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Mission Reports by Sarah Barry 1956-1974

Sarah Barry, co-founder and current director of UBF (“University Bible Fellowship”), meanwhile called “Reverend Mother Barry” by its members (and obviously enjoying it), was an American missionary of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the 1950s. Being such she was obliged to send regular reports to her mother organization. She did this for about 20 years, though it can be observed, how she dissociated more and more from her own church and built up her own organization together with Samuel Lee, until she finally completely detached from the church. Here is the complete list of her “MCD letters,” which were archived by the Presbyterian Church, but so far unknown to UBF members:

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Similar to the subsequent self representations of the UBF, Sarah Barry’s reports are also very one-sided, self glorifying, glossed over, lacking any self-criticism, and characterized by concealment or falsification of essential backgrounds, events and developments in the history of the …

Mission Report by Sarah Barry February 1956

Mission Report by Sarah Barry February 1956Presbyterian Mission
Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo
Kwangju, Korea
February 5, 1956
Dear Friends: With an ocean of new experiences crammed into the last four months, it is certainly hard to pick and choose among them for the contents of one’s first MCD [Missionary Correspondence Department] letter. This country is so exactly opposite from America, that I wonder if the time will ever come when there will cease to be new sights at which to marvel. These folk sorta cooperate with nature – they live close to the soil and blend their houses into the landscape (no tall sky-scrapers). They sit on the floor; and mothers carry babies on their backs and everything else on their heads. I could ramble a long time like this, but let me illustrate by telling you what I did this morning. At 9:20 I bundled into a jeep with Miss Root and we bumped our way out to a country village. It was my first “close-up” of a village and I was along just to look. The village ch…

Mission Report by Sarah Barry May 1956

(Address: Presbyterian Mission
 Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo, Kwangju, Korea)Seoul, Korea
May 28, 1956(See address across
 page of letter)
Dear Friends: Have you ever tried seaweed soup for breakfast? Except for the fact it looks and tastes like seaweed, it’s really very good. I’ve been with the Lees, a Korean Family, for nearly two months now, and it has been a worth wile experience in every way (the seaweed soup, even, probably has vitamins in it). Sitting here on the floor, I can hear all kinds of interesting sounds drifting in from the out- side. From the house next door, I can hear the rythmic, drum-like beat of ironing sticks as some one does the family ironing in the old, old Korean way. In the street outside, I can hear the click-clack sound of the candy man as he advertizes his wares by opening and shutting the big shears with which he cuts the candy. Being able to “hear” Korea helps one understand her people a little better. Being a part of the Lee Family has been a fine experie…

Mission Report by Sarah Barry November 1956

Presbyterian Mission
Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo
Kwangju, Korea
November 1, 1956
Dear Friends: The other day, Marjorie Linton (Mrs. Dwight) and I got on our bicycles, picked a road, and headed for the outskirts of Kwangju City. We had our pockets full of tracts, and when we stopped at every hill to push the bicycles up, we found opportunities to talk to all kind of people and to give the tracts to those who promised to read them. Our road ended at one of the many orphanages in the city, so we decided to go in and “sight-see”. As we stopped outside, and the children crowded around, I was surprised to hear one speak very politely and call my name. There, wearing a bright smile, was a little girl whom I had gotten to know during the months she spent in the Graham Memorial T.B. Hospital. Although she’ll have to be careful for a long time, she looked as happy and healthy as any of the other children. A lot of children come into the T.B. hospital from the orphanage of the city. Many have T.B. …

Mission Report by Sarah Barry December 1957

Presbyterian Mission
Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo
Kwangju, Korea
December 9, 1957
Dear Friends: This morning, I got on my bicycle and rode out to visit two churches. I’d like to tell you about the churches because one represents the fruits of the Gospel as it has been preached here in Korea during these 70 years, and the other church represents the vast, unreached multitude of church-less villages still hidden in the crevices of the mountains. After crossing town and heading into the country, I rode along a narrow wagon road, trying to hit lightly the furrows that drained the road. Although I’ve traveled the road to Too Am Dong many times, I could still hear the familiar “Meguk Salam po ah” (Look at the American person!) floating along behind me. Five months ago, when I first started going to Too Am, we met in an open-air bamboo floored public house. The old men of the village sat around in one end of the “building” talking and smoking their long-stemmed pipes while the evangelist taught …

Mission Report by Sarah Barry May 1958

Presbyterian Mission, Yang Nim Dong
Kwangju, Chulla Namdo, Korea
May 30, 1958
Dear Friends, Last week I visited a little village called Ko San for the second time. Some months ago we went and rented a room in a heathen home and spent five days visiting non-Christian homes. A visit might go something like this: “Silliae hopsida” (Pardon me for disturbing you). “We are Jesus-believing people who have found that Jesus brings real joy and peace in this troubled world. We would like to share this good news with you.” The rest of the visit depends on the response. If they are genuinely interested, we might be invited to come sit on the porch and talk in more detail – or they might usher us out as politely (and sometimes, the rarely, as impolitely) as possible. We always include and invitation to come to church to learn more and leave a tract. At that time a handful of grandmothers were meeting in one small room to sing and pray. Ee An Soonie, the Bible Woman, commuted from a nearby village (3…

Mission Report by Sarah Barry November 1960

Presbyterian Mission
Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo
Kwangju, Korea
November 9, 1960
Dear Friends: If you have been wondering during the past couple of years if somehow your name had been dropped (or not added) to my missionary letter list, let me assure you, it hasn’t been dropped and it has been added. I hate to admit it, but this is the first letter I’ve written since 1958 (MCD letter, that is). Last year, while on furlough, it was good to see many of you again and meet many of you for the first time. Some of you who will be receiving this letter I was not able to see on this furlough. I’m really sorry about that. A year sounds long, but really it is awfully short. For that matter, four years is short too, so perhaps before very long I’ll be able to see you all. I arrived back in Korea on August 17, but it was the 27th before I actually got down to Kwangju. I waited in Seoul for my baggage to arrive and visited those days with Mrs. O’Lee and her family. (Some of you know here as Mrs. Oh, …