introduced to the regulators at the FDIC and NY State Banking Department, along with three other senior officers. The meeting went very well. MC Kim presented himself effectively and the regulators appeared to accept him well. I felt very good about the way the introductory meeting went. Praise the Lord!

In the evening, there was the Shinhan Society gathering at Double Tree Hotel in Fort Lee, NJ. The guest speaker was Dr. Woon Chan Chung, former president of Seoul National University. As a renowned economist, Dr. Chung explained very clearly about various economic issues. It was a blessing to listen to him and to meet him in person over the dinner. I also had an opportunity to explain to the Shinhan Society members about the background for my departure and to introduce MC Kim to them. It was an opportunity to tell the truth for clarification.

What a relief! Thank you, Lord, for your gracious guidance during this transition period.

Please pray that:

* the Lord will continue to guide us through our transition period;
* the Lord will make our communication clear and transparent; and
* the Lord will open up more doors of communication to people to be our prayer partners.
- Jeffrey

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

(D-53) Good Works that God Desires...

On Sunday, December 7th, I preached to the English congregation and the Korean congregation at Crossroads Community Church in Fullerton. The semon title was "Good Works" based on Ephesians 2:10.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

God designed the work to be good because He works. His creation was a work, for example. Since the sin entered into humanity, God cursed the ground and man had to work for life. (Genesis 3:17) Somehow man started associating work with something undesirable or a "curse." Also man started separating holy works from secular works. Those who are in "holy works" felt proud and those who are in "secular works" felt like the second class citizens.
Not so, Jesus said, because it was the Pharisees and Saducees that Jesus called "hypocrites" pointing to their external religious activities without internal integrity while He complemented those who were then considered outcasts of the society referring to their good works that pleased Him and God. God's standard on works was only "good works" or "evil works."

What is good, then? Good traces back to the Genesis 1 where God saw that it was "good" after he completed each day's creation. So "good" has to be good from God's standpoint. Do you see "God" in the word "Good?" That is right! If you take "o" out of the word "good" then you have "god." On the other hand, if you take "god" out of "good" then there is "o" or nothing. In other words, there is nothing left in your "good" if you take God out of it. Make sense?

The scripture says that we Christians have to do good works because we were created to do so. It is a mandate, not an option. These good works must have good purpose and good process. The good purpose is "to bring God's glory." (1 Cor. 10:31) The good process should include "works done in Jesus name" (Col. 3:17) and "as if working for the Lord" (Col. 3:23) We should therefore ask ourselves if what I am doing has God's glory embedded in it. We should also ask if what we are trying to do is done in Jesus name and if what I am doing is done as if it is done for the Lord.

There were more, but I will stop here because it is getting too long.

Please pray that:

* the Lord helps us always remember our works have to be done for the glory of God;
* the Lord helps us do our works in the name of Jesus; and
* the Lord helps us do our works as if we do it for the Lord, not for men.
Praise the Lord for His clear explanation on good works! - Jeffrey

(D-53) Rwanda Ministry Partners - CA

Last week, Kristin and I had a trip to Los Angeles. On Saturday, I had breakfast with a lawyer couple who are still seeking a God-provided opportunity of ministry. The husband is a prominent real estate lawyer and a son of a prominent Christian pastor. We had a great fellowship time.

In the evening, we hosted a dinner for Rwanda Ministry Partners (RMP) in California. Many are old friends of the Oriental Mission Church. It was a great joy to see them again and to share with them how God has been leading us to this point and to Rwand. It is purely the grace of God!

This group of friends includes a former bank CEO, a current CEO of a large financial institution, dean of a seminary, a senior pastor of a local church, a medical doctor who plans to go to Ethiopia for medical ministry next year, five nurses, a bank senior officer, a seminary student, an aerospace engineer, a few businessmen and several others who are spouses of our friends. What a wonderfu bunch of godly people! It was truly a blessing to have their commitments to supporting our ministry in Rwanda in prayer, which will be the greatest support that we will need for our ministry. Look at their Christlike smiles! There are many others who could be not be there because of conflict, but who will join us with their prayer support. Praise the Lord!

Please pray that:

* the Lord will continue to increase the prayer supporters;
* the Lord will bless them so that they have more testimonials about God's grace; and
* the Lord will answer their prayers in order for His glory to be unveiled.

Praise God for His faithful provision of the prayer warriors for His Kingdom and His glory!
- Jeffrey

Monday, December 1, 2008

(D-60) Remaining Schedule before Departure...

Now we have only 60 days left before we take off to Rwanda. Below are the updates and remaining schedules:


November 15-22 I traveled to Rwanda to attend the Urwego Opportunity Bank Board meeting and to meet with the Rwanda central bank officials. All things went well.

November 17 We shipped our household stuff to Rwanda. It will take approximately three months before arrival in Rwanda.

November 27 Thanksgiving Day. We had the family reunion in New York with Kristin, Amanda, Joyce, James (Amanda's friend), Sujin (my niece studying in New York) and my mother-in-law. It was a joyous blessing!

November 28 I made the announcement to the bank employees. Now it is official.

Remaining Schedule

December 5-7 We will travel to Los Angeles and hold the RMP (Rwanda Ministry Partners) Night at Yongsoosan at 6PM. I will also preach on Sunday at Crossroads Church in Fullerton.

December 12-14 We will hold the Project BGAN's Executive Committee Retreat in the Poconos Mountains, PA.

December 22-29 I will travel to California, Colorado, Georgia, and New York to say farewell to all staff of the bank. I will stay at home over the Christmas time.
January 2-9, 2009 I will travel to Korea to see my family, friends, ministry partners, and to say farewell to the bank colleagues.
January 10 We will move out of the New York apartment.
January 12-16 We will travel with Kristin's friends and their husbands.
January 17-18 We will visit Philadelphia to celebrate Joyce's 21st birthday and to speak at Jubilee Presbyterian Church.

January 19-21 I will travel to Opportunity International office in Oak Brook (Chicago).
January 22 I will visit OI's Denver IT Service Center.

January 24 We will hold the RMP Night with Colorado friends.

January 25 We will be commissioned at the Logos Central Chapel.

January 29 We will hold the RMP Night with New York friends.

January 29-30 I will attend a conference on microfinance in New York.

January 30 We will take off to Rwanda!

Please pray that:

* we will focus on our spiritual preparedness in the midst of busy schedules;
* we will focus on the Lord while being distracted by others; and
* we will focus on souls while activities keep us physically busy.

Praise the faithful Lord who never fails to hold our hands in our daily lives! - Jeffrey

Thursday, November 27, 2008

(D-64) On Thanksgiving Day 2008

In 2008, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful.

First of all, God has given my wife and me a conviction that He is leading us to Rwanda to serve the poor for His Kingdom for the tithing of my spiritual life. We made a trip to Rwanda in April and I made another trip in November. We have already shipped the household stuff and we are getting ready to go. Praise the Lord for giving us the opportunity of ministry!

(Left, our 2008 Thanksgiving Dinner Table)

Second, our daughter Amanda graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Now she is a commissioned officer, having shaken hands with the commander in chief of the United States of America! She is now in Texas for intelligence training. Thank God for His protection and guidance for the past four years.

Third, our daughter Joyce completed her third year of school and advanced to the senior year at U Penn. She continues to be on track to complete her study for two bachelor's degrees in four years. Thanks to God's guidance and protection!

Fourth, God allowed Project BGAN to continue its ministries. Project BGAN held two DMCs this year, one in Baltimore in February and the other in the Orange County, California in September. GO MDS led a medical mission team to Oaxaca, Mexico during the summer. Vision Praise continued to lead several praise events in Colorado. I thank God for His faithfulness and for fellow Kingdom workers, such as Min-Young Jung, Daniel Oh, Susanna Choi, Young Jae Song, Steve Park, Hyun Sik Chang, Chong Kim, Young Ki Min, and Daniel Pak.

Fifth, God kept my parents in Korea and my mother in law in New York healthy. Their health allows us to continue to be active in various ministries.

Sixth, God enabled me to continue memorizing bible verses. now totalling 186 verses to date. This daily routine keeps me in sync with God's words everyday and makes my life anchored to His words, not my own thoughts or earthly wisdom. Thank you, God, for enabling me to still memorize the bible verses!

Seventh, God continued to bless me with great messages from many wonderful servants of God. Rev. Min Song Ahn at NYPC, Min-Young Jung, Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. John McArthur. Praise the Lord for His faithful provision of such great preachers!

Eighth, God has provided Shinhan Bank America with many good people to be able to form a great team to weather the unprecedent global financial crisis. I cannot name them all here. Thank you, God, for your unceasing grace!

Nineth, the recent collapse in the stock market along with the global financial crisis made me realize our savings or investments are not dependable at all. It has humbled me further so that we can depend only on the Creator of all. Praise the Lord for His divine wisdom!

Tenth, God has kept me healthy and physically strong. He has enabled me to do my push-ups now up to 60 times continually and to do sit-downs up to 300 times. Physical strength is not the most important element, but is necessary to be able to carry out ministries effectively. Thank you, God, for your unceasing grace!

(From left, Sujin, my niece, Joyce, Kristin, Amanda, and James, Amanda's boyfriend. They are finishing up the food on the table.)

Well... I can go on with so many more, but it may get boring. To name a few more, so many new people I have met, Jean Paul of World Relief in Kenya, Rev. JP Im in Nairobi, Mokonen Getu of Oxford, U.K., Nancy Green of World Relief, Bruce Styvert of World Relief Canada, Roger Moore of Hope International, Colin McCormack of OI Africa, Christ Crane of OI US, Paul Kagame the president of Rwanda, Ji Young Rhee of M.O.M., Dale Dawson of Bridge2Rwanda, Adrian Merryman of OI Network, Bishop John Rucyahana, Phil Smith of World Relief Rwanda, etc. I am sure there are a lot more whom I have failed to mention here. Praise the Lord for all those people whom He is using to help advance His Kingdom in all walks of lives.

For this Thanksgiving Day, my wife came from Denver last week. Joyce came from Philadelphia yesterday. Amanda will arrive from Texas. Amanda's boyfriend James will arrive from Oklahoma. Sujin, my niece will join us from New York. My mother in law will join us from Queens, NY. We will have the Thanksgiving family reunion and dinner together. Halleluja for His wonderful grace!

Please pray that:

* we will humbly admit all things are in God's hands and all good things are God's blessings;
* we confess that our depravity may cause us to steal His credit on our feeble efforts; and
* we will remain grateful always for all things that are happening in our lives, no matter what the consequences may look like.

Thank you, Lord, for all things that occurred this year, good or bad, joyful or sorrowful, encouraging or discouraging, right or wrong, because you are the alpha and omega of all things. May your name be glorified now and forever! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

(D-65) A way to lend to the Lord...

God is almighty. He created the heaven and earth, and everything in between. Thus he owns everything in the universe. He does not need any help from others. He is omnipotent as well as omniscient and omnipresent.

But the scripture says there is a way to lend to the Lord.

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done." (Proverbs 19:17)

I understand it does not mean that the Lord actually needs something from us, but rather He wants us to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and be kind to them. This is not the only passage that talks about the instruction to be kind to the poor, but it illustrates well to be suitable for the commercialized oriented world. It is like lending to the Lord to be kind to the poor.

Please pray that:

* we will truly understand the heart of the Lord for the poor;
* we will genuinely bear the same heart that the Lord has for the poor; and
* we will truthfully be kind to the poor in His name and in the way He has done.

May the Lord be highly praised for His concern for the poor and the underprivileged! - Jeffrey

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(D-66) Reflection on my trip to Africa...

A few days have gone by fast since I came back. That fast my daily routines have consumed the time.

Looking back my short visit to Kigali and Nairobi, I felt I have come closer to the reality of African life. The bank situations have become more real than in April when I visited; their life styles have become my life style to be soon. The Rwanda's conflict at the border area with DRC has become more subtle to me than when I was reading it on the newspaper. It is happening only two hour drive away.

The land of a thousand hills... the land of the genocide... the land of mountain gorillas... the land of poverty... the land of the Hutu and the Tutshi... the land of a determined president Paul Kagame for reformation... the land of forgiveness and healing... the land of hope for a bright future... the land where Christianity is revisited and revived... the land which Jeffrey and Kristin will go to, live in, and serve the people of... the land where Jeffrey and Kristin hope to experience God's presence and intimate fellowship in their lives... the land of blessings...

Oh Lord, may this opportunity of ministry bless us and make us the channel of blessing to the people of Rwanda, economically and socially as well as spiritually!

Please pray that:

* the Lord will prepare our hearts right for the ministry before we leave;
* the Lord will strengthen our will to be in line with His will; and
* the Lord will renew our mind to be tranformed first to help transform the lives of others.

- Jeffrey

Friday, November 21, 2008

(D-70) At the Kigali International Airport

Last five days, I was literally out of the civilization world, well at least for the internet connection. Now I am waiting to board the airplane to Nairobi, Kenya. I am sitting on a leather couch in the lounge, and having access to the internet. Yahoo!!!

From London to Nairobi, the second leg of the 30-hour journey, I had the so-called near-passout experience again. But I was able to manage it without the real passout. Thank God! In Nairobi, I had breakfast with Dr. Jong Do Lee and his wife. Coming out of the airport, I saw several giraffes and several other animals. But that was the closest encounter with the wilderness.

The two-day board meetings went well. The board members were all active and their interaction was dynamic. On Wednesday, there was a Kigali citywide demonstration agasint France and Germany that together arrested the country's Director of State Protocol, one of the close aides to the President Paul Kagame. All businesses were closed and they demonstrated and marched for over four hours. Rwanda's demonstration is legitimate because France's arrest of the lady seems totally unfounded because the charge was for shooting down the airplaine on which the former president was, which triggered the genocide in 1994. The rest of the world knows that it was the conspiracy of the Hutu Power that wanted to use the incident to spark the genocide. Well... France is still trying to pressure Rwanda to come back to them because the current government is now stopping the teaching of French at all schools from January 1, 2009. Somday, the history will reveal the truth.

I am not sure how long my computer battery will last so I will have to stop here. I will write more after I get back to the states.

After I will have dinner with Rev. Jong Pyo Im in Nairobi, Kenya today, I will take a red eye flight to London where I will take another flight to New York City. I am excited because when I land my wife Kristin will be waiting to pick me up. Yahoo!

Please pray that:

* I will have a safe trip without the near passout experience again;
* I will have a productive meeting and fellowship with Rev. Im in Nairobi; and
* I will be properly prepared for the relocation and for the new assignment with UOB.

Praise the Lord for His blessing on all the meetings that occurred and all the improvements that have been made with the bank! The bank has gone through tremendous improvement over the past five months! - Jeffrey

Sunday, November 16, 2008

(D-75) A Yotel Experience in London

Currently I am in London in transit to Nairobi, Kenya and to Kigali, Rwanda. I am writing this post from a paid computer at the Terminal 4 of the Heathro Airport.

I just checked out of Yotel Heathro, a super mini hotel or cabin as they call it, which has a bed, a shower, a sink, a toilet, a foldable desk, a foldable chair, a TV. It has most necessaties that you need from a hotel. But the space is so small that you have to carefully maneuver. Otherwise, you bump into the walls and corners. All I did was using the toilet, taking the shower, brushing the teeth, and changing the socks. But it was a great experience. Oh... I also did the morning push-up, but I had to do it on the bed. I could not do any other exercise, though, because there was no space.

Yotel is called as such because it was invested by the Yo! Group, immitating the capsule hotel in Japan. It started from Gatwick Airport and now has presence at Heathro Airport and Schimpol, Amsterdam. Check in is done through the machine and you pass through "The Gallery" where you can buy snacks and drinks. Then there is corridor that leads to your cabin. You can see inside while you are passing through the corridor, but of course you can block the view by pulling down the blinder.

I did not pass out on the first leg of this trip thanks to the Lord's grace. But I have to take another red-eye flight to Nairobi, a longer trip than the first leg.

Please pray that:

* His grace continues to travel with me;
* His grace will put me spiritually alerted all the time; and
* His grace will enrich my relationship with God through the journey.

Praise the Lord for His unfailing grace and faithfulness! - Jeffrey

Saturday, November 15, 2008

(D-76) A Trip to Rwanda from Today...

I will be leaving New York JFK Airport this evening to go to Rwanda. The primary purpose of the trip is to attend the Urwego Opportunity Bank's November Board meeting and to overlap with the current interim CEO briefly.

It sounds like a simple trip, but the journey spans over three days with almost 30 hours of traveling time each way. I will be leaving JFK at 10:25PM on Saturday, November 15 and arriving at Kigali at 12:55PM on Monday, November 17, via London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya. Definitely I will need the Lord's traveling grace. My recent near-passout experience on an airplane makes me a little concerned. I need your prayer support. (the picture shows the national flag and part of Kigali, the Rwanda's capitol)

In Nairobi, I will see Dr. Jong Do Lee, President of ACGC, a field missionary training academy. He and I are involved in Integral Mission Alliance (IMA) together. It excites me to see him and his wife again although it will be brief over breakfast.

In Kigali, I am also scheduled to meet the Rwanda's central bank (BNR) officials for mutual introduction.

If time allows, I may be traveling to the border area with DRC (Congo) to see the refugee camps with the World Relief CEO Sammy Mah and Jean Paul (JP), WR's East Africa Director whom I met in NYC last week. The DRC border area has been going through internal conflicts between the rebels and the government troops. It is getting the international community's attention because in the midst of the conflict many civilians have to leave their homes to avoid infliction coming from both sides. The root of the conflict is deep between the Hutu and Tutsi, and dates back to decades ago. DRC went through a civil war in 1998-2002, causing millions people to be killed. It is a tragedy to see so many poeple die innocently. There is no peace on earth until the prince of peace is enthroned again now and when He returns.

I will also see Makonen Getu, VP of Strategic Development of Opportunity International, to review several projects in Africa at large. I met him in New York through the introduction of Dr. Wonsuk Ma, Executive Director of Oxford Center for Mission Studies in England. He was a long time missionary to the Philippines and a close friend of mine. I am excited to see him again.

On the way back, I am scheduled to see Rev. Jongpyo Im in Nairobi, Kenya. We were introduced to each other via e-mail and I look forward to meeting him He has been ministering to the people of Africa for almost 30 years.

While I am traveling, I will have limited access to internet and this blog may not be updated timely.

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will keep me healthy over the rigorous travel schedule;
* the good Lord will bless the UOB board meeting and other meetings scheduled; and
* the good Lord will bless all the meetings and dialogues we will share to be assured of His love for His people and of the great commission that He has bestowed upon us all.

Praise the Lord for His unceasing faithfulness in pulling His resources together and achieving His goodness in His time for His glory! - Jeffrey

Friday, November 14, 2008

(D-77) How to be Blessed when He returns...

(Matt. 25:31-40)

The subject passage depicts the scene of the Son of Man returning with his angels and separating the people of all nations.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shephered separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." (:31-33)

Then, the King or the Son of Man explains to those on his right that they are blessed because they helped the King who was referred to as the poor, the oppressed, the lonely, the sick, and the needy.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"

The righteous could not recall when they were showing the hospitality to the King. So they asked the King when they did that to him.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'"

Our Lord has the genuine concern for the least of the brothers of his; the poorest of the poor and the lonelist of the lonely. He is thus expecting his people to share his concern and to help the poor and the lonely with genuine caring heart. If we do not care for the needy in action, he is warning us in the scripture following the passage above that we may not even inherit the Kingdom. What a strong message! This passage has made me look back my life and realize how little concern I have had on the needy to date. It was this passage that has made me decide to help serve the poorest of the poor in a foreign country.

Please pray that:
* we sincerely share the concern of the Lord for the poor and the lonely;
* we will have our genuine heart for the poor and the lonely; and
* we will have this compassionate heart for the people of Rwanda.

Praise the Lord who has the concern for the poor and who has revealed to us his intent to bless those who share his concern! - Jeffrey

Thursday, November 13, 2008

(D-78) My prayer for today which the Lord taught us...

Our Father in heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen. - Jeffrey

(I have to leave early to catch the flight to go back to New York.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

(D-79) Today...

Today, I am in Atlanta, Georgia. I came here yesterday to attend the tape-cutting ceremony for the new Duluth Branch of Shinhan Bank America.

Today, a famous prayer comes to my mind.

"Lord, please give me the patience to endure the things that I cannot change.
Lord, please give me the courage to change the things that I ought to change.
Lord, above all, please give me the wisdom to know the difference."

How often do we try to change the things that we do not have any control over. It is a waste of time and energy. It is the cause for stress and frustration.

Also, how often do we neglect to change the things that we can and should change. It is laziness and procrastination. It is the act of a coward.

But, many times, we get confused between the above two situations, ending up with incorrect approach towards the circumstances. It takes wisdom, the divine wisdom (James 3:17,18) to discern and know the difference.

Please pray that:

* we will seek and depend on God's divine wisdom (James 3:17,18) over situations;
* we will boldly change the things that we ought to change; and
* we will patiently endure the things that we cannot change.

May the above prayer be our prayer today and everyday! - Jeffrey

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(D-80) Updates on Schedule before Departure to Rwanda

Now we have only 80 days left before we take off to Rwanda. Below are updates on our schedule before departure to Rwanda:

November 15-22 I will travel to Rwanda to attend the Urwego Opportunity Bank Board meeting and to meet with the Rwanda central bank officials.

November 17 We will ship our household stuff to Rwanda. It will take approximately three months before arrival in Rwanda.

November 27 Thanksgiving Day. We will have the family reunion in New York since I cannot take vacation.

December 1 I plan to make the formal announcement to the bank employees and the customers.
December 5-7 We will travel to Los Angeles and hold the RMP (Rwanda Ministry Partners) Night and speak at a local church.

December 22-29 I will travel to California, Colorado, Georgia, and New York to say farewell to all staff of the bank. I will stay at home in family reunion over the Christmas time.

January 2-9, 2009 I will travel to Korea to see my family, friends, ministry partners, and to say farewell to the bank colleagues.

January 10 We will move out of the New York apartment.

January 12-16 We will travel with Kristin's friends and their husbands.

January 17-18 We will visit Philadelphia to spend time with Joyce.

January 19-21 I will travel to Opportunity International office in Oak Brook (Chicago).

January 22 I will visit OI's Denver IT Service Center.

January 24 We will hold the RMP Night with Colorado friends.

January 25 We will be commissioned at the Logos Central Chapel.
January 27 We will leave Denver to New York.

January 28 We will hold the RMP Night with New York friends.

January 29-30 I will attend a conference on microfinance in New York.

January 30 We will take off to Rwanda!

Please pray that:
* the good Lord will bless us with His grace on our hectic travel schedule;
* we may be able to manage the schedule with right priorities; and
* we may not forget our focus on why we are doing what we are doing in the midst.

Praise the Lord for allowing us the opportunity to be of service for His Kingdom and His people in Rwanda! May His grace enable us to take on and handle the assignment His way! - Jeffrey

Monday, November 10, 2008

(D-81) Our Commitment

Now we know that there is going to be spiritual warfare in Rwanda and in the world at large. We also know that to win the spiritual war we have to put on the armor of God. With it, now, we have the power to withstand the evil, and take our stand as soldiers in the army of the Almighty God. Without it, on the other hand, we will be defeated spiritually no matter how well we may appear to do otherwise.

Our duty and assignment is, therefore, to stand in the gap, shoulder to shoulder with the other soldiers of the Lord as He places us, resisting every attack of the devil, holding the ground, refusing to be moved, healing the oppressed, and destroying every work of the devil.

It is our commitment to obeying our Lord's command:

“Don’t leave home without it!”

Please pray that:

* we acknowledge the reality of the spiritual war;
* we cannot afford not to put on the armor of God; and
* we commit to obeying His command: "Don't leave home without it!"

Praise God for the perfect armor of God He has prepared for us to use! - Jeffrey

(D-82) The Prayer

(Ephesians 6:18-20)
Paul does not stop after the sword of the Spirit in describing the armor of God. He continues in verse 18 as follows:
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (6:18)

In this verse, Paul is referring to the general characteristics of a believer's prayer life: 1) "in the Spirit" focuses on submission as we line up with the will of God, 2) "all occasions" focuses on circumstances, 3) "all kinds of prayers and requests" focuses on the variety of prayer, 4) "be alert" focuses on the manner, 5) "always" focuses on the frequency, 6) "keep on praying" focuses on persistence, and 7) "for all saints" focuses on the objects.

No matter how good our armor of God is and how well we have put it on, we cannot win the spiritual battle without the spiritual power that comes from the prayer. So it is an essential piece of armor that needs to be put on over and above the whoe armor of God.

In verses 19-20, Paul is asking for intercessory prayer for himself as he realizes the desperate need for the prayeral support in his ministry. Likewise, we need these prayer partners.

That concludes the study on the armor of God. We need to put on the whole armor of God to be prepared for the spiritual battle. How essential it is!

Please pray that:

* we always remember the essentiality of the prayer;
* we go to the Lord on our knees whenever we are under the Satan's attack; and
* the Lord will send us many prayer warriors to help us in our ministry in Rwanda
Praise God for His thoughtful guidance on our prayer life! - Jeffrey

Saturday, November 8, 2008

(D-83) Take the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God)

(Ephesians 6:17b)

As the sword was the soldier's only weapon, so God's Word is the only needed weapon, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan's. The Greek term refers to a small weapon (6-18 inch long). It was used both defensively to fend off Satan's attacks, and offensively to help destroy the enemy's strategies. It is the truth of Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 describes the power of God's Word very well. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrows; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

We are to take (receive) the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word (rhema, or spoken) of God. This is another instrument of spiritual warfare that we need to learn how to use. The rhema Word, in the context of the sword, is we, the soldier, speaking (or quoting) aloud the logos (written Word) or the rhema (spoken Word) that was sown into our heart.

We are to use the very same sword of the spirit that Jesus used on the Mount of Temptation! (Please read and meditate on Luke 4:3-12.) The Satan was tempting Jesus, first with the physical desire, second with the worldy glory, and third with even God's word but in a wrong context. Jesus responded only with the Scriptures by saying "It is written..." Whenever we are to attack the enemy, therefore, it must be only with God's word, not intellectual knowledge, worldly wisdom, or human experiences.

So then, to properly wield the sword, we must be knowledgeable of what the Bible says (particularly the promises and statements of fact) and receive that word into our heart. We must keep receiving the Word of God to the point that our heart begins to overflow out of our mouth, in the power of the Holy Spirit and authority of the Name of Jesus. This requires memorizing the scriptural passages that we need as well as frequent reading, studying and meditating. So when the devil comes and gets close enough to attack our mind, we can pull the sword and perforate his stony heart.

Please pray that:

* we always remember that the Word of God is the only weapon we need and we should depend on;
* we never become lazy in reading, studying, meditating, and even memorizing the Word of God; and
* we always remember to use the Word of God in defending our faith and offending the enemy when attacked.

Praise the Lord who is the Word (Logos) and becomes our weapon against the enemy! - Jeffrey

Friday, November 7, 2008

(D-84) Take the Helmet of Salvation

(Ephesians 6:17a)

The helmet was the most noticeable piece of armor. It was often ornate, intricately decorated and plumed with brightly dyed feathers or horsehair. The helmet was designed to protect the head so that blows from sword, hammer or ax could not pierce it but would be deflected and yet allow the soldier maximum visibility.

In this scriptural passage, Paul is speaking to those who are already saved, and is therefore not speaking here about attaining salvation. Rather, he is alerting to the believers that the Satan is constantly seeking to destroy a believer's assurance of salvation with his weapons of "doubt" and "discouragement."
Our salvation is eternally protected and we need not fear that we may lose it. It is a fact and a promise that God made to us. At times, however, we may feel unsure about this fact or promise when we sin or do not live a godly life. This lack of assurance comes from our minds or heads because the Satan is attacking us with his weapons of discouragement and doubt. "How can you say you are a Christian when you sin or when you live such a sinful life! How can you say your salvation is secured when you are still sinning!" Whenever we have these thoughts, we are under the Satan's attack on our heads. We need to take and put on the helmet of salvation. The fact. The promise. The security.

Although our feelings about our salvation may be seriously damaged by Satan-inspired doubt, our salvation itself is eternally protected and we need not fear its loss. Satan wants to curse us with doubts, but we can be strong in God's promises of eternal salvation based on God's Scripture. Security is a fact; assurance is a feeling that comes to the obedient Christian. (1 Peter 1:3-10)

The Devil knows that to control us he needs to control the areas of the mind. The old saying is that if you give the Devil a ride, he will end up driving the car. If we allow him access to our mind (even just a tiny foothold) he will attempt to begin construction on a four-lane freeway into it. Whenever we are under attack on our mind, we need to take and put on the helmet of salvation.

Please pray that:
* we always remember God's salvation is eternally secured;
* we always remember we are under the Satan's attack on our minds when we feel discouraged or doubtful about salvation; and
* we never forget to take and put on the helmet of salvation when that occurs.

Praise the Lord who has secured our salvation and given us the armor to protect our head against the Satan's attacks on our mind! - Jeffrey

Thursday, November 6, 2008

(D-85) Take up the Shield of Faith

(Ephesians 6:16)

The first three pieces of armor of God were the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. These three pieces of armor need to be put on all the time when we are in a combat.

Paul is urging us in Ephesians 6:16 that in addition to all this, take up the shield of faith. All this signifies the first three pieces of armor. Paul is further telling us that with this shield of faith we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

There were actually two types of shields used by Roman soldiers of the day. One, a small (24”-36” diameter) round one, was for dress parades and face-to-face combat. The other was a large (60”x30”) rectangular shield that in Greek was named “a door” because it looked like the soldier was carrying a full size leather covered door behind which he could safely stand. (the actual one is usually larger than picture) Each shield was made of six layers of thick animal hide specially tanned and woven together making them as tough and durable as metal yet relatively light weight. The leather shields could be soaked in water before battle so that in the event the enemy would rain fiery projectiles on them, the fire would be extinguished on impact. The shield used in Ephesians 6:16 refers to the large rectangular one.

In the world, we face all kinds of temptations from the world and evil forces. All these temptations, big or small, will try to cause us to sin and to fall from our faith. From the Garden of Eden, the satan and his demonic forces have been continuing to make us fall into temptations. Eve and Adam fell into it and their sin has left us all humanity a deep scar of depravity.

Whenever we face such temptations, therefore, we need to declare, "I don't believe you or any of you, but I believe (have faith in) only God and my Lord Jesus Christ." In other words, whenever we face such temptations, we need to take up and stand behind the shield of faith that will extinguish the flaming arrows of temptations. Oh, how essential it is and how often it is used in our daily lives. Like a commercial, "Don't leave home without it!"

Please pray that:

* we acknowledge the temptations are real and deadly at every moment of our lives;
* we admit that we alone cannot defend ourselves from such temptations; and thus
* we take up the shield of faith every time we face such temptations and stand behind it

Praise the Lord who protects us from all kinds of temptations and deserves our full trust under any circumstances! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

(D-86) Stand firm with your Feet...from the Gospel of Peace

(Ephesians 6:15)

Before we go somewhere, we have to prepare to dress and equip ourselves for the occasion, climate and terrain. If we are going downtown, we are not going to put on our mountain climbing boots, leather shorts, backpack and climbing gear. If we are going into the jungle swamps, we will not wear arctic parka, insulated long underwear and snowshoes. The same kind of preparation is required for the spiritual battle. In order for us Christians to be able to stand firm in a battle, we need wear shoes well fitted. Moreover, the shoes must be able to grip the ground so that we do not be moved in a combat.

Roman soldiers wore boots well fitted to their feet and with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. Even with such shoes put on, we may not be able to say we are fully ready for the battle. The scripture tells us that such readiness comes from the gospel of peace.
The gospel pertains to the good news that, through Christ, we believers are at peace with God and He is on our side. (Romans 5:6-10) It is that confidence of divine support which allows us the believers to stand firm in the spiritual combat, knowing that we are at peace with God, and thus God is our strength.

Please pray that:
* we always remember that we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ
* we need to put on well fitted shoes for any spiritual battle with readiness that comes only from the gospel of peace
* we put on such shoes all the time whenever we are in spiritual battle
Praise the Lord who put us into peace with God the Father Almighty! May we be ready for any spiritual battle with the gospel of peace put on! - Jeffrey

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

(D-87) Stand firm with the Breastplate of Righteousness...

(Ephesians 6:14b)

For a Roman soldier, the Breastplate was really a work of art. Each breastplate was custom made for the soldier that wore it. Often a casting was made of the man’s torso. This negative casting was then used to make a positive of the torso. The positive was overlaid with brass that was beaten to conform to the details of the torso. Breastplates were often made very elaborate with additional decorations and polished to a brilliant mirror finish that was blinding in the sunshine.

On top of its beauty, the breastplate was very functional, protecting the heart and other vital organs from penetration through its metal shell.

Why was Paul characterizing the breastplate with righteousness?

First, what does righteousness mean? It simply means, “Right standing before God.” Or in legal terms it means being found innocent. Just as Justification is the act of being acquitted.

All too many Christians do not know that they have been made righteous. They are walking in constant guilt and condemnation, feeling like failures and not ‘worthy’ to serve God or receive anything from Him. The devil is constantly bombarding man with missiles of lies and accusations and reminders of past sin. Without the breastplate of righteousness, these missiles will penetrate our hearts.

Also, the devil will try to talk us out of our breastplates. He will 'tell' us that we are not righteous, not worthy. He will throw the sins of our past right into our faces. The very sins that we have been acquitted of, the very sins that God has removed as if never existing.

God has freely imparted righteousness to us and that righteousness serves us as a beautiful and effective breastplate. It is a God-given righteousness. It will give a boldness and confidence we never thought possible. When we know we wear the breastplate of righteousness, we will be able to come before God through prayer in power and authority.

Please pray that:
* We have no doubt that we have been made righteous through Jesus Christ
* We trust that this breastplate of righteousness will protect us from the Satan's deceiving tactics
* We always remember to put this armor on in our spiritual battle

Praise the Lord who made us righteous despite our deficiencies!
- Jeffrey

Monday, November 3, 2008

(D-88) Stand firm with the Belt of Truth...

(Ephesian 6:14a)

The first piece of armor we are told to put on is the belt of truth buckled around our waist. It does not appear to be much of the armor, but it is so essential to hold everything else. Without the belt, all clothes will be loose and anything else we put on will also be loose. In that outfit, we will be totally unprepared for any battle, let alone the spiritual battle against the supernatural power.

Then, why was the belt characterized with the truth? What was Paul referring to?

John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth." It was part of Jesus Christ's prayer to the Father God for His disciples. The word of God is the truth. In other words, the belt that holds all our armor required for the spiritual battle must be of the truth, the word of God. Nothing else can substitute for the word of God, which should hold our armor together.

Truth also refers to faithfulness or commitment. In the old days, people had to put on the belt to tighten their clothes before a long journey. Putting on the belt of truth, therefore, refers to our commitment to our Commander, Jesus Christ, under any circumstances and to the long journey of the spiritual battle.

Another thought on the belt is that you have to keep putting it on as long as you are in the battle. This is the case for all first three pieces of armor: i.e. breastplate and shoes included. No soldier will loosen the belt, the breastplate, and shoes while he is in the midst of a war. In other words, when we are in a spiritual warfare, we have to refer to the word of God constantly to strengthen our commitment to the war and to seek right solutions to the issues of life at stake.

Please pray that:
* we put the word of God on top of everything else in preparing for the spiritual war
* we will seek solutions to our issues of life only from the written word of God, the Bible
* we will read, study, meditate, memorize, and if possible teach the word of God diligently and faithfully

Praise the Lord who was the Word and who was with God, and thus who was God! Praise Him for incarnating into a man to save us! May this Word be central to our lives in whatever we do!
- Jeffrey

Sunday, November 2, 2008

(D-89) Put on the Full Armor of God

After a battle, only the living stands. All others lie down... dead.

In the spiritual battle, the fight is not against flesh and blood. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the havenly realms. Spiritual battle is supernatural. Thus our own power is inevitably powerless against such supernatural power. The only way to win the spiritual battle is, therefore, to follow the supernatural way, the way of the Lord, our Commander.

He is telling us to put on the full, not partial, armor of God. It is because that is the only way to be able to stand our ground and to stand after the battle is over.

God wants us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. He wants us to stand after the spiritual battle. To be able to do so, He is telling us to put on the full armor of God, the whole pieces of it. I will explore more about them one at a time.

Please pray for:

* Our complete realization of the supernatural nature of the spiritual warfare
* Our total dependence on Jesus and His power, none of our own
* Our strong desire to be able to stand after the spiritual battle is over

Praise the Lord for His already won victory on the Cross and out of the tomb! - Jeffrey

(D-90) The Armor of God

We are scheduled to leave for Rwanda on January 30, 2009. That leaves Kris and me exactly 90 days to prepare for the departure.

Since our relocation was for the ministry to the people of Rwanda and for the Kingdom of God, we wanted to be better prepared spiritually. Rwanda had a genocide in 1994, which involved even Christian clergies. Without the involvement of the devil and his demonic forces, such a horror could not have occurred. Our relocation to Rwanda, thus, requires spiritual readiness.

We have been and most likely will continue to be busy, physically and mentally. In the midst of busyness, we may lose the focus and fail to be ready spiritually, unless we make special and conscious efforts to make ourselves ready spiritually.

Ephesians 6:10-20 describes the Armor of God that we will need to put on to prepare for the spiritual warfare. For several days, I intend to share the blessings from this passage in small pieces.

Please pray for:

* God's guidance on our spiritual focus and readiness
* God's grace on our spiritual armor
* God's grace on our undoubted trust in the Lord under any circumstances

May the God of Victory empower us with His spirit! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

People of Rwanda...

Kris and I visited Rwanda in April 2008. The purpose was to be assured that the Lord was indeed leading us to Rwanda for my spiritual life tithing. From this trip, we both received the assurance. How?

It was through conviction, primarily that God may use our life and professional experiences in both the U.S. and S. Korea to help Rwanda improve their living standards and health care. Rwanda wants to be the Singapore or S. Korea in Africa and I tend to believe they can as long as they continue their current system and efforts. I will tell you a little more about it a future blog post.

Interestingly, I found Rwanda and S. Korea very similar in several ways. Both countries have painful histories of killing each other massively; both countries have many hills and mountains; both countries had or have great leaders who are making remarkable contribution to the countries. (Korea had the former president Park, Chung Hee and Rwanda now has Paul Kagame as the president. Both were military generals and both have great leadership and love for their countries.)

Rwanda used to be a francophone country. After the genocide, however, she is turning to become an anglophone country, promoting the use of English for all business, government, and even schools. The ties between Rwanda and the U.S. as well as S. Korea are solidifying and many resources are flooding into this tiny country. But unlike other African countries, they refuse to receive simple aids. Instead they invite investments and partnership. Unusual. Moreover, Rwanda is probably the only country in Africa where the government declared a war against corruption and it is indeed being implemented as such. I talked to many NGO leaders and none has been asked for a bribe. Another unusual reality for an African country.

Rwanda is getting a lot of attention from the international community for their incredible efforts to promoting healing and reconciliation through forgiving those who killed their families and friends. This has been made possible because of the love demonstrated through the life and death of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Rev. Rick Warren is one of the strong supporters of this small country, a little bigger than a quarter of S. Korea.

I miss the people of Rwanda. I look forward to living and working in this country with its people. They look somewhat sad and hurt, but they are not buried in the past. Instead, they look forward to the future in hope being preached on the piles of bones still being dug out from the 1994 genocide. Look at the bright smiles of these young boys! They are the future! And I bet part of my life on them. Praise the Lord for his incredible grace on these people! - Jeffrey

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It is now real... to head out to Rwanda

Friends, now it is real that we are heading out to Rwanda. The schedule has been set that we take off Denver on January 27 and New York on January 30. We are working diligently to prepare for the timely departure, but a lot has to be finished before we can leave.

Kris still has to close down her health care management business and I have yet to complete my tenure with the bank. Meanwhile we will be shipping our household stuff in November and I will be traveling quite a bit before we can set out. I have not even made announcements to the bank colleagues and customers. I am planning to do it before December.

At times it looks overwhelming, but knowing that we are in the good hands of our Lord Jesus, we feel in peace.

Pray for us so that we may be well prepared before we leave. - Jeffrey