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 miles) to lead Sunday School and to visit the few Christian inquirers, encouraging them and instructing them in the faith. We had some heart-warming experiences while we were there. One old grandmother gave me something that I plan to put in my trunk and bring back to America with me a year from now. It was the cheap pottery bowl which she had used for years in the ancient spirit worship rite of “water dipping”. She gave up her spirit worship and her practice of offering sacrifices to ancestors and made a clean break with her old way of life by giving up smoking and drinking – a very significant evidence in Korean society that one means business. But she didn’t just give up. She started witnessing to others and memorizing hymns and scripture, and her joy and assurance was something to behold.
This time we rejoice to see that Grandmother Ko was just as busy learning and just as enthusiastic as before. Ee An Soonie had moved to the village and was spending time visiting the many new people who were coming out. There were nearly 200 people at the afternoon service. An old grandfather, complete with an ancient Confucian topknot, a stove-pipe hat, and a long-stemmed pipe, had invited the church to use his home – a big two-room house with a wide porch. He, himself, was diligently studying the Bible. He asked me to explain to him what “Jehovah” meant.
The Lord is doing great things in the country. The doors are wide open right now. There are thousands of villages like Ko San, just waiting for a worker to come bringing the good news. How long the doors will be open, no one knows. When the present government changes, there may be a change – when the rising nationalism that everyone is talking about hits the grass-roots of Korea, there may be a change – but now “a wide door for effective work has opened!!”
I want to express my thanks to you, both churches and individuals, who have sent used Christmas cards, for use in Sunday Schools, and clothes and material for relief distribution. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to write all of you personally, but please accept my gratitude and know that the things which you send are being used, with the Lord’s help, to the best of my ability.
   Sara Barry

Received at Nashville, Tennessee, June 13, 1958
Address: Miss Sara Barry (as indicated top of page)
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