Sunday, June 7, 2009

South Korea 9

June 5

I was not upset to leave Seoul. While I enjoyed my time there, it was too busy for me. The population of Seoul is so large, and there are always tons of people out and about. While I consider myself an extrovert, my limits were tested. When I would get back to my room at the ened of the day I would hardly speak to my roommate.

We were picked up by the Pastor of Mission and Music of Bupyeong Methodist Church and an intern pastor (Rev. Peter Lee and James Kim, respectively). Our first stop was to the foreign missionaries cemetery. There were so many people buried there from Ohio. One was born in Latty! The grave that stuck out to me most was the one that read, "The man who loved Korea more than Koreans did." Learning more about Korea, I find it amazing that 120 years ago missionaries started coming here and now the Korean church is sending out so many missionaries to other countries. The reason that the U.S. missionaries (not just U.S. I suppose, but all of them) wanted to be buried here was so that they could continue to pray for Korea. I wonder what they would think of the church now. Only 120 years has passed since the first missionary to Korea and now the number of Christians nearly matches that of religions as old as 4,000 years.

After leaving the cemetery we moved on to the museum of Korean Christianity. The only real thoughts I have are how much it reminded me of the Living Bible Museum in Mansfield, Ohio and how disturbed I was by the center of the museum. It requires a bit of explantion... There is a hollow column in the center of the museum that you can see into from each floor. From ther ground level you look up into the column. The floor beneath you is an animation of fire. Looking upwards you see a few figures and a cross, but you cannot see what the scene holds. From the second floor you can see a figure (someone young and modern) reaching out towards the cross which is still one floor above you. Finally, reaching the third floor, you see the entire picture. The people (three of them) seem to be soaring up towards the cross, away from the flames below them. It was a strange display, but it made much more sense knowing that the museum was funded and is mantained by a full gospel church.

We then moved on to Bupyeong Methodist Church. On the way, Rev. Lee told us that our accomodations would be a bit less than a hotel. We didn't think much of it. Though the drive between the museum and the church was short, i still managed to doze off. I woke up to Rev. Lee saying, "Don't worry about your bags. We will take care of them." As I stepped off of the bus, I was handed a rose and greeted by a line of people smiling, waving, and saying hello. What an amazing greeting.

I was (and still am) amazed by the scale of this church. At first I was apprehensive. All of my feelings about mega-churches immediately appeared.

We dropped off our things in our rooms. Only then did we realize that Rev. Lee was kidding. The floors are headed (as if we would need it), there is high speed internet in each room, coffee is free (as much as you can drink), electricity conversion is provided, and everything else is merely a phone call away. For our enjoyment there is a rooftop rose garden. It was created simply for the enjoyment of guests.

We learned on the tour of the church that the reason they have the facilities for guest is because of a vision had by a church member. This person person saw a ministry that teaches leadership and evangelism while folks learn about Korean Christianity and hospitality. The vision is now a reality.

On the tour and hearing Senior pastor Hong Eun-Pa speak about his church, all I can thinka bout is vision. Not only was vision at the center of the building the church (like the vision of yellow stone that was imported from Egypt), but the central vision of honest evangelism is at the center of this church now.

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