[신앙·삶 그리고 선교 (1) 에쉬나워 선교사] “주님 앞에 설 때까지 한국서 사역”

The Faith, Life, and Mission (1) of a Missionary – Eshenaur
“I will minister in Korea until I stand before the Lord ”

(Article about Dr. Eshenaur: Kukmin Ilbo ( Feb. 27, 2007), page 28)
Note: Ruth has omitted the Korean language in order to shorten this article. If you’d like the original Korean article, please let me know: reshenaur@hotmail.com

Christian Mission expresses one’s Love and Passion for God. Whether other people recognize you or not, a person of God is thankful for the opportunity that he/she is given to dedicate their life for the sake of spreading of Gospel. We wish to appeal to our readers concerning the urgent and pertinent needs of mission work by introducing individuals who have given their whole lives for the purpose of Mission – those who have dedicated themselves as Evangelical Scholars, Mission oriented Ministers, or Missionaries in the fields. “There is no such thing as ‘retirement’ in my book. I will minister in Korea until the time I stand before the Lord,” Dr. Eshenaur said in an interview with a Kukmin Ilbo reporter. Ruth Eshenaur is a 70-year-old single missionary who does not want to leave this land for she is now “married” to Korea. In the dead of winter, I could feel the cold air in her unheated office located in Shinae-Ri of Yangpyung-Kun in Gyung-Ki County. I was able to sense her frugality that had, it seems, become almost natural to her; and I noticed that she was wearing layers of thin clothes to keep warm, but the heater in her office was not turned on in order to save money on the electric bill. When she first accepted the job offer to work in Korea in 1983, she said that she never imagined she would stay in Korea for such a long period of time. “Like a kaleidoscopic memory, I remember when I was teaching missionary candidates and rising up future leaders for the Asian Churches. Since then, this country has changed so much so that I can hardly recognize its appearance.” In 1975, after she had decided to become a missionary, she left her home in America to work in a foreign land. Her perfectionistic character and focus on reaching the lost played a big part in making such bold decision. In her homeland, she had majored in English literature and Sociology at Marshall University, Bible and Theology at

Detroit Bible College, and obtained a doctorate in Journalism at Southern Illinois University. Then, she went to Kenya in Africa to serve as a missionary there. She worked as a teacher and curriculum developer at Daystar Communications, taught at the Africa Inland Church’s (AIC) Scott Theological Seminary, and served AIC as an editor preparing Christian Education materials in English and in the Swahili language for 3 years. After that, she was invited by Dr. Noh Bong-Rin, who was a missionary and theologian, to join him in his ministry in Taiwan with the Asia Theological Association (ATA). She served there for 3 years by publishing books and magazines for the churches and Bible schools in Asia as well as leading evangelistic outreaches for children, university students, and women. Being unable to obtain a residence visa in Taiwan because ATA could not get government recognition, she was invited to teach as a professor at the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission (ACTS) in Korea. For 10 years, she taught subjects such as Cross-Cultural Communications, Research Methods, Counseling, Christian Education, and English Conversation at ACTS. Then beginning in 1994 she trained missionary candidates at the Missionary Training Institute in Seoul and taught English as a Second Language at Chong-Shin University. She also taught at Antioch College and Seminary and at Seoul National University. She explained that life in Korea has not been easy, but she has been able to persevere here with a joyful heart. When she was asked what has been the most challenging experience of all, she said that she regretted some of the foolish things she has done, but declined to speak further, not wanting to reveal her inner wounds. Recently, this silver haired missionary has undertaken a new challenge. She decided to help fulfill the vision of her former student, Mr. Se-Jin In (Joseph), who had served as a missionary for 8 years in a language institute in Mongolia. There he learned about the plight of Korean Missionary Kids who have inadequate opportunities for education in English. She explained, “It’s quite a pity that Korean churches send out many missionaries but they don’t care enough for missionary’s children who lack schooling or are being sent to schools to the West far from their families to obtain education in English.” She has donated much of her personal finances to establish All Nations Christian Academy (ANCA) to give Christian education in English for the MKs and local Koreans. Offering programs for preschool through middle school and adults. ANCA is located near the town of Shinae-Ri (about an hour’s drive from Seoul). This new academy has a basic organizational framework and classrooms, but it still has projects that need to be accomplished, such as, building a dormitory facility and many other unfinished tasks. However, even though the founders have encountered many difficulties, she expressed that she has no fear of failing, saying “It is inevitable that all Christians face hardships and difficulties at times. While we are meditating on the words of the Bible and share a

personal relationship with Lord, we can often experience momentary obstacles. Christians dream big dreams to achieve big successes. However, in order to achieve a success, we should remember God’s promises when we are confronted with unexpected difficulties. When she was asked if there have been any difficulties because she’s a woman, she humbly responded, “On the one hand, I have much more flexibility because I don’t have a husband with whom I have to make decisions. But on the other hand, I can be easily misunderstood by others because of my lack of experience as a homemaker.” She also added that she has remained single because she has not yet met a man who shares her concern for mission work. “But maybe I’ve not met a partner because God wants me to stay single. If I return to the United States, maybe I wouldn’t enjoy life there as much as I enjoy it here in Korea because I feel more needed here.” Dr. Eshenaur shared that she gets her strength from contemplating the exemplary life of the Apostle Paul who sacrificed everything for the sake of the Gospel. It seems clear that Korea has become her second home. 양평=함태경 기자 zhuanjia@kmib.co.kr Note: Ruth Eshenaur has corrected factual errors that appeared in this article because of misunderstandings in translation from English to Korean and has added some additional observations. In April 2007 some 25 children in ANCA’s Leadership School prayed to receive Christ as their Savior and 130 attended the Easter Festival on April 7th. In July 130 attended our VBS which met in government facilities free of charge (Normally they rent for $10,000 a day) because of the government’s eagerness to provide English education. Many children also received Christ as their Savior. A group of young volunteer teachers from American helped conduct the VBS. A sister ministry, All Nations Community Church, which is led by Joseph’s brother, Rev. In You-Jin, shares ANCA’s facilities. It is also winning local non-Christians to Christ. Please pray for us—especially that God will provide committed evangelical native English teachers from America and dormitories for students and teachers. I’m also supporting 3 mission schools in N.E. India which have about 400 students. These schools are evangelizing unreached people. (Below) Children at Ruth school in Arunachal Pradesh near Bhutan and China assemble for morning prayer. Militant Hindus are establishing many schools in tribal areas to convert the animists (spirit worshippers) to Hinduism and are attacking Christians and churches.