40 Years in America
Godís Work in the Northwest - Vernon Pearson
My life began to change when the message of a radio evangelist brought me to my knees, and I accepted Jesus on April 3, 1954. Prior to this, I had been very depressed. The following day, my birthday, I still didnít feel saved, but held on to that promise. That evening I went outside beyond the fruit orchard and cried and prayed. Finally I really felt cleansed and I knew I had met Jesus.
I went to a Christian college, still searching for a deeper understanding of God. This, too, was a very lonely experience. I couldnít understand why I couldnít have a more victorious life. In the fall of 1959 I prayed that God could begin a new work in my life. He certainly answered my prayers!
I had known Mr. John Schmidli for quite some time, but I began spending more time with him. One evening he told me he had met a Korean man who was like a Korean Billy Graham -- he also said that God wanted to restore the Garden of Eden.
Several weeks later, John introduced me to Mr. David Kim who was attending Western Theological Baptist Seminary. Only later did I realize that he was a missionary for this Korean Messiah. Although I was impressed, I also felt threatened because of my own fundamental Christian background.
Periodically Mr. Kim would come from Portland to St. Helens to share the Principle. I was working in a furniture store there, while I continued to study the Principle. It took five or six months of study for me to begin understanding the depth of the Principle message; from time to time I was spiritually attacked.
Although it was difficult, I continued to study and live by the Principle. This was due in part to the fact that, when I prayed with Uncle John, I felt such closeness to God, and my doubts were dissipated. I also continued to make the Principle a part of my life because of the message of the Principle itself. There were no other young people and it was quite difficult for me to take this leap of faith right away. I am so grateful to God for being so patient with me. In 1961 I moved into the Portland Chapel with David Kim and some early members, where we lived, studied and worked together for three years. Then in 1964 I went to Idaho as a missionary. It was a precious and important time in my life, because although I was alone I really felt such a closeness to God. I attempted to share the Principle with many different people in an effort to find spiritual children.
In 1965 while I was pioneering in Idaho, Father came to bless holy grounds. This was one of the deepest and most moving experiences, to meet Father, Mrs. Choi and the Korean missionaries. When I heard that Father was coming, I spent two or three days trying to make my apartment presentable. I stayed up all night and slept only two or three hours before he came.
I was getting dressed so I would be ready to greet him. Just as I was about to put on my tie, I heard David Kimís voice at the door, saying, "The Master is here!" I felt a great expectation to meet the Messiah and also I was nervous. It was difficult to even carry on a conversation because all I could think was, "The Messiah is come!" As we were sitting there I felt inspired to ask whether I could bow down to Father. It wasnít the traditional Korean bow, as I even touched his shoes! He smiled and touched my shoulders. This experience is a beautiful memory which I can never forget.
After we talked a while, Gordon Ross explained about holy ground. Father and his party had a tight schedule to bless all the holy grounds within a certain time. So in the evening we went to bless the holy ground in Boise. It had been raining. I could feel that this was most significant to the restoration providence. As Father was driving away, headed for Missoula, Montana, he kept waving to me for as long as I could see the car. I wanted to say, "Donít leave so soon. You just got here!"
In retrospect, we have all gone through periods of struggle in the faith, but there are still challenges and difficulties to overcome and many things to accomplish. I want to be faithful and loyal to God, to think positively and to dare to do greater things. Speaking for myself, I believe that there have been times of real failure and falling short of Godís expectations, but still I am encouraged by the nature of God which is love, mercy and forgiveness. We can rely on this faithful, loving God.
I always think about my precious brothers and sisters and their struggles. I have so much respect for the early members and missionaries and all other members.
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