Yesterday and Sunday, we had our first, church-based organized Spiritual retreat. Discarding the old and trying something new this year, while aligning with the direction given by our Senior Pastor, Joshua Jung Myung Seok. For the first time, after many many many years having our retreats in church…We decided to organize it at other places.
I heard from my seniors, that our church leaders put in a lot of effort hunting down for places to have this retreat. While considering our “pockets” and making sure that it is both financially affordable and also enjoyable. Thankfully, because of their efforts, I really enjoyed the retreat and it was a spiritually and physically rewarding experience (*Whisper: especially the buffet dinner LOL)
It was a day of non-stop celebration, firstly we had our long-awaited ROAST PORK feast sponsored by our senior pastor Jung Myung Seok as we celebrate the achievement of reaching our Goal for evangelism and missionizing. Everyone was hyped with SIO BAK (Dialect for roast pig) as members were queuing up to take a picture with the roast pig.
After which we proceed to the retreat place, which was at The Orchid Country Club. This is my first time here. We had some ice breaking games, to get to know each other and then there were the highlights of the day which was the spiritual sermon delivered by our pastor.
In the past, every year Pastor Jung Myung Seok would give all the Providence churches worldwide the direction of each year’s retreat. This year too, he told us the theme a few months before the start of the retreat in each country. The purpose of having a retreat is a time of spiritual training through listening to the messages and also applying the words through activities. A few years back I participated in the retreat in Korea WolMyungDong, it was really “Spiritual” because you get to pray a lot, and there were never ending amount of sermons to listen every day. There was like never a lack of the words (sermons) HAHAHAHA!
As for this year, Pastor Joshua Jung announced that each church should have their own retreats in their respective country or province and he gave the theme of the retreat “Harmony like a waterfall”
In the course of our ever day life, we meet people and also converse with people. Whether it is between friends, family members, or work colleagues. Conversation is something necessary, we live in a society of constant communication.
However, because everyone is different in their personality and thoughts. Problems of miscommunication, arguments, quarrels arise between people and all these problems results in disharmony. While praying for this year’s retreat theme, Pastor Jung Myung Seok realizes that wars and dispute happen around the world because people failed to be in harmony with one another, and also failed to accept each other’s differences. He realizes that similarly, the same problem resides within the churches of Providence nation-wide. He also realizes through the many stories and encounters of the Bible that problems occur because of disharmony and when God looks at people being unhappy with each other it hurts his heart and thus understanding God’s heart and the importance of harmony and peace, he gave the theme for this year’s retreat.
Why Harmony like a waterfall?
Being puzzled about why our senior pastor chose waterfall as a metaphor or description for harmony. I started asking people around me. And one of my church brothers explained to me
“Sungsaengnim (“Teacher” in Korean) explained that a Waterfall is very grand, very cooling, very beautiful, majestic and will flow down unconditionally, just like that…People too must fulfill harmony in this way.”
Of course, it is easier said than done, that is why hoping through the spiritual retreat, people can resolve problems through conversations. Conversations that is not about arguing and pinpointing each other’s fault but instead, the conversation of understanding each other’s differences and accepting it. However, still hahaha, it is easier said than done right? Probably God knows that my thoughts are too hardened it is easier to teach people through showing reality. That is God taught me in seeing “Harmony like a waterfall” through the eyes of a little angel.
The little angel
For the past few weeks, when Pastor Joshua Jung told us to be harmony with one another. A little angel, a member of the church who likes to keep herself anonymous was inspired by the pastor Jung’s message and decided to challenge herself writing a letter of thanksgiving and apology to EVERY SINGLE MEMBER in the church.
Yeah man~ You heard me right every single member. Our church has over…10000000 people.
LOL, I am joking, we had over hundred and fifty members…Still, it is a HUGE number, something that I would probably never thought of doing. And she wrote it with pen and paper, not computer OKAY!!! Anyway back to the story. On the day of the retreat, she testified saying that every single member of the church is very valuable, and probably that is what God wanted to tell each and every person through her.
While maybe some people can debate that because she is new in church, so she hasn’t had many disputes with people, compared to those who had been in church for a long time. But to me, as I witnessed her testimony, I pondered about the past…and realized that the disease of time and disputes between me and other people have covered my eyes, like a cataract (白内障). All the disharmony and unhappiness had blinded my vision and all that I can see in people is only “negativity” and “shortcomings“.Talking about humble, I have probably forgotten what those moral principles are as time passed by.
My pastor said she had pure eyes, I couldn’t agree more than that…And I hope that quality would continue to shine its light into people.
Through this spiritual retreat, I gained a lot. I saw Harmony like a waterfall overflowing….As people who don’t normally talk to each other started having HTHT (Heart to heart talk) sessions.
Problems and misunderstandings were resolved because people talked about their differences. There was no unhappiness and hatred. And I thought if only the society and the world could be like this, peace can be achieved so much sooner in all parts of the world.And, just like a waterfall flows unceasingly, I hope that conversation that creates harmony will continue to flow unceasingly within the church and overflow to the rest of the world.