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Ki-Jo Moon, 71, served as a pastor with a Sunday-keeping denomination for 37 years. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

When a Sunday Church Pastor Tried to Convert an Adventist Colporteur

After she knocked on my door, I prayed, “Thank you, God! I was curious about Adventists, and you have brought one to me.”

By Ki-Jo Moon, as told to Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

My interest in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church started long before an Adventist literature evangelist knocked on my door in my hometown near South Korea’s capital, Seoul.

As a pastor with a major Protestant denomination, I sought to understand religious viewpoints other than my own, and I compared literature from the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Adventist churches. I noticed that all the Adventists books seemed to have been written by Ellen White. I wondered why so much attention was given to a woman who had died long ago.

At the same time, I felt like something was missing from my church. I asked a prominent pastor why we didn’t teach seminary students about Daniel and Revelation. He replied, “Because we don’t know much about those books.”

As I sought answers, I engaged in a fight against religious cults. Most Christians in South Korea categorize three groups as cults: Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and a South Korean group called New Heaven and New Earth. I knew a young man who had joined New Heaven and New Earth and couldn’t be persuaded to leave, so I went to their headquarters and gave them a Bible lecture. Then I tried to convert a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses. After that, I decided to learn more about the Adventists so I could refute their teachings.

It was then that an Adventist literature evangelist, Hee-Sook Kim, visited my home. When she introduced herself as a representative of an Adventist publishing house, I immediately prayed, “Thank You, God! I was curious about Adventists, and You have brought one to me.”

Ms. Kim gave me a pamphlet, and I usually throw away such things. But this time I thought, “Maybe there’s an inkling of truth in here. If there is, I want to learn it to connect with her spiritually and then convert her.”

Is This a Cult?

Afterward, I wanted to visit Ms. Kim’s church to see if Adventists really are a cult as my denomination teaches. I went secretly for a while, but somehow my wife found a church bulletin among my possessions, and a conflict erupted between us. I was pondering how to attend church without angering my wife when Ms. Kim invited me to health seminars at her church. I thought the seminars might interest my wife, so I suggested that Ms. Kim speak with her.

I knew that my wife would never agree to go to a sermon, but a low-key seminar seemed like a good way to introduce her to the Adventist Church. I wanted my wife to see that Adventists are friendly and always say, “Hello.” I wanted her to observe the fellowship meals. In my denomination, the pastors always sit at the head table and are served at lunch. But the Adventist pastors carry their own plates and have to look around for a place to sit.

The health seminars softened up my wife toward the Adventist Church, but it wasn’t easy bringing her to Sabbath services. For 30 years, we had spent Saturdays preparing sermons for our church, and it was difficult changing our routine. We also live far from the nearest Adventist church — a 55-minute drive — and I worried that my wife would complain about having to park in front of some apartment building because the church’s parking lot was too small. My wife was used to pulling up to our church’s entrance and handing the car keys to a valet.

Ms. Kim suggested that we go to a larger Adventist church for an evangelistic series. This idea shocked me. In my denomination, each church member sticks with one local church and doesn’t go anywhere else. I thought, “Wow, these Adventists are all over the world! They read from the same Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and worship together in any city and country.”

Ki-Jo Moon, right, speaking with his wife, Soon-Ae Byun, center, and literature evangelist Hee-Sook Kim in Seoul, South Korea, on April 22, 2017. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Hot Spiritual Meal

We attended evangelistic meetings about Daniel and Revelation. I thought to myself, “This is so different. We have a lot of fluff in my church, but the Adventist pastor is serving me a hot spiritual meal.”

After the meetings, the evangelist recommended that I consider baptism. But my wife urged me to wait. She reminded me that I am not only a pastor but also a senior church leader. I heeded my wife’s advice to serve out my term as president of my denomination’s local union and then get baptized.

The Sabbath after I decided to postpone my baptism, my wife skipped church services because she wasn’t feeling well. That afternoon, a church member came to our home to encourage my wife. As we spoke, he told us, “You need to be baptized!”

I looked at my wife warily and replied, “I’ll pray about it. If it is God’s will, then I’ll get baptized.”

My wife, however, was looking at the calendar. “Feb. 4 looks like a good date to get baptized,” she said.

I couldn’t believe my ears! My wife had dissuaded me from being baptized just a week earlier and now she wanted to be baptized!

My life has been filled with joy after our baptism in February 2017. I look forward to hearing the sermon every Sabbath.

I wanted to convert the Adventist literature evangelist, but she ended up converting me.

Ki-Jo Moon, 71, served as a pastor with a Sunday-keeping denomination for 37 years. Read his wife’s side of the story here, and read the literature evangelist’s story here.

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