During this period, my great grandfather, Sungsik Kim, a Methodist pastor was pastoring a church in South Korea. He was a man who carried the gift of faith and fire of God’s love for His church. Upon hearing the news of invasion, he was warned by his church members to flee to a safer town. However, my great grandfather replied, “ My sheep are here. Where should I run to as a shepherd?” Inevitably, he was arrested by communists who then held him in a pig pen. The last time anyone reported seeing my great grandfather, he was looking towards the sky with tears falling down onto his face, singing to the Lord, knowing he would never see his wife and seven children again; all the while his communists captors mocked him with starvation saying, “Let’s see if this God you unceasingly worship will feed you.” Will God remember this sacrifice of praise? Absolutely!
My grandfather, Yoonsil Kim, a Presbyterian pastor, was also killed during this time frame for his faith. Until his death, he had sacrificially ministered to young adults and youth with a burning vision to disciple and raise them up to become leaders of Korea, the nation he loved with all of his heart. One of the disciples from his youth group eventually became the most prominent pastor and leader of churches in South Korea!
Suddenly, both my great grandmother and my grandmother lost their husbands, and seven children between the ages of five to thirty, became fatherless. Two seeds fell to the ground and died, but God remembered their sacrifices and their families and gave them His grace to bear much fruit. After their deaths, my great grandmother, Daeroon Myung, found a church with an associate pastor and lived an exemplary life of prayer. Rising early every morning, she would walk the three miles one-way just to get to the humble little church by 5am and where she prayed fervently, in earnest tears, for God’s protection, and that He would use her children for His glory. She told each of her seven children, “If we ever get separated during this war, I want you to remember one thing. Never, ever deny Jesus because I want to see you someday in heaven.” As I write this article, my heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness for this brave woman who left such a powerful legacy of unshakable faith in the midst of absolute sorrow and destruction.
One month after her husband’s death, in October of 1950, my grandmother, Anna Kim, founded an organization she named, “Beautiful Fruit.” At the age of only thirty, she found herself a widow with two young daughters. In the midst of her own pain and loss, she saw many widows and orphans around her and gathered them together; victims of the same hatred and violence that had taken her beloved father and husband. Her heart burned with passion and conviction that she must help them. God divinely connected her with a Methodist missionary from America, Mr. Appenzeller. He played an essential role finding financial support for the Beautiful Fruit, connecting her with the Christian Childrens’ Fund (CCF).
My grandmother boldly declared before the CCF board, “We need to provide for these desolate widows, so these young children can grow up with their mothers instead of going to orphanage. Additionally, they also need funds to pay for their education at least through high school.” She knew that these children would be the future leaders of their war-torn nation. In the midst of her own suffering and pain, God used her as His voice of hope and hands of love. The “Beautiful Fruit” organization became registered under CCF in February, 1951. With financial support in place, she began creating work opportunities for widows. Making hand crafts, these proud survivors were able to earn an additional income and help to support others in need. Her organization supported each one of these families for the next 19 years. As a result, 360 fatherless children were able to finish their education, and some of which went abroad to the United States to continue in higher education. Many became pastors, doctors and leaders serving Korea even to this day. Wow! what a legacy of bringing light into the darkness. God used even the worst pain to bring a beautiful multiplication of many great leaders for the nation of South Korea.
This word is truth, and my family is a living testimony. God remembered to show His unfailing love and mercy upon every generation of my family. We are so blessed to have pastors, doctors, musicians, artists, educators, leaders and elders who love and serve the Lord wholeheartedly to this day!
As I reflect upon my ancestors’ passion for Jesus and His church with hearts of true worship and intercession, my heart beats with a full passion to carry on their legacy to accomplish those unfinished dreams that wait to be completed. As I follow this mission, as a pianist and speaker, I recognize every God given opportunity to share His perfect love through worship, performance and impacting generations of His church through the power of His truth, intercession and mentorship.
In honor of my legacy, I recently held a fund raising piano concert, “The Dream is Alive”. Its purpose was to raise tuition for 12 dedicated international students currently attending a college in the Phoenix metro area. These young men and women are the leaders of tomorrow who will change the nations around the world. Throughout this event, I could feel the energy and passion of my grandmother’s dreams, and I am humbled by the legacy she leaves me with. I currently lead a weekly prayer ministry for school campuses and students of my son, John’s generation and believe God will hear our cry as He did for my ancestors to raise these children mightily, as powerful leaders of our nation and around the world.
A new chapter has begun. I will continually run the race, joining my heart with the hearts of my ancestors, and pressing forward to see the Kingdom of God fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven in every generation!