November 05, 2018
Reflections of Spiritual Pilgrimage to Korea…
It has been a little over a week since I returned with others from the Spiritual Pilgrimage to Korea. I have slowly returned to my normal sleep pattern and am now able to share some brief reflections of my experiences in South Korea. My experiences are still unfolding and being processed; however, I want to share a few genuine aspects of what I saw, felt and experienced. I saw and experienced a culture that is seriously committed to demonstrating their love of God through servant leadership. I marveled at the consistent focus on corporate worship and prayer beginning every morning at 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. I experienced overwhelmingly consistent hospitality and sacrificial service through the members and staff of Bupyeong Methodist Church. I experienced a devoutly humble people who truly believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. I learned of the sheer joy and sacrifices of the missionaries that came to Korea and introduced Jesus Christ to those yearning for salvation. My understanding and appreciation of the Korean culture was enlightened through lectures from Senior Pastor Rev. Hong Eun-Pa and his wife; through our guide Pastor James and visits to the General Board of Global Ministries Asia Office, Seoul (the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea) Chungdong First Methodist Church, Kipun Methodist Church, Pyeongtaek, Grace Methodist Church, Incheon, Songdo New Town, Songdo Central Park, The Christian Missions Memorial of Korea, The Memorial Hall for Incheon Landing Operation, Seoul Tower, Gyungbok Place, Unification Observatory, and the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery remembering Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, Mary Fletcher Benton Scranton, Homer B. Hulbert and other well-known foreign missionaries.
Some major highlights of the pilgrimage were learning about the Korean Economy, the Revival and Growth of the Korean Methodist Church, the history and organization of the Bupyeong Church. I learned (as of 2017) that there are 13 Annual conferences and 13 Bishops in the Korean Methodist Church, 237 Districts, 6,721 Churches, 1,394,492 members, 11,674 ministers, 3 Theological Seminaries, 665 Facilities for Social Welfare and 1,258 Missionaries in 73 Countries. There are over 27,736 Korean Missionaries serving in 170 Countries.
Our host church, Bupyeong Methodist Church was founded in 1940. It has had 6 pastors called to a senior minister position. There church leadership is made up of 10 Ordained Pastors, 6 Not Ordained Pastors, 4 Missionaries, 38 Elders, 677 Exhorters, 1,305 Deacons and 21 paid staff. Some of the main factors of the growth of Bupyeong Methodist Church are: The strong presence and works of the Holy Spirit, change in church culture, developing a powerful and continuous discipleship, lay speaking training and education, change to the active working church to include supporting churches in need, supporting church planting and building extension, foreign mission works, social service and relief.
Finally, I believe the Korean Methodist Church continues to grow because they believe in and consistently practice spiritual disciplines. They believe in the power of prayer, fasting and Scripture. Zechariah 4:6 declares: “So, He answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit; says the Lord of hosts.” Let us commit to trust more in the power of prayer and in the Holy Spirit.
Kamsahamnida (Thank you)
Your District Superintendent
Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.