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From the Ends of the East to the Ends of the West, From the Ends of the West to the Ends of the Earth

  • Nation | Portugal
  • Date | March 05, 2012

It is already 2012. This February marks exactly five years since I came to Portugal. I used to think that preaching overseas was a task assigned to other members because I was not good at foreign languages. Contrary to my expectation, however, God has entrusted me with the mission of preaching the gospel in Portugal, which was very unfamiliar to me. For this I sincerely give thanks to God.

I am now in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Before I came here, I thought that I would have to quickly adjust to the culture of Europe which is quite different from that of Korea—different food, different lifestyle, etc. When I arrived here, however, I felt as if I had come to another city of Korea rather than a foreign country. The Portuguese are very kind and warmhearted like Koreans, and there are also four distinct seasons in Portugal like in Korea. So I had no big difficulty in adapting to my new environment. Leaving everything to God, I started my gospel journey abroad with a comfortable, new mind.

From the ends of the east to the ends of the west

The gospel started to be preached in Portugal by some young adult members from Korea who came on a long-term mission about one year before I came here.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
When I arrived here in Portugal, they were earnestly preaching the gospel by using their poor Portuguese and even drawing diagrams on paper. At that time, there was no video (UCC) about the truth or preaching materials in Portuguese.

I was greatly moved to see their efforts to deliver God’s word to people by any means possible. However, it was not easy to bear good fruit.

Portugal has no official religion, but it is no exaggeration to say that Catholicism is the state religion of Portugal. The Catholic Church has been deeply rooted in all parts of Europe for a very long time, so Catholicism is a natural religion for the Portuguese as well and it can also be life itself to them.

The doctrines of the Catholic Church have taken deep root in their minds. So, when we preached the truth to them, no one realized it. One of their doctrines is a concept that the Bible was written by men. No matter how hard we tried to preach the truth to them through the Bible, they denied the Bible itself, and it made us so frustrated. Young people were not interested in religion at all.

Most people said they were Catholic, but many of them did not actually go to church; rather, they had negative feelings toward Catholicism. Although some of them came to Zion, they were on their guard when they saw that we were all Asians, strangers to them.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
We continued to have a hard time. Watching a Church video together, which depicts the sacrifice of Father and Mother, we encouraged one another by saying, The members of the Lisbon Church gather together after keeping the Sabbath.

“Let’s endure a little more; let’s be patient a little bit more,” and we spurred ourselves on to further efforts to continue preaching the gospel.

Portugal is situated at the western end of Europe. It is a country in Western Europe, and moreover it is located at the ends of the earth in the west. This fact made our hearts beat faster. Since it was prophesied that the gospel of the new covenant would be spread from the east to the west, we came to have a hope that Portugal would be the final destination place for accomplishing the gospel of the new covenant. Believing that God would do it swiftly in its time, we vigorously preached our Heavenly Mother, who is the key to the gospel in this age.

Then people started to change their attitude. Everyone was surprised to hear the truth about Heavenly Mother, saying that they had never heard of it before, and listened attentively to us. And in 2010, Mother granted a great gift to us in Portugal.

Mother’s gift, prepared before the creation of the world

In January, 2010, a short-term mission team came from Korea. The atmosphere of Zion became highly elated just by the fact that the short-term mission team had come, and we preached the gospel joyfully together with them.

At the end of the short-term mission, the members met a man named Valdemar. The day he was supposed to come to Zion was their departure day. That day, we saw them off at the airport and came back to Zion. Surprisingly enough, when we arrived, he had come to Zion by himself. After studying the words of the Bible, he was reborn as a child of God right away. From that day on, he came to Zion to study God’s word every evening, and also attended worship services regularly.

On a winter rainy day, when he was supposed to come to Zion to study the Bible, we went to the subway station with an umbrella and were waiting for him there; we were worried about him because it was raining a lot. Even after quite a while, however, he did not appear. We waited a little longer, and got a phone call saying that he had just arrived at Zion. It turned out that he walked all the way to Zion in the rain and cold for forty minutes because he had no bus fare. We all got choked up to see how beautiful his soul was. He was a gift Mother sent us to encourage us.

Just the fact that he kept coming to Zion became a great help in the gospel. Since a Portuguese was in Zion, those who were on their guard against us, foreigners, easily opened their minds, and there was also an increase in the number of people who tried to visit Zion even one more time to study God’s word. It was a starting point for us to build a nest for many souls in Portugal.

In August, another short-term mission team came. This time, a sister was led to Zion; she has now become a great worker for the young adult group. She understood the truth very well; I was surprised once again at the fact that there was a young adult like her in Portugal who was yearning for God’s word so eagerly. She led her older sister and one of her friends to Zion, and her fruits also grew to be gospel workers very quickly.

At that time, we were lacking in helping hands because most of the Korean members had returned home. So we could not teach God’s word in detail to the young adult members, nor could we take great care of them. Despite that, they accepted every single word which they learned into their hearts. I could feel that Father and Mother Themselves were raising Their children.

It was exactly in accordance with the Bible saying that God had chosen His people before the creation of the world: God’s chosen children came to God in due time as if they had been waiting, while some people did not receive the truth no matter how hard we tried to logically explain it to them.

The fire of the Holy Spirit, kindled by Mother’s love 2011 was the year when the highway to the gospel in Portugal was opened wide. After Brother Valdemar visited Korea in November, 2010—it was the first time for a Portuguese member to visit Korea, and last June four young adult members visited Korea.

Visiting Korea is very important to brothers and sisters overseas. Though we try to deliver Mother’s love to them, we cannot convey it well enough. What is more, we have different emotions and speak different languages from them. So, it was really hard for us to convey Mother’s love to those members whom we could not fully communicate with. We were very worried because they might fall away in a moment unless God’s love was engraved in their hearts, although their faith seemed firm. However, those who visited Korea and received Mother’s love directly were completely different. Now, just hearing the word “Mother” brings tears to their eyes. Before, they showed no special response even when they watched a video about the sacrifice of Father and Mother. I believe their tears are a sign that they have engraved in their hearts the love they received from Mother.

Those who have realized Mother’s love have absolute faith in Mother. Since they want to show what kind of love they received from Mother, they preach the gospel even more earnestly. A young adult member who once visited Korea continues preaching the Word—on the way to Zion and on the way home, as well as at his workplace. Like that, he preaches the gospel without rest in any given circumstance, even alone. His family belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. When he goes home, he testifies to the truth before his family members whether they listen or not. I am deeply moved by his fervor every day. He is like a fireball in Zion. So, he continues to bear fruit.

Last November, Mother blessed us with another short-term mission team to Portugal. It was the first short-term mission team after we had some local gospel workers. Many local brothers and sisters participated in preaching and learned the earnest mindset and untiring passion of the short-term mission team members. Even after they left, the local members continuously preached the gospel whenever they had time.

When I first came to Portugal, it was not even easy to preach the Word to a single person. Now, however, many precious souls come to Zion through the local members. Especially, the young adult members like the dew of youth rise and take the lead in the gospel work, according to the prophecy of the Bible. Before, there were many empty spaces in Zion, but now it is crowded with members every day, full of energy. I give all thanks to Father and Mother.

From the ends of the west to the ends of the earth

At the beginning of the gospel in Portugal, it was my biggest goal to find a member who would be carried into the arms of Mother. So, I only hoped that more gospel workers would come from Korea to help us with the gospel work. God helped me break my small mindset and have an even bigger goal to accomplish world evangelism as well as the evangelization of Portugal by bringing forth local gospel workers instead of just waiting for workers to come.

In Lisbon, there are many foreigners from Portuguese-speaking countries. In Zion, too, there are not only Portuguese members but also many brothers and sisters from other countries such as Brazil in South America as well as some African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, and Guinea Bissau which I had never heard of before. Among the young adult members, there are many second-generation African immigrants. If they go to their hometown, the gospel will be preached there.

Every member cherishes a great dream for the gospel in their heart; many of the young adult members want to walk the path of prophets, and there are also many brothers and sisters who have a desire to preach the gospel in other regions. This is a God-given dream as well. Since we have this dream, we keep going forward, only looking ahead and overcoming any kind of difficulty.

Our dream is already being fulfilled. In September, 2011, a branch Church was established in Porto, the second largest city in Portugal. When a short-term mission team came to Lisbon last November, they preached in Porto for a week. Some of the local members from Lisbon also joined them and bore much fruit there, and those who were baptized at that time have been holding worship services, continuously studying the words of God. Now our brothers and sisters in Portugal have taken their first steps towards their dream for the gospel. So, I believe that if they grow to be stronger workers, the gospel will spread rapidly to all parts of Portugal and to other Portuguese-speaking countries throughout the world, as well as so many cities in the vast land of Brazil and the large continent of Africa where the light of the gospel has not yet reached.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
In this new year, when I look back over the results for the past one year, I come to realize that 2011 was really a blessed year for us; I did not actually realize it when I just focused on the results for each day or each month. Though I had tried my hardest for the past several years, the gospel made no progress. Within just one year, however, the number of members has doubled all of a sudden, and now the gospel is making progress every day. As God promised, “In its time I will do this swiftly,” Father and Mother are accomplishing the gospel very quickly.

Now I feel like the sound of Father’s footsteps is being heard right at the door. I want to receive Father while working hard when He comes. In this hopeful year 2012, I will do my best to quickly fulfill world evangelism by sending gospel workers to the ends of the earth. Amen!
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