Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reflections from my time in South Korea

Last December I was in South Korea. (I know, South Korea in December, can you say freezing?). Well I braved the cold to spend 8 days working with over 60 Korean pastors from all different denominations to help them develop healthy churches.

I found it interesting to learn that approximately 25% of the entire South Korean population are church attending Christians (mostly Presbyterian), yet Korean churches are also experiencing the same problems as American churches, especially in trying to retain the younger post-high school, pre-college age group.

I spent some time working with the new CRM Korea Board of Directors and helping them get established. One of CRM’s core values (CRM is the mission agency I work with) is to raise up nationals to lead the work in their home country and then send out other nationals as missionaries into new countries. So not only is all of our work in South Korea led by South Koreans but they just sent their first missionary into another country.

I wanted to share two quick thoughts with you. These are excerpts from my journal that I wrote while in South Korea:

Tonight while driving through Seoul I looked up at the skyline and noticed there were crosses everywhere. As far as the eye could see there were red, illuminated crosses. It was clear for all to see, there was a heavy Christian presence here in the nation’s capitol. I then realized that just a mere 30 miles to the north [Into North Korea], being known as a Christian or even revealing a cross, could warrant an instant execution. At that moment a wave of sorrow for my brothers and sisters in the north consumed me. I can’t remember feeling anything like it before.

One of the highlights of this trip is to pray and worship with the Koreans. When Koreans pray, it is very powerful, loud and authoritative. Even without knowing the words being spoken, one can almost comprehend the requests based on the passion and power behind them. Interestingly enough, this is also how Koreans sing. They sing at the top of their lungs and with authority. No one stands there wandering if the person next to them will think they are a good singer. It is totally and completely focused on worshiping God. No distractions. I wish more church congregations in America sang this way.

In my next post I'll try to put up some video from South Korea.

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