Korean Deacon Sells House to Help Church

Originally published in 1985

Would you sell your house to pay off your church debt? Yoon Young Jong did.

You can find deacon Yoon directing maintenance at Wallace Memorial Baptist Hospital in Pusan [South Korea], where he’s worked for 23 years.

Or off in the country with a medical evangelism team, putting in 18-hour days teaching local church members how to witness.

Or, in his true calling, surrounded by a crowd of kids he’s led to faith in Christ. (“This guy loves kids,” explains missionary Virgil Cooper.)

Square-jawed, straight-shouldered and clear-eyed, this guy is a no-nonsense Christian. When Yoon’s church, Young Jin Baptist in Pusan, ran into serious construction debt six years ago, the pastor asked the deacons if they loved Jesus enough to pledge large sums of money.

A tearful Yoon had no money to give; he’d already contributed beyond his means. So he sold his small house. All proceeds went to help pay the church debt, except for a small percentage to buy land for a new house someday.

For part of the cold winter of ’79, Yoon, his mother, wife and four children lived in a tent on church property. Church members worried. Nonbelievers simply laughed. It didn’t bother Yoon.

“Our whole family was united in this decision,” he remembers. “We did it very openly and very gladly, with joy. We believed that those who obeyed the Lord and were faithful, that God would show them the way.”

What nobody knew, except for the pastor, was that Yoon also cashed in his retirement fund at the hospital to buy a boiler for heating the church that frigid winter. He usually arrived at church two hours before Sunday School to feed wood into the boiler so his fellow believers could worship without overcoats.

The church paid its debt. And within a year Yoon built a new house for his family on a small piece of land purchased from missionaries.

“People were amazed,” he relates with a chuckle. “They had said, ‘Look at that guy. He believes in Jesus and he helped build his church, but he’s a fool because he lost his house.’ Then God turned around and built us a home and provided for us.”

Young Jin Baptist is one of the larger churches in Pusan now, with a spacious, debt-free sanctuary. Yoon can concentrate on his main ministry—child evangelism. A tragic death in Pusan revealed Yoon’s importance in that arena.

“About two years ago a child was murdered, which is unusual in Korea,” recalls Virgil Cooper. “They couldn’t identify him, but they figured Deacon Yoon would know him—and he did. Come to find out that the child had made a profession of faith about two weeks before.” Yoon had introduced the child to Jesus.

Originally published as “Heroes” by Erich Bridges, The Commission, Oct.-Nov. 1985, p. 36.