Ellen and I returned yesterday from a month-long trip to Korea. We call it a “journey” because we went with a purpose other than a vacation. We usually enjoy our vacations here in the beautiful Northwest or on the East Coast.
The day after we arrived we were privileged to speak at a nationwide “Holy Spirit Gathering” of 10,000 Full Gospel students and young adults. Many of these radically committed young people have full-time jobs, yet they are “full-time” disciples of Jesus. They live in the world but don’t belong to it. The Church in Korea is by no means dead, although it has suffered from the sins and mistaken human-centered visions of a very small minority of leaders. We met with the new pastor (Rev. Young-Hoon Lee) of the largest church in the world–Yoido Full Gospel Church–and were greatly encouraged by his God-centered vision of seeing His people remolded by the Holy Spirit into the character of Christ, and by his longing to see the fruits of the Holy Spirit (and not just the outward gifts of the Spirit) blossom among God’s people so that they will be able to emphasize not wealth or prosperity but rather generosity, mercy and practical love to society’s outcast, poor and needy people. His message is the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this is the message that, when lived out practically in our lives, will renew any and all nations.
We still are in awe at the remarkably sacrificial commitment of the few young men and women who organized and carried out this huge event. All of them are very busy in their jobs, some even have their own companies, but they worked selflessly in Trinitarian unity to make this possible.
Immediately after leaving this event, we went to the International Convention of the Jubilee Prayer Meeting in another part of Seoul. Delegates from around the world gathered to pray for North Korea, and for the unification of the Korean Peninsula. I was able to bless them and encourage them to keep going forward until we see a totally New Korea, a Korea unified in Jesus Christ, under one Father–God, our Father–and one Shepherd. Again, the Church in Korea is not dead. We can see the Church in the South, it is visible. We cannot see the Church in the North, because it is not visible. North Korea’s Christians have experienced powerful conversions in Christ; no one in North Korea would risk being sent to a concentration camp or executed by simply being a “social Christian.” Their Christian faith is real, but they are currently walking through the wilderness, enduring great suffering. These members of the world’s “Suffering Church” are headed for glory. God has hidden His saints in North Korea until the day (which will come much sooner than most people expect) that He already has chosen, to allow them to surface as a purified Church that will be united with a purified Church in South Korea to become a Church that can bless the entire world.
Please pray for this Church, and be sure to pray with the confidence that God gives us in His Word, and not just with human pity.
Well, this was the first day out of thirty days! Perhaps when we have overcome our jet lag we will share more with you. Thanks for visiting. God bless you.