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Spiritual Pilgrimage to Korea (2): What the Korean Church Learned from Us

. 2 min read
A second installment of the reflections of our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Tom Salsgiver, on his pilgrimage to Korea with our Bishop and others:

            As we met with the pastors of the churches, they kept talking about their
growth and why they believed the churches are growing.  The host pastor of
the Bupyeong Church said numerous times, “we learned these things from
you”.  He went on to explain that the principles that the Methodist Church
in Korea abide by are the principles that the missionaries from the US taught
them over and over.
           
Pastor Hong, the senior pastor of Bupyeong Methodist Church articulated that
they are growing because they take seriously what the missionaries from America
taught them.  He referred to the missionaries as teaching them about:
·        
A passion for Jesus Christ
and the need to commit oneself to Jesus Christ
·        
A need for fervent prayer
and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit
·        
A generous spirit of
tithing and beyond
·        
A need to serve others.
When
Korea was open to the missionaries, the missionaries weren’t allowed to
start churches or to preach.   So they started hospitals, schools,
universities and other agencies to meet the needs of the Korean people. 
They did their evangelism in ways that were tied with getting to know the
people and meeting their needs.
It
was at this point that the Methodist movement began to really make a difference
in the lives of the Korean people.
More
than once Rev. Hong talked about the fact that Korea was introduced to
Christianity because of the Methodists in the States who sent missionaries.
It
was the missionaries who taught them by example to care for the poor, the least
and the lost.  It was the missionaries who by their example prayed without
ceasing, instilling in the converts the need to pray long and hard.
The
missionaries also taught the converts that it wasn’t enough to accept Jesus
Christ, they had to serve others.  It was the role of the Christian to
serve and not be served.
The
missionaries also taught the new Christians to be generous in giving—and that
tithing was the minimum not the maximum.  Rev. Hong reminded us that the
reason the Korean Methodists give so much—even when they have so little is
because Jesus Christ gave so much—he gave himself—and we can do no less. 
(Next week’s article will be about their generosity.)
Two
of the most notable missionaries were Mary Scranton and Henry
Appenzeller.  Mary Scranton has ties to the Wyoming Seminary (a UM prep
school) and Rev. Appenzeller was out of First Methodist Church,
Lancaster.  Mary Scranton started a women’s school which now is one of the
most prestigious universities in Korea.  Rev. Appenzeller was the first
missionary to Korea and was a powerful force in bringing people to Christianity.
It
was because of the generosity of the Methodist Church and the call of God on
the lives of the missionaries that Korea was changed forever.
Listening
to Rev. Hong and experiencing what we did with the Korean Methodist Church, I
have to wonder if we have lost what we and our fore parents were taught.
Early
Methodists—and EUB’s were clear about the generosity of tithing.  They
taught and lived serving others.  They dedicated themselves to fervent
prayer and to boldly claim the name of Jesus Christ.

Could
it be that we need to get back to those teachings and those practices?