I still remember this year’s Memorial Day very vividly. I began by coming to the morning prayer time, and I had such a wonderful prayer time with God that I prayed longer than I had intended, completely forgetting about my breakfast cooking duty. God had mercy on our cooking team; we were able to prepare the food very quickly with the help of Missionary John and started our supplementary Bible study just a little late.
The two Bible studies on John 19 and 21 were so wonderful and touching that I teared up during Bible study and two-by-two prayer as I learned about Jesus’ deep love for the disciples. Although I had not gotten enough sleep the previous night, the delicious omelette and those wonderful Bible studies filled me with energy and excitement for the one special activity that the entire church was waiting for: soccer and Ultimate Frisbee.
I did not know how to get to the soccer field and followed another shepherdess, who apparently had never been there either. We both got lost, but after several minutes of exploring, we were finally able to find the rest of the group. After a much-needed warmup, we split into two teams, and in view of the John passage we had just studied, our team was named “The Side of Truth.”
Soccer was one of the many sports that I did not know how to play. I did not understand the rules or the mechanism of the game, but everyone reassured me that everything would be okay. I just needed to kick the ball each time it got close to me and not touch it with my hands. In my team, Msn. John assigned me to play defense with the goal of not letting the ball pass me, and he also gave me a simple strategy to follow: I had to keep moving in the direction of the ball, so that the defense acted like a windshield wiper, with the goalkeeper as the pivot. I was skeptical at first because I was the only person in the layer I was in, and it looked like the strong opposing team would easily pass me as if I was not even there. I was also afraid that because I did not know how to kick a ball, I would miss it and kick someone’s leg instead.
However, I decided that even though my knowledge and experience of soccer was almost non-existent, I would follow Msn. John’s simple direction wholeheartedly, and something amazing happened. When I struggled to just trust him, and follow his direction absolutely, instead of following my instinct or my own understanding of where I should be, our defense was fairly impenetrable. When the game ended, we only had two goals stolen from us, one from a penalty kick, and the other from Ivan’s bullseye kick.
Remembering this event helps me to understand what my simple obedience can bring. The game should have ended with a devastating loss on our side, but when I obeyed the direction given to me, then even though I didn’t know how to play soccer and made a lot of mistakes, the strategy that we followed worked and covered my weaknesses.
In serving God and doing the work of God, this is also how I can be very successful. To this day, I still do not really know why God chose me and called me to do his work instead of those who are more talented than me. I’m not an expert in doing this work, and there are so many things that I still do not know. I also make a lot of mistakes. The result should have been determined already: no fruit would be produced through me. But this soccer game has taught me that when I obey, the outcome can changed in my favor. I may not be the best person to be trusted with the task of establishing disciples, but through my obedience, God can do his great work.
As we played soccer, the one thing that I feared most came true: I kicked many people’s legs, and I got kicked several times too. By the time we were done playing soccer, both of my legs had began to hurt. Yet I was full of excitement and enthusiasm, so that when we played Ultimate Frisbee, I ran back and forth at full speed until I made physical contact with someone and injured my calf. My body was so exhausted and aching, but I still wanted to continue playing, until it got dark if possible. But out of concern, some disciples recommended me to rest, and I decided to listen to them.
After that fun activity, we went back to the church to enjoy a delicious meal. When I arrived, I saw how busy Johnny, Jessica, Sarah Lingberg, and Mary were as they cooked in the kitchen, and I initially was thinking of helping them. But I got distracted by the nice smell of freshly grilled galbi (Korean barbecue) and started following the smell. Outside, I found two brothers, Robert and Francisco, cooking meat on a grill in the hot sun. While I had been enjoying Ultimate Frisbee, all these shepherds had been busy cooking, even in the heat.
When I saw them serving this way, I was inspired to serve too. But I was too late, and there was nothing left that I could do. So I just ended up offering my tiny service of bringing the brothers outside some cold water bottles. The food that we had was very tasty, comparable to that of a restaurant: Korean barbecue, chicken, and corn on the cob with a very unique coconut sauce that everyone seemed to be enjoying. (Unfortunately, I could not join the fun because I do not like coconut.)
That evening, I was exhausted and slept soundly. To my surprise the following morning, I was still full of energy, although my body was so sore that I couldn’t walk normally. Even standing up straight and getting in and out of my car was extremely difficult. Still, I decided to go to my campus anyway to look for students who needed the word of God. Doing the work of God on that day was very difficult, especially because my campus has a lot of stairs, but I was so revved-up that I couldn’t stop.
I must have looked funny and ridiculous as I went around my campus to find students with my sore and bruised body. I had to walk very slowly, perhaps, even more slowly than an elderly man with his walker. I was limping, and when I took the stairs, I had to firmly hold onto the handrail. I almost fell several times when I went down the stairs, because of how weak my legs were. Yet I had so much fun doing the work of God in that condition that I had a big smile on my face all day, and this lasted for more than a week. I hope we play soccer and Ultimate Frisbee more often so I can once again go to my campus to do the work of God vigorously with a sore body.