From February 6th to the 9th, 500 Christian leaders from around the South American region gathered for a Christian Leaders Fellowship CLF in Brazil. We can see how pastors that have walk different paths before unite in heart through the word of God preached by His servant.
If you go on the streets of Brazil, you are able to see small churches littered here and there. You can probably see a church on every street and sometimes multiple on one street. Although 60% of the population of Brazil is Roman Catholic, recently Protestantism is growing at a rapid pace. There are so many people that search for God that the population of Christians and the number of missionaries dispatched there ranks the country in the top ten. However, it is unfortunate to see how people cry out with emotion, sing songs, and get very excited to substitute the lack of the true gospel. Thus, the opening of the CLF in Brazil is a great blessing and a great opportunity. The Brazil church was able to see the amazing work of God of how 500 pastors gathered for the CLF with Pastor Min Chul Lim from the Busan Daeyeon Church. It looked like that it would not work out when they were preparing for the CLF this time around, but the congregation felt in their heart that, “God will surely help us” and they were experience the help of God.
The CLF preparation team received a promise that God will send 1000 pastors. They received the contact information of pastors from a Christian exposition and they thought it would be enough for their CLF meeting. However, when they saw how no body registered although only 20 days left until the CLF, they fell into despair. As they kept on getting rejected, they felt in their heart, “the pastors here are not interested in the CLF.” They met with one marketing expert who said that it would be impossible to gather 1000 people for our event.
Pastor Bum Sub Kim preached about the wedding feast of the king. The king had invited guests to his banquet but they were busy with their own business so he said to invite whoever, whether they be blind or crippled. When he read that word, Pastor Kim felt in his heart that “God wants us to invite the pastors of small churches, not the ones that have a successful church” and then he would think, “I wonder who God has prepared for us today. Is it he? Is it she?” as he prepared for the CLF in Brazil with much joy.
Afterwards, God opened the way. While they were inviting pastors, they met a pastor of a small church who connected them to many other pastors of whom the missionaries from South America were able to go visit, preach the gospel, and invite them to the event. The pastor that they met at first told them that he was waiting for the church that preached the true gospel. We are not sure how God will work through the CLF but when we see the gospel being preached one-by-one in the churches and hundreds of people hear it, we are very thankful.” (Sister Gabriela Heberu Vachasta / Manager of CLF Invitations).
More than anything else, the main guest speaker of the CLF in Brazil, Pastor Ock Soo Park, explained the gospel of the repentance and remission of sins clearly and vividly. He preached the words that methodically built the foundation of the gospel: how our thoughts are different from God’s, the story of the prodigal son, the sin offering that has been completed in heaven. Most of the pastors were in shock from the sermon that was short and clear but with much depth and from the Biblical explanation of the forgiveness of sins.
“Although the word from Pastor was simple, it was very deep as well. He saved John who was dying from the poison of the scorpion by telling him the verse, “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” I learned that if I deny my thoughts that I can apply the word of God to my life. We have to accept that our life and the way we think is wrong. It is because the thoughts that Satan has already put in us is enmity against God. ” (Pastor Yijacki).
In the end, the thing that fills our heart with happiness is the testimonies of the pastors who realize the true gospel through the CLF in Brazil and are free from sin. Whether it is a pastor of a big church or small, we can see how God works when they throw away their thoughts and receive the word of God.
“Pastor Park said that he lived reading the Bible for 50 years, and his sermon was a great shock to me. Through the sermon at the CLF, aspects of the gospel that I did not understand was cleared and I was able to receive the forgiveness of sin for sure.
Especially the word about the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. There were times that I preached about that word and I heard other famous pastors preach about this word as well but I have never heard a sermon that posed so much meaning. What remained in my heart deeply was when the body of the prodigal son was in the pigs pen but his heart was towards his father.
Every time I thought about salvation, I would always worry about it because of the word of 1 John chapter 1 verse 8. But when I came here and heard the word, such conflict ended in my heart. In Hebrews chapter 12 verse 14, it is written, “follow peace with all men, and holiness”, and since the word said to follow the holiness, I tried hard to live like that. However, this word is not telling us to live a holy life but to believe in the word that God has already made us holy so we can live.
Although I graduated from theology school and I preached the word, it is now that a missing part of me has been filled. I feel that God told me the gospel first so I can preach the gospel to the people that are looking for the truth. I am so happy.” (Pastor Flores Bood Apfeshdo Le Paula)
Pastor Flores was amazed and interested at the fact that, at the CLF, Pastor Park was preaching about the forgiveness of sins that no one really mentions.
Pastor Onésimo attended the CLF last year in San Paulo and he has worked with the Good News Mission a couple of times.. He received salvation for sure this time at the CLF.
For Pastor Onésimo , what remained in his heart the most was that when we connect with the heart of God, then we become righteous and holy. He felt that connecting one’s heart is so very important and he lived not doing so. It is not that we must do something to gain from God but God has already given us all of His heart.
This is the message that Pastor Ock Soo Park wants to tell us. We have been sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There is no other way to become sanctified. We become righteous through Jesus; it is not because we have done something that we are righteous.
After you receive salvation, you cannot lose it. It doesn’t matter what sin you have committed or what sin you will commit. The one and only sacrifice of Jesus Christ was enough. He died at once for our sins. His death is the power to forever wash away our sins. And whosoever believes so receives righteousness. That is what I believe. I have received the forgiveness of sins, have been sanctified, and have been justified through the blood of Jesus.
A couple of years ago, God has open a new way for the gospel through the CLF: IF one pastor receives salvation through the CLF, they become a tool to preach the gospel to the hundreds of congregation members at their church. The visit of Pastor Park is the work of sowing the seeds of the gospel and if the 500 pastors work together after the CLF has finished, we can have hope that the gospel will be preached across the entire country.