Many of you have noticed the large black and white picture of Christ hanging beside the downstairs elevator. Even more mysterious, a magnifying glass hangs next to it. Here is the historical background of this amazing picture.
Many thanks to the Nancy Osburn Family for this wonderful, loving gift.
In 1944, Mr. Gwang Hyak Ree, composer of this picture of Christ, moved from his home in Pyongyang, capital city of Korea, to avoid Japanese military conscription. One day when he was looking at a portrait of our Lord in a magazine, he was filled with great pleasure to see that it was composed of numerous dots. This inspired him to replace the dots with the words of the Bible. He felt “a light” shining on him. He wanted to finish it quickly but it was tedious, wearisome work. The portrait became clearer each day. He finished composing a picture of Christ with the book of John in a month and a half. He thanked God for His help and guidance and made another portrait with the whole Bible.
Although he saw many flaws in the first project, he knew that with daily prayers, he would be able to finish the picture with the words of the whole Bible.
In 1946, after the Liberation, he returned to his home. There he had a special room to work on his portrait of the Gospel of John. The biblical text he used was in Korean. The second effort was much improved. He showed copies to local ministers and church leaders for help and advice. All of them sent him their messages praising his good work. In 1950, during the communist invasion, they all gave their lives for their faith.
To complete the portrait with the words of the whole Bible was not easy. Many difficulties for him: How to work under the control of the communists in North Korea? How to support his family while giving his full-time to this job?
At last, he decided to save money by trading to support his family. He then went to the mountains to finish his work. Before he was ready, the communists started the war. He continued to work underground for a short time until the UN forces captured North Korea. During the UN Forces retreat from North Korea, his house and the original portrait were destroyed in this fighting. Unable to take his family of six with him, he went to South Korea alone. As a refugee in South Korea, he completed the following portraits: Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of John both in Korean and English and the entire text of the New Testament in English.
Mr. Ree is not an artist and does not want to be known as an artist. By the grace of God and talent given to him, he has been able to carry on this precious work. It is his hope and prayer that this can be of help to people in extending the work of God.
Ozzie and Alice Osburn acquired this picture during the 1960’s from Ozzie’s brother, Bobby, a Baptist preacher in Kansas. A missionary had sold these at his church and Ozzie bought this one and smaller ones that he gave to his three daughters.