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Sung Runs Away to Church

Sung Yeon Yang“Cli-click” the door quietly latched behind Sung Yeon Yang (Soong Yee-HWN Yang) as she quietly slipped out of her Taiwanese apartment building on the Eastern coast of China. No one knew where she was going, not A-pah (Taiwanese for Father), not  Mama, (Taiwanese for mother) not even her little sister. As she ran down the sidewalk toward the little Adventist church (Kàu-hoë), she hoped that her parents wouldn’t ask here where she had been because she was sure they wouldn’t want her to be going to church.

Sung’s  family didn’t know Jesus but when she first started  school (Hák-häu) her parents wanted her to be able to learn English so they sent her to an English language class after school. That’s where she first learned about Jesus. You see, the language school was run by Seventh-day Adventists! Even though it was hard, she loved learning English and she also loved her teacher. But this week she had heard her teacher talking about the church’s worship services.

“May I go to your Kàu-hoë (church) too?” Sung asked her teacher.

“Why, of course, you are very welcome to come!” Teacher replied. And that’s why Sung was running toward the little Adventist church on this Saturday morning.

As she slipped inside she was warmly welcomed and directed to a Sabbath School class for kids her own age. She loved the songs and Bible stories so much that she decided to come back! Week after week Sung slipped out to go to Sabbath School, while her parents thought she was taking part in a school activity.

“Sung,” Her teacher said one day, “you’re such a good singer, how would you like to join the children’s choir?”

“Really? I’d love to!!” Sung exclaimed bouncing up and down eagerly. She loved to sing! But now she would have to stay for the worship service some days because the children’s choir often sung for church.

One Sabbath when Sung was supposed to sing in the choir for church she invited her little sister to come with her. “But don’t tell  Mama, and don’t tell Father where we’re going!” Sung warned, she didn’t want her parents to find out and tell her she couldn’t go to Sabbath school anymore. Both girls slipped out of the house and ran to the church. Sung’s sister loved it as much as she did! But when they got home Mama asked, “Where have you girls been all morning?”

Sung fidgeted a little, she had a funny feeling inside.  In the past when mom had asked this question she had lied to keep out of trouble but now she just couldn’t do it anymore. “I-I have joined a children’s choir at the Adventist church, and they sang today for worship,” she confessed, it felt good to tell the truth but she was really worried that her parents would stop her from going back.

Mama seemed to understand and Sung thought everything would be OK. Then A-pah found out! “No, you may not go to any Christian church!” he told them. “Not even to sing in the choir.” So Sung and her sister had to stay home on Sabbaths. But whenever A-pah wasn’t around,  Mama let them go.  

Then one day A-pah found out. He was angry! “I told you girls not to go to that church and now I find out that you’ve been going anyway!!”

But Mama interceded “But A-pah , look at how kind and obedient the girls have become. They’re learning that at church. I think it’s good for them to go.” So A-pah reluctantly agreed to let them go.

One month, two, three…six months passed. Then one day Mama met one of the members of Sung’s church in town. She was very friendly and after visiting for a while the lady said, “Why don’t you and your husband come visit our church to see what your girls are enjoying. We’d love to have you!”

“You know,” she said to A-pah when she got home, “the girls have been going to that church for quite a while now, don’t you think it is time we went to their church to see just what our daughters are learning?” The girls jumped up and down for joy when they heard that both Mama and A-pah had decided to come with them to Sabbath School and Church.

But that Sabbath Mama and A-pah were very uncomfortable. “I don’t know what to do or when or do it; like everyone else does” whispered A-pah . This made them feel embarrassed, they didn’t like it. It was different than anything they had ever seen before. And even though the church members tried to help, they decided that they didn’t want to go back. “You girls go ahead to church, A-pah and I will stay home.” Mama said the next week. As the girls went to church that next week, they were a little sad because it was just the two of them again.

Then one day an Adventist lady moved into their apartment building. She was very nice and caring and soon they became friends.

Every morning the phone would ring. Mama would answer, ” Pêng-an (That’s how Taiwanese say “Hello”)?”

“Hi, this is your new neighbor, would you and your family like to come over to my house for worship and prayer?”

Her parents were pleased that someone cared enough to invite them over for prayer and so for another six months the phone continued to ring every morning and Sung’s family would go over to their neighbor’s house for prayer.

Soon Mama wanted to her own prayer time in her house and A-pah began to study the Bible with the pastor. A-pah learned what Sung had been learning about the God of love and was anxious to worship him too. Sung-Yeon-YangHe threw away his prayer beads and began praying from his heart.

Just 18 months after Sung first sneaked to church her whole family became Adventist Christians. A-pah has become a gentler, happier man. Mama enjoys worshiping with the family. And Sung and her sister love to sing praises to Jesus in the children’s choir. She is glad that she ran away to church. Aren’t you?

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This story was adapted from the AdventistMission.org web site @ http://www.adventistmission.org/article.php?id=853 . In order to maintain the accuracy of the retelling, some portions are entirely or mostly taken from the original story.

 

 

 
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