Article: The Korean Prayer Mission 2015
An Article reflecting on the recent LEAF Korean Prayer Mission 2015:
by LEAF Administrator: Brian Edgeley
As I share about the LEAF Korean Prayer Mission 2015 I simply must write a little about the interesting history of the Christian Church in South Korea which forms the basis upon which many Korean’s are returning to the UK to give thanks.
Just over 150 years ago Welshman, Robert Jermain Thomas an Evangelical Christian serving with the London Missionary Society set sail for China as a missionary. Whilst there he began to develop a deep sense of calling the the Korean people whose borders were closed to foreigner because of a deep fear within the government towards foreign influence destabilizing the country's heritage. However Thomas managed a short mission into Korea and laid the seeds of the gospel - in Chinese, which became his greatest legacy and the foundation upon which God used to build His church in Korea. Thomas was martyred in 1866 and it is said he called upon his killers to take his bible crying out in Korean “Jesus!, Jesus!”.
The House with Strange Wallpaper?
In the early 1900’s a house in that region of Korea was found to have its walls decorated with the pages of a Chinese Bible and it was assumed that they came from one of bibles that were distributed by Thomas during his short time in Korea. People came from all over to read the words on the wallpaper. Eventually, a church was established in the area. Wherever those pages came from the seeds of the Gospel had found fertile soil upon which the rain of heaven fell and the Christian church in Korea began to flourish. The Korean’s have a saying: Strategically planted seeds of blessing bring forth a harvest of ‘blessing flowers’.
Ten Thousand Reason's and counting...
In 1992 in Seoul a Presbyterian Pastor, Nam Soo Choi (pictured left) planted a church with just a handful of believers. However he called those believers to pray and they met regularly at various times of the day and night calling upon God to move. They met early in the morning before services and prayed that God would pour out His Spirit and that the preached Word would again be blessed with signs following. When Pastor Nam Soo Choi went to preach half of the congregation would stay praying in the back room for salvation to visit the house. And it did! Today the church is one of the largest Evangelical Presbyterian churches in South Korea, with a membership of around 10,000 people. It has many congregations and pastors plus it supports more than 30 missionaries worldwide. Its driving passion is prayer and world mission.
This Heritage is the Foundation:
It is this foundation - this heritage, upon which Pastor Choi and his church, in common with many churches in Korea, feel such a deep sense of gratitude to the early missionaries. These people of faith left the shores of the UK for Korea, many of whom laid down their life for the Gospel to sow the seeds of the Gospel among the Korean people. This has created within many Korean Christians a strong desire to make a pilgrimage to the UK and especially to Wales. Their desire is to see the Church restored to a growing faith and a new generation of believers who are passionate to see God move in this nation.
They Came To Pray and To Bless:
The LEAF New Forest Korean Prayer Mission 2015 was one of 30 locations throughout the UK to host around a dozen Korean Christians. They came with 3 fold purpose:
The New Forest team headed up by Pastor Choi Soo Young (pictured left), stayed in the beautiful St Michael's and All Angels Church, Lyndhurst. They slept in the church and planned a rota to pray throughout the night from Midnight until 5AM. The church is the parish church of Lyndhurst so it was also a strategically important place to pray.
Pastor Choi Soo Young is 64 years old and had served as a pastor is one of the Seoul congregations for 30 years, however in recent years he spends much of his time serving as a missionary to the French speaking people of Gabon in Equatorial Africa. Having been asked last year if he wanted to join one of the teams to England he had several reservations having recently lost his wife and feeling that his calling was elsewhere. However during a time of prayer with Senior Pastor Nam Soo Choi early one morning he felt God impress upon him the strategic importance of the UK in God’s plan for blessing Europe.
As LEAF is an alliance of churches throughout the New Forest trips were planned to 7 other churches in different areas of the forest including: Ashley, Lymington, New Milton, Ringwood, Tiptoe, the Waterside and Winsor. However God moves in mysterious ways and several other churches were visited as a consequence to the visit.
As the mission was being planned 3 Prayer Celebration evenings were arranged at Ashley Baptist, The Jireh Centre Tiptoe and the final evening of Celebration and testimony at St Michael's and All Angels church Lyndhurst. On the Thursday evenings prayer Celebration at Ashely around 200 people came together to pray. David and Alison John had asked the other church leaders in New Milton if they would like to come, with church members, to the meeting, and if they would also like some of the team to go and pray at their churches later in the evening. This invitation was taken up by New Milton Evangelical Free Church, New Life Church, New Milton Baptist Church, and also (outside) St Peter's Church in Ashley. These were times of great blessing, with words and pictures shared for the churches.That night several local pastors arrived at Lyndhurst to join the team as they prayed through the night for the churches of the New Forest, LEAF Affiliates and The Filling Station based in Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst.
Korean Hands on UK Pulpits:
During the visit several local newspapers took up the story of the Korean Christians who came to bless UK Pulpits. One press release was entitled provocatively ‘Korean Hands on UK Pulpits!’ said “Pastor Soo Young Choi Elder statesman of the New Forest team shared how the Korean church has a passion for prayer which often leads them to tears for the situations they intercede for... Pastor Choi personally laid hands on the pulpits in St Michael's and All Angels Lyndhurst, where they are staying ... and also at Emery Down, Winsor Mission, Ashley Baptist and New Milton Evangelical Church” (picture inset).
All-in-all the mission was a surprise success surpassing that which it was originally planned for as people caught the vision for prayer and blessing by seeing the passion for prayer that our brothers and sister from Korea imbued.
The final Celebration Evening of Prayer and Praise in Lyndhurst was tremendous. With about 100 people present and having sung songs of worship, we listened to Pastor Choi encourage a closer relationship with God. Then something dynamic happened: there was a pause whilst the service leaders sought direction in the meeting; then God’s Spirit moved and brought many to their knees in confession and commitment. This time was powerful yet humbling and the central aisle of St Michael’s and All Angels church was strewn with leaders and congregation alike bowing before God in adoration and praise. During that time a word was brought for us to dig trenches; this was taken in the moment to mean ‘to unstop the wells the enemy had filled with earth and boulders’ as well as digging trenches. Interestingly, many have spoken of a definite personal touch where God ‘unclogged’ their lives (wells) with things that the devil had used to shut them down i.e. discouragements and disillusionment. However some have also written afterwards of the trenches mentioned in 2 Kings 3:16 where God calls upon the Elisha to dig trenches in the valley so that when the ‘blessing’ comes, which will not be seen by human eyes, the trenches will be filled. Strangely these filled trenches are for our benefit and for our enemy’s defeat.
On a similar note: during the final night of prayer in St Michael’s church (which was after the previously mentioned meeting) one of the non-English speaking Korean ladies on the team had a picture as she prayed for the south coast of England. She saw England shaped like a boot with the New Forest area nestled in the centre of the soft soul of the foot. As the breath of God was stirring up a mighty offshore wave of blessing to break upon our shores, she saw that the soft soul of the foot was actually covered in hard skin. She took a knife, which became a chiropodists scalpel, and cut away the hard skin to reveal the soft and supple skin beneath. God’s blessing then broke like a mighty tsunami upon the soft south coast shores and continue up through the country anointing all God’s people with His blessing.
Well, that was the Korean Prayer Mission 2015 - what of 2016? Well now there’s a thought!
LEAF is the ‘Local Evangelical Alliance in the New Forest’ whose aim is to:
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