[US] North America Online Winter Retreat, Beginning of a New Hope
2020 was a year that had us give glory to God with overwhelming joy and gratitude. In particular, the Gracias Choir Christmas Concert was broadcast more than 700 times in the entire North America through around 360 stations including 4 major stations, CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX, in December of last year. It reached from big cities to rural areas, delivering the choir’s beautiful music and Pastor Ock Soo Park’s message of hope.
While the year 2021 started with the new hope of the gospel through the New Year’s message by Pastor Ock Soo Park, the Winter Retreat that was annually held in Dallas at the end of the year opened up online for four days from 21 (Thursday) to 24 (Sunday).
Around 2,300 brothers and sisters registered to attend the retreat this time through zoom, and there were some who never registered listening to the sermons via YouTube live and Facebook live.
You can even say the country “US” is a smaller rendition of the world. Each sermon was translated into seven languages including English, Spanish, Korean, French, Burmese, Karen, etc. Gospel classes and other group fellowships were held in each of their languages.
The first evening of the Winter Retreat began with Pastor Sang Rok Ryou of the Atlanta Church’s MC, and Pastor Ock Soo Park’s documentary “Mission of Life”, which was recently produced/broadcasted in Rede Brazil TV in Brazil, was broadcasted every evening in English and Spanish.
Through the documentary, the beginning of the history of the great work of the gospel that is being manifested through Pastor Ock Soo Park right now was nothing else but his heart. We were able to see that through trials and poverty of his young days, the heart to hold Jesus inside was created. The simple and beautiful scenery of the Korean countryside, Pastor Ock Soo Park’s youth and early days of ministry that we’ve only heard from his sermons, and the vivid testimonies of people around him deeply resonated and impressed everyone including our church members and those who attended the Winter Camp for the first time,
“While praying for the retreat, I wanted to see the New Year’s message working. I prayed every day to invite Young Sook Kim and I felt that God is going to work. Yesterday was the first day of the retreat, and Young Sook Kim watched Pastor’s documentary and opened her heart widely. She said he is an excellent pastor and that the spiritual life sounds easy when listening to Pastor’s sermons. When I saw her listening to the words on Romans chapter 23 and 24 by saying “Amen, Amen,” I was very thankful to God.” – Sister Younghee Kim, Anchorage
In the early morning and morning hours, there were various testimonies and sermons of missionaries from continents sharing how God worked amazingly within our mission regardless of the pandemics last year. In the afternoon, academies with different topics were prepared for church members’ life of faith.
In addition, various and interesting programs were prepared for middle and high school students and Sunday school students on the 23rd (Saturday) and 24th (Sunday). Programs such as online world travel, Jeopardy, which is famous American quiz program, solving quizzes based on the news that happened to our mission last year, and gospel preaching contest, have become new exchanges and communication opportunities for students who have to take school classes at home for months.
CLF Teacher / Evangelism Group Fellowship
At the Christian Leaders Fellowship (CLF) World Conference last November, brothers and sisters, who have been mainly assistant teachers, became main teachers to lead group and individual fellowship with the pastors. At first, brothers and sisters were burdened to have a spiritual fellowship with pastors, but Jesus Christ in them worked powerfully inside of the fellowship and many pastors were saved and opened their hearts to CLF. The fellowship continues after the conference, and the work of salvation continues as many CLF teachers consistently have Bible study meetings with pastors who were in their class. In the group fellowships of the Winter Camp, new groups such as CLF teachers group and evangelism group were newly added, and practical evangelism and training of fellowship were conducted through the brothers and sisters.
Grace Nwudu, San Antonio
There are some parts that I encounter when I preach the gospel to pastors. When I say we have become righteous by Jesus’ blood, they talk about 1 John. Then, I used to be frustrated because I didn’t know what to do anymore. But yesterday in the group fellowship, the pastor gave testimony about how he preached the gospel to a person who was constantly falling asleep and continued the fellowship, and God opened his heart and he listened to the Word of God. As I listened to it, I wanted to contact the pastors I gave up once again. Two pastors replied and said they would attend the retreat this time. I am very thankful to God.
Sister Ju Hyun Lee, Washington D.C.
At the last CLF conference, I met and invited Richard Brook, vice president of the Gideon Association in Washington D.C. While attending the CLF, he had fellowship with pastor’s words in the afternoon, but he could not accept that we became righteous. Even after the CLF, we continued the fellowship, but he said the word of God is right, but he is still a sinner saying, “I am a sinner. How can I say I am holy!” Once, I was able to have fellowship with him with our church minister. We talked about Gideon and wedding feast of Cana in the Bible. When we asked, “did the servants bring water or wine?”, he slapped his knee and smiled brightly by saying, “I am no longer a sinner.” I was very happy in my heart. For this retreat, I invited the president of the association, and he is listening to the Word of God.
Natalie Robinson, Jamaica
This CLF Teachers meeting freed me from many doubts and fears about preaching the gospel to pastors. Through the meeting, I learned that God has already established us to preach the gospel as Christians who have been born again. The only condition for God to work through me is for my heart to become one with God’s by faith. For I have become righteous, perfect, and sanctified, and this is the only condition for God to work. Just as the footsteps of the four lepers in 2 Kings chapter 7 were heard as a loud army, God will change my lacking and weakness into a great of the gospel when I preach the gospel to pastors.
Sister Somee Lee, New York
Year 2020 was a big turning point in my life. I received great grace as New York pastor decided his heart to train brothers and sisters as CLF teachers and lead us. I was already the best gospel preacher. Although I wasn’t good, I began to preach the gospel, especially to many pastors, and I was able to have Bible studies. There is a pastor who was saved through CLF and is now enrolled in Good News Theology School to take classes. He constantly preaches the words he learned from us to his congregation, and he told me about how people received salvation and there are unceasing testimonies of salvation. When I first became a CLF teacher, I was only burdened and didn’t know how much of a blessing and thankful thing it was. While preaching the gospel, there is no end to joy and I see God taking care of the problems in life. God has already given the wings of faith, but I lived without flying. I am thankful to the church and the pastor for guiding me to live by preaching the gospel.
In the morning and evening, there was a performance by the Gracias Choir and the sermons of Pastor Ock Soo Park. Pastor Ock Soo Park began his sermon on the first evening by saying “I hope you could experience a miraculous day when all our sins are washed as white as snow through this retreat,” and delivered the world of God where the Word comes true as it is through 1 Kings chapter 7.
“Everyone, spiritual life is very easy. Your thoughts and God’s thoughts need to become one. If God said you are righteous, then you are righteous. That is true spiritual life of believing in God. Salvation is the easiest thing on this world. If God said you are righteous, then you are righteous. If God said you are sanctified, then you are sanctified. Accepting it like that is the spiritual life.”
Regardless of the depth of spiritual life, the world of God’s Words that says we are righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ was fulfilled inside of the attendees’ hearts through Pastor Ock Soo Park’s sermon about true spiritual life and salvation that anyone can open their hearts and understand.
Pastor Empress Lugo, Denver
I was so thankful that I could attend the retreat. I got to realize how all my sins are completely washed. When I believe in God, He makes impossible, possible. I feel that the retreat is the best tool to bring help to us pastors. Above all, God established Pastor Ock Soo Park as the servant of God and it is a privilege given by God that you are pastor’s disciples.
William Gary, Hawaii
I attended the retreat at my wife’s recommendation. Listening to Romans 3:23, I was able to get rest in my heart. Nothing a man does can reach the glory of God and never be righteous, but I became righteous freely only through Jesus. I went to Catholic church before following my friend in the past, but I stopped going after seeing that my sins were not washed away even though I confessed my sins repeatedly. Even when I went to other churches, they all emphasized on our works, and I was not able to meet any church that preaches the gospel as precisely as the Good News Mission. Although I do not know much about the Bible, every sermon that Pastor Ock Soo Park preached was based on the Bible. Salvation is very easy and simple. I work as a prison guard, and all prisoners say they will live a straight life once they get out of prison. However, that’s the heart to trust their hearts and I see them coming back to prison after they left. I used to trust myself and called myself a sinner, but now I believe in God who made me righteous.
Buja Lee, LA
I went to church for a long time as a general church deaconess. I believed in Jesus, but I thought I should live trying not to sin. However, I was able to attend the retreat as I met a sister who attended the LA Church. I heard about the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in the gospel class. The pastor said it was sin to abandon God’s words and accept the thoughts given by Satan, and repentance is throwing away my thoughts and returning to the Word. As I listened to that sermon, I was able to put down my thoughts thinking I am a sinner, and I was able to believe the Word of God calling me righteous as it is. I became righteous and sanctified. Other churches did not teach the gospel this easy. What I’ve learned until now was all wrong, and my husband and my children also learned in a wrong away. I am very thankful that I could hear the true gospel, and I have peace and hope in my heart. I am happy and thankful that I can enter the kingdom of God when I die.
Fernando Rosales, Houston
At the time when my aunt invited me to the retreat, I was so sad and fallen into despair because I lost my family member and job due to coronavirus. At first, I called my aunt because I didn’t understand the sermon. I told her that music soothes my heart but I could not understand the sermon. It was my first time I found out that Cain and Abel were sons of Adam. Then, my aunt explained to me about how sins were forgiven in the old testament. She told me about on Bible verse in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 14. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” She told me that the blood Jesus shed on the cross was more than enough to forgive all of our sins. At that moment, I was able to believe that I no longer have sin in my heart. I am planning to listen to the pastor’s sermon with my wife tonight.
Chantale WeKe, Minneapolis
Our real problem was not the sins we committed, but the sin in our hearts. Just as how cold virus causes coughs, sneezes, and fever, there is a virus of sin that does evil in our hearts. But we are justified by the sacrifice of Jesus’ cross. Jesus solved all the problems of sin in my heart. I am righteous.
My house is an orthodox Christian family for generations, and my grandmother said she is a female prophet and that God speaks to her when she prays. As I grew older, I committed more sins, and I was always afraid God would tell my grandmother about everything. That’s why I condemned myself a lot and I cried a lot as well. My Korean school teacher sent me the student camp flyer and I was able to attend. It was truly an amazing experience. We are born as sinner because of one man, Adam, but we have become free from sin through one man, Jesus. I am now saved and I became free from sin.
Shonta Bazile, Manhattan I received salvation last October and this Winter Retreat was my first retreat. I was able to have a heart-warming experience. I am thankful to God that He allowed me to be a part of Good News Mission. Pastor Ock Soo Park is a true servant of God and I feel that there is no other like him. Pastor said the life of faith is simply accepting the Word of God. There is power, light, and life within God’s Words and He fulfills everything he said. This brought peace in my heart. Angie Kim, Dallas
I attended the Bible Seminar last year, but I could not understand the Word of God well at that time. But I was able to hear the Word as I attended the retreat this time. I am righteous. I’m sure I’m righteous because God called me righteous, not man. Who can say “I am a sinner” to the Word of God? Before, I thought the Bible a book written to tell us to live good. So, I tried to live good, and I thought I had to ask for forgiveness when I commit sin. This time, I learned that believing in the word of God is believing in God.
Last year, all services and gatherings in our Mission, large and small, were turned online due to pandemics. With the elimination of barriers to physical distance and restrictions of places, many brothers and sisters began to preach the gospel by forming Bible studies with pastors, new comers, and families from far away through online. We hope that the world of God, where the Word comes true as it is through the sermons, testimonies, and fellowships of the Winter Retreat, gets fulfilled inside of our hearts. Just as the New Year’s message this year, we also hope that everyone in the United States will receive blessings of salvation and the United States will become a country of gospel again.