Partnering with First Nations
by James Park
Mt. Olive Fellowship Church was planted in April 2007. [Mt. Olive meets at Maple Ridge Baptist Church]. We are a small church with a congregation of about 60 people. At the beginning of our ministry, we had the same pressure that most small churches have. That is spending all their resources to maintain their church. During our hard times, God gave us the passage about five loaves and two fish, which fed five thousand people. This miracle had happened because Jesus blessed this food brought by a small boy. With this passage, we continued to pray for our ministry.
A few months later, God gave us a connection to a first nations village in Lillooet, BC. The first thing we could do was to visit Lillooet with hearts of prayer. We started our mission with two people visiting the village in August 2007. We began to share our small vision with other small Korean churches and three of them decided to join the ministry. As one big group, we prepared for a four-month mission to minister in Lillooet on Saturdays.
In our first mission trip in 2007, about twenty people had gone to visit the village. Each year, our ministry team had grown in numbers from twenty to forty. Then in our latest ministry in the summer of 2011, more than sixty people had come together as a team to serve Lillooet. Each summer, we preached the Gospel to the children of Lillooet. As we got to know these people, we came to learn that they carried a great burden on their hearts. We found out that these children were from broken homes and had grown without their parents. The pain felt too great for small children to bear.
While visiting, we got to know the youth by playing basketball with them. Some had come to join our evening service. During the day, our community service team did chores that the town people were not fond of doing. We picked up garbage, mowed lawns, and cleaned parts of lakes where many children played. We also visited the seniors in town and helped in any way we could. While doing all these things, we knew in our hearts that God loved them so much. We hoped that through our actions, they would learn the love of God.
Mt. Olive is a small church. Why would God show us the town of Lillooet? Firstly, I know that there is a gift the Korean people have: pain. Korea has held a long history full of pain and depression. We have lost many loved ones through many wars. Not only that, but we have even lost our own country to another country before. I believe that with our experience of pain, we can easily have compassion, so that we can help heal other people who are suffering now.
Heaven always started as a mustard seed. But I believe that God always uses his small precious seed. Small prayers, small commitments, and small offerings can all be used to start heaven in painful places where people have a need to be rescued and healed. We need small mustard seeds like you.
—James Park is pastor of Mt. Olive Korean Church in Maple Ridge, BC. This article was published in NEXUS, the official newsletter of Fellowship Pacific, in its December 2011 edition. Used by permission.