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Adventist Mission

Jeong Hee Im, 21

Church Became My Family

My mother shouted, “It’s either me or the church. Choose me or the church. But if you choose the church, I am going to throw you out of the house.”

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Aug. 11.

By Jeong Hee Im, as told to Andrew McChesney

[A woman should read this first-person story.]

My name is Jeong Hee [pronounced: jong hee]. I was in the fifth grade when a friend invited me to visit her Seventh-day Adventist church in South Korea. [Find South Korea on the map.]

The people at the church were so kind and gentle. The pastor’s wife was especially nice, and we read the Bible together after church. She showed me in the book of Genesis that God made the Sabbath holy when He created the world. I decided that I wanted to go to the Adventist church every Sabbath.

But the Bible teacher at my old church didn’t want me to go to the Adventist church. She told me, “The Adventist Church will tie you up and beat you!”

But I still wanted to go to the Adventist church. I joined the church’s Pathfinder club, and I wanted to go with the other children to pray with lonely grandmothers and grandfathers near the church. One day, my Bible teacher gave up. She told me, “Fine, go wherever you want.” I was so happy that I felt like I could fly!

But then my parents, who are farmers, told me not to go to the Adventist church. One Sabbath as I sat in church in my Pathfinder uniform, my mother stormed into the room, yelling, “Why are you wearing those clothes? Take them off!” She grabbed my arm and forced me to go home with her. I cried and cried.

A few Sabbaths later, my mother returned to the church. She shouted, “It’s either me or the church. Choose me or the church. But if you choose the church, I am going to throw you out of the house.”

I began to cry and hurried home with her. What else could I do? What would you do? [Wait for the children to answer. Ask what they should do if an adult tells them to disobey God. Jesus’ disciples faced a similar problem in Acts 5:29 but decided, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”]

Even though my mother was upset, I wanted to obey God. I tried to obey my mother, so I went home when she told me. God tells us to honor our parents in the Fifth Commandment. But my mother couldn’t make me give up my faith. I went to church every Sabbath.

After a while, my mother realized that I loved God, and she stopped getting angry. But then my father began to yell. After church, the pastor’s wife packed leftover food from the fellowship meal for my family. When my father saw the food, he screamed, “I don’t want this food!” He threw the food into the garbage.

When these things happened and made me cry, the church members cried with me and prayed for me. The church members became my closest family. My only happiness was being in church.

After a while, my father began to have difficulties on the farm, and the church members helped him. It was hard for my father to stay angry when the church members were so kind and friendly.

Neither of my parents are Adventists, but they respect my faith now. I’m praying that God will save them.

Did you know that children just like you helped children at Jeong Hee’s church? Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago helped her church, Morning Dew Youth Church, move into a bigger building. Thank you for supporting children like Jeong Hee with your mission offering.

Watch a 2015 video about this church at the link:

For medium-resolution photos for this and other mission stories, visit the Facebook page for Mission quarterlies. New photos for the weekly story are posted the Sunday before they are to be presented in Sabbath School.

Download high-resolution photos and more for this story from the ADAMS photo bank

Download high-resolution photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects for this quarter — and from the last time this division was featured for Thirteenth Sabbath Offering