Sarah Barry’s secret mission reports prior to UBF’s split from the church– part 7
As I sit here in my upstairs apartment in the heart of Kwangju City, I hear the noises of the city swirling around me – the clack, clack of the candy vendor, the drum beat of the cosmetic salesman, the sound of children’s voices playing in the street, the jingle of bells on the small horse carts as they go by and occasionally the sound of an automobile or bus. From the house next door comes the sound of bare feet pounding a wooden floor as a group of young men meet there at dawn and dusk each day to learn the art of Japanese boxing. Our family, Mrs. Koh (my Korean assistant), her young sister, Young Ja, and Choon gil, the orphan boy who lives with us, have adjusted quite well in a week’s time to city life. Why and how we got here is what I want to share with you in this letter.
For some time we here in Kwangju have felt a tremendous burden for the thousands of students here in our city. This last year, particularly, full of revolutions and demonstrations led by students has made us more than ever aware of the need to reach students for Jesus Christ. Our Mission is looking forward eagerly to the arrival this fall of the Dave Rosses, who are coming out to do student work and will possibly be assigned to Kwangju. It will be a year or two, however, before they finish language study (if one ever finishes) and are able to get fully into the work. In the meantime, the Lord has led us in a most unusual way to plunge in. While looking for a suitable Korean house down-town, we discovered an attractive, new, well-located, two-story building for sale or rent. We immediately realized the possibilities of a Student Center located in the heart of the city. Since there are no dormitories on the campuses of the two large universities, most of the students live in rented rooms here in the downtown section of the city. After prayer and thought, we rented the building for a year, converted the upstairs (which was built to be used as a pool hall) into an apartment and the lower floor into a Student Center. Since there is no church in this immediate area of the city, First Presbyterian Church is working with us to start a new church, which will meet in the Center on Sundays. Yesterday we had our first meeting with High School students and today a number of High School and College students came out to our first church service.
Our aim is to reach non-Christian Students for Christ and to help Christian students grow in their knowledge of Him. Right now we are using English to draw students and it is an effective drawing card! But even in the short time I have been here, I realize that many who come ostensibly to learn English are actually searching for something for deeper. I am teaching four classes of English Bible but the interesting thing is that most of the students prefer their English Bible in Korean! (with just a little English tossed in for seasoning!) Just as we were preparing to start the Christian Student Center, the Lord sent to work with us a man ably equipped to work with students. Mr. Pang Up Chun is a College and Seminary graduate and a native of Kwangju. He was quite active in Christian Student work while he was a student here in our Provential University.
My reason for writing this letter now is to ask you to pray with us in this new venture of faith. Pray that student who come out of curiosity or to learn English or to try to find a way to get to America may continue coming until they meet personally the Lord Jesus Christ. We need your prayers, too, as we move from our sheltered compound to the heart of the city to live.
There are many facets of the work that I haven’t mentioned and I haven’t said anything at all about my country itineration work – these things will have to wait until the next letter, I guess. Thank you for the letters and cards and for the boxes of used clothes and used Christmas cards which you have been sending.
Your co-laborer in Christ, Sara Barry
Rec’d at Nashville, Tennessee, May 1, 1961 Address: Miss Sara Barry (as above indicated) Air mail folders may be purchased at the P.O. for 10¢
Commentary: "In the meantime, the Lord has led us in a most unusual way to plunge in." This quote is quite a conundrum that I can't wrap my head around it.
Right now we are using English to draw students and it is an effective drawing card! Even before UBF was officially created it is already using cultic elements. The gospel of Jesus Christ should be drawing students not English classes.
Note how Barry never says that God called her to evangelize college students but rather it is assumed. Just because something is assumed doesn't mean that it's true