The Cantata US Tour buses arrived at one of the most highly recognised universities, the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium at 7am for the ninth Christmas Cantata of the tour.
Minneapolis, the largest city in the southeast state of Minnesota, is also the source of the Mississippi River. The name of the city had evolved from the word ‘minne’, meaning water and ‘polis’, meaning city. Therefore, it is often referred to as the City of Water with over 150 parks and 22 lakes. Famous for the sheer number of parks in the city, it was voted as the third most comfortable city to live in while being economically and socially stable and healthy.
The population in the region of Minnesota is mostly made up from the descendants of the Vikings and from Eastern European countries such as Norway. In general, the people are known to be diligent and honest. Moreover, because of a Lutheran background, there are many religious people. We were able to feel the heart of God that wanted us to preach the Gospel also to the Caucasian society, by allowing us to have the Christmas Cantata in the city with 80% of the population coming from a Caucasian background.
5 days before the Christmas Cantata, the Governor of Minnesota announced the 28th of September (the day of the performance) to be the Gracias Christmas Cantata Day in Minneapolis.
“We couldn’t hold the Christmas Cantata for the past 2 years, and this is the second time we are having this event. First of all, we contacted those people who had attended the performance two years ago. We were connected to a certain lady who had attended the performance 2 years ago and was searching for us, to see the performance again. She had thought that we were Chinese and called all the Chinese churches but coincidently, we happened to call her instead. The lady was so happy, saying that she would come to see the performance as well as make a donation. In 1 Kings 18, after Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, he told his servant, Gehazi, to go up to the sea to look for a sign. After the seventh time, Gehazi found small clouds that were a large distance away. The phone call with this lady was like this cloud. To Elijah, this small cloud was God’s preparation for lots of rain and to us, that small voice sounded like the Word of God. It gave us great strength to think that God was happy and was preparing all things.”
The 2000 seats were filled and the citizens of Minneapolis were led on a journey to the Bethlehem of 2000 years ago. When the name ‘JESUS’ appeared on the screen that showed his genealogy, the audience did not hold back on their applause.
“For example, no matter what it is Korean people may make in American factories, that product is ‘Made in USA’. This is decided by where it was made. Like that, Jesus had sprayed his blood over the eternal tabernacle of heaven and that saving blood of Jesus is ‘Made in Heaven’. This is why you receive eternal salvation.” – From Sermon of Pastor Young Kook Park
“I felt like the Christmas Cantata, which spoke about the essential facts of Jesus that everyone should know about, was marvellous. Especially, according to the Word of the Pastor we cannot enter heaven without Jesus. Jesus had worked for our salvation. Among his analogies, he asked, ‘If a Korean person makes a product in Minneapolis, is it American or Korean? It is not the person but the place that is of importance.’ Then, he said that our salvation was eternal because it was accomplished in heaven. He also added that no matter how evil we were, all we had to do was accept the Word. The sermon was very clear and precise.” –Pastor Victoria
“It was such amazing music… I listened joyfully to all the music and the whole performance had given me goosebumps and when they sang ‘God Bless America’, it just gave me even more!”
“It was so amazing! I am a Christian and when I saw the first act I was touched. I was also so surprised at how they had expressed the birth of Jesus through music. I think that the Christmas Cantata is a good way to teach people about God. While listening to the Word of the Pastor, I realised that eventually, no matter how dirty we may be, the Word says that we are righteous. Thank you.” –Jo Marcotte
“It is really difficult to explain it in words. It was incredible. It was terrific. The ‘Hallelujah’ at the end was the most memorable for me. As Christians, everybody may know ‘Hallelujah’ but the Gracias Choir had sung it in a beautiful, clean and clear voice. It warmed my heart. At the end, the Word of the Pastor was the true Word. It was the truth. He said that the tabernacle in heaven was eternal. Pastor also said that we were holy and righteous.” -Sandra
The citizens of Minneapolis threw away their lacking images created on Earth and accepted the perfect image that had been created in heaven. Every time they came across a volunteer with the Christmas Cantata T-shirt, they would say, “Thank you so much”. In the hearts of the people of Minneapolis, Jesus had been born and their hearts had received eternal sanctification of sin.