Korean American Pentecost Community

Mission of KAPC

With the belief that our Pentecostal experiences will revive our Christian community as vibrant as the early church was, we are witnessing to the Gospel that empowers all the people, beyond their denominational differences, to experience God's love and to live a life manifesting His gracious gifts in the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us in the name of Christ.

Pentecost Seminar

Seminar Review

Salvation-Peter Goun, Baltimore,MDGus

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admin
Date
2023-02-07 02:01
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110

2007-1,2

The following is the testimony given by Peter Goun, the participant of the Life in the Spirit Seminars Young Leaders’ Workshop IV. The workshop, sponsored by KSC for the Youth Ministry Team, was held from August 25th to the 27th, 2006 at Baltimore, MD.

During the summer of 1998, my perfect view of the world turned upside down. I got a crash course in suffering.

The day was August 15, 1998. I was driving to the cleaners to deliver the clothes and bring back the clean ones. With me were my grandma and my kid brother, Andrew (who was 3 at the time). At this time I had just received my license. Sooner or later I got lost. I took 45 minutes trying to find the road I was looking for when I decided to just retrace my steps and go back to my mom. I went down a small hill and decided to take one final look to see if the next road was the one I was looking for. The road sign was hidden from the trees so I had to move my body around to get a better look and it wasn’t the road so I looked up to see the traffic light when it was RED. By that time it was too late, I was already halfway across the intersection. I hit a car coming from my right. The result of the accident left two people dead: Anthony Cerino (7yrs old) and Helen Cerino (his grandmother). I not only took one but two lives, one of which had a full life ahead of him.

I guess I blacked out for a moment and when I came around I heard my kid brother crying. I panicked and tried to open the door, but for some reason it was locked. I climbed out of the car window and got brother out of the car. I kept asking my brother if he was okay, but all he did was cry. Pedestrians came by and helped my grandmother out of the car. She was bleeding from her head. I was there to translate for her. As this was going on, I saw the other car upside down. I saw a man get out of the

car and was relieved because he was alive. Construction workers who were working nearby turned the car right-side up. Soon after this, they took out a body that was drenched in blood. I turned around and was in shock. I went to some lady’s arms and started crying. I prayed to GOD that would be okay.

We were taken to the hospital. I had very minor injuries and my grandmother had 10-13 stitches on her head. My kid brother (thank GOD) was not injured at all. Apparently he was lying in the backseat and when I hit the car, he just rolled down. As soon as I was treated I called my parent told them that I got into an accident. They told me that they couldn’t come because of work. Apparently they thought the accident was a minor one. I was in a hospital room crying and praying. My kid brother was sleeping with my grandmother in a different room. As soon as my parents and twin brother came I hugged them. Then moments later I heard a loud voice saying “Oh my God, my mother’s dead?!” I fell to my knees because I felt that I was the one responsible. I told my twin brother (Paul) to go check if the other family is okay. Once he left I started to pray and shiver. He came back and told me that the other (victim’s) family was okay. That everybody survived. I trusted him and I started to feel calm and better.

The next two weeks or so was normal (getting ready for school). Sometime afterwards, I went with my parents to go see my lawyer. I didn’t think much of it. On our way there my mother told me the truth about what really happened. I didn’t know what to say or think. I just stared into space cursing GOD. Apparently, the doctors told my family to lie because there was a good chance that I would have a mental breakdown from the shock that I was already in. My life was never the same again. At home all I my depressed self did was eat, sleep (if I could), have horrible nightmares, drink my father’s alcohol, etc. I had a constant urge to just end my life, but two things stopped me from doing so. One was my family, I didn’t want them to go through more hardships than I have already caused and two, I felt like I deserved it. I believed I had to suffer in this life and not take the easy way out. Thus, I was prepared to go to jail; rather I wanted to go to jail. I believed I deserved to go. I mean after all, I killed two innocent people. My life was hell and my bitterness towards GOD and to the world showed in high school. You could say that I was a big jerk/bully only because I didn’t care about anything because I felt like my life was a meaningless one. I would sometimes try to pick fights. This is embarrassing to say but, I was one of those people that knocked down people’s books and kicked it across the hallway. This went throughout high school.

The turning point of my life occurred during trial or to be specific pre-trial. As soon as I walked in the court room I was scared because I knew the victim’s family was going to be there. I sat onto the defendant’s side of the seat. I could see them through the corner of my eye, but didn’t have the courage to turn and see them directly. I was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. For those of you who may not know, involuntary manslaughter is a serious charge. If I was convicted I would have spent my time in jail and later prison. The judge however dropped the involuntary manslaughter charge and instead convicted me of reckless driving. He said this is one of the most difficult trials he’s been to and said he felt sorry to both families for the pain and hardships. The judge then asked if the victim’s family wanted to speak. As soon as the father got up, my tears that I was holding back came bursting down because I knew what he was going to say how much he hated me. I was wrong, he said, “Peter, we don’t hate you. This could have happened to anyone, even me, I’m so sorry that it had to happen to someone so young. We care about you and will pray for you. Something so simply was so heartwarming. The compassion and love I felt from them was too much for me to bear and understand. I fell to my knees and cried while trying to say the words I’m sorry.

After the trial, Fr. Tom (who has helped me through this difficult time) and a victim’s family priest arranged a meeting between the two families. When I saw them, the first thing they did was hug me and telling me “it’s going to be okay.” We cried and hugged together. Before we left the sister of the boy, whom I killed, said, “You are in high school and then going to college. It’s supposed to be the best time of your life! Please live your life and enjoy it!”

The compassion, forgiveness and love they showed me were too much for me to bear. If someone killed one of my family members (whether it be an accident or not) I don’t know if I have courage to show the compassion and love the Cerinos gave me. It was not until later that I realized this is the ultimate from of God’s love. The Lord showed me his love through the Cerinos.

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