The Military band performed a fanfare for Pastor Ock Soo Park and guests at city hall. Before going to Abidjan, pastor met the President of Benin for the 4th time.
During the morning of our departure to Abidjan, on Friday the 13th, the President called us. He had requested for a meeting. Pastor Ock Soo Park, choir members Hye Mi Choi and Jin Young Park, Brother Joseph Kim, and several missionaries met the President. He had a cabinet meeting in the morning and so only had about 20 minutes, but he was still grateful for the visit. Pastor Park expressed his gratitude for the invitation, and then prayed for the President of Benin.
After listening to Pastor Ock Soo Park’s prayer and words, the President expressed that 2015 would be a faithful, glorious and graceful year. We observed how he stood before God and then began to hope that if the country of Benin stood before God, it would be blessed even amongst its diseases and many difficulties.
Pastor Ock Soo Park arrived at the airport VIP lounge 2 hours past the original arrival time. The Mayor of Abidjan, who had visited South Korea several times, greeted Pastor Ock Soo Park at the VIP lounge. While being escorted by 2 police cars, we immediately moved to city hall.
The military band performed a welcoming song for us in front of city hall. We were able to feel how fondly the city of Abidjan thought of us. During this visit to Abidjan, an MOU between the city of Abidjan and IYF branch in Cote d’Ivoire was accomplished with the purpose of supporting youth activities. IYF branch in Cote d’Ivoire requested for a construction site and also support for various youth activities. The city of Abidjan requested for IYF to build a youth center, hospital, polytechnic university, and operate an education program. The Mayor said that both parties should discuss the contents further before signing an MOU Agreement, and hoped that an MOU Agreement would bring about good activities for the youth and citizens of Abidjan.
“Every time I visit Abidjan I am able to see a difference, and it is because the Mayor and employees are doing many things for the city. IYF will also pour its heart for the city. We would like to cooperate with the city and do many things. The programs we initiate are changing the hearts of people. An MOU Agreement with the city of Abidjan shall be the beginning of change for many people.” – Pastor Park’s greeting
After meeting the Mayor, we were provided a meal by the city hall. The Deputy Mayor had visited South Korea several times, and so his heart was really open to us. During meal time, Pastor Ock Soo Park gave a mind lecture, and preached a short sermon to city hall employees. After the meal, even our escorting police officers and city hall employees wanted to take a picture with Pastor Ock Soo Park.
After eating, we headed to the Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education was visiting the United States, and so we met the Deputy Minister, who had spent an extremely long time attending an urgent and complicated meeting. Pastor Ock Soo Park began the conversation by saying, “You have just had a meeting about a complicated issue, however our conversation will be a joyful conversation held with smiles. The Deputy Minister was well aware of IYF, and asked what the IYF wanted to for the Ministry of Education.
Pastor Ock Soo Park explained, “The South Korean government has made mind education and character education mandatory beginning from 2015. South Korea is already ahead on this matter.” He then shared about how we had already trained 16,000 educators in the Philippines and 2,700 youth leaders in Kenya during an event hosted by the Kenyan government. He also shared how we were currently cooperating with the Ministry of Education in Swaziland concerning their education policies, and that many Presidents, Ministers and Mayors of various countries asked for us to provide them with mind education, and then finally proposed to initially provide mind education to educators in Cote d’Ivoire.
While listening, the Deputy Minister suddenly got up and asked unexpectedly, “May I hold your hand?” We were able to see how he had gained hope after meeting and speaking to Pastor Park. The Deputy Minister was informed that the choir had followed along, and wished to listen to their songs and also take pictures together.
The fear, worries and hardships shown on his face when we first met soon disappeared, and instead the Deputy Minister showed happiness and hope. Therefore we were able to clearly see how he had been heavily comforted amidst hardships. We were able to experience how God was allowing for us to work with the Ministry of Education.
Nearly 1300 brothers and sisters of Abidjan church along with citizens attended. Gracias Choir began their performance amidst warm cheers from brothers and sisters. Although being passionate, the audience portrayed class as they focused on the performance. The performers and audience collectively made the best performance possible.
So many citizens arrived that they had to watch the performances and seminar via screens outside of the venue. One participant expressed his gratitude by saying, “Pastor Ock Soo Park’s sermon comforts and gives strength to my heart whenever I listen. That is why I listen whenever I have the chance.”
Today the city of Abidjan welcomed Pastor Ock Soo Park and his guests. Tomorrow, we are planning to visit a village that is suffering from Buruli ulcer. We truly hope that many suffering patients will be comforted and gain hope through Good News Medical Volunteers and the Word of God.