From James Lee Jr.: While in Korea, I had the opportunity of sharing the gospel with Eun Sik Kim, a Korean minister, whom I met at our little chapel on base. He came out to share his teachings with the Korean personnel who worked in the compound every Wednesday night, and I also served as the Chaplain's assistant on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.
Our friendship began by my wanting to learn Korean and his wanting to learn to speak English better. He could read, write and speak seven languages, among which was English, thank goodness. Needless to say, I spent much more time sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with him than learning to speak Korean, and our friendship grew and grew. We both looked forward to Wednesday nights and the time we would spend talking about the restoration of the gospel.
One night he told me how he had become a Christian after a lifetime of believing and practicing Buddhism. He had lived in North Korea before the Korean War, and had a beautiful home with a large library and all the furnishings he wanted, including a grand piano. When the Communists came into North Korea, they took over his home, and he was forced to leave. He left behind all his belongings, and fled to South Korea, but with the war going on, he decided to go to Japan to live.
In the process of his losing everything, he became very depressed, and decided that he didn't want to live anymore. While sitting in the park one night, in Japan, he made up his mind that he was going to end his life by jumping off a high bridge into the frigid water below. As he stood to walk to the bridge, suddenly there stood before him a being of light who introduced himself as Jesus Christ. He asked him not to end his life, but to go and get a Bible and read about His life and mission in the New Testament, then go and teach his people about the Savior of the world.
So, instead of jumping off the bridge to end his life, he went to a store and purchased a Bible, then began his reading of the New Testament. After completing his reading about the Savior, he went among the Japanese people and began teaching them about Jesus. Many were interested in his experience, and his teachings, and so he spent several months teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as told in the Bible. Then one day the police came and arrested him for teaching Christianity which was against the law there in Japan. They kept him in jail for three years, with only a blanket to sleep on, and a cement slab for a bed. Many nights he had to walk all night to keep from freezing to death.
Once a year they offered to let him out of jail if he would go out and not preach Christianity, but he refused to do so, and so he spent another year in jail. Finally on the third year anniversary, they let him go as the law had been changed. During his stay in jail he had converted all the guards there to Christianity.
When he was released, he went out again to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people, but after a while, longed to go back to Korea and his homeland. Shortly thereafter he returned to Korea, and began his life's mission of teaching the Korean people about the Savior. When I met him he had three villages in which he had established a little church, and was teaching about 150 people about Christ, as taught from the Bible. He had no religious affiliation with any other religious denomination in Korea.
As I shared the gospel with him, he would go and teach the things I had shared with him, with his congregations, and they wanted to know more and more. Often our Wednesday nights would be spent in my elaborating on what I had taught him before, which he would go and share with them the next Sunday.
When it came time for me to return home to my wonderful wife and sweetheart, I gently told him that I would be going home in a few days, and we both cried. He told me that all his life he wanted to have a brother, but never had any until I came to Korea. Now he was going to lose me forever. We cried some more. Then an idea came to me and I went and talked with our company commander and asked for permission to take an army jeep to Seoul, Korea, some 40 miles away, and I explained that I wanted to take Eun Sik Kim with me to introduce him to the missionaries there. He agreed.
The next morning Pastor Kim and an Army buddy and I left for Seoul. We went to the mission home there, and met with 4 Elders who had been there long enough to know the language, and they interviewed Pastor Kim for several hours. They told me that he knew the gospel well, and they wanted to send copies of the tracts which had just been finished in Korean, for him to share with his congregations. We were all very excited as we left there with 100 copies of all the missionary tracts which had been published to date, and on the way back to our compound, Pastor Kim said, "I cried because I was losing my wonderful brother who is going home, but now I have 4 brothers. I am happy.
On the day I left the compound for the airport, Pastor Kim was there to bid me farewell. We hugged each other and wept, because we both knew we would never see each other again in this life. I still remember his standing there as I waved goodbye to him from the back of the truck as we drove down the road, on the way to the airport and home. Even at this writing, tears are flooding my cheeks as I recall the dear friendship which we shared so long ago.