Sarah Barry’s secret mission reports prior to UBF’s split from the church– part 12
Today is the 14th Anniversary of the invasion of South Korea by the Communists. When I left Kwangju 3 weeks ago, demonstrations and riots against the government were just getting underway. Korea is a little country with big problems – humanly speaking, overwhelmingly impossible problems. But when men and women of courage and faith look boldly for God’s solutions, he can act to do great and unexpected things for and with a nation.
This is a lean time. The rice is almost gone, the summer barely harvest hasn’t begun. Money is worth 5 times less than it was 2 years ago. The government is losing the confidence of many people. Japan with its growing power, its insatiable lust for land, and its history of imperialistic aggression, lies to the south and east. Communist China, Russia and Communist North Korea, dedicated to the principle of world conquest by any means lie to the west and north. Sporatic clashes continue on the 38th parallel and Koreans, North and South, share the deep conviction that Korea must be unified. Our own great nation, primarily concerned about keeping world peace and stopping the advance of world communism, keeps a bored and discontented army marking time on Korean soil. And we have yet to learn that friendship, love, respect and the right to world leadership cannot be bought with money. These things are infinitely more costly.
The vital spot of a nation is its youth – especially its college youth. This student generation in Korea, as it faces a time of unprecedented confusion, insecurity, and instability, realizes deeply its responsibility for the future of the nation. Students, with no leaders whom they can respect and trust, look around them at the problems, strike out blindly, flailing the air with riots and demonstrations, hoping against hope that somehow their passionate concern and undirected zeal will stem the tide of defeat and national disintegration.
There are some thoughtful men and women, however, who are deeply searching for a solid place on which to stand and a solid foundation on which to begin building, brick by brick, a new nation. They have counted the cost. They are willing to sweat. They are willing even to die. It is to these men and women that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross and the resurrection, proclaimed with all of its vital relevance to life, has real meaning. Honest men and women of any nation understand when a forgiven sinner says that of all the problems of men and nations, sin – my sin, your sin, human sin is the greatest problem.
So the universities of Korea are open to the gospel. Korea needs on every campus a bold and unashamed, militant, gospel proclaiming student movement. Milk toast won’t do. Such movements are not born through human ingenuity, skill or organization, but by the Spirit of God, speaking and acting through His word.
It has been my privilege during the past 4 years to see the Spirit of God work mightily through the written Word, in answer to prayer, to raise up, for His own glory, a vital, alive, student movement on the University campuses in Kwangju.
God uses people – people like Chang Woo Lee, Han Ok and Choon Soon Kim, Chang Sun Chun, Chul Woo Lee, Soo Il Chung, Kwan Ok Kim, and Chong Hyuk Pae, and since their beginning, many others who have not been afraid to stick their necks out in obedience to the Word of God.
A lot has happened since Chang Woo Lee and I picked these 7 students from our English Bible classes and began praying with them, studying the Bible (in Korean) with them, loving them, seeking to bring them to know Jesus Christ – the personal meaning of his death and the power of his resurrection. The emphasis is no longer on English and English Bible.
The program in the Center is only a small part of the effort to reach the campus. The decisions concerning campus strategy of the University Bible Fellowship are no longer made by Change Woo Lee alone or by me, but by a Prayer Council of 26 members and a Senior Executive Council of 11 students. These students also assume responsibility for the 50 student-led on-Campus evangelistic Bible study groups involving over 600 students each week in the task of coming to know Jesus and make Him known.
Last March the students and a few adult friends of the U.B.F. pledged their prayer and financial support to send Han Ok Kim, one of our original 7 who graduated this year, to Cheju Island to be a “baby” missionary to the students of Cheju College. I visited her in May. She had begun much the same way we did – making broad contacts through English teaching and through spending much time on campus doing personal evangelism, but by concentrating on two or three, to establish them in the Word. Her 8’x 8’ room is impossible to use – as she has been doing – for a Student Center. Our U.B.F. Missions Committee is praying and planning for a summer work camp on Cheju to build a small room which she and the students can use. We are very grateful that, in spite of really hard times, students are meeting and even oversubscribing their pledges for this Cheju Island Mission.
Through the deep conviction and hard work of Kyung Ja Kim, a high school freshman, Bible study groups in one high school came into being. We seemed to have no money or time to put into high school work, but the Lord has pushed us into it. Young Kyue Ko felt the call to begin H.S. work and the council decided to hire him as a part-time worker paying him from Cheju Mission budget funds. He has a Masters degree from Chosun University and is a hard worker and a man of prayer. Three weeks ago, when the anti-government demonstrations were at white heat and the June sun was burning down, these high school girls sold “Ice Cakie” instead of demonstrating and made close to $20.00 for mission. They decided to give the money to the missionary from the Korean Church who is serving in Thailand.
Choon Soon Kim, the other “pioneer” who graduated this year, has dedicated her life to the Lord to do evangelist student work. She did an excellent job with the follow-up in Chun Buk University in Chunju after Chang Sun Chun and I spent a month there during winter vacation teaching English Bible and doing personal work. She has now been temporarily assigned by the Council to work in Chosun University in Kwangju, where she has already started new work in the Pharmacy College there. We are now prayerfully awaiting the opportunity to send her to another university in some other part of Korea to pioneer new work. She rides my bi-cycle very well.
When I left in early June, Chang Woo Lee assumed full responsibility for directing the University Bible Fellowship. I was extremely grateful for the deep sense of call which makes him willing to do this. He turned down the very good possibility of getting a scholarship for graduate study in the States in order to continue the development of a Korean Evangelical student movement. There are many problems which he must face. He needs much prayer support.
I plan to be studying during much of this furlough year – I hope, also, to have the opportunity to visit with many of you something during the year.
Korea needs on every campus a bold and unashamed, militant, gospel proclaiming student movement.
Why the emphasis on Korea? Doesn't Japan and the communist countries also need the gospel of Jesus Christ as well?
When I left in early June, Chang Woo Lee assumed full responsibility for directing the University Bible Fellowship.
Barry made the biggest mistake of letting the founder take full control for there was no one to keep him in check much less checks and balances.