By Lele, South Korea
A single person, a huge suitcase, an international flight, an unfamiliar city in a foreign country: that was the scene when I went abroad for the first time in my life. With no family or friends or acquaintances around me I had never been in such a strange situation before. As I could only say a few things in Korean, such as “안녕하세요 (Hello!)” and “감사합니다 (Thanks!),” my nervousness and worry far exceeded my curiosity and excitement about life abroad.
My first stop in South Korea was the school I came to study at. There, I was accommodated in a particularly small room for which I had to pay two hundred and fifty thousand won, that is, 1500 RMB. I hadn’t brought much money, so I realized then that it was necessary to find a part-time job. However, when I asked my new classmates to help me find one, they told me that those who couldn’t speak the native language could only get jobs washing dishes. I didn’t like the sound of that kind of job, but in order to get money, I still said, with a flushed face, “Okay, I can do that.”
However, after asking around for many days, I only got answers like, “We haven’t had a vacancy for a dishwasher of late. You’d better ask around.” I could only force a smile and say, “It’s alright. If there is, please tell me.”
After class, I walked home with a heavy heart. Thinking about how I had to pay accommodation fees soon and the tuition fees for the next term, and then counting the last little money in my purse, I fell into a state of considerable distress. Fear replaced worry in my heart. On the clamorous streets, looking at others’ radiant smiles, and listening to their laughter, I envied them so much that I couldn’t help heaving a deep sigh. And at the same time, fear, grievances, loneliness and helplessness welled up in me, and the tears flowed down my face uncontrollably.
At that moment, I suddenly remembered that before I left home, my mother urged me, “Lele, I won’t be with you after you go abroad. No matter what happens to you, remember to rely on God and look to God more. God is almighty; He is beside us, and as long as we call on Him, He will help us at any time.” Yes, I am a believer in God, and I made a firm commitment before Him—after going abroad, I will often pray to God and rely on Him to get through any difficulties, so that in each aspect of my character can be tempered. Yet when I encountered difficulties, I forgot all this. Thinking of this, I prayed to God in my heart, “O God, what should I do? I haven’t found a job up to now. I don’t have much money, so how can I continue living here? Dear God, I am afraid. Please help me!”
Afterward, I saw God’s words, “All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess.” I thought: “That’s right! All things are under God’s control and arrangement, and they will naturally develop according to God’s plan. Although I am in trouble, God is almighty, and I believe God will help me and make suitable arrangements for me. Now the only thing I can do is to pray to God, seek His will, and accept and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements.” After understanding some of God’s will, I felt much relief and was not as depressed as before. Then I prayed to God to entrust my difficulties to Him again and to ask Him to guide and help me.
One day not long after this, a classmate of mine told me that a nearby pizzeria needed a part-time worker. My eyes lit up, and I said hurriedly, “I want to give it a try.” Soon after, I went to that pizzeria. The boss said I would be on probation for a week, and if I did OK I would be employed. Thinking about how getting the job meant I would have money to pay for my tuition and costs of living, and then I could settle down to studying and living here, I felt pretty happy even though I wouldn’t be paid that week.
However, the pizzeria sold many kinds of pizza, all made in different ways. I was new to the world of work and was unfamiliar with the recipes, so learning them was rather complicated for me. Although I kept reminding myself that I must be careful not to make mistakes, I still mixed up some recipes on the fifth day, and made a mistake. My boss shouted at me in front of the other workers and mocked me. I was extremely embarrassed, and my self-esteem was severely damaged, so I couldn’t help crying loudly. Later, I heard my workmates say, “When he’s looking for a new employee, the boss always finds faults with them in the probation period so that they quit. Then he can keep on having free labor.” Hearing this, I felt terribly disappointed and thought I wouldn’t be able to stay there.
After getting home, I sat on the bed listlessly, knowing that my money wasn’t enough even for my rent and thinking that I still didn’t have a job. As I looked at the empty night sky through the small window, a sense of misery and loneliness crept up on me. I could not help but tell God about all the pain in my heart, “O God, what should I do? I have nowhere to go. O God, where are You? Please lead me on the path ahead of me.”
After prayer, I thought of a passage of, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:31-34). At this moment, I experienced a sudden revelation, and I told myself inwardly: “Don’t worry. God knows my difficulties; He will provide me with food and clothing, and will never lead me into a dead end. In the midst of any difficulty, I need only to pray to God and rely on Him, and seek His will. God will arrange everything.”
Then I felt particularly relieved and enlightened. I couldn’t help recalling all the time I’d experienced God’s work and seen His wondrous deeds from the time of my first starting tountil today. Once, in China, I had to find a new place to live in one day. It seemed very difficult, and I thought I had little chance of finding one. However, by unceasingly calling out and praying to God, and truly relying on and looking up to Him, I rented a house that very night and it was very suitable. I thanked and praised God from the bottom of my heart. In addition, before I came abroad, I had to deposit 70,000 RMB in my own name with the travel agent, but my family didn’t have so much money. We were anxious about this. We didn’t know what to do, and then my uncle lent me 70,000 RMB on his own initiative so that I was able to come abroad without a hitch.
Everything in the past was still as fresh as ever in my memory, which made me feel that God was leading and guiding me all along. Now God had led me here to make me learn to rely on Him and look up to Him through the difficult times in my life, so as to make me strong-willed and constantly maturing in stature. This was God putting His all into my salvation. At the thought of this, I started weeping. The tears were not of misery, but rather because I was so moved. Because of, I was no longer worried about my future, and I believed God would open up the way for me to overcome all the difficulties.
Afterward, by chance, I was recommended to teach Chinese in a Chinese language academy. Before the interview, I was a little nervous. So I knelt on the ground and prayed to God, “God, thank You for arranging this interview for me. I am willing to rely on You and look up to You. Whether the interview is a success or not is in Your hands, and I will obey Your control and arrangements.” On the bus to the academy, I pondered God’s words, “The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things.” Indeed! Whether I was agreeable to the dean and whether the interview was a success were in God’s hands and decided by God, for God rules and controls the heart and spirit of everyone. At that time, the nervousness and worry slowly faded away, and I was able face the interview calmly.
The interview was a success, and the moment I was told I’d got the job as a Chinese teacher there, I wept. I thanked God repeatedly from my heart, and I really realized the meaning of the words, “Where man’s abilities end is where God begins.”
However, tuition and living expenses were very high in Korea, so I couldn’t maintain myself by this job alone. But now I was not as worried and anxious as I had been before. Instead, every day, I prayed to God and read God’s words properly, and I hummed hymns of God’s words when walking. I felt enriched in my heart.
The wonderful thing was that a student of mine soon recommended me as a teacher at an international kindergarten. It was close to the academy, and so it was convenient for me to do a part-time job there. What was more unexpected was that during the time when I worked at the kindergarten, more and more parents hired me to tutor their children on a one-on-one basis, so I started to be a private teacher as well. In this way, I earned enough money for my living expenses and the tuition for that term, and even the tuition for the next term. And gradually, my Korean improved somewhat, so that I could communicate with others when I took a bus, went shopping and did my business at the bank, etc. Sometimes, on my way to work, looking up into the blue sky, smelling the flowers, and listening to the birds singing, I felt so satisfied and happy that I couldn’t help but gently hum some songs praising God.
In the middle of night, when everything was quiet, I would lie awake on my bed and recall the whole time I had been abroad. Each event would appear before my eyes like a movie, remaining fresh in my mind. In the past, I had cried a lot from sadness and fear, but by seeking and praying, I’d obtained God’s leadership and guidance step by step. I truly felt God’s love and His presence with me, and saw many wonderful deeds of God, thus gaining some understanding of His almightiness and sovereignty and having more faith in Him.
In the future, no matter what difficulties or obstructions I encounter, I will always hold onto one resolve: No matter how difficult it is in the future, I will not be afraid, because I have God with me.
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