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Continue with Your Religion!

One day at the training base, I had gathered a few trainees and was leading a service. As I was preaching the Word, the back door suddenly opened and the drill sergeant walked in. I was so surprised that I paused what I was doing, but the drill sergeant said, “Oh, it’s okay. Continue on with your religion, continue on.” He simply sat in the back. After I finished preaching the sermon, the drill sergeant got up and asked, “Can I share something with you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When I first began my post as a drill sergeant at this base, I saw that there was no church in our base, and that made me sad. During the Korean War, when the Battle of the White Horse was at its worst, I was the commander of the infantry troop. One day, I got a message from my superior, telling me to attack and take over the hill of the White Horse. White Horse Hill was a hill surrounded by flat land all around. Occupying the hill was a strategic maneuver that enabled troops to advance. Control of the hill changed sides more than twenty times a month. At the end of each battle, countless soldiers would be killed.

“Our troops had been assigned to the front lines of the White Horse Hill and were awaiting orders at the air-raid shelter. In the Battle of the White Horse, one side begins its attack first and only around twenty people survived. Because everyone knew this, the soldiers assigned to this area would shake in fear. That night, I was on watch with my rifle, and all of the soldiers were crying, thinking of their hometowns. One soldier was murmuring to himself, kneeling. I asked, ‘Hey, what’re you doing?’

“The soldier answered, ‘Sir, I’m praying.’ That’s when it occurred to me; we have to pray to God! A strengthening heart arose in me. As I circled the base, I suggested to each person, ‘Hey, what do you believe in? I don’t care whether it’s God, Buddha, or the Dragon King. Just pray. Pray earnestly.’

“When I gave the command to commence forward two days later, my troops fought more bravely than ever before. That’s when I realized in my heart, ‘Ah, this is the power of religion!’ From then on, I became very interested in religion. I always felt bad that there was no church on our base. I never knew you would be having church services here. Let’s unite our hearts and build a chapel!”

The drill sergeant had suggested that we build a chapel first. Even after the chapel was built, the drill sergeant continued to help. When the Vietnam War was at its worst and I had been drafted into the war, the drill sergeant pulled me out of the draft and ensured that the church services continued. Like this, he would ensure that I preach the Gospel. The communications base had hundreds of students coming in and out each week. For three years, I received the grace to preach to countless people at the chapel we had built.

Before being enlisted in the army, I was the minister of a small church at Gyeongnam, Jangpali. I was happy to see the congregation members change through my words, but I had suddenly gotten enlisted into the army. At first, I was a bit sad, but I felt that this was something within God's will. He had sent me there with a clear plan. Wherever I go, God prepares a place for me and has plans for the work I am to accomplish.”

Because the Wonju Communications Base was a place God prepared for me to preach the Gospel, I was able to preach to many of the trainees within the base. Even after leaving the army, I would often meet people from other bases who attended the church. Each time I met them, I remember that despite how the national law required my enrollment into the army, it was God that had called me to the army to preach the Gospel.

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