April 24th marked the start of the 2019 Bible Crusade in New York City. This year, the conference is being held at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. A week prior to the event, the management of the church told us that they would not be allowing us to use the premises due to conflict regarding the contract. However, God moved the manager’s heart so we can continue and hold the annual Crusade.
According to the word of Numbers 23:10: “Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it”, God has commanded to bless us with the work of preaching the gospel. Although there are burdens associated with the works of the gospel, we can see God’s leading hand when we go forward.
Accompanied by the warm spring weather, people stood in line to enter the chapel for the Crusade. When the doors opened, the lobby was filled with guests.
After they had been seated, they were greeted by the voices of the international Gracias Music School students and the Gracias Choir, their voices as warm as the spring outside. All of the attendees could not help but open their hearts.
Especially for the evening event, the American Gospel Concert, we could see God bring many New Yorkers to listen to the music of the Gracias Choir and hear the sermon from Pastor Ock Soo Park. Both pastors and their congregation members from the surrounding churches had been invited and many appeared at the church in the evening to show their support for the efforts of the Bible Crusade to bring the gospel to the many people who live in darkness.
Pastor Ock Soo Park’s Sermon
For the morning session, Pastor Park spoke about the people that trusted themselves. In John 8, the woman caught in the act of adultery was led to that point by trusting herself. In Luke 15, the scripture that Pastor Park opened with for both the morning and evening sessions, the prodigal son trusted himself to be a smart and hardworking individual who could succeed without his father’s help or guidance. The end result of trusting themselves for both Biblical characters was to fail: the woman caught in the act of adultery faced death at the hands of the Pharisees and the prodigal son faced starvation because of the famine in the foreign land he was in.
As the continuation of his morning sermon, Pastor Park spoke about connecting ourselves with God. When the woman caught in the act of adultery connected with Jesus, she was saved from the condemnation of the law and the stones of the Pharisees. Also, Jesus gave her a new heart that was filled with thankfulness and while she had that heart, she could no longer be ruled over and led by the sin that dragged her before. The prodigal son completely changed when he came back to his father and when his father began to work for him. Pastor Park said that what is more important than giving a tithe, attending service, or doing good things is for us to connect our hearts with God. If we are connected to God heart-to-heart, we can live a happy and blessed spiritual life. As electricity flows through wires and water through pipes, the power of God, the love of God, and thankfulness from God flow into our hearts through the word of God.
One of the attendees, Lorelei brought her daughter, Maggimae to receive prayer from Pastor Park himself:
“My daughter is suffering from a rare disease and she was having a hard time. However, the owner of the beauty salon (Yubin) that I frequent told me to meet her pastor, Pastor Ock Soo Park. Yubin told me about Pastor Park and his testimony of how he was healed from his sickness. Yubin kept on telling me, ‘If your daughter receives prayer from Pastor Park, she will be healed. She is healed already by faith!” So I wanted to come to the conference to receive prayer for my daughter. Also, I felt that there was something special about this Crusade and I felt that amongst all the other people sitting down in the audience, Pastor Park was speaking to me. I am very thankful that I came here tonight.”
Education Leaders Forum
At the Bronx Supreme Court building, we held our very first Education Leaders Forum in New York City. We prepared by inviting guests to the very end and many educators made time out of their spring breaks to attend the Forum.
The educators gathered had much interest in the mind education program that was being introduced. They were amazed that the concept of mind education was not to just help the youths with their problems but to give them a strong mind so they can overcome their problems.
The President of the Christian Leaders Fellowship, Pastor Yeongkook Park, shared the Forum message about a man named Julio was used to be addicted to drugs. Julio would always think, “I will be fine even if I do just a little more” and “I can quit anytime I want”. However, he could not break free of his drug addiction while he had that kind of mindset. It was listening to the words of his teacher which led him to kick his addiction.
There are many people who live trusting in themselves, just like Julio. When they believe in themselves, they cannot receive a new heart from anyone else. Pastor Park spoke about how we need to teach the youth the ability to listen and to receive a new heart.
One of the panelists, Archbishop Angelo spoke about his impression of the forum:
“I heard about the forum through Caleb Kim. He came to my church. We talked about the mind and the heart. But what really impressed me was the young people because if we can reach young people we should be able to change the world. They talked about working with the police department and the schools. This is something that religious leaders do not do well. They have stepped away. We must be able to get all the leaders to be able to heal the heart and to heal the Mind. It impressed me also that they were from another country. They were able to change South Korea to what it is today. We can go back and do the same thing here. Because a lot of our young people are being lost. Most of them are going to school but their hearts are not right and their minds are not right. One of the issues we were talking about was that they were committing a lot of suicide because their heart and mind were not right. We are one human race so we must work together to heal our communities. I believe that Kim, by what he is doing, and Reverend Park what he is doing, they are doing such an amazing job. As a believer, I believe God has chosen them and sent them to make a difference. The morals that have been lost and the respect for leaders that have been lost must be changed through changing the mindset. That is where I think the work they are doing is a wonderful thing.”
Mrs. Major, the director of child and youth services for the Bronx public office, talked about her support for character development to be done in schools.
“We need more character education at our schools. We are paying the price in our public schools because character development has been neglected and not taken seriously.
We have our other partners in government that have funding to bring in programs from service providers. We want to let all of our service providers know that the government is supporting character education and mental health. Also, we are supporting any program that makes our kids stronger in mind and heart.
I hope that young children can be more involved in their communities. I want to see young people be able to speak the truth freely so they can communicate better.”
We can see how God is pleased with the Bible Crusade and the preparation for it as we started doing senior programs, kids ministry activities, regional Bible seminars, prayer stations on the streets, mindset development at police stations, and education leaders forum.
God gathered many people to the Bible Crusade on the first day. We hope that the love of God fills the hearts of all who feel vanity in their spirit.