Last Thursday I saw an article in the local paper announcing the grand opening for a 39-foot statue called Mago, the Korean name for Mother Earth. The statue was erected by a Korean organization called the Tao Fellowship. The statue has drawn flak from local residents who feel that it is an eyesore. (It is close to a main highway.) In fact, the City Council will be meeting next Monday to decide whether the statue can stay.
The grand opening was today. My pastor (Jim Masters) and I decided to go to the event with the goal of telling some of the people there about Jesus.
We met at church shortly before 10 AM. Jim read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, which seemed especially appropriate, and then we prayed. We drove to the Mago Earth Park. Bowing, smiling, white-gloved attendants pointed us to a parking spot. Many of the workers were from Korea, and some of them did not speak much English. They were all very excited and cheerful though. Surprisingly, many of the workers were college age. We went to a big tent, and there were many people inside. The ceremony was just starting. To our surprise, when the emcee asked for shows of hands, roughly 1/4 of the audience was from Korea and 1/3 was from Japan. This picture does a poor job of showing the size of the crowd. (You can click on any of my pictures to see them bigger.)
I had never before seen so many people so openly worshipping a false god. This was not subtle religion, this was very public. Knowing that we could not talk to people about Jesus while they were watching the events in the tent, Jim and I walked around the 6 acre park.
We walked over to the idol. It was huge, standing roughly 49 feet high (there was a 10 foot base). You can see how small I look next to it. I am holding up my pocket Bible, which tells of the day when Mago and all her followers will bow their knees and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. But it takes faith to say that. The statue feels very imposing. I can't imagine how much pressure Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego must have felt when everyone else around them was bowing down to a statue of Nebuchadnezzar twice the size of Mago.
In three hours, God blessed us with about 10 good, in depth conversations with individuals. I learned a lot by listening to how Jim shared the good news with people. For some conversations we were together; others, we did separately. It was very easy to bring up the subject of spirituality and religion, as you can imagine. We found that a surprising number of the people we met were from Catholic backgrounds. In the past, I have gotten the creeps or confused when trying to share Jesus with New Age people. This time, probably due to my friends and parents who were praying for me, I felt relaxed and coherent. It was sad to see so many people trying to tap into a source of divine goodness in themselves (where they will never find it) but a joy to tell them it could be found in Jesus alone.
Here is another part of the park, where they have smaller statues of 7 religious figures.
As far as I know, we were the only Christians there.
I've posted a few more pictures on my photo album.
Some local Christians have been upset about the statue's presence. I can understand their concern, but after today, I hope the statue stays. It is like a magnet attracting lost people. They are relaxed and open to talking about spiritual things. An ideal place to share Jesus! For that reason, I've nicknamed the place "Mago Evangelism Park".
Jesus, thank You for saving me. If it were not for your grace, I too would still be worshiping idols. Bless the people we talked with today. May they turn from their sins and put their trust in Jesus alone to save them from Your wrath. Help me to love them like You do. Send more Christians to share Jesus with them. Amen!