Korean pastor shares journey of grace through illness
For Ickjun Ko, the senior pastor of Restoration Church of the Nazarene, battling cancer has been an ongoing journey. In 2008 while studying at Korea Nazarene University (KNU), he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
In 2014, Ko's thyroid cancer recurred. And in March 2022, he was diagnosed with stage 4 follicular lymphoma, a very aggressive type that does not guarantee full recovery. He has received continued medical treatment after chemotherapy.
Amid this challenging situation, Ko continues to be faithful in serving God. Last month, he was given the opportunity to share his story in “7,000 Miracles – Here’s the Love of Jesus,” aired on the Korean CTS TV Channel. The TV program is designed to share Jesus’ love with neighbors suffering from illness and financial difficulties.
“The doctor told me that my cancer could not be completely cured,” Ko said. “It felt like a death sentence to me, but I praise God for the strength to endure as I struggle with my sickness. He is still allowing me to recover gradually. Please pray for me that I will linger so that I will become a witness of God’s healing, a witness of God’s grace, and a witness for Jesus without despair.”
His wife, Eunjung Park, shared, “I was devastated by my husband’s third cancer outbreak, and I was afraid that he would not be able to go on the path of the mission he received from our heavenly Father. But I pray that we can stand as witnesses of healing. I hope our story will comfort many people in pain.”
Ickjun and Eunjung have two young sons, Dahyun (7 years old) and Junghyun (5 years old). As the couple attends different medical treatments, they regret their lack of time with the children.
“Even though we are in this difficult time in our lives, we can still feel that we are amid God’s grace because of the prayers of our brothers and sisters and fellow workers in Christ in our local church,” Ko said. “We believe God can use even this painful time as another channel to spread the gospel.”