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 experience too. They are a real Christian family. During the past years, the Lord has miraculously preserved Mrs. Lee’s life. She faced death at the hands of the Japanese, and because she boldly testified to the fact that she was a Christian, three times the communists almost killed her. Now, in addition to rearing three children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord,” she is attending Night Seminary and will graduate next year.
I came to Seoul on April 9, for two months of language school. I had thought as far as language study is concerned, it would be profitable to live with a Korean family, but the possibility of being able to do so seemed remote. I put the whole matter in the Lord’s Hands and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so clearly His directing of a situation. He opened the door of the Lee home without my doing more than writing a letter of inquiry to some friends here in Seoul. Here, I’ve not only been able to hear the language spoken every day, and to learn something about Korean customs, but I’ve also had the privilege of getting to know some very fine Christian people.
In addition to going to Language School, I’ve been teaching an English Bible class one hour a week. Let me share with you the rather unusual way in which the Lord opened his particular door of opportunity. One Saturday night I was invited out to dinner with some Korean friends. As we were eating, we heard the roar of a mob of people outside, so we rushed to the window to see what was happening. That morning the President’s leading opponent in the election had dropped dead from a heart attack. The people in the street, his supporters, were carrying his body and a huge picture of him, and were planning to attack the President’s home, directly across the street from the home in which I was visiting. The police stopped the riot by first shooting into the air, then into the crowd. We had ring-side seats for the whole affair – in fact, we were almost in the ring. As soon as things quieted down, I started home. My host and hostess had planned to take me home, but the police had blocked off the area and were allowing no one to come in; so had they taken me home, they couldn’t have gotten back. As I walked down the street, little groups of people were standing with their hands in the air being searched by police. I finally got to a place where traffic was moving and got on the first street-car that came along. As I looked around to try to figure out where the street-car was, and where it was going, the man standing next to me asked in English if he could help me. He turned out to be a Christian newspaper reporter and he took me right to my door. On the way home, he asked me to teach the Bible class. The students seem to be really interested in learning the Bible as well as in learning English. Isn’t it amazing the way the Lord can turn a bad situation into a real opportunity for service?
Your prayers for these students – as well as for all of our work here is appreciated. If the work here is to be fruitful, your prayers are necessary.
Sincerely, Sara Barry

Rec’d at Nashville, Tenn., June 8, 1956

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