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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Heroes (03/08/04)

TITLE: A Hero of the Faith (a true story)
By Christine Rhee
03/09/04

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A Hero of the Faith ( a true story)

TongPyon, South Korea

He was only fourteen when he stopped bowing down to worship his ancestors according to family tradition. He had put his faith in the God who said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

He dreaded returning home after his absence from the Moon Festival.

His father and oldest brother were waiting for him. The boards slammed against his fingers, his arms, his legs, his ribs, as they shouted at him. “How DARE you scorn our forefathers and bring shame upon our family! Where do you come from without the ancestors?! You are no longer one of us!”

Battered and bleeding, inside and out, he rasped, “The true and living God says to worship him and Him, alone.”

They dared not strike him again, lest they kill him. They walked away in disgust.

Tears pouring down their cheeks, his mother and sisters cleaned his wounds and bound his broken bones, hoping against hope that he had finally learned his lesson.

But the scene was repeated time after time, until at the age of seventeen, he contracted Tuberculosis.

***

He was twenty-two when he was finally cured of Tuberculosis.

His parents did not know what to do with this stubborn son, whom they loved so much, but who had brought so much shame upon their family.

A desperate act of love, his father sold the family home, became a tenant, and sent his wayward son to America, to Bible College.

***

He was thirty-one when he learned his father had terminal Lung Cancer.

His heart deeply burdened, he arrived at his father’s bedside. “Father, won’t you please believe in Jesus?” he pleaded.

His blood boiling with rage, the dying man nearly leapt from his mat as he ordered his son from the room.

But two hours later, he changed his mind and called out, “I was wrong, my son. You are not crazy. Please help me to believe in Jesus.”

***

One by one on that cold, winter’s evening, they climbed the steps to their father’s house, barely containing their fury.

A collective force of gnashing teeth, they met him head-on. “How DARE you come here to make trouble while our father is dying? Go back to America where you belong!”

***

He was forty-four when he brought his family with him to celebrate his mother’s eightieth birthday.

No longer accustomed to using the Lunar Calendar, he had not realized that the anniversary of his father’s death would fall during their visit. That is, not until his older sister came to see them.

She brought food and gifts for his family. Then, she entreated him, “Won’t you join us as we worship Father this year?”

***

His head knew the answer his heart did not want to give.

How long would he have to endure this chasm between himself and his siblings? How long would he have to feel as if he were bringing shame upon his family? How long before he would once again experience the warmth and emotional connection he’d known as a child?

His soul in turmoil, he could not sleep. His wife found him in the kitchen, his Bible open on his lap, his head bowed in prayer.

***

At 10 PM, all the relatives planned to meet with his father’s ghost.

He and his family would not be there. They would stay in a motel.

As they left, they met his younger brother’s family, arriving with food for the shrine.

“We prayed at Father’s grave this morning,” he explained.

“You have done well,” his brother replied.

But in his heart, he could feel the emotional beating determined for him by his elder siblings.

***

He continues to pray for mercy for his family, that he might some day go to plant a church in his home village.

Fighting on his knees and standing for the Lord, he is a hero of the faith.


Member Comments
Member Date
Lawrence Farlow03/15/04
Very moving and well written. So many suffer greatly for the faith that we take for granted in the US. God bless you!
Jacqueline Odom-Bullock03/15/04
Nicely done. When you have done all that you can do, you can only just stand.
Angela Williams03/17/04
A hero par excellence indeed.
Lynne Cox03/17/04
This man was tremendously brave, giving up all he had known for a belief that was foreign to him and his family. You have to admire him. I enjoyed reading this, from beginning to end.
Kenny Paul Clarkson03/17/04
Concerning presentation: I like the way you break up the text; it makes it MUCH easier to read. And reading is what it's all about! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!!

KPC - 1492@usa.com
Linda Germain 03/18/04
Oh Chris! This makes me cry. "His head knew the answer his heart did not want to give" draws such a sharp picture of his anguish. Beautiful!
Glenda Lagerstedt03/20/04
"Fighting on his knees and standing for the Lord." I like that uplifting statement. Great job, as always.
Dave Wagner03/20/04
This is an extremely riveting and intriguing story...I hesitate to call it a 'story' since that makes it seem made-up...I know this type of thing happens a lot...perhaps I should say "submission."

In any case, It flew to the end, wasn't sappy at all (which is quite a feat) and was strengthening. I feel nourished. Thank you.
Dori Knight03/21/04
wonderful, wonderful story. very moving and inspirational. i would love to see this stretched into a novel. thank you for sharing it!
Naomi Deutekom03/21/04
Very moving and well written. You captured my heart.