"For our God is a consuming fire..." (Hebrews 12:29)
This thought was foremost in my mind as we made final preparations for our trip. To be honest, I have to admit that I was not mentally or spiritually prepared for this trip as the months turned into weeks. Life was busy and my concentration was into trying to make sure my lessons were put together for the English camps. Then, the Sunday before we left our pastor preached a powerful message from this text. My heart was set on fire. I was finally ready. My spirit was burning with the passion I knew I would need for this trip.
My worries and fears were burned up and I was trusting in the Lord to do whatever He desired to do... IN us and THROUGH us. The following was the prayer I wrote in my journal:
Lord, May your Spirit be welcomed wherever we dwell and transform hearts, including our own. May my mouth be ready to sing your praises, speak of Your goodness, and glorify Your name. Thank you for counting me worthY to do Your work.
The journey took about 2 - 2 & 1/2 days. Once we arrived, we were able to do some site-seeing in Seoul before meeting up with the last of our group at the airport. Then began our 3 hour bus ride to the church. I fell fast asleep until I was awakened by Morgan, who asked me if my phone was going off. Me? My phone doesn't even have service! But, I checked it anyway and sure enough it was a random alarm. It had been going off for about 10 minutes and no one knew whose it was. The entire bus, full of Koreans, was beginning to get angry because apparently it had awakened everyone but me, it was annoyingly loud, and it was 1 am! Big oops!
We finally arrived around 2 am (Saturday - July 30), slept a few hours, then began to make preparations for the camp in Taein the following week.
The camp in Taein seemed to be disappointment at first, then a series of miraculous events. In Korea, we come to the conclusion that when a schedule is set you must be prepared for anything and everything to change it around.
One of my favorite things about this trip was the daily devotions we had as a group in the morning and the spontaneous prayer meetings we had a few evenings. Even if we had to meet at 6:30 or 8 am, we determined to have this time of devotion, prayer, and exhortation. Many times, if not every time, they lasted at least an hour. We felt the Lord's presence numerous times and received the strength that was needed for that day.
Before the Taein Camp even began we were praying for 2 people in particular that Morgan was desperately hoping would be able to come. One was Darius, a young boy around 8 years old, who had captured the hearts of the group (especially Morgan's) the previous year. The other was Grace, a girl of about 13 years, who was visibly depressed and rarely smiled. They had a burden to see her set free from whatever was oppressing her. As Monday drew closer, Darius and Grace were names that were consistently mentioned in our prayers and they were the first ones to enter the door on Monday!!! Hallelujah!
Due to circumstances beyond our control we only had 6-9 children that faithfully participated in the first camp, but we were determined to continue the camp as if there were 30 or so in attendance. We prayed just as hard, sang just as loud, and played just as long as if it was a camp overflowing with children. We felt such a burden for these children and their country. There is such a spiritual oppression. It's hard to describe in so few words but it does exist.
What I loved about Taein Camp is that we visibly saw a difference in the children, including Grace, from when they first came until the last altar call. There were times that all we did was play water games (it was SOOOOOO hot!) and have a fun time with them. These children spend all of their time in school, on their phones, or doing homework that they don't get much of a fun childhood like many of us have had. So we were unashamed to spend 2-3 hours chasing them around with water balloons or a water hose, then spending an hour telling them about a God that loves them, a concept most of them could hardly comprehend. We may never know the impact of the small work we accomplished in Taein the first week, but we believe the Lord will continue to allow the seed to take root in the hearts of these precious children.
(...to be continued)
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.