Mission Report by Sarah Barry December 1957
Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo
December 9, 1957
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 the children Bible stories and songs in the other end. After a few noisy weeks, permission was obtained to move into the back room of an empty cotton warehouse. During a period of a little over five months, some 85 people have registered decisions to become Christians. Where God’s Spirit is actively at work, Satan is usually busy – and Too Am is no exception. There are some teen-age boys in the village who oppose the church and are trying every way they can to break up the meetings. They make all kinds of noise during the services – they throw rocks on the roof; sing and whistle and the other night, they locked a howling dog up in the adjoining room. In an effort to discredit the church with the building owners, they have broken window panes, and roof-tiles, eaten the turnips stored in the yard and pulled the bolls off the cotton in the nearby field. In spite of this opposition – and perhaps because of it, Too Am Church is growing and the new believers are becoming grounded in their faith. I parked my bicycle in the yard and went in to sit on the women’s side of the drafty floor of the warehouse. After the service, the evangelist announced that the owner of the warehouse had asked us to leave – because of the damage being done to the building by the ggangpays (vandals). There was no note of discouragement or dispair in the evangelist’s voice when he made the announcement – he spoke as one who knows he’s on the winning side. It will take more than the lack of building to defeat the church of Christ, for He has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against a church built on the solid rock of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The other church I visited was on the other side of town, located inside the compound of a large cloth factory. The factory is owned by a Presbyterian elder, who not only built the church (2nd largest in the city) but in addition has a full-time woman evangelist working among the some 1,000 girls who live in the factory dormitory. There are also a hospital, a kindergarten, a swimming pool, a reduced rate store and other benefits made available to the nearly 3,000 people employed by the factory. The Factory Church serves not only the factory employees, but also reaches out into the surrounding community with the Gospel message. There were nearly 400 children in Sunday School this morning. Even though they are all taught in the big tatami floored sanctuary, the 25 group teachers maintained good order and seemed to hold the attention of their pupils. From the time they marched in, each child holding his shoe bag tightly in his hand, until they sang the “Good-bye” song and marched out, the order of service – story, prayers, songs, group study, etc. – was directed by piano music. In the basement of the church, nearly 100 new pupils were meeting with two teachers. These pupils learn Sunday School songs and proper behavior and after four consecutive Sundays of study, they will graduate to the regular Sunday School. The effect of the Gospel, not only upon human life, but upon society can be seen in this elder and in his factory.
I came back home with a feeling of thanksgiving and with a new sense of challenge; Thanksgiving to God for churches like the Factory Church, with a fine building, a well-run Sunday School, and an effective teaching and preaching ministry, and challenge to get out into the country areas where unreached villages like Too Am are numberless.
I hadn’t intended to make this epistle so long, but since I’ve started on this page, I’ll just continue. I want to thank you folks who have been sending me used Christmas cards for use in Sunday School work. I have requested for them all the time from country and city churches. They are used as rewards for learning memory verses or bringing children to Sunday School or sometimes just as Christmas or birthday presents for the Sunday School pupils. I am also grateful for the relief clothes that many have sent. This time or year, especially, there are so many people who are cold. Just last week I sent some of the warm clothes that some of you have sent to Deacon Han’s family. Deacon Han has a withered hand and his wife is paralyzed on one side. Because he cant’t properly take care of their little five-year-old girl, they put her in an orphanage, but she missed her mother and father and ran away. After over a week of fanatic searching, they found her and took her home. They are trying to keep her for a while longer, anyway. One just has to do something. Patients in the Graham Hospital are still using the material and yarn that many of you have sent. I especially appreciate the sweaters which the MSCW girls have been collecting and sending each year. The Koreans stay warm by dressing in layers and those used sweaters are just right for providing extra layers. Your prayers are most important of all.
Happy New Year to you all!
Received at Nashville, Tennessee, December 26, 1957
Address: Miss Sara Barry, Presbyterian Mission, Yang Nim Dong, Chulla Namdo, Kwangju, Korea
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