What can I say? Two days ago I walked
The day of travel to get over here was brutal. We left at 6am Wednesday morning from Wilmore, and we arrived 25 hours later (2 hours at the airport in
I rode next to a woman coming to visit her husband who is a serviceman who works on Apache helicopters up at the DMZ. In the six years they’ve been married, after one stint in
For a number of years Beeson Pastors have been coming to
Though its eighty years old, in 1991 Bishop Kim volunteered the church’s resources to help turn the school into a Christian institution. Now the girls go to chapel, take Bible classes, and participate in a number of clubs (dance teams, choirs, and the like) that enable worship to take place at the school. Thus, while there, we got to hear a couple of the choirs sing, and see a dance team dance (videos to come later) in the context of a worship setting. But we also toured their state-of-the-art “internet business” room, experienced traditional Korean dress and the art of bowing in the equivalent of the school’s Home Economics class room, and painted our own Korean characters (with much coaching from the girls, like this nice young lady pictured here). For lunch, they fed us (I am not making this up) Kentucky Fried Chicken (cause we came from
The things I’ll remember most about the experience at the school was how polite and mannerly all of those teenage girls were.
I mean, maybe we just got to see the good kids, but the girls were incredibly kind and respectful to a degree, which frankly, you don’t see much out of American teenagers. Makes me wonder what the hyper-individualism we champion in the United States might be costing us in the way of a more civil and cooperative society. I mean the downside of freedom is that people are free act virtually anyway they please…. even as jerks. How much better off would we be if the elderly were praised for their wisdom and experience, and young people believed that adults had information they needed to make a better future for themselves, and thus should be given attention and honor? I can tell you first hand…. it’s in many ways a lot more pleasant.
Next we went to
(and an assistant of the opposite sex) comes to your home, and leads you in your own worship service. He takes prayer requests from the person or family being visited, talks through these issues with them, takes a special offering, leads some singing, gives a sermon, answers questions about that sermon, and then wraps up the service with prayer. Then the member who is visited brings out some food (some we recognized, but much of which we didn’t) and there is a short time of fellowship.
Just for the record, there are 11 associate pastors who pastor one district all their own. It’s their job to visit all of the members in their district at least once a year, which in order to pull off requires the pastor to make a minimum of 40 home visits a week. Since the associates help lead the daily prayer services at the church (at 5am and 6am every day Tuesday through Saturday), make phones calls to inactive members on Saturday night to invite them to church, and do some teaching in various studies and retreats they work a plenty. For example, our pastor, Jo, works from 5am to 7 or 8pm six days a week (that’s a minimum of a 70 hour work week). It is not an easy job, but it is incredibly important. Looking at Jo’s print out on each both families we visited today, I doubt if any pastors at any of the churches in the
Pastor Jo is a fantastic pastor. His district is located in the neighborhood where the church is located (hence, we were able to walk on a beautiful sunny day). He stopped in at all the business we passed to stop and say hello to a member of his flock who happened to work there. He keeps up with each family in his district so that when he gives his sermon at the home visit, it’s tailored to that family’s needs (think about… that’s 2000 sermons to write, every year). He believes in prayer, dedicating not only much of the visit, but much of his life (two hours a day) to praying for others, and to be directed by God. On our way back to the church, we stopped by a playground to meet his daughter (age 8) and his wife, who is expecting his second child very soon. He intentionally took us there so we (the Beeson Pastor who were with them, Aaron Wymer and I) could pray for his family and in particular, his unborn child.
How cool was it to get to do that?
Anyhow, when we went to do our first visit, he knew the woman, who had converted from Buddhism 20 years ago, we were visiting had a husband (a basketball coach at a local university) who didn’t believe in God. We knew at the second home we visited that the woman there had a nine year old daughter, and husband struggling in his business. And prayed for both people like the whole world rested on his words. I couldn't understand a word he said… but his passion was infectious.
Couple that with getting to pray for people who live halfway around the world in their living room, and saying the Lord’s Prayer in English while others prayed it in Korean, and you could not beat this experience.
We then spent an our with senior pastor Chung Sook Kim, who talked a lot about what it was like to follow his father, who pastored Kwanglim for thirty years, which was the time period the church grew into the behemoth it is today. Coupled with the challenge of following a legend (something I can sympathize with), Kim is now pastoring in a city where younger generations are rapidly becoming increasingly secularized. The influence of western culture and consumerism in this shift is unmistakable. Tonight, for example, for our first dinner in
Tomorrow we head up to the DMZ, where this trusty blogger will spend some time praying for peace, not just here on the Korean peninsula, but throughout the world. I'll try to make an update tomorrow night (or day, or whatever it is).