By Shane Park
Being an only child, I was really lonely. There were times I would just lie on my bed looking at the white ceiling, picturing constellations in the bright of day. Having Korean parents didn’t help my English at the age of 5, and that certainly didn’t help with making friends in my neighbourhood. I should also mention that I was very shy. At school, I would be that kid who would quietly read in the corner for recess and lunch and the first one to run to my mom as she picked me up. At home, I would make sure I watched my daily dose of afternoon cartoons and play with my Build-a-Bear teddy bears.
There was one thing I always looked forward to every week. And that was Sunday. On Sundays, my parents would wear nicer clothes than usual, and we would drive for about 40 minutes to this place called church. I loved it. The adults were always nice, there were kids my age that I could play with, and there was good food (I loved to eat even back then). I would go down to the basement with the other kids as the adults would have their service and learned about David and Goliath or Noah’s Ark, and all these stories about this guy named Jesus.
When my parents bought me a children’s bible, I was fascinated by the stories in it, but it was simply just another book to me. I hadn’t grasped the concept that Jesus died for us on the Cross and treated everything like a fairy tale.
I was soon introduced to the world of video games and to me it was like books, but much more interactive and I immediately got hooked onto it. My parents bought me a Gameboy Advance and I still remember the days I played Pokémon day in and day out (I was a complete Pokémon fanatic at the age of 3 and frankly I still kind of am). Everything in my life became a chore at this point. Homework, eating, sleeping and even going to church were all things that just became something I had to do.
In grade 5, my dad had a colon ulcer and was sent to the ER when I was in Korea for summer break. Hearing the news, my mom and I rushed back home the day after, ending my vacation short. The doctors said it was just from malnutrition and poor personal care, and that he’ll be fine. Shortly after he was let out from the hospital, he had another ulcer in the same place. In a panicked state, we got him to the ER, but as a 10-year-old child with no exposure to these incidents I didn’t know what to do except pray to God like they taught me at Sunday school. So, I did. A week later my dad was out of the hospital again fully recovered and I personally met God for the first time.
Years passed, and my parents started their own business in Victoria in the month of May. I was still in the 8th grade at the time and I still had about a month of school left, so I stayed at a family friend’s place for the remaining school year. This was the first time I had so much freedom away from my parents’ rules. I fell deeper into my video game addiction, which carried on into my time in high school.
My parents and I would always fight about my gaming addiction even to the point where I ran away from home for a few days. My grades never dropped, I was on the track team and I was considered a “model student”, so I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the privilege to do what I wanted. It was better than under-age drinking or doing drugs, so I didn’t understand what the problem was with my parents and continued my sleepless nights playing games.
Throughout all this I continued to go to church, but honestly, I only went because I felt that I had to as a Christian and needed to show the public that I did good things. Once again, they were all just titles: I went to church regularly, was on the worship team, and went to retreats, I thought was “on fire” for God.
This continued until grade 12 where I got into a relationship and my values changed again. I would spend time all my free time with my significant other and put all my resources into her. 8 months later and the relationship ended off on a bitter note which left feelings of unforgiveness, fear, and awkwardness in me for a couple years.
University came, and I was introduced to YWAM Campus Ministry by a friend from my old church in Victoria along with LIFT Church by my Residence Advisor. Having the mindset of “I need to go to church because I’m a Christian.” I joined YWAM and attended LIFT Church. Throughout my freshman year, I learned so much, about myself, but more importantly the true meaning of being a Christian, which is to live for God and Him only. At this point my parents moved to Saskatchewan for a managing job for a motel and bar and I stayed with them for the summer just to fall into a cycle of waking up, eating, working, and sleeping. Through this, I had a dream of making affordable vaccines for the less fortunate in developing countries, but at the time I really didn’t think much about it.
In August, I went to the LIFT Leadership Retreat and I met God for the second time. There, the song “Oh Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship was played and the words,
“The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ”
cried out as I felt this tight embrace from God. It was at this time, that I experienced this unconditional love that was missing from my life. The past years of addiction, bitterness, loneliness, regret, and need for validation felt as if they were washed away with a passing wave and was replaced with this thing called love, God’s love.
The following year I began to long for God more. I did things for Him, and I was at what you would call a “spiritual high”, but that didn’t last very long. I felt drained and exhausted trying to get through school, church, and community with my own strength, but around this time the YWAM winter conference came around where I understood more about His unconditional love and how He is more of a Father to me than He is my Creator.
At this retreat, the guest pastor who is known for his accurate prophetic messages and wise teachings, told me what God was saying to me through him. These were the things he told me:
“There is a lot of external pressure on you like an exercise ball, whether it be from parents’ expectations or personal excellence, I’m not sure, but God wants to let the pin out and let all that pressure leave. Then, He wants to fill the ball with His peace and calmness”
“Secondly, I saw you at a fork of four roads, and struggling to choose which road to go down, but then Jesus came in with a bulldozer and combined two of the roads. And you followed Him.”
I ended up having a conversation with a close friend of mine about the unforgiveness in my heart that I didn’t know I had, soon after the winter retreat. This unforgiveness was towards myself due to the actions and choices I made back in high school. Afterwards, he heard a voice from God saying,
“Even though you may feel that the people you’ve treated wrongly may hate you and that what you’ve done to them is something that can’t be healed, I can heal it. So, you have to forgive yourself, and bless yourself as a child of mine.”
As we prayed and forgave, I really felt it. I felt that bubble deflate and this feeling of calmness and peace rushed in my body and soul, and I understood what the first prophetic message was about.
The dream I had last summer kept returning every so often for the past few months and it confused me, but as I learned more about the Spiritual Realm I understood that this is God speaking to me. What if this was a vision I was getting from Him about my future? But as I continued to ponder this question, fear and doubt crept into me.
“Your parents will never accept this decision.”
“You can make so much more money and have a stable job if you go into a well-known firm.”
“You’ll always be single for the rest of your life if you do this.”
These thoughts continue to pop up in my head and I just couldn’t get them out of my head, but after countless nights of prayer and intercessory prayers from friends, these thoughts disappeared, but the feelings of uncertainty and worry lingered.
Robin spoke at the beginning of this month with the kick off of the series “Lord, Lord” about building our lives on solid rock. What I got out of the message was quite different from the people around me. To me, I got a confirmation of the vision God has given me by [what I really believe was] fulfilling the prophetic message that was given to me in January.
Robin said things along the lines of this,
“What if Jesus asked you to move to Pakistan and start a ministering in the middle of a country where nobody knows Jesus,”
and continued talking about digging deep to build a good foundation, like using excavators to dig deep into the Earth during construction.
At this point, everything clicked together from July of 2016 where I had some random dream, to January where some random pastor told me some vision he saw, to just a few weeks ago where Robin, my pastor brings up ministering in the middle of nowhere.
Even when I felt alone, He was with me. Even when I was deaf to His words, He spoke to me. Even when I felt like I was suffocating in a pile of dirt, He dug through that pile and found me. Ever since I was born, I know that God has loved, and watched over me as I stumbled, learned, and grew to the person I am today.
I want to encourage those who are reading this blog, whether you are in a season of struggle, joy, or just cruising by. God is always with you and longs to see you search for Him, because He finds joy in those who do. And will definitely smile when you find Him just as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:2,
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”