Sarah Barry’s secret mission reports prior to UBF’s split from the church– part 18
A medical student led the meeting. It was a small group of about 15 university students – evidently a leaders’ caucus. They were talking about campus revolution, about transformation of national culture and world revolution. The leader was saying, “This is worth dying for... we must be prepared to sacrifice even our lives, if necessary...”
Extreme language? Yes – it frightens us because we know that from such meetings have come riots, bloodshed, destruction of property, etc. Not only in America has violence erupted on college campuses, but also on campuses in Japan, South America, Europe – all over the world.
First Student Revolution: In Korea, 1959, the first violent revolution of this era which actually succeeded in overthrowing the established government occurred. For a year following this student revolution the nation drifted toward anarchy and was fast becoming ripe for a communist take-over. The military coup in 1960 restored order to society and when General Park, who led the coup, was elected president in 1962, limited democracy was established.
Boiling Pot in the North: Today, the mounting threat from the north has required tightened security. Every able-bodied man from high school age up engages in some kind of military training every week. Curfew and other security measures limit personal freedom to some extent. Especially tight control is exercised over college students. There are no demonstrations in the streets. Academic freedom is limited.
Economic Progress: There has been, however, remarkable economic progress in the last decade. Recently a new highway connecting Seoul and Pusan opened, and with it, new possibilities for development of rural Korea. Seoul is rapidly growing skyward as tall buildings rise and elevated freeways move traffic from one area of the city to another. Over 5 million people live in the city and the streets are crowded with people day and night.
Student Revolutions – for Christ: In such a tightly controlled situation, how can the revolutionary meeting described in the first paragraph take place?
The place is an old, creaky, low-roofed house near the University campus. The University Bible Fellowship calls this house its Chong No Center. (There are 9 other such centers, rented meeting places, located near college campuses throughout Seoul and the nation.)
Campus revolution that begins with individuals transformed by the power of the gospel. Revolution, not by riots and bombs but by small groups of students meeting on campus to pray for their college and to study Bible with their non-Christian friends.
Transformation of national culture by laymen in every field, each seeking to apply the teachings of the Bible to his own life and work.
World revolution through sending out lay missionaries – doctors, nurses, scientists who go abroad for study and work. Already 4 lay missionary nurses are in West Germany. This month they will have a conference in W. Germany for about 30 new Christians, nurses won through personal evangelism and small group Bible study.
How do I, a missionary, fit into this?
As this student movement has grown, I have found my role more nebulous. The UBF is guided by a Board made up of graduates – mostly young doctors, school teachers and their wives. Mr. C.W. Lee directs the national work. Working with him is a staff of 13 young graduates and myself. During the last week in April we had a national staff workshop. We spent a week together in study and prayer and conversation about the ministry which God has given us.
Financial support for the staff comes from student and graduate contributions.
The main work of the staff is Bible teaching and counselling. I share in this work with the rest of the staff. Some of them have grown to be far better Bible teachers than I.
My presence in the movement is a reminder of our world mission responsibility. Since being has become more important than doing (maybe that’s always the way it is and I’ve just gotten around to realizing it), I find myself in need of prayer as never before. I have never been more aware of my own spiritual inadequacy and need for the grace of the Lord in my life day by day.
As this student movement has grown, I have found my role more nebulous.
This is the time where Lee has taken full control of UBF hence why Barry has become a co-founder