“Cashman Center (venue) district thunder and heavy rain alert. Avoid this district until 8:45 pm.”
As the rain poured down heavily, every citizen with a mobile phone were sent SMS alert. A city with a lit up lively nightlife, Las Vegas is known for little rain throughout the year. That’s why people in Las Vegas never carry umbrellas. Moreover, the citizens never venture out on rainy days. But the rain that started falling since this morning turned into heavy downpour in the afternoon. Today is the day that the Gracias Christmas Cantata is scheduled to take place at the Las Vegas Cashman Center, 7pm. It was already raining cats and dogs by 6pm and the vehicles that arrived at the performance venue were in chaos. The citizens who got out of their cars rushed into the theater as they were rained on. They would look at the sky and exclaim, “Oh my God!”
On the other hand, the people who arrived inside the performance hall let out a sigh of relief. The Christmas Cantata began with a full house.
“My sister is a play actress and she invited the whole family so we came here. It was raining a lot today and usually we wouldn’t go outside but you know those times once in a while when a signal in your head leads you to go. Maybe because I came with my family but I liked the 2nd stage the most. It really touched me when I saw the scene where Jim’s family was able to spend Christmas together. Right now our family is all together. We always wanted to be together. As any family has their complicated reasons, our family actually spent 6 years apart from each other as I was pursuing my dream and my sister was pursuing her dream. But finally we got all together today and watched the Christmas Cantata together and I was able to feel the preciousness of family and I was really happy.” – Robbin Goodman
Pastor Ock Soo Park preached the gospel to the citizens of Las Vegas through the parable of the Hyundai Group CEO, Ju-Yung Chung. Mr. Chung called one of the new employees who was cleaning as “Manager.” As that new employee was no longer an entry-level employee but became a manager, how God sees the citizens of Las Vegas suffering in sin is what matters. “If God who created this world says you are righteous through the blood of Jesus, you are righteous people. If God says you are clean by the blood of Jesus, you are clean.” Pastor Ock Soo Park also spoke about the scriptures in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 10-11 that says, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified.” The citizens of Las Vegas are no longer people suffering in sins from gambling. The people replied “Amen” and cheered with joy.
“Today’s performance made me realize the true meaning of Christmas. People often think that they need to give something on Christmas but real Christmas is receiving the heart given by God. In the 1st stage that represents the birth of Jesus, I could feel the Gracias Choir’s message and energy through the steps and music. Also, the pastor’s words were very impressive. I realized that although we do different things in different places, in the end, we use one language. It’s not that we’re using the exact same language but the language of Jesus.” – Pastor Bobby
Ms. Wyleaner who had attended last year and come back again this year says she was astonished and lost in words. Also, she felt like she was flying in the air throughout the whole performance and that her heart was being cured. As a gospel singer, Ms. Wyleaner said there has never been a better performance than the Christmas Cantata. Speaking with a deeply touched expression, Ms. Wyleaner told every single person she met, ‘You must see this performance,’ introducing the Christmas Cantata to 500 people.
“I really don’t know what to say. I was so touched coming here today. Especially the last 3rd stage of the Choir was the best. Everything was magnificently well-attuned. Also as I was listening to the bible scriptures that the pastor was preaching, I was happy that all my sins were redeemed and believe in Jesus.” – Wyleaner
“I could not help but to stand when the Choir sang ‘Hallelujah.’ The voice of the Choir moved my heart. The Choir has delivered happiness and enjoyment to the citizens of Las Vegas. To me, I think Christmas is when everyone’s heart is connected together.” – Rachael
“As Pastor Ock Soo Park was leaving the at the airport after the New York World Camp was over, the his last words were, “Have fun preparing the Christmas Cantata.” These words rang in my heart. ‘This Cantata is by God.’ I felt that God will do the work, not I. Our brothers and sisters are mostly over 60 years-old so we needed volunteers and God gave us 30 volunteers and we were able to do the delivery. We went out at 5 am for the delivery and went out again the afternoon. The volunteers are likely to have been tired from the heat as Las Vega afternoons can go up to 43 degrees (Celsius) but thankfully, God gave the volunteers a joyful heart. Moreover, God led the brothers and sisters to have a devoting heart of God as we prepared the Cantata. As we prepared the Christmas Cantata, he allowed not only the people of Las Vegas but also our hearts to be filled with happiness and joy, and revived the church.” – Las Vegas Missionary Gap Taek Lim
Las Vegas, a city with its economy maintained by gambling, is where one member in one family gambles and mammonism is dominant. People try hard to free themselves from gambling but without the strength to overcome sin, they continue to suffer from gambling. However, only Jesus can overcome sins and only the true gospel can change them. That is why the Gracias Choir gifted the song of “God Bless America” to the citizens of Las Vegas today. The audience sang together in a loud voice, moved to tears.