Church in Korea: Repaying a Missionary Debt

 Josh Hanson, Jeff Ritchie, and John Pflug

Josh Hanson, Jeff Ritchie, and John Pflug

The Outreach Foundation is committed to taking young Presbyterian leaders out into the world to see what God is doing and to meet our global partners. Monday, October 3 an EPC pastor, a PC(USA) pastor and I left for South Korea to begin the 2016 Emerging Leaders Vision Trip. Arriving in the evening one day later, we joined up with eighteen people who had been invited by the Rev. James Kwon, Moderator of the Northwest Coast Presbytery of the PC(USA). The Rev. Kwon had wanted to give people of the presbytery an opportunity to see the Church of Korea which is a fruit of the sacrificial labor of missionaries, many of whom were Presbyterian. Because the aims of our trips were so close, our two groups became one for a ten-day experience of the rich faith and mission outreach of the Church in Korea. 

We saw some of the famous mega churches that have characterized Korean Protestant Christianity for fifty years. We agonized with our Korean brothers and sisters over the continuing division of the country into north and south and met people vitally involved in ministries among refugees from North Korea as well as those committed to modeling a lifestyle of peace and reconciliation with the people of the north. We experienced the beauty of the Korean countryside in the northeastern part of the country where the mountains joined the sea.

What inspired us most of all was the passion for mission expressed by everyone we met during our visit. Pastor Sam Whan Kim, Senior Pastor of the Myung Sung Church, put it this way: “Through our mission work – both domestic and foreign – we are repaying the debt we feel toward the missionaries who came to Korea 130 years ago and dedicated their lives to establish the church in Korea.” The variety of ways God’s mission is being carried out through the Church in Korea is astonishing. It is also an opportunity to learn the “obedience of faith” afresh from those to whom our forebears introduced the gospel.

 Mary Fletcher Benton Scranton, an early missionary to Korea, is buried in Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery, Seoul

Mary Fletcher Benton Scranton, an early missionary to Korea, is buried in Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery, Seoul

Jeff Ritchie
Associate Director for Mission

For further information, see a trip video by clicking HERE.