When I was ministering in Daegu, I got a request to lead a Bible Conference at a leper colony. After meeting with the pastor of the leper colony and discussing what to prepare for the Bible Conference, he took me to a restaurant and treated me to some ribs. Back then, I never had much money, so such food was very precious to me. But feeling burdened to be eating with lepers, I only ate a little bit of the meat in front of me.
When I announced to the church that I would be having a Bible Conference at the leper colony, a brother who always speaks nonsense said, “When you go to the leper colony, the lepers will peel an egg with their puss-filled hands and offer it to you to test you. Will you eat it, or not?” I brushed him by, thinking it was nonsense, but as the conference date approached, my heart was filled with worry.
‘What should I do if those people offer to shake my hand during the conference? What if they want to share a room with me, or really peel an egg with their puss-filled hands and offer it to me?’
One night, I was unable to sleep due to the worry that filled my heart for the upcoming conference, so I kneeled before God. As I was seeking God with all of the problems pressuring my heart, I remembered the Word in Matthew 26:6, “…they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew.” At that moment, I thought, ‘Ah, even Jesus went into the house of lepers. Is there any reason a person like me can’t stay with lepers? Who am I to feel uncomfortable around them?’ I also thought, ‘I’m no better than a leper. If the Lord chooses to make me a leper today, then I’m a leper too!’ Until then, I had thought that I was different from the lepers, but in front of the Lord, I was no different. There was no reason for me to feel uncomfortable around them. It wasn’t something painful or difficult for me to shake hands, eat, and sleep in the same room with them. That night was an unforgettable night in which God filled my heart.
A few days later when the Bible Conference began, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all being with the lepers. For a while, I lived with them and preached the Gospel to them, and many lepers opened their hearts and received the Word. Some of them even asked me, “Pastor Park, you’re a leper aren’t you?” That’s how close I had gotten with them. Through that conference, God allowed the Gospel to be preached to many people at the leper colony and countless lepers received salvation and returned to the Lord.