HC Lay Leader Seminar Testimony - Joy Kim

Hi everyone, my name is Joy. I’ve been serving as the shepherd of Papua New Guinea House Church since June of this year. A few weeks ago, I attended the House Church Seminar for Lay Leaders hosted by New Life Fellowship in Houston, Texas. And so I’m here today to share my experiences and how God spoke into my life during the short time I was there. If you’ve been at our church for a while, you may have heard about this seminar in the past from other members who have attended or from our Korean Speaking Congregation members who sometimes host this seminar at our own church. But for those of you who don’t know, this seminar is a time where lay people – just regular joes/not pastors from different churches can come and learn about what house church ministry is. I’ve always heard good things about it and how well the hosting churches serve and care for the participants. And everything I heard turned out to be true. From the moment I landed in Houston, I was shocked at how well I was being served and how thoughtful the hosting church was towards the participants. We were provided really good, hearty meals. We were served at our tables by members of the church. We got the BEST snacks several times a day. Like guys there was homemade blueberry crumble and A GIANT CHARCUTERIE BOARD THE SIZE OF A DOOR with brie!!!! I was hosted by a shepherd couple in their home, and they really went to such great lengths to make me feel comfortable. And although they must have been so tired from serving all day long, both nights I was there they made sure to make themselves available to talk with me and the other participants, answer our questions and encourage us. I truly felt so loved and cared for by all the many people hosting there. 

To be honest, before going to this seminar, I wasn’t expecting much more than this. To be fed well and loved on and encouraged and sent back on my merry way. I felt like I’ve been at our church serving and being a part of house church ministry for long enough. And that I’d read enough about our mission statement and the three axes and four pillars to not have anything really more to learn in terms of content from the seminar. And as arrogant as it sounds, I also felt like things in PNG were going smoothly enough, so I didn’t really need that many pointers? But a few days before I left, in my QT I was reading from John chapter 5. And in verse 20, it says “For the Father loves the son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” It felt like God was telling me that there’s something even better coming up ahead. To which I thought, I mean things are pretty fine right now, but ok. 

And yeah, when I got to Houston I was so surprised at how boldly and radically they served and how so many people were coming to be baptized. I wondered why this was and then I realized that in every testimony I listened to and every conversation I had with the shepherds there, I saw how completely and truly they relied on God in prayer, for everything. And every time I shared something that I have trouble with, or am worried about, the people would ask me - have you prayed about? Let’s pray. I realized the heart posture and humility of the shepherds at New Life were so different from my own.

You see, in the months before the seminar, my prayer life had been really suffering. I would do my QT and pray, but it really felt like I was doing it just to have it done. And there were maby things that I was worried about in the back of my mind, but I didn’t actually bring them to God in prayer and just resolved to thinking oh that’s a problem, but hopefully God will work it out eventually. It is what it is, you know? And though I knew I felt like my prayer life was flat and dull, I felt like it would eventually pass and wasn’t overly concerned about it. I felt that I could still serve just fine because my beliefs hadn’t actually changed and that it was in fact fine because things in PNG seemed to be going smoothly anyway.

But when I saw how honestly and wholeheartedly the people at New Life would run to God, for everything, I felt like I was struck on the head. And God opened my eyes to all the ways that I had been hard hearted and turning away from Him. I realized the ways that I had let my sinfulness and selfishness come first. And how I had let my guilt keep me from praying and coming to Him. And then he reminded me of the greatness of His love for me and that His mercy for me is greater than any sin. And I realized that He had been patiently waiting for me and still allowed me to lead and serve my house church despite my lack of faithfulness. And that it wasn’t that my house church was just fine without genuine prayer, it was that God still blessed our house church with amazing members and VIPS because He is merciful and gave me grace.So I am so thankful for having gone to this seminar, because through it I really got to witness the power of those who have humble hearts before God and run to him in prayer, for everything! This is something that I still have stumbled in since returning from the seminar, I catch myself worrying about things and getting stuck in ruminating about the worst case scenario and how I can pull things together to avoid that. So I ask that if you remember, please pray for me that I would be humble before God and be able to run to Him for everything like a child runs to their parent. And that our house church would be able to experience powerful transformation in our lives through the power of prayer. Thank you!