December 31, 2000: Saturday Night at The River
November 26, 2000: College athletes minstry emphasizes Holy Spirit
November 19, 2000: Bad weather doesn't dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit's Convoy of Hope
November 12, 2000: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church
October 29, 2000: Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ
September 17, 2000: Loving the unloved
September 10, 2000: Changing lives in a big way
August 13, 2000: Church planting fuels growth
July 30, 2000: Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans
July 16, 2000: Running the good race
July 9, 2000: Hispanic church thrives in border town
June 25, 2000: The hand of God
June 18, 2000: HonorBound: Raising an army of godly men
May 14, 2000: A/G foster families minister to children
April 30, 2000: Prison revival reaches beyond the fence
April 23, 2000: Harvest Sunday draws hundreds for water baptism
April 16, 2000: Chain reaction
April 9, 2000: One pastor's burden: reaching the 'white slums'
March 26, 2000: Cowboy church rounds up believers
March 19, 2000: Motorsports ministry: Winning souls at the track
March 12, 2000: A dream blooms in the desert
February 20, 2000: Romanian church prospers for 20 years
February 13, 2000: Ministry at a strategic academic crossroads
January 23, 2000: God's Navy
Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans
Nam Soo Kim glows with passionate zeal, sharing the salvation message of Jesus. Recently elected an executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God, he sums up his life and ministry: "I preach the gospel the good news."
Pastoring the 3,000-member Full Gospel New York Church, he oversees a ministry that reaches to China, North Korea, Kenya, Honduras and Brazil. He never dreamed this church would have such an impact on the Korean community when he arrived in 1977, after serving in a church in Berlin, Germany.
The struggling congregation of 120 met first in Glad Tidings Tabernacle located in the shadow of the Empire State Building in Manhattan. Stanley Berg, former pastor, encouraged Korean worshipers to establish their own ministry. Born out of a Pentecostal storefront mission founded by Marie Brown in 1907, Glad Tidings was an early lighthouse of the Assemblies of God in New York City.
The Holy Spirit fell on the Korean congregation, which doubled every year for the first five years after Kim arrived. "A lot of people were saved," he says. "This was not our effort, but God."
Daniel Byun, an elder involved in missions, says, "Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He saved me 22 years ago in this church. Previously, worldly success was my life goal. Then Jesus enlightened my eyes, and I found new life in Him."
Byun shares the hope of Christ with his family, friends, neighbors and strangers. He enjoys short-term missions trips and has traveled to Honduras three times. FGNYC decided recently to support 350 students in a primary school in the capital of Tegucigalpa and will add another 500 students this year. Cooperating with Mission of Mercy, the church provides $20,000 monthly to support children in other countries.
After being filled with the Holy Spirit, Joan Choi became more involved in the church. "My way of thinking changed 180 degrees," she says. "I drew closer to Jesus and closer to the Word." An M.D. and medical director with the New York State Department of Public Health, she says her career is secondary to serving the Lord. She shares a passion for missions with Daniel Byun and has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Brazil and China where she helped the church establish a 200-bed hospital.
Several years ago she spent 10 days on a medical mission with an Indian tribe in the Amazon jungles of Brazil. Along with nurses, she cared for 80-100 people daily, while other church members shared the gospel. People were healed and saved. "Through short-term missions we get grace from the Lord and are actually filled up more spiritually," she says.
FGNYC burns with a missions fervor kindled by Pastor Kim. Annual giving to foreign and home missions tops $1 million. He has traveled to North Korea and China and plans to establish hospitals and orphanages. In 1999, Kim accompanied Assemblies of God officials Thomas E. Trask, Russell Turney and Bob Houlihan to North Korea. They helped distribute thousands of tons of food and $1 million in medicines. "We have to support them [North Korea], because 20 million people are starving," Kim says. "Already thousands have died."
Kims testimony resonates Gods power to save, heal and supply needs. Kim grew up in a devout Buddhist family near Seoul, where his father owned a store and rice farm. When he was 7, during the Korean War, he fled south with his parents. They walked 500 miles and ate grass and bark from trees to keep from starving. After military service and a business failure, he became a born-again Christian under David Yonggi Chos ministry. During an evening service when Chos mother-in-law, Choi Jashil, preached, Kim understood his need of Christ. "The Holy Spirit touched me to realize God is real," he says. "The Holy Spirit revealed that Christ died for me. I accepted Him as my personal Savior."
Broken and repentant, he attended almost every church service. He couldnt stop crying day and night for six months. "My handkerchief was always wet," he says.
His family rejected his new faith until they encountered a miraculous answer to prayer. Kims younger brother was stricken with leukemia and given no chance of surviving. "We had a hopeless situation," Kim says. He then challenged his family to accept Jesus as the Son of God, if his brother was healed. They agreed. He took his dying brother to Prayer Mountain and prayed almost seven days. Within three months his brother was considered cured by physicians. Confronted by Gods healing power, the family abandoned Buddha for Christ. His brother eventually became a missionary to Ghana and today pastors a church in Connecticut.
Kim entered the Assemblies of God Bible school in Seoul two years later when he was 28. He met his wife, Doyoon, there. After graduation they lived in poverty, pioneering a church in a slum district. "It was very difficult. We fasted half the time," he says. A missionary assignment in South Vietnam followed several years later in 1975. The Kims and their young daughter barely escaped the North Vietnamese overrunning Saigon when U.S. troops pulled out. They had no money to flee until an American missionary paid for their airplane tickets to Bangkok, Thailand.
Full Gospel New York Church is another testimony of Kims perseverant faith. When Glad Tidings couldnt handle the crowds, the Lord provided a center in 1993 a nine-story, 140,000-square-foot former office building in nearby Flushing, N.Y. The total cost, including renovations, was $8.5 million. A financial stretch, except for God. "The people started giving without asking," Kim says. Since 1993 the church has chopped its debt by $5 million and expects to be debt-free within one and a half years, even with a new 3,230-seat sanctuary scheduled for completion in 2001.
About 2,000 Sunday worshipers pour into three services in Flushing and one service at Glad Tidings. They drive from all over New York City and its suburbs, including New Jersey and Connecticut. About 70 percent were born in Korea and are more comfortable worshiping in their own language.
The ministry center is open daily for prayer, Bible studies, senior-citizen social services, counseling, youth meetings, worship services and theological seminary classes. Monday through Saturday, 150 members gather for prayer at 6 a.m. Sunday worshipers eat dinner together after the morning service, a Korean tradition that strengthens ties. Prepared and served by teams of members, the food is free. The church operates a medical clinic, and a secondhand store sells donated clothing and housewares to raise funds for missions. Weekly radio and television programs beam the gospel to the more than 500,000 Koreans living in the Metropolitan New York area. About 300 converts are baptized annually.
Young people are welcomed and encouraged to join ministries. Kenny Shin met the Lord through the Stephens Group for young adults. "Jesus is my Savior," he says. "Hes everything to me."
John Jung caught a fresh breeze of compassion volunteering in the Healing Camp for disabled children. He stays with one child during church worship and feeds the child afterwards. Helping reluctantly at first, he feels Gods grace now. "I got the love of Christ through these kids," he says.
Holly Kim experienced Jesus as her Savior at a FGNYC retreat. "This is the first church I felt the love of God," she says. "So many brothers and sisters pray for me."
Pastor Kim relies on his 20-member staff that divides responsibilities with a small army of lay workers. There are 714 deacons appointed for one-year terms. Seventy ordained deacons serve lifetime terms, and 13 elders comprise the board of trustees. Women deaconesses visit sick members and pray for them.
Pastor Kim bases his ministry on John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (NIV).
He gets excited about sharing the gospel. "I like preaching about Gods Son, Jesus Christ, to save people," he says.
He also desires closer ties with other ethnic groups like Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese and Hispanics to help them establish their own churches. "Im glad to be part of this great family of God," he says. "It is a great honor to serve as an executive presbyter [of the Assemblies of God] and minister to the whole body."
Peter K. Johnson
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