Kiribati witness trip prepared by God
Beginning with the first encounter of the IYF with the former Education Minister of Kiribati during his participation at the Incheon World Education Forum in May of last year, the prayers of Pastor Ock Soo Park for the islands of the Pacific from 40 years ago started to bear fruit.
According to the Education Minister of Kiribati having made an official request to the founder of IYF, Pastor Ock Soo Park for the establishment of an IYF branch in Kiribati last year in February, the Good News Tarawa Church and IYF branch has been established in Tarawa Island, the capital of Kiribati.
Missionary Tae Hyun Yoon who has been dispatched to Kiribati and Missionary Ha Young Nam arrived in the island a week before the witness journey team’s schedule and prepared a mind lecture and bible seminar in three places – Kiribati Teachers College, University of the South Pacific, and Tarawa Technical Institute. On the other hand, a meeting with the new government’s ministers and president from March was prepared. Moreover, through a coincidental encounter at the Fiji Airport with former president Anote Tong who was returning from a vacation in Hawaii after the end of his term and having traveled to Kiribati by the same airplane, a meeting with the former president was naturally carried forward.
Pastor Young Joon Park’s party that arrived in Kiribati through Fiji on March 31st split up in two groups and headed towards the mind lecture venues in Kiribati Teachers College and University of the South Pacific as soon as they unpacked at the hotel. Kiribati Teachers College is the sole education institute that produces elementary teachers. The president received salvation through the visit of the previous witness journey team and it was by his invitation that a mind lecture was able to be held for three days at the college.
From the first day, Pastor Young Joon Park preached the gospel under the topic of the true meaning of Easter that passed a short while ago. He said, “Jesus died for all our filthy sins and resurrected for our righteousness. Everyone, do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? Then, all of you are righteous!” Many students that listened to the Words realized the true meaning of Easter, were freed from sins, and received salvation.
At the mind lecture carried out at the same time in the University of the South Pacific, Pastor Im Gon Kim preached the gospel. Meanwhile, Pastor Woon Gi Yang preached the gospel in Tarawa Technical Institute which has been connected with the IYF recently for the first time. Along with the mind lecture, a meeting with the new government’s ministers was carried out from the second day. After listening to the briefing of IYF activities, the Education Minister welcomed the IYF saying, “Many people deal with people who their head and work with their head, but the head has no strength. I believe the ability to change this world is only in the mind. I am glad to meet with an organization that works for youths with heart.”
At the following meeting with the Youth Deputy Minister also, he congratulated the establishment of the IYF branch in Kiribati and commented, “In order to change the youths, adults and leaders like us must change first. I would like to change firsthand though the IYF mind lecture. I will help with anything that the IYF is doing.”
Through God’s work of allowing the advance party to encounter the former president in the airplane to Kiribati from Fiji, a meeting with the former president also took place. Pastor Young Joon Park appointed former president Anote Tong who came to the meeting place with his son as IYF Advisor proposing that the IYF wished to work for the Kiribati youths together. The former president also gladly accepted the proposal saying, “If there is one mission that will never change during and after my presidential term, it is to help the youths live a brighter and happy future. What the IYF does is exactly what I would like to do.” The former president’s son who accompanied Mr. Tong also showed great interest after watching the IYF activities video. The meeting that took place for about an hour became an opportunity to become closer with the former president from the heart.
Recently, the opposition party leader fulfilled change of regime in 12 years and a meeting with President Taneti Maamau, the 8th elected president of Kiribati was difficult to realize. Although there were several attempts to reach him through ministers and secretaries, nothing could be confirmed due to his busy schedule. However, God moved the heart of the secretary and a meeting was dramatically confirmed. On April 4th, the witness journey team was able to meet with the president right before leaving Kiribati. After watching an introduction video of the IYF, the president questioned in detail about Pastor Ock Soo who established the IYF that is carrying out activities in various fields such as mind education, world camps, music, medical volunteer etc. He expressed his wishes to meet him and Pastor Young Joon Park officially invited the president to the Korea World Camp. The president promised to attend the Korea World Camp if time allows and, the 30-minute meeting ended.
God prepared the best house to use as the church and IYF headquarters at the best location in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati. The president was also delighted that the building is right beside the party headquarters he is leading.
The smallest and poorest land of Kiribati situated in the center of the Pacific with a population of approximately 100,000; God’s plan towards this country is great and amazing. Now, there is great hope that God will work in Kiribati through the established church and His children. The true gospel is being shone upon the people of Kiribati with a pure, humble, and transparent heart like that of a smelt only made by God.