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International

The Preaching Festival Began in Jerusalem and Spread All Over the USA

  • Nation | USA
  • Date | December 01, 2006
Even though it’s only been a short while since the New York Church expanded, there is talk that the Church is already too small for the brothers and sisters. The Preaching Festival exhilarated the members’ will to preach the gospel.
Pastor Dong-Il Lee, who has been preaching the gospel fervently with the brothers and sisters in the New York Church since 2001, visited Korea along with the 27th Overseas Visiting Group. We heard from Pastor Lee about the fervor of the brothers and sisters of the New York Church, which has made a dramatic spiritual growth in a very short time.

The fervor was very hot during the Preaching Festival of the Feast of Tabernacles in Korea and all over the world. What was it like in New York?
Most overseas Churches heard the news about the great work of the Holy Spirit in Korea a few days after the Preaching Festival was proclaimed. As prophesied in the Bible that the repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, all the work of God seems to begin from Korea where Jerusalem Mother is. Now, the brothers and sisters of the New York Church have realized the blessing which Mother gave them at the Feast of Tabernacles, and are busy preaching the truth of the new covenant day and night. The number of the new brothers and sisters who get baptized is not as many as that in Korea where each Church bears tens or hundreds of fruits a day, but four to five people continually receive the truth every day since the Preaching Festival. It’s important to keep the fervor of the Preaching Festival alive, without putting out the fire of the Holy Spirit given by Mother. The brothers and sisters of the New York Church are doing their best to keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning, so I believe that many people will continue to come to the New York Zion.
How do you preach the gospel in New York, which is often referred to as the “Capital of the World”?
New York is a big city and the people are very busy. Because of the high cost of living, most people work from early in the morning until late at night. In the beginning, it was not easy to meet people. Of course, if you don’t meet people, you can’t preach, can you? As everyone knows, preaching is needed for our souls as well as other people’s souls; we get a lot of understanding while preaching. However, since it was hard to meet and preach to even one soul, the faith of the brothers and sisters didn’t grow quickly.
Therefore, we changed the way of preaching. We decided to gather whoever was willing to preach, and to preach the gospel at anytime and anywhere. “Let only the fervent people gather together and preach,” is our motto for preaching. We don’t have any special meeting in Zion before preaching. Those who want to preach meet together whenever they can and go to a place where people gather and preach there right away. God saw the brothers and sisters’ burn-ing heart and gave more fruits than before.

It seems that in the New York Church there are many young adult members who have strong faith.
As you know, a prophecy in the Bible says, “Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.” There are many young adult members in the New York Zion because it has been proph-esied like that, and also because we tried to preach to young people, believing in the prophecy.
In the beginning, when young adults were led to the truth, most of their parents tried to stop them from going to Zion. Although Americans are individualists, most American parents are concerned about their children even if they are all grown-up, and want them to focus on their social life more than their religious life. Actually, their concern about their children’s religion comes from the love they have for their children. When I saw how much they loved their children, I thought that they must be God’s children. So we joyfully welcomed those parents who visited our Church, and even visited the parents who didn’t come to Church. When we visited them, we asked them what was wrong with their children following God’s words and getting eternal life and blessing, and we shared the words of the truth with them. Then they opened their mind.
Most elderly members who are visiting Korea this time received the truth like that. As God said, “My sheep listen to My voice,” God’s people, whether in Korea or in other countries, give ear to God’s word.
We’ve heard that the New York Church played a pivotal role in building the Churches in Colombia and Venezuela.
As I’ve just said, many parents who had denied the truth at first received the truth and became gospel workers. Some of them preached the truth to their relatives in Colombia and Venezuela. The gospel began to be sown in Colombia as Sister Eileen’s mother received the gospel and preached the truth to her relatives in Colombia through the phone. One day, her rel-atives in Colombia sent an email and asked to establish a Church in Colombia. A sister in Ven-ezuela once came to New York to see her daughter, because her son-in-law asked her to stop her daughter from going to our Church. Rather, in New York she received the truth and kept her faith even when she returned to Venezuela. She preached the word of God to her relatives, and as the number of the people who wanted to become God’s children grew, Zion was estab-lished there. I think that Zion will be soon established in the Dominican Republic, too, because there are many brothers and sisters. We are in contact with many people in other cities in the Eastern United States. As Mother said, when a Church preaches fervently with the fire of the Spirit, other nearby Churches also begin to preach fervently. If someone doesn’t work hard in his Church, he doesn’t work hard in any other place, either. The best way for the overseas preaching is to find many brothers and sisters in each of our own Churches.

There must be cultural difference. Did you have any difficulty, preaching the gospel there?
It is true that western countries are more individualistic and luxurious, when compared with eastern countries. I can’t say that the brothers and sisters in New York were not like that in the beginning, but after receiving the truth, they learned the manners of Zion little by little and were changed into God’s children. As they obeyed God’s word, their attitudes which were self-cen-tered changed. Watching their change, I felt that God was leading them and working for them.
Sometimes, I found it difficult to tell the brothers and sisters that they had to get rid of their thoughts and follow the way God teaches them. It was because I worried that they might not be able to accept it. However, I tried to believe that they loved God and regarded God’s words as important, and I taught them what they had to change to live according to God’s will. If we had looked at them from only the physical point of view, we could not have told them God’s words fully enough. When we depended on only God and taught them the words of God, the brothers and sisters who truly loved God changed themselves and put God in the center of their hearts.

Would you tell us a fragrance of Zion about the brothers and sisters in the New York Church?
The brothers and sisters in New York are very fervent for preaching and also are very willing to serve the Church. They always think, ‘How can we please God?’ Their hope for heaven is very eager. The Bible says that the sins of those who dwell in Zion will be forgiven. “To dwell” doesn’t mean to stay temporarily, but “to live” as a family. The brothers and sisters take care of the Church like their own houses and truly love one another. So God often gives them precious and beautiful fruits. A few months ago, we branched out in Connecticut. The brothers and sisters had participated in building the temple, traveling more than two hours from New York. I was very moved by their devotion to the work.
Now they are determined to build Churches in all parts of Eastern United States. After receiving the truth, they understand Father and Mother’s love and realize that the way to repay Father and Mother’s sacrifice is to quickly find the lost brothers and sisters. I think they have received so much blessing because they moved God with their fervor.

Do you have any message for the brothers and sisters who are preparing for overseas preaching?
I want those who can be a good example for the foreign members to volunteer for overseas preaching. In order to go abroad to preach, the first thing they must have is a faith strong enough to keep God’s decrees alone wherever they are.
If someone wants to go to a country where the Church hasn’t been built yet, he needs to thoroughly prepare everything such as learning the language enough to be able to teach God’s word because he has to do the role of a prophet there. However, if he is going to a place where there is a Church, he can go and learn many things while preaching there even though he is not fully ready. If he has fervor for the gospel and strong faith, there is nothing he can’t accomplish. He doesn’t have to doubt, even 1%. If God says that it is possible, we shall have 100% faith and do whatever God tells us to do.
One more thing I want to tell to those who are preparing for preaching abroad is that they should not fall into the world under the pretext of learning the country’s culture. They must not forget their purpose of going abroad. Their mind and will mustn’t change whatever situation they face.

What is your determination for the gospel work?
I believe the aftereffect of the Preaching Festival will arise from the New York Church, because Mother already blessed the New York Church and told us that we would produce good results. We will keep harvesting precious good fruits and carrying out our mission as harvesters.
Faith is to please God. All the brothers and sisters in New York will try hard to please and move God with faith and to be united. God bless you all!
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