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Dearly Missed Pastor Han Kyung-Chik

Until now, God has led my life in many generous ways, but among them, I am
most thankful to God for allowing me to meet and closely serve Pastor Han Kyung-Chik.
I was in my early 30s when I was appointed to the Daegu Youngnak Presbyterian Church
as the sole pastor. Afterwards at the General Assembly, I came to closely serve Pastor
Han Kyung-Chik for the rest of my life.
Someone once said, “If looking at some person makes one readily believe in Jesus,
that said person is truly a believer of Jesus,” and Pastor Han Kyung-Chik clearly
represents that person. I believe that the best way to lead a Christian life is to model one‟s
life after Pastor Han Kyung-Chik‟s; that is how much he resembles Jesus Christ.
Paul the Apostle said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” 1
Corinthians 11:1
. Proper religious life cannot be learned through knowledge. It is not
something that is learned though constant discipline or penance either. It is learned
through personally meeting and modeling one‟s life after a person who resembles Jesus.
I have stood by Pastor Han‟s side for many decades, and in whatever he did,
whenever and wherever, I have witnessed him live in God. Through him, I was able to
get a glimpse of how Jesus led his own life in God. His pure and perpetually sincere
warmth and humility so deeply moved me that I realized the extent of Jesus‟s own
warmth and humility. And I have come to see Jesus‟s real love and service through his
life of love and dedication to mankind.
Pastor Han always preached, “A pastor must not lie; he must be a man of

consistency, between his speech and his actions 言行一致, between his thoughts and his

doings 信行一致, inside and out 表裏一體. A pastor must be honest in serving God, in

treating a person, in disciplining oneself, and in handling worldly possessions.” I could

see that he lived the life that he preached.
Having personally witnessed Pastor Han‟s life, I was even ashamed because I felt
that my life‟s directions and goals were not clear. Through him, I realized my own
insincerity and incompetence because his every action and every word was representative

of the Golden Rule 金科玉條.

Pastor Han was a man whose life became a model for all Christians alike. In that
regard, meeting Pastor Han was God‟s blessing among blessings. Even if imitating his
every action in life is not possible, I believe that having a strong determination to model
one‟s life after his will lead to surprising changes. The more one tries to model their life
after Pastor Han‟s, the closer one becomes to Jesus.
Pastor Han has already passed away. But remembering and still yearning to
follow in his footsteps is our true blessing. So I am very thankful that a transcript of
Pastor Han‟s recorded oral autobiography is being published today.
If you were to read this as if you were actually meeting him, with the same
feelings and intentions, I am sure that the benefits that come with personally encountering
Pastor Han will follow as well. I hope that this book will not only be loved by those of
our time but also by generations to follow, and I hope that all readers will live out the
teachings of Pastor Han.
The German philosopher Kant once said, “The only objects of practical reason are
good and evil.” If the Christians of Korea all modeled our lives after Pastor Han
Kyung-Chik‟s, Korea will become the happiest nation of all.

April 2010
Senior Pastor at Noryangjin Christian Assembly
In-Shik Lim

While Starting the Recording

Today is July 29, 1981 and I am at Vancouver, Canada. I am recording this today
at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Moon-Chang Choi and Soon-Hwa (my sole
granddaughter) with the hopes that I can relay my thanks towards God‟s grace that is
locked deep in my heart to future generations.

Grace is different for every person. Some people are moved by God‟s grace when
they are transformed into a new person after accepting Jesus into their hearts, while other
people are moved when their health is restored by God‟s grace.
I will be 80 years old this year, and if I were to look back on my life and summarize the
one heartrending phrase, it would be, “God, thank you,” and “God, I am honored.” Time
and time again, I can repeat my innocent confession, “Thank you,” and it would still not
suffice. God‟s grace is too big, too wide, too high, too deep and too great.
The fact is that God chose a sinner like me to love and to bring to salvation when
the time came. And he appointed me, an unqualified follower, with the honorific of
“Great Educator”. All this is grace. The Lord shed blood on the cross for my sins and
forgave my sins. This is grace.
The Holy Spirit is always by my side to comfort me and to give me strength when
I am weak, to raise me up when I fall down, and to help me with his infinite abilities. All
this is grace.
I was originally born in body so weak that to live to this age of 80 would have
been impossible without his grace. All this is to be grateful for.

The scripture Psalm 116:12 often enters my mind.

“How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?”
This is how I feel. The members of Youngnak Church may remember, but before
the expansion of our church, there was a cross behind the pulpit, and above the cross, this
scripture was inscribed.
And below the cross, John 3:16 was inscribed, “For God so loved the world that
he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life.”
These two Bible verses have left the deepest impressions on me. I have always
thought about how big God‟s grace has been and how I would repay this grace.
Insignificant as it is, I confess to God that that is the only thing on my mind to this day.
Of course, it is impossible to repay all of God‟s gracious acts. Looking back, I haven‟t
done much to repay this. But if I have done anything for my church and for His gospel, I
confess that it was with these feelings that I have done these deeds. And that is why I
constantly memorize the Bible verse Psalm 103:2. “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and
forget not all his benefits.”
However, there were so many instances in which I forgot this. Nevertheless, it is
true that even in these darkest times, I strived to praise the Lord and to never forget his
When I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night, the verse that I
always meditate alone in my heart is Thessalonians I 5:16-18.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is
God‟s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
God called us in Christ Jesus so that we would always rejoice, pray without
ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances in our lives.
Hence, a life of constant rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks is God‟s will; it is
life that is very pleasing in God‟s eyes.
And this is why I always remember the well-known verse Psalm 100:4.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him
and praise his name.”
Whenever I enter our Youngnak Church, I offer a prayer of thanks.
“Thank you for building this church. Thank you for allowing us to step into this
church‟s yard. Thank you for blessing this church. Thank you for preaching the gospel
throughout our nation and blessing our nation through this church.”
I wasn‟t able to live my entire life like the Psalm 100:4 scripture reads, but I have
always endeavored to do so.
There is a saying that “the young live in the future, the middle-aged life in the
present and the old live in the past.” As I get older, I really do think more about the past.
And whenever I remember that my days on this Earth are limited, I often look back on
the past. As I wonder what one word I would use to describe my past life, the word
“gratitude” pops up in my head.
Nowadays, I have more time for self-reflection, and as I look to the past, I would
like to take this time to profess my gratefulness before God and humankind. While many
people write autobiographies after retiring, I have no such intentions. I always feel that
my existence is not significant enough to write an autobiography. I always declined when
newspapers requested specifics about my past so that they could publish an article about
me. I always declined because I believed that my past was not special enough to disclose
and publicize to the world. But I came to a realization at this place that there is one thing
that I would like to leave behind in this world before God and before mankind. It is that I
am truly grateful for God‟s grace. There is nothing else to say.
There are many things that I have forgotten due to old age, but I have attempted to
look back on my life from a perspective filled with gratitude. Apologetically enough, I
have forgotten most things that I am indebted to God and to mankind, but I have started
this recording with the hopes that I can leave behind a testimony of thanks before I forget
it all.

Before I turn to my past to say my thanks, there is a verse in a hymn that I

constantly sing in my heart that I would like to introduce.
“O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the glories of my
God and King, the triumphs of his grace” (Wesley 1739).
It is a hymn that everybody knows, but if I were to sum up my life in one verse of
a hymn, it would be this verse. Or if you were to ask if there was another hymn, I can
only reply with this verse.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was
lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see” (Newton 1772).
The more I think about how God‟s grace has saved a sinner like me, the more
amazed I am. I can‟t express how grateful I am for finding my once lost life and sight.

Kyung-Chik Han
Chapter One: I thank God for my existence

01 I am thankful to my parents who gave me life

My parents are the first things that come to my mind as I would look back on my
life with the intention of professing my gratefulness. Of course, my first thanks is to God
for being my Lord, but that is God‟s free-given grace, so what more is there to say.
I am truly grateful to God for letting me be born under two people like my parents.
Our family was not rich, but as landowning farmers, food was never scarce. My father‟s

name was Do 道 for road Poong 豊 for abundance. From what I hear, when my father was 12

years old, his father passed away, leaving all his inheritance to my father‟s 15 year old
brother. But my uncle was still immature at that time, and he began to lead a life of
debauchery. And within a couple of years, he had already gambled and drank his fortune
away. When I was younger, my uncle came to visit often, and even then, he was still
drunk. It might have been due to his influence, but from a young age, I believed that a
person should not be inebriated.
After my father‟s economic demise, my father went to work and run errands for
my first cousin once removed, who was the wealthiest of our relatives. Of course, he
didn‟t receive any proper education and had to be satisfied with learning to write the
three letters of his name on his own. It must have remained his lifelong regret, for he
always said, “I wish I had been able to study like other people.” But in the midst of such
poverty and destitute, he worked hard enough so that by the time I was born, he was a
land-owning farmer, successful enough for others to be envious of him. My father was so
hard-working that he was already working in the field before any of his children would
wake up, and he would come home when it was dark. Even when it was raining, he
would ceaselessly work; he would weave straw sandals and bags or do other things.
On market days, my father would trek approximately 5 miles to Sukcheuneup
肅川燻邑7 where he would sell wood, rice and other various things; with the money he

made, he would often buy pencils and notebooks and sometimes even taffy. Because of
this, by the time he was heading back home, I would walk down to the valley on the other
side of the mountain and wait for my father, hoping that he had bought some taffy. The
father in my memories is always a man of virtue. Not only was he a man of character, but
his voice was also gentle. And even his face reflected his benevolence. Unlike his brother,
my father did not drink. Nor did he know how to reprimand his children; this might have
been because he felt sympathy for us since we lost our mother at a young age.
There was only one time that my father ever reprimanded me. When I was
younger, there was a large outbreak of measles, and my two younger siblings suffered
badly from it. My father brewed a tonic for my siblings from the medicine he bought, but
I carelessly knocked it over. My father then angrily scolded me. I have no other memory
of being scolded or being spanked besides this one. Perhaps because of this, I still believe
that a kind loving hand is the best way to raise children.

My mother was also a hard-working woman who was from the Lee 李8 family of

Chungju, from the village of Jasan Jaeil. Now times have changed, and people do not
make their own fabric even in the rural areas, but back then, industrious households
would plant their own cotton fields, pick their cotton, and gin the cotton into raw bales.
The bales would be spun down, starched and then woven in a loom. I can remember
going out to the fields with my mother to pick cotton as a young child and waking up in
the middle of the night to my mother spinning threads of cotton. But I do not remember
her face very well. She passed away when I was so young. There aren‟t any photographs
to remember her by either, considering how residents of rural villages didn‟t even know
they existed. No matter how hard I try, all I can remember is that she was a somewhat tall
woman who was very hard-working.
My mother passed away on January 14th (lunar calendar), when I was 7 years old.
That day, I was flying kites at the top of the mountain with the neighborhood kids when I
was told to run back home. But by the time I got home, my mother had already passed
away. I don‟t know what disease my mother ailed from, but from what I hear, I am
guessing that my mother‟s health, which wasn‟t very good to begin with, deteriorated
from all the fieldwork, housework and clothes making that she had to do. Losing both my
younger brothers at the same time must have taken its toll as well.
When I ran into the room, my father told me, “Run to your aunt‟s house, and let
them know what happened.” I turned around and tried to run to my aunt‟s house a few
blocks down, but I couldn‟t seem to find the house. Despite my young age, my mother‟s
death must have been a huge shock to me. After much effort, I finally found my aunt‟s
house that I so often trekked to, but when I went inside, I couldn‟t say anything. My aunt
must have had her suspicions because she quickly arose, took my hand and asked me,
“What happened to your mother?” as we headed towards my house. By the time we
arrived, our townspeople had already gathered around my house and were crying.
I was too young to remember everything that happened, but my mother‟s death
was my biggest source of shock and grief. My mother had raised me from birth without
wanting anything in return; no matter the circumstances, she had sacrificed everything
and had spared nothing for me. It saddens me that I couldn‟t repay her with anything for
the love she showed me.
For people to have living mothers that are able to hold their grandchildren and
receive their children‟s love and comfort, how happy they must be. There is nothing as
lamentable as not having any means to repay the love that you have received. I hope that
you take the time to comfort and to serve your parents while they are still alive. There is

an old saying, “老吾老以及人之老,” or, “Honor the elders in your house so that that

spirit might enter the hearts of the children next door.” It means that one should honor
other elders in the same spirit that one honors elders in their home. I once visited a
nursing home where someone brought food and said, “Today is my mother‟s birthday,
but she is in North Korea so I have decided to celebrate with all the mothers here at this
nursing home today.” I, too, often visit nursing homes and recall fond memories of my

Up to now, these are the memories of my mother and father that I vaguely
remember. Nowadays, people debate about whether or not nature or nurture plays a
greater influence on someone‟s character and personality, but I am just grateful that I was
born under my parents. It was God‟s grace that I was born from benevolent, innocent,
honest, hardworking parents.

02. I am thankful to God for providing me with my life partner

I am so thankful in life that I met my wife. I got married at a very young age. As I
stated earlier, my father had to support himself after he lost his parents and as a result, he
married very late. Back then, parents were in charge of marrying off their children at an
early age, but my father married very late because of his challenging circumstances. He
decided that he was at least going to marry off his children at an early age, and he took in
a daughter from the Kim family of the Butang village, about a mile north of our home, as
his daughter-in-law. At the time, I was 13 years old, and my wife was 16 years old. I
don‟t even remember what day I got married, but I remember that it was a very cold
winter day.
Following the traditions of back then, I rode a white horse to the Butang village,
where a large feast greeted me. Afterwards, I went to the frozen stream outside our
village with the neighborhood kids and fell through a thin patch of ice, soiling my new
silk pants.
This was how I started my marriage, foolish and not knowing any better, but God
blessed our family so that we served our Lord in harmony under one roof. This was all
possible through God‟s grace and His divine intervention, and for that, I am only grateful.

In retrospect, there are many things that I am thankful for during my marriage, but
I am especially thankful for my college years. For the first year in college, I lived in a
dormitory. However, the following year, I rented a room in a university-owned house
where our three family members lived together: my wife, my young daughter Soon-Hee
and me. Back in those days, we made a living out of 2 cents, which we used to buy a
month‟s worth of rice and wood. The first night, we had rice, kimchi and bean sprout
soup for dinner. It wasn‟t just that first night either; we ate bean sprout soup for almost
every meal. At that time, even sweet potatoes were rare, and so whenever we had them,
we celebrated as if we were hosting a huge feast.
In reality, bean sprouts were tasty, nutritional and inexpensive. Whenever I later
visited the soldiers at the battlefront, we would enjoy bean sprout soup together. And
every time, I would remember my college days and thank God for providing me with
such a nutritional meal. I encourage people to eat a lot of bean sprouts, considering their
nutritional value.
When I look back on those days, I feel as if I owe my wife an apology. Whenever
my wife was in the room alone, she would take off her dress and sit in her underwear, and
one day, I rebuked her for doing so. But it turned out that she only had one dress and was
trying to preserve it.
And in those days, we did not own a clock. We didn‟t own a wall clock or a table
clock, not to mention a wristwatch. Despite this, my wife always woke up early to make
me breakfast and to make sure that I wasn‟t late for school. It turns out that my wife

would look across the street towards Missionary W.M. Baird‟s 裵緯良 house, where his

maid would turn on the lights and start working around 5 in the morning, and use it as a
reference for when she should prepare breakfast. This was the lifestyle of poor college
students. But even in these settings, I am thankful that my wife and I were always happy
and thankful while studying, doing household work, and participating in church and
school-related activities. In reality, a person does not need much to live. And true
happiness does not reside in the material world, but rather in a higher order of faith, love,
devotion and service among other things. My wife and I thank God whenever we
remember our time in college.
Afterwards, I immigrated to the United States by myself to continue my studies,
but before I entered graduate school, I became sick with tuberculosis and was
hospitalized in the Albuquerque Rehabilitation Center. I was worried about how I would
inform my family about my situation. For a while, I didn‟t tell anyone anything because I
couldn‟t bear to tell my wife, who was taking care of my 60 something year old father
and my young daughter, that I was sick. However, rumors of my illness must have
traveled to my hometown. As rumors traveled that I was lying on my deathbed and that I
was even already dead, my elderly father and wife must have been devastated. The only
thing left for me to do was to tell my father and wife the truth.
At that time, my father was still farming and my wife had given birth to a boy a
couple months after I entered the United States. My happiness was short-lived, however,
because less than a year after his birth, my son fell sick with meningitis. With my son on
her back, my wife walked 5 miles across the mountain to the nearest hospital in the town
of Sookchun. But the doctor diagnosed my son with an illness too serious for him to treat
and recommended that my son be treated at a large hospital in Pyongyang. My wife lifted
my son again onto her back and took a train to Pyongyang, but the doctor there said that
the disease had already progressed too far and was untreatable.
Devastated, my wife walked back to the train station. By the time she arrived at
the station, it was already dark out and the trains were already discontinued, so she had to
spend the night at the station. During this ordeal, the baby had already passed away. With
the dead baby on her back and tears streaming down her face, my wife took the morning

train and got off at Uhpa 漁波展驛12 train stop. She then walked another 3 miles back

home. As a lone young woman without her husband, she had to go through this misery
alone. How could she have expressed her grief, her loneliness and her shame? When I
later heard the story, I didn‟t know how to comfort her; all I felt was shame, frustration
and pity. For a long time afterwards, during moments of silence, my wife would recollect
her bitter grief of that time. I do not know how thankful I am that God gave her strength
and comfort when there was no one for her to lean on.

After my wife suffered such great sorrow, God gave my wife an opportunity to
study. Of the several female missionaries who were working out of Pyongyang, there was

a woman named A.S. Doriss 都信 Ε 女 k. She had come to Korea alone to help and to deliver

God‟s gospel to Korean women, especially disadvantaged women. She found Soong-Hae

Women‟s Academy 崇惠女學敎 for women who had no opportunities for education,

women who were kicked out by their husbands, women who were separated from their
husbands and other women who were disadvantaged for various reasons. These women,
of course, could not afford to pay tuition, so A.S. Doriss built a small factory next to the
school for women to work in. They would learn how to make embroideries and sew so
that they could support themselves through the factory. There still are many young
women living in these adverse circumstances nowadays, but back then, there were a lot
more. Doriss told me this much later, but the grant that was supposed to support her work
was so meager that with the help of her friends, she had to run a fundraiser to cover the
school‟s and the factory‟s operating costs. The factory produced napkins, tablecloths and
other household items, which were then sold to missionaries.
My wife also studied at this school. Thankfully enough, our young daughter was
able to live in the dorm while she studied and worked. And whenever there wasn‟t
enough work in the factory, Reverend W.N. Blair‟s 邦偉良 wife, E.A. Blair 邦珍珠, would

take her to her house for odd chores. Mrs. Blair was a very generous, humble and
kindhearted woman that took pity on other people‟s plight. My wife earned a living by
going to their home and helping Mrs. Blair with various household chores, including
And while I was studying in the U.S., my wife was studying and raising our
young daughter in Korea. This is also God‟s grace. How can a pastor serve a church, or
God‟s body, by himself? In reality, the pastor‟s wife does more than half the work in a
ministry. God has blessed our family so that my wife and I were able to prepare for
serving a church together, in harmony. Whenever I think back upon these things, first, I
am thankful for God‟s grace, and second, I am grateful to the missionaries. Missionaries
in Korea not only preached the gospel, but they also educated people and took a step
further to help the disadvantaged. How can I possibly write down all their contributions
towards Korean society; moreover, how can I possibly express my gratitude towards
them? As Christians, we must never forget their evangelism, education and service, and
we must strive to incorporate these three things into our daily lives.
How busy and stressful my wife‟s life must have been: to try to study and raise a
child at the same time. No matter how tiring and difficult her life was, my wife only
depended on God and dreamed of a better future. But then to hear rumors that her
husband was suffering from a serious illness and had possibly died in a far away land,
how shocked she must have been! And so my father and my wife suffered more than
bedridden me.
Pain isn‟t something that you suffer alone. If something pains your heart, then
those who are closest to you also feel that pain. But thankfully enough, in times like those,
God comforts us and helps us withstand the pain through the Holy Spirit. And if you are
able to endure the pain through faith alone, everything is brought whole again, and
through the pain, He helps you achieve true joy.
Likewise, my wife was able to raise a fine family through her patience and love in
faith. I sincerely thank God for my wife.

03. I am thankful to God for providing me with great parents and siblings
I remember it being about a year after my mother passed away; another mother
came into our home. My father raised us by himself for about a year, but with the busy
fieldwork, he couldn‟t continue on alone. But I don‟t remember there being any conflicts
with my new mother. But I do clearly remember her having a way with words; in the
evenings, all the neighborhood kids would crowd into our small room to listen to her
colorful tales. Her tales were so eloquent and she was so gracious that she made all the
neighborhood kids jealous.
Usually, there are many bizarre stories floating around about conflicts between
stepmothers and children from first marriages. Even in our Han family, there is a
legendary story passed down about the “flower bud Han family” and the “cotton Han
family”. It is a story about how one of our ancestors lost his first wife in a tragedy and
took on a second wife. Our ancestor already had one son from his first marriage, but
together, the new wife gave birth to another son. In the winter, they would dress both
sons in the same cotton clothes, but oddly enough, the son from the first marriage was
always cold. Thinking something was wrong, the father tore open the clothes of the son
from the first marriage and found that it was stuffed with flower buds. The new wife had
dressed this son in clothes that were stuffed with the cotton-like byproduct produced by
the flower. And inside the clothes of their second son, there was real cotton. And to this
day, there is the “flower bud Han” genealogy living in one village and the “cotton Han”
genealogy living in another. I am a descendant from the “flower bud Han” family.
I often read stories of how stepmothers abuse their stepchildren in newspapers,
and I am always grateful to God. My stepmother loved us the same way she loved her
own children. Truthfully, I only vaguely remember the love that my birth mother showed
me, but I can never forget the love that my stepmother showed me; and for sending me
such mother, I thank God.
Shortly after she moved into our house, my stepmother gave birth to a son and a
daughter, and that son is my only younger brother, Pastor Seung-Chik Han. About a year
after I finished my studies in the US, my father passed away. Pastor Seung-Chik Han was
about 10 or 12 years old. Thankfully though, my brother graduated from Shinseoung

Middle School in Sunchun 宣川懿, which was erected by missionaries, and attended

medical school in Manchu Shimkyeong to become a doctor. But after our independence,
he migrated down south and became a pastor by God‟s providence. He found the Third
Church in Inchun and the Joonggokdong Church in Seoul, but in 1981, he moved to
Rockford, Illinois, where he is currently a pastor at the Rockford Presbyterian Church.
When I visited, my heart swelled at the thought of how much God had blessed our
My older sister, who is two years older than me, got married and lived in
Manchuria, but while I was in America, we stopped keeping in touch. After Korea was
liberated, I heard that she passed away in Manchuria. However, her son Young-Ohk was
able to move down to the South and find work at a orphanage and at an insurance
company. Now, he is living in New York with his wife, and they are devoted to serving
God by devoting their lives to the New York Presbyterian Church of Korean Americans.
Looking back our family, my sister‟s son is an elder at his church; my brother and
I are both pastors; my brother‟s oldest son Sae-Won is an associate pastor at the Korean
Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles; my son Hae-Won is also a pastor at the First
Church in Urbana, Illinois; Soon-Hee‟s husband Pastor Young-Hun Lee, my son-in-law,
served as a professor at the Soongsil University‟s School of Presbyterian Theology for a
long time and is now their President. I cannot express how thankful I am whenever I
think of how my family members, while unworthy servants of God, all do God‟s work in
their churches.

04. I am thankful to God for being born in the farmlands

The exact date that I was born on is 1902 壬寅籿, The Year of the Black Water

Tiger, on the 29th day of the 12th month using a lunar calendar. In terms of the Gregorian
calendar, this date is actually January 27th, 1903. But on my birth certificate, my birthday
is written as December 29th, 1902 without any mention that this is using the lunar
calendar. There is about a month difference, but I don‟t really mind.
My name as a young boy was “Chang-Soo”. Of course, my birth certificate reads

my current name Kyung (景 for light) Chik (職 for superiority), with Chik being in the

names of our family members for generations. But I didn‟t understand why the
townspeople gave a weak child like me the nickname Chang-Soo, which means
“longevity”. Later, when my father explained the origin of my name, I finally understood
its significance.
My father had a dream when he briefly fell asleep while my mother was in labor
on a cold winter night. In the dream, my mother had given birth to a baby, but on closer
inspection, the baby wasn‟t a baby boy but a baby tiger. My father thought, “Why this
isn‟t a baby but a cub,” and started to pet the cub. The cub was surprisingly docile, and as
my father said, “For a tiger, this cub is really tame,” he awoke from his dream. While
thinking about the dream, he decided to name me Chang-Soo, with the hopes that I would
lead a long life like the Korean metaphor, “the longevity of a tiger”. My father, with high
hopes, called me by Chang-Soo, but being the weak child that I was, I was never able to
live up to my namesake. But for giving me life, and especially for raising me in the rural
farmlands, I am grateful to God.
My hometown is a village called Jajock or Saetmal in Gongduk, Pyeongwon. It
can be located if you were to walk 26 miles into Pyeongyang to the Uhpa train station
and then another 2.6 miles northeast.
There are about 20 houses in Ganri that are comprised of Han family members,
another 100 houses in Jangjaeri about 2 miles away from Ganli, and approximately
another 50 houses in Ilsansolri about 1.5 miles away from Jangjaeri. I am not really sure
how the Han clan came to settle in these areas, but according to the tales the elders told
when I was a little kid, the story went something like this:
“Our ancestors originally settled in Seoul, but one of them, who was a
government official, ended up as an ambassador in China. When he was coming back
from China, he fell ill near Jangjaeri and passed away without ever reaching Seoul. So his
family members buried him in the plains of Jangjaeri, where his eldest son decided to
settle near his father‟s burial ground. After many generations, it so happened that the
number of Han family members had proliferated and settled near Jangjaeri, Ilsansolri and
even the little village of Saetmal where I was born. Back then, Saetmal was the boondock
of the boondocks. Despite this, I am always thankful that I was born there.
I sometimes imagine what my life would have been like if I had been born in a
big city like Seoul or Pyeongyang, and then I consider myself lucky that I was born in a
small rural village comprised of 20-30 families.
I prefer the simple and honest rural lifestyle of waking up early in the morning,
working in the fields, eating dinner and going to bed over the bustling city life corrupted
by sin and evil. There were no fights either, considering that our neighbors were all living
in similar situations.
I would start off my mornings by watching the morning sun rise in the garden,
while in the evenings, I would rush home to the sun setting behind the mountains.
When I would walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would follow the
round moon and the innumerate twinkling stars would comfort me.
There were a lot of flowers in the countryside too. In the spring, azaleas would
color the entire mountain red. I remember walking up the mountain, Okryubong, behind
our house and picking flowers for my mother. I thank God for guiding my life so that I
was born and raised in a beautiful rural village. Someone once said, “A city is made by
man, but the countryside is made by God.” I am thankful to have been raised in God‟s
garden, and when I think of it now, it has been all possible because of God‟s grace.

05. I am thankful to God for sending us missionaries

As I was growing up in the simple but beautiful countryside, Korea‟s darkest
history was being written. Korean politics had become corrupted beyond corruption, and
despite our national leaders‟ attempts at reform, our nation‟s downfall could not be
stopped. In 1894 and again in 1904, Korea became the fighting arena for the
Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War respectively.
And through the humiliation of the Japan-Korea Protectorate Treaty of 1910,
Korea became stripped of its diplomatic sovereignty. Starting in 1910, Korea became a
protectorate of Japan, and the Korean patriots who couldn‟t endure the Japanese
oppression became political asylums of foreign countries, while those who stayed behind
became victims of torture. But God heard our nation‟s cries and constructed plans for our
God provided for the youth of Korea through the martyred missionary R.J.
Thomas who settled near Datong River and Scottish missionaries Reverend J. Ross and J.
MacIntyre in Manchuria who translated and delivered His message. In 1884, He sent
missionary Allen from the North Presbyterian Church in the US, and then on Easter
morning in 1885, He sent missionaries H.G. Underwood 元杜跦尤 18 and H.G.

Appenzeller 亞扁 薛羅完. And in 1890, He guided Reverend S.A. Moffet 馬布足三 T 悅18

onto Korean soil.

Through different denominations, God sent many missionaries to comfort, give
hope and preach the gospel of life and light to the weary and tear-stricken citizens of
Korea. The heartbroken and frustrated patriots gained hope and courage through the
gospel, and the disillusioned youth found optimism in their newly lit futures. And this
was how Christianity shined the light of truth and love during our nation‟s darkest nights.
And in 1907, the Pyongyang Great Revival spread the gospel to every corner of
Korea. Everywhere the Gospel went, a new church arose, a school was built and rural
movements took place.
Thus, not only did the Christian movement spread hope and light to those lost
souls in despair, but it also paved the road for the introduction of Western education,
culture and ideas as well as the revival of Korean culture.
Korea‟s written culture began to flourish when the Bible and hymns were
translated in Hangul, Korea‟s long neglected alphabet. Christianity also liberated women
so that they received the same education as men and were able to finally participate in the
church and in society. And so whenever I think of how much the missionary movement
contributed to Korean society, culture and economy, I first thank God and pay homage to
the missionaries.

06. I am thankful to God for allowing my spirituality to grow at Jajock

Around the time I was born, a small rural church was built in our town as a result
of the patience and efforts of missionaries. The church was called Jajock Church, and one
of the most famous pioneer missionaries, Pastor Samuel Austin Moffet, traveled deep
into the countryside to build it himself. We called him Pastor Ma; he came to Korea in
1890 at the age of 26 as a missionary, and in 1893, he moved to Pyongyang where he
traveled and built churches all across the Pyeongan Provinces. His son, Professor S.H.

Moffet 馬三汽樂18 or 馬布足三 T 樂

18, was a professor at the Presbyterian Theological College
until he recently retired; I hear that he is currently a professor of missions at the Princeton

Theological Seminary. Pastor Ma‟s other son, Dr. H.F. Moffet 馬布和悅, served as the

superintendant of Dongsan Hospital in Taegu while doing great things for medical
The first person to accept the gospel was probably my older cousin, Pastor Han
Byung-Chik. He was an erudite scholar of the Chinese language, but after Pastor Ma
converted him to Christianity, he studied theology and was part the 2nd graduating class

of Pyongyang Theological Seminary. His ministry was originally in Youngheung 永興籀,

Hamkyungdo until he moved to serve at Sasan Church in Sasan, Pyeongwongun. Around

the time I was in in middle school, he moved back home to retire and shortly passed
Of the original members of Jajock Church, one is Mr. See-Hyun Lee, the
grandfather of Elder Chang-Gun Lee at Youngnak Church; Mr. Guk-Chan Kim, the
father of Pastor Jong-Sup Kim at Youngnak Church; Congressman Hee-Sup Chung;
Pastor Hock-Gun Chung, the father of the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and
the father of the already deceased Pastor Tae-Jun Lee.
By the grace of God, I was able to attend church from a very young age, learn
hymns and listen to God‟s words. The very first bible verse that I learned was John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I learned this verse because it was written in big letters on my uncle‟s front door. I
can‟t remember exactly, but I think this verse was widely distributed during the “1
Million Salvation Movement” that took place after the 1907 Pyongyang Great Revival
Movement. Because I was just learning to read, I struggled to read and memorize this
verse. I still believe that writing this verse in big letters on the streets is a great
evangelical tool.

I remember there being about 40-50 adults and 40-50 children at Jajock Church
back then. At first, there were very few pastors. We used to call, what is now known as
jundosas, “Josa”. The josa would have to travel between many churches, so he would
come preach only about once a month; on other Sundays, Elders or “Youngsoos 領袖”

would preach and even lead our weekday services. Youngsoos were seminary students
who had yet to choose a denomination and helped around the church.
When I was younger, the Josa that would come to our church once a month was
Josa Yong-Jin Woo, who later became a pastor. Elder Hock-Gun Chung became a pastor
as well, but he also took care of four other churches besides Jajock Church. And so for
the Sunday day services where neither of these two leaders was present, Pastor Hock-Gun
Chung‟s younger brother, Elder Hock-Min Chung, would lead our church. And my
cousin, Youngsoo Sung-Jae Han, would lead our Sunday evening services and our
weekday services. Youngsoo Sung-Jae Han farmed a lot and also had a large guest room,
so whenever there were church guests, they would stay at his house. Youngsoo Sung-Jae
Han knew how to serve his church and was an invariably treasured member of the
Besides him, there were many other Youngsoos that were dedicated to the church.
There was one in particular, Youngsoo Guk-Chan Kim, who did his best to serve God
even in the middle of a busy harvest. Despite the fact that Jajock Church was a small
rural church, we have produced 9 pastors and many of this country‟s faithful workers.
The older I get, the more I realize that no matter how small a church may be, God
will truly bless his faithful followers by using them for bigger and greater things out in
Apparently, when I was growing up, the pastor that was newly assigned to the
district that Jajock Church was in was Pastor Wi-Ryang Bang (Korean adaptation of
William Newton Blair). Pastor Bang would travel around the churches in our district
during the fall and spring, and he would teach and baptize the members of the
congregation. At that time, it was like a holiday at the church if a missionary came to
visit. From children to adults, everyone would wait for the missionary and when the
missionary was seen coming at the horizon, everyone would run to greet him.
Whenever Pastor Bang would come to the church as a young missionary, he
would eagerly teach us hymns. Because he wasn‟t familiar with Korean yet, his speech
was a bit hard to hear, but because of his eagerness, everyone was moved by his sermons
and his praises.
As I mentioned earlier, Pastor Hock-Gun Chung not only served Jajock Church,
but served a total of 4 churches including Uhpa Church, Sunghyun Church and Pihyun
Church that were about 2.5 miles apart. And so once a month, he would hold a combined
service at Sunghyun Church, which was located in the middle.
The Christmas service was combined as well, but on this day, we each brought
whatever rice or food we could to hold a feast. The children would also host a special
performance, and there were many other games and festivities. For example, there was a
game where we would try to pin a tail on a large drawn horse while we were blindfolded,
and that was the most fun. It was a great experience for our four fellowships in our town
to gather and spend our times together.
One year, I read a speech at our Christmas service. It was a speech written by our

schoolteacher, Mr. Kee-Joo Hong, titled, “맹한초시신사 猛悍草市辛巳.” I don‟t remember

what the speech was about, but I do remember that I was greeted by laughter and
And like this, God sent a missionary to erect a church in the middle of nowhere,
and allowed my childhood to be filled with memories of praising God amongst fellow
members of our congregation. I cannot possibly express all my gratitude for His grace.
Chapter 02: I thank God for my education

01 Jingwang Elementary School Matriculation

Pastor Ma not only erected a church in our village, but he also opened a Christian

school named Jin (眞22 for true) gwang (光22 for light) Elementary School. About a

mile north of Jajock Church, there is a small grove named “Saenaetgol”. Its address was
Gongdukkmyun Yangsoori and so we called it Yangsoori. This was where Pastor Ma
opened the school.
Bible and hymn studies, Korean history and many other contemporary courses
were taught at Jingwang Elementary School. From what I hear, there was a village school
that taught Chinese classics as well, but after much consideration, my father decided to
send me to Jingwang instead. I never saw my father going to church, but he did approve
of me believing in Jesus. My father probably decided to send me to Jingwang so that I
would learn contemporary studies. Whenever I think of my father‟s vision for me, I can
only thank God for his plans. Back then, the school system was similar to the American
school system, and so our elementary education was 8 years long. Shimsang Elementary

School 尋常小學校 was for 4 years and Shimsang Middle School 高等小學敎 was for 4 years,

so the standard student graduated in 8 years. But I skipped a couple grades and graduated
from Jingwang Elementary School in 6 years. That year, there were 3 people graduating:
Deacon Chang-Gun Lee‟s oldest brother Mr. Chang-Ho Lee, Mr. Seung-Do Kim and me.
Out of happiness that I was graduating at the top of our 3-person class, my father bought
rice cakes for everyone that day. There were only 30-40 students at Jingwang Elementary
School, but Mr. Kee-Joo Hong taught all the grades (1st through 8th) by himself. Mr.
Kee-Joo Hong studied at the Daesung School, established by Mr. Chung-Ho Ahn, and
later became the pastor of a Methodist church. Whenever I look back on those days, I
can‟t help but think that God built the church and the school for me. Nowadays, people
can attend school and church as long as they have the desire to, but back then, people
could not dream of attending these places without God‟s grace.

02 I am still thankful to Osan School

Around the time I graduated from Jingwang Elementary School, my father faced a
dilemma. At the time, our family could only afford to put food on the dinner table, and
sending me away for higher education was not an option. But my teacher, Mr. Kee-Joo
Hong, and Josa Yong-Jin Woo must have visited my father multiple times to try and
persuade him otherwise.
“Kyung-Chik is a smart student. You need to send him to middle school.”
Knowing that sending me off to school would place an additional financial burden
on him, my father still decided to send me to middle school. At the time, I didn‟t know
what it meant to have faith, but I still silently prayed to God, asking him to send me to
middle school. After it was decided that I was going to go to middle school, there was
another question of where I would go. Some people suggested that I attend Baejae School
in Seoul, others said Soongsil in Pyongyang, while there was another group that
suggested Osan School in Jungju. After much discussion between my father, Mr. Kee-Joo
Hong and Josa Yong-Jin Woo, they eventually agreed to send me to Osan School.
Osan School was more than 50 miles north from where I lived, but the famous
patriot Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee had found it. To pay for my middle school
education, my father sold the only cow we owned. Thankfully, Mr. Kee-Joo Hong
accompanied my fellow peer, Chang-Ho Lee, and me to Osan School.
I remember when I first saw Osan School. I took the train down to the Gobi stop
and walked about 2 miles along a beaten path to a large manor next to a small mountain.
This was the school building.
As soon as I arrived, I took the entrance exam, and around dinnertime, Mr.
Kee-Joo Hong let me know that I had done very well on the exam and had been admitted
to the school. He then asked if I wanted to take the 2nd-year exams on the following day.
“Doesn‟t the 2nd-year exam cover materials that are learned in your 1st-year here?
Do you think I can do well?”
“We can try. I talked to the teacher here and he agreed that you should take it as
After I took the 2nd-year exam the next day, my teacher let me know that I was
going to be enrolled in Grade 2. Back then, middle schools followed a 4-year curriculum,
and since I enrolled as a 2nd-year, I was able to graduate in 3 years.
I entered middle school without even knowing my ABCs, so English was very
difficult, but otherwise, it wasn‟t too difficult to keep up with the Grade 2 curriculum. I
still remember my first day of English. I only knew that the black ink signified letters,
and that day, we learned about kites. I didn‟t understand anything that day, but I did learn
one thing for sure:“How high is it?” in English. I didn‟t even know what it meant, but I
was able to memorize it. After sitting in class like that for 2 months, I was finally able to
keep up with the class material.
I enrolled in Osan School in the spring of 1916. It was a couple years after
Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee was freed from imprisonment following the 105 Persons
Incident. I can still see him walking towards the school from Yongdong where he lived,
with his white beard floating in the wind.
Osan School had a main campus in the center with all the classrooms and the
dormitories surrounding it. In the center of the garden, there was a small statue called

“Danshinkang 丹心崗”. With the exception of students who lived near the school,

everyone lived in the dormitories. There were 4 students in each room, one from each
grade, with the 4th year being the moderator. Under the moderator‟s watch, we repaired
and cleaned the room and even kept the fire going. The students were also in charge of

taking turns cleaning the classrooms and the playground. Meals were eaten at sagas 私家

(private residences) assigned by the school.

Osan School education was literally around the clock, 24 hours a day; we started
off the day at 6 o‟clock in the morning when the bells would ring. Without any
exceptions, everyone would wake up, make their beds and run to the field for morning
exercises with our physical education teacher. And then a 30-minute race to the
mountaintop would follow. All the teachers would participate as well. After the race, we
would clean up the surrounding scenery, wash up, eat breakfast and gather in the chapel
for morning prayers. Mr. Namkang or Mr. Man-Shik Cho would often lead these morning
prayers. After dinner, the bell would ring again, and we would have to go to our
individual rooms to review our day‟s studies. During this time, we weren‟t allowed to
wander around and had to study quietly in our rooms.
This isn‟t something I heard, but as a person who was educated at Osan School, I
believe that their education philosophy is as follows.
First, it was a patriotic education.
“You can‟t be successful alone. The whole nation has to prosper for you to be
successful. Without nation-states, man cannot live in this world. You must care for and
protect our nation.” Mr. Namkang, Mr. Man-Shik Cho and the other teachers made great
efforts to instill this patriotism in students.
Before we went to bed in the evening, we would always gather around the

Danshimkang: dan 丹25 for red, shim 心25 for heart, and kang 岡25 for river. We built

this “Hill of the Red Hearts” so that it was leveled a bit higher than the playground and
decorated it with flowers, trees and stones so that it formed a small but beautiful garden.
We would walk around the Danshimkang while singing a patriotic song.
Second, it was a Christian education.
For our nation‟s development, each and every student must become a good
student. We were taught to be noble and have pure lifestyles; since humans were weak
and fell prey to evil easily, in order to keep these qualities, we had to have faith in Jesus.
We had religious services every day. Mr. Namkang or our principal led these
services, and during these services, they would often pour out their patriotic zeal and
nationalistic views. Listening to their passionate sermons, we were sure of our role
models. They truly led pure, beautiful lives.
Nowadays, I believe public schools have homeroom announcements instead of
religious services, but if the school is a Christian school, I believe that this class time
should be cherished.
Third, it was an education founded on modern science and technology.
We learned about Confucius and Mencius, but more than anything, modern
disciplines of science and technology were stressed. They taught that our country could
never be successful if we were to fall behind in science and technology.
I can‟t imagine an education philosophy more important than these three. Is it not
important to grow up to be a person who is patriotic, a person who has faith in God and
leads a virtuous life, and a person who has kept up with modern science and technology
in order to create a modern civilization? It is God‟s grace that I was able to study under
great teachers with these foundations for three years.
But later in the colonial period, Japan‟s policies became more and more
interventionist that teachers like Mr. Man-Shik “Godang” Cho could no longer stay at our
school. And from then on, the spirit of Osan School began to wither away. People who
didn‟t know any better were glad that Osan School became Osan High School, but Osan
School‟s philosophy had already become corrupted. Afterwards, following our liberation
and our division, Osan School could not be rebuilt at the same location.
Osan School was later rebuilt in Bogwongdong, Seoul. This occurred after Mr.
Namkang had already passed away. It was a collective effort by alumni, but the one
person who contributed the most was Mr. Namkang‟s son-in-law Mr. Kee-Yong Joo. Dr.
Jin-Suk Cho, my fellow peer from Osan School and now Elder at Youngnak Church, and
I served as co-Chairs for the Restoration Board.
Whenever I see Osan Middle/High School and reflect upon the Chairmen‟s and
Board members‟ efforts as well the current teachers‟ and employees‟ dedication for the
school‟s restoration in Seoul, I am thankful.
This is something that I particularly wish and pray for, and it is that Mr.
Namkang‟s and Mr. Man-Shik Cho‟s patriotism and faith, along with the Osan
philosophy, is adopted into the education system of the current Osan School.
Once again, I am grateful to God for his benevolence, and I thank everyone who
has worked for Osan School of the past and for Osan School of today.

03 When I met my mentor, Mr. Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee

Whenever I think of Osan School, there are two people that I cannot forget. One
is Mr. Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee, the founder of Osan School, and the other is Mr.
Man-Shik Cho, the principal of Osan School when I was a student there. They were
educators that I truly admired and respected.
Mr. Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee was born in the poor rural area where Osan
School is currently located. Because his father passed away when he was young, Mr.
Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee was able to attend school for only 2 years. There was a
town called Nokchun near Jungju that had many ceramic factories, and Mr. Namkang
grew up running errands for one of the rich factory owners. He says that hewas a diligent
worker. During the day, he would run errands for the owner, while in the evening, he
would learn how to read and write from the owner‟s secretary on his free time. To learn
how to write, you need to practice, but paper was precious in those days, so he would
wear a large satchel while running errands and pick things up from the ground that could
be used as paper, such as cigarette wrappers. At night, he would practice writing on those
surfaces. By the age of 15, he had earned the trust of the owners, and he would personally
sell their brassware in rural areas. Afterwards, he borrowed money from wealthy families
and established a large business. He was successful in everything he did and by the time
he was 40, he already had substantial assets. At this time, Mr. Namkang says that he only
thought of working hard, making money and living happily.
But one day, a friend came over and said,
“A teacher named Mr. Dosan from the US has come to visit and is currently
giving a speech down by Moranbong. Would you like to go see him?”
And so the fateful meeting between Mr. Namkang and Mr. Dosan took place. To
summarize Mr. Chang-Ho “Dosan” Ahn‟s speech that day:
this is what we called Korea back then
“The Greater Korean Empire‟s destiny is starting to
look more bleak now than ever. If we continue on the way we are heading, I am
concerned about what the future holds for us. But we cannot be dismayed. In the midst of
all this, we must focus on two things. The first thing is to build many schools for
nurturing our country‟s talented individuals. The second is to build factories in order to
revolutionize our industries.”
After hearing these words, Mr. Namkang realized that he should build a school
with all the money he had earned up to then. And so he returned to his hometown Osan,
Jungju from Pyongyang, bought a village school and established Osan School. He built
an elementary school and a middle school.
After hearing that the Korean industry needed to be revived, be built a ceramics
factory in the suburbs of Pyongyang. He built the ceramics factory to prove that “we
could do it” after seeing ceramics from Japan and deeming that it was more useful than
brassware. After much effort, he was able to increase education and revive the Korean
industry by building factories. However, a couple years later, the Japan-Korean
Protectorate Treaty was signed, stripping all Korean government agencies of their power.
After hearing of this upheaval of Korean policies by the Japanese government, Mr.
Namkang actually fell ill. But God sent an envoy to the dejected Mr. Namkang so that he
was able to stand up again.
“Tonight, the famous Pastor Suk-Jin Han is coming from Seoul to deliver a
sermon at Sanjungjae Church Sanjunghyun Church. It seems as if a lot of people are going. Are
you interested in going too?”
God‟s messenger must have been a believer, but for the first time in his life, Mr.
Namkang went to church to hear something new. The sermon that day went along the
lines of this.
“Our country is facing a great challenge today. The Japan-Korean Protectorate
Treaty has been signed. Whenever I think of our future, my heart becomes heavy. Many
of our nation‟s patriots have lost their courage and energy and do not know what do
anymore. But think deeply. What would happen to our country if we were to all lose hope
and fall into despair? Won‟t we all really collapse into destruction? We have nothing to
be discouraged about. The Almighty God exists. God created this earth and made man.
He determines our history today. We must have faith in this God and not be discouraged.
We must believe in His one and only Son, Jesus, our Savior.”
After hearing this sermon, Mr. Namkang decided to believe in Jesus. Mr.
Namkang didn‟t fear the unknown and when he believed that something new was right,
he put it into practice.
The next day, Mr. Namkang built Osan Church next to Osan School in Jungju and
served as an Elder.
When I was a 2nd semester, 4th year student at Osan School, Mr. Namkang invited
a few other 4th year students and me to his house one evening. He must have been feeling
ill that day, because when we entered the room, he stood up to greet us from where he
was lying down. While we were talking, he explained why he wasn‟t feeling so well that
day. During the 105 Persons Incident, he was taken in by Japanese soldiers and beaten.
Since then, every year around the time he was beaten, his entire body aches. He took off
his clothes to show where he had been beaten, and there were spots where his body was
still blue.
As a result of the 105 Persons Incident, Mr. Namkang spent 5-6 years in prison,
and was imprisoned again for many years for being the sole Christian representative of
the 33 protesting leaders at the Samil Manse Demonstrations. Words cannot describe the
suffering he experienced as a citizen of a lost nation.
There is a something that Mr. Namkang said that evening that struck me. He said
that while there were many sycophantic people attempting to befriend the Japanese to
find better means to live since our occupation, he would live and die as a Korean. The
reason that these words struck me that night was probably because Mr. Namkang had
lived his life by these words. Even now, when I think of his noble character and his pure
patriotism, my heart reaches out for him.
Mr. Namkang passed away while I was studying abroad in the US. When he
passed away, he asked for his body to be donated to medical science. While Japanese
authorities intervened in carrying out his will, Mr. Namkang attempted to donate even his
remains for the betterment of his country. This was his mentality and his way of leading
by example. In the end, his remains were buried behind Osan School, and graduates later
built a statue in his honor on the school grounds. However, in the late colonial period,
Japanese imperialists took down even that statue for use as war material.
Many years later, after our liberation and the establishment of the 38th parallel, we
could no longer cross into North Korea. So Osan alumni and community members built a
statue of our beloved teacher at the Children‟s Grand Park in Seoul under the auspices of
the government. I am grateful to have served as the Chairman of the committee during
this time. What other explanation is there for my studying under such great man of
character and patriotism, Mr. Namkang, during my intellectually impressionable middle
school years besides God‟s will? All I can do is thank God.
04 When I studied under Mr. Man-Shik “Godang” Cho
There is another person that I was grateful to while I attended Osan School. This
person was the principal back then, Mr. Man-Shik “Godang” Cho. He is so well-known
that to elaborate would be superfluous, but studying under him for 3 years was an
invaluable experience; whenever I think back on those days, I am still grateful. Born in
Bansukmyun, Kangsuhgun in Pyeongnam, Mr. Godang moved to Pyongyang with his
parents, where they opened a large business. He grew up in a relatively wealthy family.
He went to school until he was 15 years old, becoming skilled in both writing and
Chinese classics, but he later joined his father‟s business where he joined the other rich
young men in drinking and gambling. He was no different from the rich boys in society‟s
emerging class in Pyongyang.
But he heard God‟s calling. One day, a young man came to him and raised a
question on a serious topic.
“Do you know what is happening to our country right now? How do you not
know that our nation is facing annihilation if we continue along the path that we are
currently on? Do you really think that we can hold on to our riches when our country is
being destroyed?”
He became worried after hearing this young man‟s story.
“Then what should I do?”
God‟s reason for sending this young man was clear in his reply.
“We need to wake up and become new people in times like these. We need to live
right, and after we become better people first, we need to convince other people to do the
same. There is only one way to do this. It is to become a new person. In order to become
a new person, you need to believe in Jesus. When people believe in Jesus, an alcoholic
stops drinking, a gambler stops gambling, and a person who goes to brothels becomes
honest and transforms into a new person. After becoming a new person, we need to start a
movement that saves ourselves and our nation.”
Hearing these words, young Mr. Man-Shik Cho was deeply impressed and
reached a conclusion on the spot.
“Yeah! You‟re right. I need to change my life first. I‟ll believe in Jesus!”
Whenever I think of this story, I realize how precious personal evangelism is. If
the random young man did not visit Mr. Cho and share this story, the Mr. Man-Shik Cho
that we know today would not have existed.
From then on, Mr. Man-Shik Cho began to reflect the visage of the teacher that
we respect today. One evening, he invited all his drinking and gambling friends to a
restaurant for drinks and food, to whom he told the following story.
“Today is the last day that I will drink and play like this with you. I have decided
to believe in Jesus. This lifestyle ends this evening. If you want to remain friends with me,
you will believe in Jesus too.”
From that day, he began to study at a missions school established by missionaries,
Soongsil Middle School, with students who were much younger than him. There was no
age limit in receiving an education, so he was able to receive a religious education for 5
years. Following his graduation from Soongsil Middle School, he received a degree in

law at the Japanese Meiji University 明治 大 j 學31 after which he returned home. As soon

as he returned to the country, he took off his Japanese-style suit and shoes and put on
traditional Korean dress-clothes and shoes. This was his way of expressing his firm
resolve that he would only work for a Korean, live as a Korean and die as a Korean.
Mr. Man-Shik Cho was already well-known at the time that after hearing about
his return, Mr. Seung-Hoon Lee invited him to become a member of the staff at Osan
School. Mr. Man-Shik Cho did not receive even a penny for his salary, but rather used his
own money while he was the principal. He was economical with everything that he even
brushed his teeth with salt. He also took an initiative in everything, and whatever his
students did, he participated as well. In late autumn, we would have to prepare firewood
for the classrooms and the dormitories. There was a large mountain called Jaesuk
Mountain about 2.5 miles south of our school, and there were many alder trees there. In
the fall, Mr. Man-Shik Cho would travel to the mountain with the students and chop and
gather wood from the alder trees. Like this, Mr. Man-Shik Cho educated students through
his actions of dedication and sacrifice; this was a true expression of patriotism based on
Christian faith.
There is story involving Mr. Man-Shik Cho‟s leadership.
Osan School encouraged baseball, soccer, tennis, track and other various widely
played sports. Every year, there was a school-wide sports tournament, where the entire
student body was divided into two teams, blue and red.
One year, the red and blue team were point for point until it came down to the last
relay. A player on one team dropped the baton, but his team captain picked it up and
handed it to him; they eventually ended up winning the race. And so the other team
started to protest and threw a fit. This all happened while Mr. Man-Shik Cho left his seat
for a bit.
Later, after seeing this commotion, Mr. Man-Shik Cho called the captains of both
teams to understand the situation. Then he stood on top of a small chest, gave a brief
explanation and declared that there will not be a winner. The other team led an outcry
about how it wasn‟t fair. Mr. Man-Shik Cho replied in disapproval, “I‟ve already decided
that there will not be any winners, so I expect you to all abide by my words. Whoever
doesn‟t comply is not a student in the spirit of Osan School so they can leave if they
want.” At this one sentence, the rowdy field fell silent as if someone poured a bucket of
cold water on them.
In reality, an educator‟s authority must have this sort of impact for a student to
receive a proper education. And this type of authority stems from a life that is morally
and temperamentally flawless.
There is a story that personally involves me as well. One night while I was
reviewing my lessons from that day, I was so drowsy that I stretched and yawned loudly.
Then suddenly, someone knocked on my door and Mr. Man-Shik Cho walked in.
“Who was yawning right now?”
“I was yawning, sir.”
I couldn‟t play dumb so I confessed and was immediately rebuked.
“I understand that one can yawn while studying. But to yawn so loudly that a
person walking outside your door can hear, what kind of practice is that? You need to fix
that habit.”
He chided me for so long that after a while, tears welled up in my eyes. Since then,
I am always careful whenever I yawn. Even in the smallest day-to-day performances such
as yawning, Mr. Man-Shik Cho tried to teach students the proper way to act.
Once in a while, I‟ll see a pastor or an elder yawn loudly on the pulpit. When I am
standing on the pulpit, I see members of our congregation yawning often too. It isn‟t
pleasing to see, and whenever it happens, I remember Mr. Man-Shik Cho‟s lecture. All I
feel is gratitude towards Mr. Man-Shik Cho who taught me how to lead a righteous life.
05 The cigarette incident
People experience the most change during their middle school and high school
years. This might have been why my 3 years at Osan School were filled with so many
mistakes and realizations.
While I was a student at Osan School, I would attend Osan Church on weekends
and teach Sunday school for little children; during the holidays, the student government
at Osan would rally up a group of students to travel and evangelize in rural areas.
But during one of those days, there was an unforgettable incident. Behind Osan
School, there was a grove where we would often go to pray or hike with a couple of
friends. But one evening, a couple of students went hiking into the woods when some of
them started to casually smoke cigarettes and offered me one. So for fun, I smoked one.
After that, whenever we went on walks once in a while, I would take a cigarette when I
was offered one. I felt that I shouldn‟t only smoke other people‟s cigarettes, so I secretly
bought a pack of “Jo-il” and hid it in my room. But around that time, the student
government was holding their elections and I was elected as the Security Committee
Chair. The Security Committee was in charge of rules and regulations and made sure that
students were acting in accord with school rules. But since I had started smoking, my
conscience was weighed down with guilt. And so that night, I walked to the woods by
myself, prayed to God and threw away my cigarettes.
The next day, a student had visited the woods and came back telling a story of
how there was a pack of crushed cigarettes. He assumed that a student had quit smoking.
I just sat there quietly listening to the story. And so my rather short-lived experiences
with smoking ended when I assumed the responsibility as Chair of the Security
Smoking has nothing to do with faith, nor can it really be argued that it is immoral.
But it is not a good habit either; in all health-related, environmental and economical
aspects, it is harmful. I believe that the tradition of frowning upon smoking and drinking
in Korean churches is a very good convention. But sometimes, one‟s smoking habits are
put into the factor when determining office positions in church. In my experience, even if
someone is a smoker, if they are fit for the position in other areas, I believe that he or she
is a good candidate for the job. If someone has the faith and qualifications to assume a
certain position, I believe that their smoking habits can be overcome.
In fact, I have seen many other people besides me who have quit smoking after
assuming a responsibility. While my experiences are limited to when I was young, after I
quit smoking, I have never had to have a guilty conscience on my plate for similar
experiences since then. I am thankful for that, and I would like to recommend young
people that they should abandon their unnecessary habits altogether.
06 My unforgettable teachers and peers
I think that Mr. Namkang traveled all across the country from Seoul to Pyongyang
to recruit the best possible teachers that were both reputable academically and personally
for Osan School. That is how great the teachers at Osan School were. Mr. Do-Bin Jang,
who later became famous, taught Korean history; Mr. Do-Tae Kim replaced Mr. Do-Bin
Jang when he left. Geography and Bible Studies was taught by Mr. Man-Shik Cho; I
can still vividly remember what he taught us about the book of Acts.
The famous poet Mr. Uhk Kim, who graduated from Osan School and studied in
Japan, taught Japanese. Mr. Gwang-Soo Kim from Seoul taught physics, and Mr. In-Yul
Kim, who served as the principal of Osan Elementary School concurrently, taught
chemistry. Mr. Bong-Hyun Byun, who was from Japan, was a great teacher as well. Vice
Principal Kee-Sun Park, a famous Korean scholar and Elder at Osan Church taught us
about Confucius and Mencius again. I also remember a physical education teacher who
had graduated from a Japanese military academy.
I cannot forget Mr. Kee-Sun Park‟s son, Mr. Kee-Jin Park, either. He graduated
from Osan School, attended Seoul Technical High School and graduated from college
with a degree in architecture. He designed the majority of the stone buildings at Korea
University, as well as the earlier building of Youngnak Church. Construction of
Youngnak Church started in 1949 and was completed in 1954, but later on, it was rebuilt
to expand its size. It has lost most of its original design, but the front of the church
remains the same. His family still attends Youngnak Church.
One of Mr. Do-Bin Jang‟s sons was the president of the KOHAP Corporation for
a long time, and another son, Chi-Hyuk Jang, was a soldier for a long time and later
opened a successful business. His wife and he are currently deacons at Youngnak Church.
The couple not only donated 2,000 square meters of land when Seoraksan Church was
being built, but they also played a major role in being responsible for the construction
I can clearly remember my fellow peers at Osan School. Most of them have
already left this world, but I especially remember Jin-Suk Cho, who was a classmate and
a roommate. Our friendship goes back a long way, and he later even served as an elder at
Youngnak Church. He graduated from Osan School and then medical school. He received
his medical degree from Japan and then served as a surgeon in the North and South for a
long time.
There was a person a year ahead of me who was very famous: Hong-Il Kim. He
did many great things for our country as a general. After graduating from Osan School,
he attended a Chinese military academy and later even served as a Major General under
Chiang Kai-Shek. After our liberation, he returned to our country where he made great
contributions to our Armed Forces. After retiring as a lieutenant general, he did a lot of
work as a Korean ambassador in China. In addition, his wife and he contributed to the
church as deacons.
Whenever I think of my teachers and fellow peers from Osan School, I am
thankful again and again for God‟s generosity.
07 Following God’s directions

In the spring of 1919 己 v 未年憂, I was at Osan School. March 1st, 1919 was the day

that a series of demonstrations erupted all throughout Korea with people shouting for
independence. Throughout Seoul and Pyongyang, in churches and in schools, this day
marked the first day that Japan felt the ground beneath their feet shake from resistance,
but it was also a day where many Korean patriots lost their lives; I was 16 years old.
Osan School was set on fire and many of its employees were detained. The school had no
choice but to close, and Osan School‟s 10th graduating class had to go home without a
graduation ceremony. I returned home to help my parents with the farming and was only
able to hear about the independence movement through rumors.

One day, my fellow classmate, Soon-Min Kim, sent me a letter from Jinnampo.
Soon-Min asked me if I wanted to work for his brother, who had started a large
import/export company. When I got to his house, sure enough, Soon-Min‟s brother
owned a large house, a large office building and a large storage warehouse. They
specialized in consignment sales and imports/exports among other various things, and
there were other employees as well. My job was to take and bring money from the bank
and manage things that were coming in and going out of the company. Soon-Min mostly
took care of the books, while I ran back and forth from the bank and the warehouse from
morning to night.

Perhaps if I had stayed there, I would have become a merchant. But God had
other plans for me. I briefly stopped back home to run an errand when I ran into Josa
Yong-Jin Woo. He said that he had referred me to a school in Pyongyang that was
looking for a teacher and asked me to meet with an Elder of Namsan Moru Church.
While working in the commercial sector was a good job, he said that teaching students
was a better opportunity and encouraged me to take the offer. Although I thought that I
was too young to be a qualified teacher, I decided to take the job as the people around me
But I hadn‟t been baptized yet. While I was away from home, I didn‟t have the
chance to be baptized. Josa Woo suggested that it was a good idea to be baptized if I were
to become a teacher, and arranged for me to meet with Pastor Chee-Soo Lee at Uhpa
Station since he was on his way to Pyongyang anyways. And so I don‟t remember the
exact date, but Pastor Lee baptized me at Uhpa Church near Uhpa Station. I realize that
baptisms normally take place inside the chapel during service, but depending on the
circumstances, I think that they can occur in someone‟s home or anywhere else.

Namsan Moru Church was located about 6 miles north of Pyongyang, and its
L-shaped chapel was able to hold hundreds of people. Their congregation was much
bigger than Jajock Church‟s; they had many Elders and even had Josa Geun-Ohk Suk as
one of their spiritual leaders. Josa Geun-Ohk Suk later became a pastor. Elder Eui-Joo
Lee was responsible for the church‟s school, named Youngsung School. There were
about 40 students total, and I was the only teacher. I lacked any experience and expertise,
but I taught to the best of my abilities. Of the students I taught, there was even a student
that later attended Youngnak Church. And a few years back, I gave a lecture at a military
base in Nonsan and then stopped by a nearby church to deliver a sermon. Memories of
my years at Young-Sung School came flooding back to me when a female member of the
congregation recognized me as her teacher and sang the school song that I wrote.
Human life is like sowing seeds every day; one is not aware of all the seeds one
plants, but wherever you plant a good seed, it is bound to bear good fruit. Josa Geun-Ohk
Suk delivered exceptional sermons and sang hymns beautifully and now his eldest son
Mr. Ri-Won Suk, and his son Dr. Sae-Il Suk, both attend Youngnak Church.
One of my unforgettable memories of Namsan Moru Church was when they held
a Bible study led by Elder Han-Kyu Ko. Elder Ko was only in his 40s, but he was a
senior elder at Ibsuk Church, the treasurer of the General Assembly and an owner of a
large business; he was a reputable man. That day, I met Elder Ko for the first time and
was moved by him. That day was when the Park family who lived across the street from
Namsan Moru Church decided to repent their sins and believe in God. Of the family
members, Mr. Sun-Taek Park actually became a pastor. I have known and respected
Pastor Sun-Taek Park since then. I am thankful that I have been able to closely serve him.

Thus, I believe that it was God‟s benevolence that I was able to attend Youngsung
School in Namsan Moru. Namsan Moru was a small rural village near Pyongyang, and so
I would often visit Pyongyang. Whenever I did, I would pass by Soongsil Middle School
and Soongsil University and would be reminded once again of my desire to further my
education. That desire became reality a year later, when despite many people‟s protests, I
enrolled in Soongsil University.
Chapter 3- I thank God for helping young me become mature

01 My love, Soongsil University

The most influential place in my life was Soongsil University in Pyongyang. I

don‟t know who came up with the name Soongsil 崇實, but “soongsil” means “to raise the

truth (實 for sil)”. However, its English name is “Union Christian College”. This

translation of the word Soongsil has been implicated in the school song as well.
“As the Moran Hill turns to face the falling waters of Taedong River. Where the
water pools near Baegun Mountain, the house is United Soongsil School. Soongsil
Soongsil United Soongsil, Soongsil Soongsil United Soongsil, Soongsil Soongsil United
Soongsil, Hurray Hurray Hurray.”
The word “united” holds this meaning. Soongsil University was originally built
when four missionary organizations came together: the North Presbyterian Church, the
South Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Presbyterian
Church of Australia.
The first missionaries not only created a joint educational institution, but the
churches came together to build the Independent Presbytery of Jesus Church in Chosun
as well. In other words, these missionaries belonged to different denominations in
different countries, but they came together in Korea to form a unified Presbyterian
Church on this earth. In modern terms, these missionaries were truly ecumenical,
transcending their denominations to form a united front and church for a common
purpose of evangelism.
They also united with other denominations (i.e. Lutheran) to establish different
organizations. They formed the Korean Bible Society, which specializes in translating
and publishing the Bible, as well as the Christian Literature Society of Korea, which
specializes in publishing Christian texts. The missionaries also found the Korean Sunday
School Association which publishes standardized texts for Sunday School use. They
cooperated with each other for evangelical purposes as well. In order to convert Japanese
students, the Presbyterian Church and Lutheran Church came together to form the United
Christian Council where they collectively sent a Korean pastor to Japan. As I recall, the
first pastor that was sent to Tokyo to preach to students was Pastor Suk-Jin Han. This
united church formed through ecumenism was divided into several branches following
some complications after the liberation of Korea. It is deplorable to think how even
inter-denomination unity is almost impossible now. It is true that the Korean church grew
in numbers after our liberation, but it makes me wonder whether or not we lost our most
precious tradition along the way.

Soongsil education was through and through Christian, and so every day, faculty
and students attended service. Not only that, but before every class, we first prayed. And
in order to observe Sunday as a holy day, all sports were forbidden on Sunday. A ban on
smoking and drinking was strictly enforced as well. This also applied to the junior high,
as all the students and teachers were Christian.
The purpose of the Mission School wasn‟t to evangelize and educate
non-believers, but it was to train and educate Christian students to become workers of
God. Although I received a Christian education at both Soongsil University and Osan
School, I feel as though Osan School stressed patriotism while Soongsil University
placed the kingdom of God before our nation. It might have been for that reason that
many Osan School graduates became dedicated leaders for society and our country rather
than pastors and church leaders (although Pastor Ki-Chul Joo did graduate from Osan
School). On the other hand, many Soongsil University graduates went on to become
pastors, deacons and elders: dedicated to building churches and spreading the gospel in
Korea. In this sense, Soongsil University has played the greatest role in the development
of the church in Korea.
The 8a.m. lecture usually ended by 2p.m. unless there were special experiments
that day, so financially challenged students like me worked in the afternoons for our
At the time, not only were there classrooms and dormitories at Soongsil
University, there was a machine shop to train students and to help them support

themselves. Students would learn carpentry, bell 鍾42 manufacturing, machine repairs and

construction. Elder R.M. McMurtrie 孟 s 老法屔, a bachelor missionary, was the general
manager of the shop. There wasn‟t a single place that self-supporting students were more
thankful for. You couldn‟t help but be stirred by the passionate missionaries who not only
worked hard to spread the gospel but also to educate people.
You rarely hear the word gohak (self-supporting student) in Korea anymore. But
in places like the United States, many students still put themselves through college. It is
my belief that students who enter college should study and support themselves even if
their families are relatively well off. Of course, circumstances in Korea are different than
in America, but we cannot forget that it is the responsibility of school authorities and the
nation at large to provide opportunities for students to support themselves.

02 The unforgettable professors of Soongsil University

When I enrolled in Soongsil University, Dr. Samuel Austin Moffet was the

President of the University while Dr. E.M. Mowry 牟義 理 zresided as the Dean.

Professors included Dr. R.O. Reiner 羅道道來43, C.F. Bernheisel 片夏觿薛43, F.E. Hamilton

咸 w 日頓懅, W.P. Parker 朴源善林 L, W.M. Baird and other missionaries, as well as Korean

professors such as Ho-Yeon Kim, Yoon-Gun Park, Jong-He Lee and Yong-Kyu Lee. And
Mr. Man-Shik “Godang” Cho, the previous president of Osan School, gave Law and
Economics lectures at the University while he served as the Treasurer of the Christian
Youth Affairs in Pyongyang.
At the time, there were only two colleges, the College of Literature and the
College of Science, but by the time I graduated, there was a School of Agriculture. I was
enrolled in the College of Science, and our freshman class was about 70 to 80 students
with the total student body population being about 200.
As I mentioned earlier, most of the professors at Soongsil University were
missionaries, and not only were they pious, but they were all very conscientious and
The Dean of the college then, Dr. Mowry, was a bit quick-tempered, so we
nicknamed him “Angry Mowry”. In reality, Dr. Mowry was more affectionate than
anyone else and loved to personally meet and mentor the students. Dr. Mowry taught
English and Biology, and if you weren‟t prepared for his class, he would severely rebuke
you and would make sure that you studied for the next class. I especially learned a great
deal from him when it came to English grammar. Dr. Mowry lived in jail for six months
when Japanese authorities arrested him for helping students during the Samil Movement.
After our liberation, Soongsil University presented Dr. Mowry and his wife with a
Certificate of Appreciation, and the government presented him with an Order of Cultural
In addition to Dr. Mowry, the government awarded Dr. Samuel Austin Moffet,
who is commonly known as the “father of the Korean church” and who served as the
President of Soongsil University when I was there, with an Order of Cultural Merit as

well. Dr. G.S. McCune 尹山溫 served as the President of Soongsil University after Dr.

Moffet but was deported back to his home country by Japanese officials for refusing to
obey the required observance of the Shinto Shrine. He was also awarded an Order of
Cultural Merit.
Professor Reiner originally served as the Principal of Soongsil Middle School, but
he later became a respected professor at Soongsil University. He taught English and
Educational Psychology, and because he taught so well, I learned a lot from him.
Because I was in the College of Science, I was taught three-dimensional geometry,
trigonometry, derivatives and integrals in Algebra and Geometry courses. And I learned it
all from Professor Parker. Although his Korean was limited, he had an extraordinary
brain for math; no matter how difficult of a problem I presented to him, he would easily
explain how to solve it. He was also humble and gentle in nature that he never became
irritated. Students often used his limited Korean to their advantage by using large words
to make excuses for why they didn‟t do their homework. He would then reply that he had
never heard the word before and write it down to ask his secretary later without every
getting angry. One time, a student called him “Elder” instead of “Professor”, to which
Professor Parker didn‟t say anything since he had never heard the title. The next day, he
called the student forward and said, “I not like Grandfather.” His secretary must have told
him that while the title “Elder” was used for people in higher positions, in this instance, it
was used as a prank. Poor students would often borrow money, but he never refused
anyone who asked; Professor Parker led a respectable life of a true Christian. He didn‟t
have to be a man of many words to inspire students.
Professor Ho-Yeon Kim and Professor Yong-Kyu Lee taught most of the science
courses. They both had studied in the United States and were popular among the students.
Professor Ho-Yeon Kim was a naturally talented instructor and was able to teach physics,
inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry among other classes. Professor Yong-Kyu Lee
was originally from North Hamgyong and later studied in the United States for a long
time, but his North Hamgyong dialect was so strong that I think students sometimes had
difficulty understanding him. But when it came to quantitative analysis and qualitative
analysis pertaining to his lab courses, he was highly skilled. Outside of these professors, I
didn‟t personally know any other professor at Soongsil University, but they were all were
dedicated educators. I am thankful to God for this as well.

The number of schools built after our liberation was incomparable to before. This
was a very fortunate thing. The first question to ask oneself when opening a school
should be “What kind of education will be taught here?” and “What will it focus on?” A
school is not where you simply acquire knowledge or where you learn a certain skill.
School is where you build your character, where you find your direction in life and where
you acquire a better and deeper understanding of God, humanity, society and the state.
This isn‟t something that can be just taught in a lecture hall, but something that must be
taught through the administrator‟s and teacher‟s personality, spirituality and daily life. It
is important how present-day schools educate and provide role models for students, the
future of Korea.
The path of Christian schools is especially up in the air today. Students don‟t
choose the school and teachers can‟t accept Christian students only, so it is extremely
difficult to create a Christian environment. These are circumstances that the church, as
well as the government, should consider in great depths. Regardless, the fact remains that
it is essential to determine what kind of educational focus Christian schools retain. I can‟t
stress enough how important the roles of administrators, teachers and especially religious
leaders are. For these reasons, although I am very concerned about the Christian
education system, I still remain deeply sympathetic to educators; all I can do is pray to
03 When I became Pastor Baird’s secretary
When I enrolled in Soongsil University, I had no one to rely on but God. I had
somehow managed to pay my enrollment fees and my first semester tuition, but I had no
plans on how I was going to manage the following semester.
I was praying for a job opportunity when Josa Gun-Ohk Suk told me of a possible
job opening as a secretary for a countryside pastor, Pastor Baird. Academic support was
provided to students, so starting that fall, I studied in the mornings and worked as Pastor
Baird‟s secretary in the afternoons.
Pastor Baird was fluent in Korean and had a lively personality. He was also a
great artist, so during sermons, he would entertain the masses by drawing pictures with
pencils, coal or whatever tools he could find. At the time, Pastor Baird was in charge of
the Development Committee of the Chosun Presbyterian Church General Assembly. He
found various ways for the development of the church through revivals and home visits.
His ideas were written in English, so I would translate them into Korean and distribute
them to churches nationwide.
At the time, each presbytery had an assigned missionary who would travel
throughout the different churches, educating and baptizing people once or twice a year.
I remember Pastor Baird visiting and delivering sermons at the church that I attended
when I was younger, Jajock Church. Pastor Baird was assigned to the Anju Presbytery,

which included churches in Anjugun 安 w 州{郡 p, Pyongwongun and Kyechungun 鷄川郡.

The pastors in the Anju Presbytery would often seek Pastor Baird to discuss
church-related affairs.
My work usually consisted of making documents, translating texts into English
and sending out prints to various churches. That is when I learned many of the
administrative details of churches.
During vacation time, Pastor Baird would take leave, and if there was a church he
missed during his tours, he would send me. Because of this, there was a rural church that
I knew very well even when I was a student.
Pastor Baird‟s wife‟s name was Pearl, but we called her Mrs. Jin-Ju Pearl Baird.
Pastor Baird would sometimes raise his voice, but Mrs. Pearl was so gentle that she
would not raise her voice even once. She was always soft-spoken and in high spirits that
even when Pastor Baird was angry, she had the ability to make the room calm again. She
truly was majestic.
Pastor Baird had three daughters and one son under his roof; I am still in contact
with them. His oldest daughter, Lois, was as a lone missionary in Columbia, South
America. She is retired now and lives in Westminster Gardens. I met her a month ago
when I visited Los Angeles, and whenever I see her, I feel like I‟m meeting family. His

second daughter married Missionary B.F. Hunt 韓富善 and lived in Pusan for a long time

until they retired.

His third daughter, Edie, became Dr. George S. McCune‟s daughter-in-law.
Missionary McCune was originally stationed in Sunchun, North Pyeongan
Province, and later became the dean of Soongsil University. Edie‟s husband is currently a
professor at a Florida university. Whenever Edie comes to visit Korea, she would call me
and we would often see each other.
His son, “Eck” works at the tailoring company, Singer. I saw him a couple of
times when I visited New York.
During my stay at Pastor Baird‟s house, I learned English as well as Western
mannerisms. I also met many church leaders and became accustomed to church-related
administrative details. I believe that my stay at Pastor Baird‟s residence was part of
God‟s plan to train me for my future ministry. I am grateful for this.

04 Missions in the hot land of Pyongyang

Pyongyang was the capital 古 j 都47 and center of the Western region of Gogyureo.

It has been known since then for its scenic sights. I do not know how it is now, but when
I was in college, there was the Taedong Gate to the east, the Potong Gate to the west and
the Chilsung Gate to the north. And the Ulmil Pavilion, the Pubyok Pavilion and the
Yungwanjung still retained their historical structures. To the east, the Taedong River
flowed beneath Moran Hill, and to the west, Potong River gently flowed. On the
Cheongru Wall besides the Taedong River, old proverbs and the names of philanderers
are engraved. Along the Cheongru Wall, there was a good hiking course near Ulmil

Pavilion and Moran Hill. Gijarim 基子爂林 Lwas filled with old pine trees and was a quiet
place for self-reflection.
And it was at this beautiful city that Pastor Samuel Austin Moffet of the North
Presbyterian Church of America started his ministry. That was the year 1893. Corrupt
officials and resentful members of the working class greeted Pastor Moffet, yet he
stubbornly relayed God‟s words and was able to deliver the precious souls of individuals
into salvation, one by one.
At first, Pastor Moffet was the sole missionary, but soon W.M. Baird, C.F.

Bernheisel, E.M. Mowry, W.N. Blair, W.L. Swallon 蘇安洲論48, C.A. Clark 郭安─連 sand

other missionaries joined his movement while stationing in Pyongyang. As a result, by

the time I enrolled in Soongsil University, there were 17 fully established Presbyterian
churches besides Jangdaehyun Church, Suhmunbak Church and many other smaller
churches in the vicinity of Pyongyang. This wasn‟t limited to churches. There were many
Presbyterian schools such as Soongsil University, Pyongyang Seminary, Soongsil Middle
School and Soongeui Girls‟ Middle School. There were also many schools ran by the
Methodist Church: Gwangseong Middle School, Jungeui Girls‟ Middle School and others.
The Pyongyang Consistory also managed many schools such as Soongduk School,
Soongin Commercial School and Soonghyun Girls‟ School.
The Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church formed a union to manage, in
addition to Keehol Hospital and Nursing School, a school for the blind, an orphanage and
other various social service agencies. They also ran Pyongyang Girls‟ Bible High School
to train women educators and a coed bible school for ordinary members of the church.
Soonghye Girls‟ School for undereducated women was also another one of the various
institutions they established with the purpose of educating all types of people.
At one point, the Pyongyang Consistory bought a large area of land in eastern
Pyongyang called “Seojangdae” and used it as church cemetery. The Pyongyang Labor
Ministry also took care of the funeral service. And so Pyongyang was not only the center
of the Western region, but it was also often referred to as the “Jerusalem of Korea”. All
church leaders and educators were trained in Pyongyang and then were scattered
throughout the country.
At the time, Pyongyang had the most churches in the country, many of them being
very large. Among them, the most famous was the first established church, Trinity
Presbyterian Church. The lead pastor, Pastor Sun-Joo Kil, was part of the first graduating
class of Pyongyang Seminary and led many revivals nationwide.
The renowned Chinese classics scholar, Pastor Kyu-Chan Kang, also led a famous
ministry at Sanjunghyun Church. There was Pastor In-Sik Lee at Changdong Church,
Pastor Lee-Ryeong Lee at Nammun Church and Pastor Woo-Suk Kim at Yunhwadong
Church. Namsanhyun Church was the biggest of Methodist churches.
Of the Presbyterian churches, the church with the largest congregation was
probably Seomunhyun Church. Pastor Sun-Du Kim served as the lead pastor of
Seomunhyun Church, the center of educational institutions such as Soongsil Middle
School and Soongeui School. Pastor Sun-Du Kim graduated from Soongsil Middle
School and Seminary, and afterwards, he served at the church where he delivered
inspiring sermons. His son, Dr. Seong-Rak Kim, graduated from Soongsil University one
year ahead of me. After graduation, he moved to the United States where he studied
theology and served at a Korean church in Los Angeles for a very long time.

There were many female missionaries at the time too. Ms. Butts set up a Bible

school for women and was its acting principal. There was also Ms. M. Best 裵貴禮, the

principal of Pyongyang Girls‟ Bible High School, and her assistant Ms. E.I. Haynes
惠仁秀; Ms. Doris (often referred to as Ms. Do), the founder of Soonghye School; and

Principal V.L. Snook 鮮于理 of Soonghye School, who helped turn out many talented

young women. I also remember Ms. O.R. Swallen 蘇安樺 who was called Principal So.

Her father, Dr. Swallen, not only devoted much of his life to missions, but he was also
known for praying often and fervently. There were many other people working in
Pyongyang besides those listed, and because of their dedication, the revitalization of the
Korean church was made possible.
But when I think of how there are no more churches in Pyongyang anymore,
which was once known as the spiritual capital of Korea, I am brought to tears. After our
liberation on August 15th, 1945, the Communist Party of North Korea found the
Democratic People‟s Republic of Korea and started the systematic persecution and
extermination of churches. After the Korean War, there was a massacre of pastors, elders,
deacons, kwonsas and church-goers. And now, there is no place to freely worship God. It
is truly surprising and unthinkable, but it is something that cannot last very long. God
will allow the “Jerusalem of Korea” to shine once more. It is a fact that there are
parishioners still praying in tears alone. God will not wait for long.

05 A national Revival Movement beyond Pyongyang

There is a reason why so many churches and organizations were found in
Pyongyang. This is because in 1906 and in 1907, the Great Church Revival Movement
took place in Pyongyang. They say that there was a prayer movement amongst
missionaries before this, where people gathered to pray for the revival of churches in

In 1907, a “dosagyeonghwe 都査經會” was held in Pyongyang. At the time, each

local church held a revival service once or twice a year called a “sagyeonghwe”. In
English, it is referred to as a Bible conference. A “dosagyeonghwe” refers to the Bible
conferences that were held once or twice a year near Pyongyang, where all the churches
gathered together. The 1907 Bible Conference was held at the Pyongyang Jangdaehyun
Church. During prayer, the people gathered at the church stood up to confess their sins;
when one person confessed, another person stood up to confess, and finally, the entire
church was asking for forgiveness. At this point, everyone was filled by the grace of the
Holy Spirit. This was the catalyst for the Great Pyongyang Revival Movement, and soon
this flame spread to Seoul, Daegu and all throughout the country. Churches were renewed
through repentance and confession and found peace in the Holy Spirit.
A few years later, missionaries and church leaders gathered together to hold “A
Million People Movement”. I was attending a church in a rural village at the time, but
even I remember going to villages without churches for evangelical purposes.
That is when I learned the funny term “nal-yeonbo”. Paying tribute to God
through money was called “yeonbo”, so devoting your day (nal) for God‟s work was
called a “nal-yeonbo”. Some people were committed for two days, while others worked
for three to four days. These people went into villages that had no churches and spent
days evangelizing and building churches, and then they would move onto the next village.
It was what we now call “the stewardship of time”.

During the time the Great Pyongyang Revival Movement was spreading in 1906
and 1907, the Eulsa Treaty had left the fate of the country in danger. In 1910, the fall of
the Greater Korean Empire had cast a dark curtain over the Korean peninsula, but God
showed mercy on our people through his spiritual grace. I believe that God sent the Holy
Spirit to His believers and provided us with hope and a new vision of a better nation
through the Great Pyongyang Revival Movement. The Great Revival was not man‟s
doing. It could not have been accomplished if it weren‟t for God‟s great mercy, grace and
power. When I think of it even now, I am not able to express my appreciation even with a
thousand tongues.
Starting from Pastor Sun-Joo Kil, a countless number of other pastors and
deacons including Pastor Kyu-Chan Kang, Pastor Sun-Doo Kim and Pastor Ik-Doo
Kim were saved. The Revival Movement took place at Seoul Kyungsin School, Jungsin
School, not to mention Soongsil Middle School and at numerous other schools in Mokpo,
Gunsan, Daegu, etc. In the midst of a national tragedy, God built a strong foundation for
the Korean church, and for the next 36 years that were filled with darkness, He provided
for us by pulling us out of despair and by filling us with hope. Despite the unspeakable
persecution brought by Japan, our faith in Him allowed us to educate people for the
future of our nation in tears, establish a rural development movement and maintain our
national spirit. I forever and ever thank God for using his strength to help our nation.

06 The strength of Nevius to build schools and churches

As more and more independent presbyteries were being formed, they became
united under a single presbytery in 1907. When the number of presbyteries increased to
three, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Chosun was found in 1912.
The missionaries in Korea, after building the churches in Korea, laid the foundation for
Christians to manage their own churches.
Not only did the missionaries focus on churches, but they also built many colleges
in different cities and devoted their time to higher education. This was a fortunate event
in terms of human resources, and it also established the basis for the advancement of
Korean churches after our Liberation.
As I mentioned before, when Soongsil University first opened its doors, it only
consisted of the College of Literature and the College of Science. The College of
Literature mainly focused on theological education and taught other classes in literature,
philosophy, history, psychology, etc. The College of Science taught mathematics, physics
and chemistry among other courses. Then they realized the necessity for rural
development and found the College of Agriculture where they taught farming methods.

Professor D.N. Lutz 柳 h 韶 52 was the single largest contributor to agriculture; he

collaborated with the government to develop various agricultural programs, the most
influential being the Rural Reconstruction Movement.
Now that I think about it, I believe that the missionaries embraced the Nevius
Plan, and I am thankful for that. The Nevius Plan was based on independence, autonomy,
and sustainability; whatever country the missionaries went to, they would appoint an
indigenous leader, and he would the responsible for the church finances, operations,
evangelical outreaches and other duties. In English, these principles were known as
Self-Support, Self-Government and Self-Propagation.

In 1956, I attended a Missions Conference hosted by the United States North

Presbyterian Church Missions Committee. The topic of discussion was “How to Deploy
Evangelism in this New Century”. After the conference, I visited Cameroon in Africa for
a month with a university president from India and representatives from France and
Belgium at the request of the Missions Committee. The North Presbyterian Church had
already sent missionaries to Cameroon long before then, but they were having difficulties
because of feuds between the indigenous pastors and the missionaries. Due to the
antipathy towards Western missionaries in Cameroon, they couldn‟t send an American
pastor, so they had entrusted another Asian leader and me with the mission.
At the time, Cameroon was a French colony and had many churches; the
Presbyterian denomination was especially quite developed. But even then, the churches
in Cameroon were not autonomous. Although there were three local presbyteries, the
United States North Presbyterian Church had jurisdiction over them. You can say that the
church was under colonial policies as well. And there were many elementary schools, but
they only had two middle schools and no universities. They also didn‟t have a medical
school, so people who worked as assistants in the hospitals for long periods of time
provided medical services from experience. There were only two certified doctors.
Based on the situation we saw, we organized a church at the center of Cameroon,
helped lay the foundations for independence, and suggested that they provide higher
education (secondary and post-secondary). Since I was familiar with the independence
process of Korean churches, I thought that I could use that as a basis for Cameroon.
Thankfully, the United States North Presbyterian Church accepted my proposal and we
were able to execute my plans shortly thereafter.
I think that the Korean Church was able to develop more quickly than any other
church, largely due to the influence of the Nevius Plan. A church should be
self-supporting. Self-government: the church should manage its own internal affairs.
Self-propagation: the church should be able to sustain itself. These churches undergo
growth and development more quickly. I am always appreciative towards missionaries
for establishing a stable foundation in Korea. With God‟s help, they erected churches,
built schools and started the Rural Movement, and for that, I am always thankful.

07 The great missionary Samuel Austin Moffet

There were many great people amongst the active missionaries in Pyongyang at
the time. There were people who exercised great leadership skills among the first Korean
pastors too. I am thankful that I spent my 4 years of college in Pyongyang, where the new
theological movement was just starting to thrive.
After our liberation, I was appointed as Chairman of the Samuel Austin Moffet
Memorial Committee. The reason I took on the position was because I knew that Pastor
Moffet was a great man of faith, a theologian, a scholar and a leader in church politics.
Some people say that the development of churches in Pyongyang, Pyeongahn Province
and even in the Hwanghae Province were all made possible by him.
Pastor Moffet decided to settle in a very poor region, the Yangchon District of
Pyongyang. It was located within the Potong Gate, but it was where the heads of
criminals where chopped off during executions. To the people of Pyongyang, it was a
terrible, uninhabitable place, but to a foreign missionary, it was a quiet, attractive place
that was vacant despite its bargain price. He bought the land at a very low price and
started to fill the large open lot starting with Soongsil University and Middle School,
Soongeui School and Seminary and Suhmunbak Church. As a result of his actions,
Yangchon became very developed. This was all because of him.
There were a couple high mountains in Pyongyang, but they were barren and
uninhabited so the cost of the land was very cheap. Pastor Moffet used all his funds to
buy these lands such as Jangdaehyun, Sanjunghyun and Sachanggol and gave them away
one by one to new churches. At this point, he didn‟t give them away for free but sold
them for the original price he bought them to foster a sense of ownership and
independence in Korean church members. And so in Pyongyang, if there was a piece of
land that was slightly elevated and populated, then a church was built there without
Jangdaehyun was located in the center of Pyongyang, and if you went down a
little, then there was Sanjunghyun. Sachanggol was also in a great location, and while
Nammun Church was located outside of the South Gate, there was nothing more to ask in
terms of its location. This was how great Pastor Moffet‟s foresight was.
When I was attending Soongsil University, I heard a surprising piece of
information when I went to Pastor Moffet‟s birthday celebration. Not only had Pastor
Moffet built many churches throughout the Pyeongahn Province, he had established over
250 “church schools,” or primary schools associated with the church. Pastor Moffet was a
true Korean patriot who did great things for the Korean church and education system.

08 God‟s Calling
My days at Soongsil University were very busy. In the mornings I would study at
the school, in the evenings I would work as Pastor Baird‟s secretary, and whenever I had
time, I would partake in extracurricular activities. And on Sundays, I would teach Sunday
School students at Changdong Church; the lead pastor at the time was Pastor In-Sik Lee,
the father of one of the current elder board members at Youngnak Church, Elder
Man-Sub Lee.
And I joined the Soongsil University YMCA where I participated in many student
activist movements as the general manager and then the president. In the summers, I
organized the Pyeongwon Student Association for students who were studying abroad at
Pyeongwongun; we organized tours, lectures and other various activities. Board members
of the Pyeongwon Student Association included the late Jae-Yoon Jung, Dong-Jae Lee,
Hyung-Pil Sim and Tae-Mo Lee among others.
And back then there were intra and interschool speech contests. I participated in
the school-wide speech contest, the Pyongyang Christian Student Speech Contest as well
as the YMCA Speech Contest in Seoul.
And for the first time, Mr. Man-Shik Cho and fellow volunteers built an
orphanage. To help out, Soongsil University students put on a play in a city theater.
I can‟t be sure of the year, but I also led my first revival retreat at Yongsugol

Church in Hwangju 黃州. I went with Mr. Sung-Gon Choi, and although it was my first

time, he had similar experiences on previous mission trips and taught hymns and the
words of the Bible very well. Mr. Sung-Gon Choi continued on to study theology after
that and became a pastor in Seoul. He now resides in Los Angeles.
One summer, some undergraduate students and I organized an evangelical troupe
at the YMCA, and along with the military band, we toured Andong, Bongchun, Musun
and other various places spreading God‟s word. Hearing that the military band was going
to perform, the church was packed full everywhere we went. But during one of my

sermons at Bongchun Suktop 奉天石塔 Church, I received orders to stop preaching. I had

used words like Baekdu Mountain, Tumen River, Yalu River and Samchully
Keumsukangsan during my sermon, and so a Japanese officer asked, “Why are you using
words that aren‟t even in the Bible? Is this a ploy to encourage nationalist and patriotic
ideas?” Using this as an excuse, I was prevented from preaching. After our liberation, I
was so happy and thankful that I was able to freely hang the Korean flag and sing our
national anthem.
Even during these busy times, there was a stretch of time that I spent relaxing

with the Baird family in Gumipo 九 E 美浦 , Hwanghaedo. It was the summer of 1923, so

it was my third year of college. Gumipo was often referred to as “So-Re”, and about 3
miles away, there was a rural village where the first Korean Protestants, including Mr.
Sang-Ryun Suh, built a church named Songcheon Church.
Gumipo had beautiful white sandy beaches, and missionaries bought the land
early on to make it their summer resort. Every summer, the missionaries that were
scattered across the country gathered there to rest and to study. That summer, I followed
Pastor Baird to help with a translation job. There weren‟t even any rails put in, so we had
to travel to Jinnampo and transfer to a little steamer. I remember there being a large storm
near Jandsangot and not being able to sleep due to severe seasickness. After suffering
from nausea that night, we arrived safely at Gumipo the second morning. It was my first
time riding a boat and realizing how terrifying storms were.
During my summer at Gumipo, I helped with translations during the day and had
a relatively idle time during the evening. Then one evening, I had an unforgettable
spiritual experience when I was walking and meditating alone along the beach. The calm
water was tickling my bare feet and the moon was shining brightly in the sky when I had
the sudden urge to pray. I got down on my knees on the beach and prayed when God took
control of my future.
“You could do anything in the future, but you will dedicate yourself to me and
live only for the gospel.”
I heard God‟s clear voice in my ears. I prayed in tears for a long time and asked
God to take my unworthy future into his hands. I made the decision to rely on God
entirely, then and there. This marked the single most important turning point in my life.
I started going to church from an early age and participated in missions in college,
but I had no thoughts of devoting my life to the church. Like Mr. Namkang‟s words, I
had thoughts of learning modern science and contributing to our nation‟s development;
the reason I majored in Chemistry in college was also because I had no intention of
pursuing ministry. It was because of God‟s mercy that He called me. From that day on,
my dreams were completely changed. As J. Calvin once said, I believe that God always
puts his servants to use. Since then, I have arranged my entire life to God‟s calling.
But I was faced with a dilemma. If I were to fully dedicate my life to His works, I
would have to study theology, but I didn‟t know where to begin. In order to study
theology, you needed to be knowledgeable in history and philosophy, but I had no idea
where to start. By the time I had decided that I was going to go into ministry, it was
already the summer of my third year in college, so it was too late to switch majors.
After much contemplation, I decided that I would go to the United States and attend
college all over again, God so help me. When I told Pastor Baird my thoughts, he was
sincerely overjoyed and suggested that I first acquire a liberal arts education at an
American university to learn English before studying theology. Thankfully enough, he
then said that he would personally try and look into possibilities for me.
Some time later, Pastor Baird told me that he had spoken about me to a dean at
Emporia State University in Kansas and had made arrangements for me to earn a degree
in philosophy or history all in a year‟s time. Emporia University was established as a
Presbyterian university 60-70 years ago through the collective effort of Christians in
Kansas. I was so surprised and thankful to hear of such opportunity. I needed to study
English and philosophy before attending a seminary, and everything I wanted and needed
was happening before me. I asked Pastor Baird for a formal acceptance letter, some
financial documents, and any other paperwork related to room and board, and he happily
requested them from the school. The documents shortly arrived from the United States.

09 The 100 won that I owe forever

It still isn‟t easy, but you had to really reach for the stars in order to study abroad
in the United States back then. Even until 1925-1926, the Japanese government didn‟t
issue the paperwork for Koreans to study abroad in the United States, so you had to
secretly pass through Shangai to study in the United States. As I recall, the US passed a
new immigration policy in 1924 that banned the Chinese, Japanese and all other Asians
from moving to the US. The Japanese government then argued that this was an example
of “anti-Japanese laws”, and so the US passed an amendment excluding Japanese
students from the ban; seeing that Japanese students were allowed to study in the US, the
Japanese extended this provision to Koreans. When I submitted my travel documents in
1925, the Japanese police scrutinized my background like no other.
Thankfully I had a distant relative that was a police officer, and so I was able to
receive his help along with Mr. Chang-Gun Lee‟s, who was a Soongsil University
affiliate working in the Governor-General‟s office. He graduated from a Japanese
university and briefly taught at Pyongyang Soongsil University while I was a student, so I
knew him well. If it weren‟t for them, it would have been very difficult for me to obtain a
passport. God‟s mercy extends to even the smallest details and opens many doors.
In March of 1925, I graduated from college, but I still had to wait for my passport.
Meanwhile, Pastor Baird returned to the US on a sabbatical, and I helped a missionary
with some translations. During that time, my passport arrived, but this time, I had to
worry about my travel expenses. If Pastor Baird were there, I would have discussed these
issues with him, but when he was in Korea, we were still unsure of whether or not I
would be issued a passport. My family could not afford the travel costs, and so I was left
with no other choice but to pay my former teacher, Mr. Seung-Hoon “Namkang” Lee, a
visit. I traveled all the way to Jungju to pay my white-haired teacher a visit, and when I
finished explaining my circumstances to him, he said, “Is that so?” and wrote me two
One of the letters was addressed to Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon, while the other was
addressed to a well-known person whose name everyone knew. Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon erected
the South Methodist Church before being imprisoned during the 105 Persons Incident.
Afterwards, he built Hanyoung Private Academy in Songdo. Mr. Namkang had written a
letter introducing me to this famous Methodist leader, Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon.
The other person was wealthy and socially prominent, and I don‟t remember
exactly what he said after reading my letter, but his words were of rejection.
I took the letter and went to find Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon to Gyungkidong, Jongno.
Being rich, he even had a gatekeeper.
“I have a letter from Mr. Namkang to deliver to Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon.”
“He is actually home at the moment.”
The gatekeeper carried the letter inside, came back after some time and invited me
inside. Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon, dressed in a hanbok with a modest beard, was sitting inside his
room entertaining children.
“Have a seat. I read the letter. When do you leave?”
“I hope to arrive by the summer and enter school by August.”
And without saying anything else, he handed me 100 won. At the time, 100 won
was a very large sum of money. I was so grateful that I wanted to express my thanks in
any way.
When I said, “I will make sure to repay you in the future,” Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon
replied with unforgettable words.
“No, you don‟t have to repay me. Repay this debt to other people later on.”
Since then, whenever I have worked on projects for ministry, education or welfare
purposes, I thought of my work as another way of passing on the grace that I had received
in the past.
Chapter 4: I thank God for expanding my horizons

01 On a ship from Japan to the United States

I was able to cross the Pacific Ocean using the money that Mr. Chi-Ho Yoon gave

me. At the time, a third-class ride from Yokohama 橫浜60, Japan to San Francisco cost

exactly 100 won. I was to leave at the beginning of August from Japan to the United

States on the Cheonyanghwan 天洋庮丸 Y, a vessel belonging to a Japanese cable company.

My Korean friends helped me with other expenses.

First I went to Pusan, where I took a ferry to Shimonoseki 下 U 關 ö60, but the

evening breeze was so strong that I was up all night. Then I took a train that was smaller
than the average Korean train from Shimonoseki to Tokyo for two days. In Tokyo, I met
with Mr. Seung-Man Choi, the secretary of the Korean YMCA in Tokyo, and stayed with
him for about 2 weeks. I met Mr. Seung-Man Choi when I was the president of the
Soongsil University YMCA; I was his guide when he came to Pyongyang regarding
funds for the construction of the Tokyo YMCA building.
The lower floor of the Tokyo YMCA building was used as an office space and a
conference room, and the remaining 3-4 stories were used as living spaces for students
and guests. I lived in one of the rooms.
At the time, there was only one Korean church in Tokyo, so the Presbyterian
Church and the Methodist Church worked together to appoint one pastor. I was able to
meet the Pastor Suh when he came to the YMCA to deliver a sermon.

At the beginning of August, I took a ship going to the United States from
Yokohama, and the entire ship was filled with Japanese people. The majority of the
people were from the southernmost Japanese island, Okinawa, and I later found out that
they were heading to Brazil and Argentina because the Japanese government had been
promoting emigration to Latin America. As a third-class traveler, I was entirely
surrounded by Japanese people, and for the first time in my life, I ate Japanese food and
spoke Japanese. Fortunately, I ran into Pil-Soo Kim, an alumnus of Soongsil University
who graduated one year ahead of me, and wasn‟t too lonely. He later became an elder at
Youngnak Church.

02 The Korean flag in Hawaii

I had some unforgettable experiences on my boat ride from Japan to the United
States. After nine or ten days, we made a stop at Honolulu, Hawaii, and we had the
opportunity to tour the city for a couple of hours in the evening. We met up with some
friends, borrowed a car from a wealthy man who settled in Hawaii a long time ago and
was able to tour Honolulu for the first time in my life. The coast of Waikiki didn‟t have
any tall buildings like it does now and was the epitome of a clean, natural environment.
Then, I witnessed an unforgettable scene. Hawaiians were swimming around an
anchoring ship, and the people on the boat were throwing coins into the water. The
Hawaiians would dive into the water and show the crowd the coins they picked up; the
people would cheer loudly and throw more coins in response.
After showing me around the city, he took me to the office of the United Korean
Association. After only seeing signs that were written in English, it was heartwarming to

see a Korean sign that read 대한栗국민민회 61 총회祺본부뾔 (United Korean

I followed him into the building, and there were two Korean flags hung across
from each other. Underneath it, there was the “Declaration of Independence” used during
the Samil Movement as well as the list of the 33 nationalists. At the sight of the Korean
flag the Declaration of Independence that couldn‟t be seen anywhere on Korean soil,
tears streamed down my face. It was the first Korean flag I had seen since the Samil
Movement. It made me realize how much the United States was truly the “land of
freedom” and I thanked God for it.
There were so many people who had been killed or imprisoned for waving the
Korean flag on Korean soil. It was heartwarming to see the same national flag in the
strange land of Honolulu.
I still sometimes tell this story to students and soldiers. I ask them if they know
how fortunate they are to be able to proudly hang the national flag and sing the national
anthem. I ask them if they know how much of a thankful thing it is to be a student or a
soldier in their own country. There are critics of nationalism, but as a person who
experienced the loss of our country, I know how much of a privilege it is to have our own
land and our own government. I can‟t stress this enough.
During that time, you couldn‟t find a Korean ambassador or consul anywhere in
the United States. When I was a student in the United States, I visited the location where
the Korean Embassy supposedly once stood in Washington D.C. Next to a pillar, there
was a small carving of the Korean flag and at the sight of it, I was flooded with emotions.
Now that I think about it, I can‟t thank God enough for our country‟s independence.
There were about 6,000 Korean nationals living in Hawaii back then. There were
tens of thousands of Japanese nationals and quite a few of Chinese nationals too. They
say that Koreans constituted the smallest population of the Asians. In these situations, the
United Korean Association was working for the benefit of Koreans.
When it was time to board the ship later in the evening, my friend handed me a
cluster of bananas to eat on the trip. A week later, we arrived at the pier in San Francisco.
When I got off the pier, I was investigated for a brief moment at the immigration center.
Thankfully, Mr. Il-Kyu Baek, the secretary of the Korean Association in San
Francisco, came to meet us. We had sent him a letter of course. Some people had to go all

the way to the Angel Island 天使旆島 qImmigration Station for further investigation, but

after a doctor inspected our eyes, we were told that we were allowed to land. Afterwards,
we were able to tour San Francisco and even with the Korean Association building with
Mr. Il-Kyu Baek as our guide. We saw the office and printing press for the The New
Korea, a weekly newspaper. I thought that the office was very nice since it was located
on a higher floor, but I later found out that the rent was cheaper for higher floors.
At the time, Korea was under the control of the Japanese government, so there
was no way to provide for Koreans living in America. In other words, they were nationals
without a motherland to return to. But Mr. Chang-Ho “Dosan” Ahn was able to organize
the Korean National Association and provide news through The New Korea. He also
helped students who were entering the US for the first time. It was something to be
thankful for indeed.
After our tour, Mr. Il-Kyu Baek took us to a small hotel so that we could rest. The
next day, Pil-Soo Kim left for Chicago while I stayed behind in San Francisco. Mr.
Il-Kyu Baek did many things for Korean immigrants in San Francisco and Los Angeles;
he has left this world long since then. Every time I pass by San Francisco, my heart is
filled with thankfulness in remembrance of his contributions to his country.

03 Stepping foot into Emporia University

I was on my way to take the train from San Francisco to Emporia.
“Considering that you don‟t even have enough money for tuition, this is the most
economical way.”
Mr. Il-Kyu Baek took us to the equivalent of “McDonald‟s” nowadays and bought
us a bunch of sandwiches.
“I‟ll buy you a lot of sandwiches so that you can take them on the train with you.
There is water on the train, so you can drink that if you get thirsty. It‟ll be expensive if
you go to a restaurant.”
I got on the Sante Fe train carrying the sandwiches that Mr. Il-Kyu Baek bought. I
was happy to see how clean and comfortable the train was in comparison to Korean trains.
It must not have been an express train because the train took 30-minute stops during meal
times before continuing on the journey. After arriving at Los Angeles, I traveled for
another two days before arriving at Emporia University in Kansas. I spent a total of two
and a half days on the train. And at the end of my long journey, I arrived at Emporia
University where Dr. Vandervelde, the dean of Emporia and a friend of Pastor Baird,

greeted me. And G. Adams, whose father (J.E. Adams 安 w 義 q 窩63) was an active

missionary in Korea, showed me around the school. Missionary J.E. Adams was also the

father of E.A. Adams 安 w 斗華箾 who later became a missionary in Korea as well. In other

words, G. Adams was the younger brother of E.A. Adams.

There were two large buildings that were female dormitories, but there wasn‟t one
for males. The male students usually lived near the school and had their meals in the
dining hall. Adams and I went off campus to find a place that I could live. He told me
that the sign “room” on windows meant that they were looking for tenants, and he went
into to multiple houses to inquire. He must not have been able to find any takers easily
given that I was Asian because he would come back out with his head down. Racial
issues still remain a large problem in American society today, but racial prejudice was
more prevalent back then. Even though Emporia University was a Christian school, black
students could not get in. There were only 3 Asian students: two 2nd-generation Japanese
students from Hawaii and me.
That day, after wandering around for a while, I was finally able to rent a room
from a kind, old couple. Thankfully enough, an American student volunteered to be my
roommate. His name was J. Mixon, and he was a devout student who wanted to learn
more about Korea. There wasn‟t much that I did for Mixon, but I did learn a lot of
English and a lot about the American culture from him.
Emporia University (or College of Emporia then) was a small Presbyterian
college that had about 400-500 students. Dr. Owen was in charge of my registration, and
knowing my circumstances, he was very kind to me.
“Since you‟ve already graduated from college in Korea, you can pick any class
you want to take in the Humanities Department.”
I took psychology, ethics, history, philosophy and various other classes, and all
the professors were kind and dedicated to their students. There were so many courses that
required readings every day; because of my limited English, I would often stay up at
night studying.
The president of the university at the time was Pastor Lewis, and the dean was Dr.
Vandervelde, a pastor from Princeton. The Vandervelde couple would say that they were
lonely students from abroad and often invite me over their house for chats.
When I went back to visit Emporia after our liberation, Dr. Vandervelde had
already retired and was delivering sermons at a small church every week. I‟ve given a
sermon at that church before as well. At Emporia, I received an honorary doctorate
degree in Theology. Up until two years ago when Dr. Vandervelde passed away, we
would communicate in letters. Now his son is a professor at Kansas State University.
Although I only studied at Emporia for a year, because the college was so small, I
am always thankful that I was able to form close relationships with the professors and
experience a Christian university atmosphere.
Every day, I went to chapel, and the President, the Dean and all the other
professors took turns preaching. Prominent pastors and political leaders would often lead
services, and the owner of the Emporia Gazette, W.A. White, would often provide us
with words of wisdom too. He was a famous man who had written many books; he even
wrote a biography of the 30th U.S. President, Calvin Coolidge.
The professor that taught the Bible received his Doctorate in Philosophy from the
University of Chicago and graduated from the Chicago Theological Seminary. From him,
I learned about the book of Acts. His biblical interpretations were very different from
what I had learned in Korea. In modern terms, his teachings were based on “liberalism”,
or liberal religion. The 45-year-old bachelor was very enthusiastic about Biblical Studies.
The school encouraged sports and required all students to take at least one
physical education course. There were many soccer matches with other universities
nearby, and on Thanksgiving, we had a soccer match with the Kansas State College of
Education every year. The President of Kansas State College of Education was Dr.
Butcher back then. I remember cheering, “Vanquish the Butcher Shop” during the game.
A “butcher” is someone who kills livestock for a job. People were so invested in the
soccer game that the entire city was rowdy.
Two other graduates besides me went on to seminaries: O. Choguill and J. Mastin.
And they both attended McCormick Theological Seminary. O. Choguill was a pastor at
the First Church of Topeka and the First Church of Emporia for a long time before
retiring. J. Mastin was a pastor in Minnesota and Oklahoma before retiring. When I
visited the United States after our liberation, I visited them often.

04 The scholarship and the two sisters

I had no difficulties in paying the tuition. I was able to receive a full tuition
scholarship when I first entered the College. On top of that, I took a part-time job in
Emporia at the Down‟s and Tailer, a women‟s clothing store that was fairly large. Two
middle-aged, unwed sisters ran the store, and they had about 15 clerks. My job was to
tidy things in the store. The owner of the store was Miss P. Tailer, a single woman in her
50s. The store usually closed around 5 o‟clock, but there would often be many women
making and repairing clothes in the upper room after 5.
At first, I commuted to work everyday, but at the request of the owner, I ended up
living at her house and working from there. The owner lived with her 40 year old
younger sister and her parents. She provided me with an empty room and even fed me. It
was as if everyone around me was an angel sent by God.
But life was very busy. I would wake up at 5 a.m. to open the store, clean it up
and wash the windows. I would then eat breakfast and go to school. When I got home
from studying, I would help with chores around the house such as mowing the lawn.
They fulfilled my needs without me saying anything. Thanks to them, I was able to
concentrate on my studies without worrying about money. After studying for a year, I
graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree the following summer.
I visited the Tailer house in 1948 after our liberation. It was more than 20 years
later, so the building‟s appearance had changed a lot. But the older sister was living in a
nursing home while the younger sister lived in the house alone. Every time I think of how
good they were to me, I am filled with gratitude.

05 My new friend at College of Emporia

When God sent me to College of Emporia, it allowed me to have a traditional
Christian college experience despite its small size. It is one of the reasons that I am
grateful to God whenever I think of Emporia.
College of Emporia was located in the state of Kansas, geographically located in
the middle of the United States. Kansas was a square-shaped state filled with plains
suitable for farming. The majority of the people living in Kansas were farmers who used
machinery to farm large areas of land. It was very different compared to Korea.
There are Americans who are good people as well as Americans who are bad
people. While attending college, I met many average traditional Americans, and I felt that
most Americans were honest, diligent, sincere, God-fearing people. People say that the
Puritan life-style had long faded away, but most of the Protestants maintained their
Puritan faith and tried to live according to the evangelical faith. There is a saying, “Silent
Majority”. When translated, it means a quiet majority, and I think that these people
played a large role in why the United States was so blessed. I think of it as God‟s grace
and am always thankful that I met a lot of kind people when I first went to the United
I made a couple of close friends at Emporia. To start off, there was my first
roommate, John Mixon. After graduating from high school, he was a teacher before
deciding to enroll in college to further his studies. A kind and faithful Christian, he
decided to become my roommate because he wanted to become more familiar with
people from the Eastern hemisphere. He always tried to help me improve my English and
corrected me when I was wrong.
After graduation, he attended the McCormick Theological Seminary and Graduate
School and then worked as a professor there for a very long time. After our liberation, I
stayed at his house for a couple of days when he was a professor at McCormick
Theological Seminary. Afterwards, he retired and moved to a town near Los Angeles, and
I saw him once more after a long time. I thank God for guiding me to become friends
with such a great person.
My fellow classmate, John Mastin, was particularly a very nice man. He passed
away after retiring from his post at McCormick. I drove a couple of hours to Fairchild,
Wisconsin to visit his wife a few years ago when I went to Minneapolis. The Mastin
couple took care of my son, Pastor Hye-Won Han, when he attended high school for a
year in the United States. Thanks to them, my son was able to adjust to life in America
and go on to become a pastor after graduating from Emporia and attending a seminary.
The Mastin couple is special to our family.
I have one memory of Mastin. After graduating from Emporia, I was able to
attend Princeton Theological Seminary with the help of Pastor Baird, while Mastin stayed
a bit closer and attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Mastin asked me
to accompany him on his ride to Chicago, so I agreed.
It was early September in 1926. Mastin showed up in a very old Ford car that he
bought for 25 dollars. But not long after our departure, we had to repair a flat tire and
then had to stop again to fix the car. At the time, the roads from Emporia to Chicago
weren‟t paved, so it took us two and a half days to get to Chicago. Thankfully, Mastin
was a skilled mechanic. I thank God for providing me with such good friends.
I had another friend named Kogle who was the same year as me, and he was a
great preacher who had even won speech contests. After graduating from McCormick, he
served as a pastor at a small church until he was invited to serve as the pastor of the First
Presbyterian Church, the largest and most influential church in Emporia. I learned that he
had become a pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Kansas when I visited the US
after our liberation. I was so happy and thankful to learn that he had become my lifelong
religious companion.

06 Influencing history, Princeton Theological Seminary

In 1926, I was admitted into Princeton Theological Seminary after receiving my
Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Emporia. You can say that Princeton was the
birthplace of American culture because it was so influential. Often, people name Harvard,
Yale and Princeton as the most historical universities in America.
Princeton University was founded by a well-known minister, J. Edwards. He
emphasized the sovereignty of God and was famous for living by many of Calvin‟s
theories in Institutes of Christian Religion. Reverend Edwards instilled fear in many
people by describing sinners who do not believe in God in the following:
“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some
loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked."
People say that one lady screamed and started to cry after hearing these words.
Thus, Pastor Edwards emphasized justice, punishment and repentance in the world of a
strict God. He believed that good pastors were needed to develop churches, and with this
in mind, he built Rock College. This was later renamed as Princeton. Princeton was a
quiet town located halfway between Philadelphia and New York, but after the building of
the University, it became famous and developed rather quickly. Around the time that I
enrolled, the city had considerably progressed, and at the center of the city were
university buildings.
Established with the purpose of training pastors, Princeton moved beyond
providing a high school education to providing a college education. After some time, its
focus was on providing a college education. Soon thereafter, a theology department was
formed, which later became independent and fell under the supervision of the General
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to form the Princeton Theological Seminary.
By the time I enrolled in the Seminary, it already had a 150-year tradition and was
famous for being the largest and most historic of the 9 seminaries under the North
Presbyterian Church of America.
When I was first admitted, I was most impressed by the old-fashioned buildings.
Nassaus Hall was the first building that was built and was an antiquated, red brick
building. Stuart Hall, which only held theological lectures, was made from sandstone and
was worn from all the hands that had touched it. Even the trees and the stairs of Brown
Hall were so old that they gave off a gloomy, archaic vibe. They were all at least 100
years old. In addition to Brown Hall, there was Hodge Hall, Alexander Hall and other
dormitories, and there stood a beautiful, colonial-style church where we gathered in
prayer. There was a two-story library across the street. There were also old trees that
were being treated and repaired. Thus, Princeton preserved the atmosphere of the past
while maintaining a modern environment. There were about 250 students total, and there
were about 80 students in my year. The day I moved into my dorm, I was hit with a
sudden realization that I had come to the right seminary.
Princeton Theological Seminary was as beautiful as a park. Pine Estate was
especially beautiful, and students and residents would often take strolls there. It was a
private estate, but the garden around the house was open to the public so that anyone
could freely enter. There was a lush forest, some beautiful gardens, some spacious lawns,
and in the middle, there was a clear lake filled with ducks. There were also sheep, goats
and deer. My friends and I would often go to the garden to rest or play.
If you walked a little farther from the garden through the lush pine forest, there
was a small open field. If you continued up a narrow road, there was a marble-covered
grave of an unknown soldier with an inscription. They said that many young soldiers lost
their lives on that field while fighting for America‟s independence during the
Revolutionary War. Since they didn‟t know all the names of the soldiers who died that
day, they gathered the remains, made one burial ground and planted trees all around it.
While in school, I visited this place the most. It was because it was the perfect
place to pray: quiet and overgrown with pine trees that you couldn‟t see anything beyond
the trees. One time, I was praying out loud in Korean when I opened my eyes to see a
young man and woman staring down at me. I was so intently focused on my prayers that I
hadn‟t noticed anyone coming, but I am assuming that they had no idea what I was
I would often find myself in deep meditation when I prayed there. I realized that
while freedom was very important, there was also a price to pay for it. It wasn‟t by
chance that the United States was thriving and prosperous and had more freedom than
any other country in the world. Their ancestors, the Puritans, originally came to the
United States seeking religious freedom on a small boat across the Atlantic. And from
then on forward, many lives were sacrificed to form a free nation. At the time, our people
had already lost our land and liberty to Japan. After World War II, we were liberated, but
with the drawing of the 38th parallel, North Korea became a barren, autocratic land while
the South established a liberal democracy, albeit political turmoil was expected. This
greatly saddened me.
There were four or five Korean students at Princeton. There was Pastor Ha-Young
Yoon, who served the First Church of Sinuiju; Pastor Chang-Gun Song, who was at
Sanjunghyun Church in Pyongyang, Kimchun Church, etc before being kidnapped during
the Korean War while he was serving as a dean of the Korean Theological Seminary; Dr.
Jae-Jun Park, who was a retired dean of the Korean Theological Seminary; Pastor
Kyu-Yong Lee, who taught at the Martha Seminary in Wonsan; Pastor Yoon-Kwan Choi,
who was a professor at the Korean Theological Seminary and served at Gongdak Church
in Seoul; and Dr. Sung-Nak Kim, who was a pastor at the Los Angeles Korean American
Presbyterian Church and a dean of Soongsil University before retiring to Los Angeles,
among many others.
Pastor Ha-Young Yoon, who didn‟t graduate from a Korean seminary but was
studying as a special student, was the oldest of the students. He arrived through Shanghai
a couple of years before I did. When we returned to Korea, he was a pastor at the First
Church of Sinuiju while I was a pastor at the Second Church of Sinuiju. Pastor Yoon was
actually the one who introduced me to the Church of Sinuiju. His son, Pastor Byung-Shik
Yoon, and his daughter, Elder Byung-Joo Yoon, worked in the ministry with me for a
long time.
That same year or the year after, Pastor Jae-Jun Kim, Chang-Gun Song and
Kyu-Yong Lee entered as students. All three of them entered as special students, so we
all studied together for one year. Pastor Jae-Jun Kim and Pastor Chang-Gun Song had

already graduated from Aoyama Theological Institute 靑山神學院 in Japan, and after the

liberation of Korea, they returned to Korea and worked together at the Chosun
Theological Seminary. Pastor Yoon-Kwan Choi, who graduated a year ahead of me from
Soongsil University, attended Huron University in America and was studying as a
sophomore at Princeton. I met Pastor Kyu-Yong Lee once in a while when he was at
Martha Seminary in Wonsan, and I formed a long lasting relationship with Pastor
Yoon-Kwan Choi when we worked together at the Chosun Theological Seminary and the
Korean Theological Seminary.
Dr. Sung-Nak Kim graduated a year ahead of me from Soongsil University and
Graduate School of Theology before coming to study at Princeton Theological Seminary.
After the rebuilding of Soongsil University in Seoul, I assumed the role of dean for about
4 years, but my responsibilities at church were becoming too much that I could no longer
do both. I resigned as the dean and invited Dr. Kim from the United States to replace me.
By the time I enrolled in Princeton, Dr. Hyung-Ryong Park had already graduated
and left for another school. Dr. Nak-Jun Park had plans to attend Yale University after
graduating from Princeton, but luckily he hadn‟t left yet so I had the chance to meet him.
The Korean students gathered in a separate room on Sunday afternoons to pray,
read the Bible and exchange stories as a fellowship. These people were my closest friends
who laughed together, cried together and worked together for the kingdom of God.
In my heart, I always carry a token of appreciation for these companions. I am
always thankful that I met these friends at Princeton Theological Seminary and always
pray for them. I am thankful that everything can be achieved through friendship or faith.
In my experience, college is a time to learn and create goals for our future, but it is also a
time to make close friends. There are many things to be thankful for when I look back at
Osan School, Soongsil, Emporia and Princeton, but I am especially thankful for the
friends I made during those years.

07 My unusual part-time job at Princeton

While I was attending the Princeton Theological Seminary, I received a
scholarship of $150 from the school, borrowed $150 from the South Presbyterian Church
Department of Education and worked during the summer to cover the costs of tuition. I
covered for meals by working as a waiter at a club that I was a part of. As for the loans
that I took out from the Church, it was cancelled when I worked as a pastor for 10 years.
If I hadn‟t gone into ministry, I would have had to repay the loan. I later received a
notification that my loan was cancelled when I was practicing in Sinuiju. Like this, I was
able to graduate from Princeton without worrying too much about my tuition with God‟s
help. This was all God‟s wonderful blessing.

One year at Princeton, my friend Chang-Gun Song and I visited an employment

agency. A Korean in New York ran the agency, and after securing a job, I followed a guy
in his 40s to Glen Spey, a resort at the top of a mountain. The entire mountain was
covered in trees, and there was even a beautiful lake.
The house that I stayed in New York was the country retreat of a businessman
named Vanderbilt. The main building was as large and ornate as a palace, and in front of
it, there was a large lawn that had many flowers and trees planted on it. On the other side
of the house, there was a fountain with beautiful irises blooming around it. When I was
staying there, I lived in the bungalow, not the main building. There was the man in his
40s who took me there, a horse-riding young man in his 20s named Jackie and me.
Vanderbilt and his wife came to the country retreat on weekends and would return to
New York during the weekdays. The couple had many horses on the property, and the
horses were trained to race. The guide in his 40s and Jackie were in charge of training the
houses. Jackie would ride and practice with the horses every morning. On the weekends,
the owners would personally examine and feed sugar cubes to the horses. That is when I
learned that horses liked sugar cubes. In another building, there lived a family that
cleaned and managed the estate.
On weekdays, I would usually prepare meals for the two people that I lived with. I
was never really busy and since all of us were men, it was quite relaxing. Since I had
never learned to cook, I bought a cookbook used by all the Korean students, “Boston
Cookbook”. As long as I cooked according to the book, everything tasted fine. On the
weekends, the owners would come, so I had to prepare everything in advance. I was quite
busy on the weekends, but I was always able to attend the Sunday evening service.
While I was leading the life of a cook without any difficulties, I received a letter
from my friend, Chang-Gun Song. After reading his letter about how hard of a time he
was having, my heart ached. He was also working as a cook, but the lady of the house
was very picky and would watch over him with suspicious eyes after telling him to cook
something. One time, she handed him some eggs and told him to separate the egg whites
from the yolk. He was instructed to use the stirred egg whites to pour on top of a cake to
bake. He was a bit taken back since it was his first time trying, but as a hired cook, he
couldn‟t tell her that he didn‟t know how to do it. And so he tried to do it, but of course,
there was no way that it could‟ve turned out well. At this point, the lady screamed and
cursed at him. As I was replying to him with my condolences, I felt grateful to my
One day, after packing to head back to school after a safe summer, I was having
dinner with Jackie when he said something like this.
“The horses that I am raising are good horses, and I am very confident that they‟ll
take first place in the next race. When I win, I am going to receive a lot of money. Do
you know what I‟m going to do with that money?”
“I‟m not really sure. What are you going to do?”
“As soon as I have enough money, I‟m going to find myself a beautiful woman to
marry. When I do, please be my cook.”
I was grateful to hear that. I am not sure how good of a cook I really was, but at
least he thought that I was a very good cook. Whenever I thought of this story, I was
filled with the firm belief that I should become a spiritual cook.
The lady of the house did not attend church, but when I went to church on Sunday
evenings, she handed me 5 dollars for church offerings. To go to church, I had to walk
about 30 minutes through a forest, but sometimes, a deer herd would block my way. The
church I attended was a small mountain church that had about 30-40 parishioners. They
said that they had a pastor, but I never saw him. An old elder led our service, and he
would sometimes even deliver a sermon. He wasn‟t very educated, but as a person of
devout faith, farmers easily understood his sermons.
I received $80 a moth working as a cook. When the time came for me to return to
school in the fall, the lady of the house gave me a $100 bonus and asked me to return the
following summer. However, due to some circumstances, I wasn‟t able to go back the
next summer.

08 Learning from professors of spirituality and intellect

There were many well-known professors at Princeton. Charles Hodge, the
authority on Calvinism, had already passed away when I was admitted, but his grandson
was a professor of systematic theology there. Dr. Warfield was also a very famous
person, but he had already passed away by the time I entered Princeton. Dr. Stevenson,
famous enough to be referred to as the representative of all preachers, was the President
of Princeton at the time. He had served as the lead pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian
Church in New York City, the leading church of the American Presbyterian Church, for a
long time.
There was also the authority on the Old Testament, Dr. Dick Wilson and his
assistant professor, Dr. Allis. By the time I enrolled in Princeton, Dr. Wilson was already
too old to stand and deliver lectures that often, but I heard many stories at his private
library. As an Old Testament scholar strongly opposed to the higher criticism theory, he
even visited Korea once. He studied every evening from 10pm to 3am, and so naturally,
he couldn‟t wake up early in the morning. Therefore, all of his lectures started after 10am.
For this reason, most of the Old Testament classes were taught by Dr. Allis, a young
professor in his 40s or 50s who taught Hebrew and Biblical Theology very well.
Professor Brian Armstrong taught my first theology course, but I had a very
difficult time. Due to old age, his pronunciation wasn‟t very clear, and since he used
many Greek words and I had never learned Greek, it was an uphill battle every day. I
don‟t know if it was a good thing or not, but the lectures were the same every year, so I
was able to buy a transcribed copy of the lectures from a friend to barely keep up with the
Dr. Armstrong always started the class with a prayer, but he mumbled so much
that even students fluent in English had a hard time understanding him. One day, a
student raised his hand and foolishly said, “Dr. Armstrong, can you speak louder so that
all of us can understand the prayer?”
He stiffly replied, “Prayer is for God to hear, not students.”
Dr. Machen taught the New Testament and Greek. He was an associate professor
in his 50s at the time, but his lectures were popular among students for being logical. He
later became famous. I took his courses on the Interpretation of the New Testament and
Greek, but his Greek class was so difficult that it would‟ve been intolerable without
adequate studying. I still remember parts of his lessons. As a bachelor who only studied
theology, he led traditional theologians in the controversy against modern theologians.
He had no other hobbies besides writing books and teaching classes. For entertainment,
the only thing he did was to play chess with students once in a while. I am always
thankful that I learned theology and Greek from him.
Besides the Old and New Testament, I took a course on Homiletics that was
taught by President Stevenson and Dr. Smith, who was a pastor at a large church for a
long time. They were so famous as preachers that there wasn‟t a lesson to miss.
Dr. Smith had a wealth of experience and used it to teach homiletics. He gave
Bible passages for students to practice preaching about in the evenings. He would then
provide constructive criticisms based on your content, speech and gesture.
There was a training course on delivering proper sermons too. Every semester,
students would deliver sermons based on the materials they were given by professors, and
after listening to the sermons, the professors would provide suggestions on content,
delivery methods, hand gestures, facial expressions and voice inflections. Dr. Wheeler
would specifically address diction and voice control. During this training process, I
thought, “These people really thoroughly train their pastors.”
After many years, I was disappointed by the curriculum at the Chosun
Theological Seminary and the Seoul Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Compared to
Princeton University, where they were thoroughly training pastors 50 years ago, the fact
that universities in Korea still lacked this thorough training was truly unfortunate.
Dr. Germer, a missionary who worked with the University President in Arab
states for a long time, taught the missionary courses. He had a great passion for
evangelical missions. Perhaps this is why Princeton prides itself in having sent out many

Professor Charles Erdman 漁塗殉萬 U, the adjunct pastor of First Presbyterian

Church in Princeton, taught courses on the English Bible. The lectures were plain, but he
taught the Bible so that anyone could understand it. His character was truly that of a
Christian gentleman; he was gentle, humble and polite, and even the way he dressed,
talked and walked was impeccable. He said “thank you” so often that he had the
nickname “Thank You Erdman”. Even when students intentionally asked rude questions
or displayed offensive behavior, he never expressed anger or irritation. His younger
brother, W.C. Erdman, spread the gospel in Korea and even taught at the Pyongyang
Theological Seminary for a very long time.
Dr. Loetcher taught the History of the Church and was very knowledgeable in his
field. In three years, we read all 8 church history books written by Professor Phillip
Schaffer. We were told to read hundreds of pages before each lesson, and since he would
call on random students to answer questions, you had to do the readings.
One time, we were discussing predestination and free will when he woke up a
sleeping student to ask his opinion on the matter. Embarrassed, the student replied,
“Professor, I knew the answer last night, but I‟ve forgotten it now.
Then, in a solemn tone, Dr. Loetcher replied, “Gentlemen! There has been a great tragedy
in the history of our Church. No theologian has ever solved the question of predestination
and free will, but this student knew the truth last night but has forgotten it in the morning.
Can you think of a sadder thing than this?”
Professor Loetcher‟s exams were structured so that if you wrote a lot over a broad
range of topics, you were guaranteed to receive a good grade. Some students even went
as far to say that as long as you were a quick writer with a solid start and a convincing
conclusion, no matter what you said in the middle, you would receive an A. This was
very difficult for students like me, considering I did not speak English and was a slow
writer. While I was able to save face, I never received an A. His son was one year above
me at Princeton, and he became a professor of church history following his father‟s
Most of the professors were old like Dr. Vos from the Netherlands who taught
Biblical theology; Dr. Green who taught Christian ethics; Dr. Johnson who taught why
the Christianity was the truth through dialectics; and Dr. Smith who taught homiletics. It
is true that the more experienced you are, the more you have to teach to students and the
more you are respected, but the fact remains that there were too many elderly professors.
Professor Hodge, the grandson of the famous theologian Charles Hodge, taught
systematic theology. Charles Hodge is said to be the most famous Protestant theologian
since Calvin. His three-volume book, Systematic Theology, is as recognized as Thomas
Aquinas‟s Summa Theologica. At the time, Professor Hodge used his grandfather‟s
writings as the course book, so I had to read them all.
Starting in the 19th century, liberal theology started to become popular, causing
small stirrings in many seminaries in the United States and in Europe. However,
Princeton still taught historical and biblical theology up to that point.
Unlike Emporia, we attended service every day at Princeton. Professors took
weekly turns reading a chapter in the Bible and praying. Usually, professors who taught
the Old Testament read out of the Old Testament while professors who taught out of the
New Testament read out of the New Testament.
There were also renowned pastors and theologians from all over the world who
visited and delivered special lectures. World-renowned philosophers, thinkers and
scholars, like the famous theologian Karl Barth, visited as speakers. Every year, there
was a special lecture on missions, and one year, Dr. McCune, a missionary in Sunchun
and Pyongyang, came as the guest speaker.
Originally a Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Henry Van Dyke retired to become an
English professor at Princeton University, where he gave a lecture on world literature
once a year. Of the many books he wrote, there is one that is famous in Korea too, The
Other Wise Man.
Princeton Theological Seminary mainly did research based on the Bible and
theology in general, but it also maintained close relations to other parts of the University
so that the college seminarians were able to learn about different world cultures. Later on,
these teachings greatly helped in church affairs; I thank God for my studies at Princeton.

09 Missionaries in Korea: my friends of faith

I made some valuable friends during my years at Princeton. There was Dr. H.
Voekel who was in the same class as me. Even before coming to the Seminary, he had
already decided that he wanted to become a missionary; he later devoted his life to

missions in Korea. His Korean name was Ho-Yul Ohk 玉鎬旮烈 P, and as a student who had

already studied at Huron University and the Moody Bible Institute prior to coming to
Princeton, he was 5 or 6 years older than the rest of us. Even as a student, he had high
hopes of coming to Korea as a missionary. He even chose a Korean, Chang-Gun Song, as
his roommate. He would tell funny stories about the times he spent with Dr. Song. When
reading the newspaper, Dr. Song would often read out loud like the children used to do at
village schools. This must have sounded quite funny to him.
The influence of Gertrude Swallen, a daughter of one of the first missionaries (Dr.
Swallen) in Korea, was great in Dr. Voekel‟s decision to become a missionary in Korea.
After graduation, the two of them got married and lived in Andong and Seoul for 40
years doing missionary work.
During the Korean War, they helped many orphans and refugees. They also went
around prison camps spreading God‟s words. Later, about 200 released prisoners went on
to ministry. Missionary Voekel appealed to many churches in the United States to raise
money for people who wanted to study theology. About 150 men were able to graduate
with his help.
His work in education is also worth mentioning. He helped in many ways when
Pyongyang Soongsil University was being rebuilt in Seoul, especially in terms of the
school facilities and operations management. He made the greatest contributions in
creating today‟s Soongsil University, and while he was a professor at Soongsil, he used
funds from back home to expand the school.
Even when I think of it now, I think that I made a good decision in inviting him as
a professor when I was the President of Soongsil University. Missionary Voekel was a
lifelong friend and a fellow coworker. Throughout his life, he served our nation with love
and with the gospel. Whenever I think of our friendship as lifelong close friends, I can
only thank God.
Every time I visit the United States, I see him, and I met up with him February of
1975 too. As a missionary affiliated with Seoul Youngnak Church, he has always helped
our church, and when I met him then, he was helping Los Angeles Youngnak Church. In
1981, many missionaries visited Westminster Garden, and there, I met Pastor Voekel,

Pastor Baird as well as his oldest son, Missionary R.H. Baird 裵義就. It saddened me

because I thought that Pastor Voekel was getting weaker, but his wife was still in good
At the time, there was no dining club within the seminary for about 250 students,
so we formed clubs in groups of 60-70 people and picked local homes where we ate.
There were 4 clubs: Friar, Benham, Calvin [and Warfield]. These were the clubs in the
Seminary. I was part of Friar. Friar refers to old medieval monks, or “begging monks”.
The clubs were the center of social gatherings and meals. There was an Abbot, who was
responsible for managing the club, and a Steward, who was responsible for preparing
meals. After dinners, society leaders and celebrities were often invited to deliver
There was a helper maid names Mrs. Johnson who had worked at the club for
over 10 years, and we called her mother. Since she had worked at the club for a long time,
she acted freely, but the students respected her and treated her with politeness. Students
belonging to the same club maintained closer relations to each other, and this was another
beautiful part of the club. I became close friends with Dr. F. Kinsler who was one year
ahead of me and who later became our club‟s Abbot. However, when a large Student
Union and dining hall were built, these clubs were abolished.

Dr. Kinsler took on the Korean name Sae-Yul Gwon 權 v 世@烈 Pafter graduating

from the seminary and taught at Soongsil University and Soongsil Middle School. He
formed close relations with Koreans and devoted his life to Korean churches.
He was particularly famous for being the most fluent in Korean among
missionaries. One of the greatest contributions he made to Korean Christianity was the
start of the Bible Club. The Bible Club was a school education movement, using the
Bible as its focus. Churches would gather students who were too poor to attend regular
schools to teach them about the Bible and other subjects every day.
They would pick devout young men and women to be teachers, and the United
States General Assemble Missions Committee made this operation fully functional by
paying the teachers. Most of the teachers were bereaved widows who had lost their
husbands early on. Not only did the Club help educate poor children, it also helped lonely
After the Korean War, there was an increase in orphans as well as poor children,
so the Club took on secondary education on top of the already existing primary education
program. It is heartwarming to know that in some places, the Club developed so much
that they were made into actual primary and secondary schools. The Club soon spread
throughout the nation; it was a very valuable project in terms of the number of students
and teachers that were influenced and the impact it had on Korea‟s future. And this was
all accomplished by Pastor Kinsler. His son still continues to spread the gospel as part of
the Korean General Assembly Missions Committee.
We cannot forget that the development of our country was largely possible due to
the dedication of these people. I was able to meet them on my last visit to Westminster
Gardens. Whenever I think of the two seminarians I studied with in the US that made
lifelong commitments in Korea for its religious development, I give my thanks to God.
Pastor Kinsler and his wife have retired and are now living and preaching in Long
Island, and one of their sons is preaching to American soldiers in Korea.
Missionary Voekel‟s children are all pastors and missionaries; one of them is
supposedly working in Columbia, South America.
One of the foreign students that I studied with was an Armenian named
Bulbullian. In Armenian, the name Bulbullian means “the son of a nightingale”. In
Korean, a nightingale is a type of songbird. He said that his grandfather was part of a
church choir and he sang with such a beautiful voice that they nicknamed him “the son of
a nightingale” which later became his last name. His grandfather, his father and
Bulbullian praised God, and so will all future descendents of his house.
Although Armenians form a nation, they do not have a country. Armenian
churches are spread throughout countries that were once ruled by Persia: Iran, Serbia, etc.
It was one of the first Christian nations in Asia Minor, but Turkey, an Islam country,
unfortunately occupied it and persecuted the people. Now the country is a part of Russian
territory, and Armenians are still being persecuted. But the Armenians have managed to
hold on to their ancestral faith wherever they went.
Theodore Bulbullian was faithful and pious and reminded me of a medieval monk.
We were in the same class and same club, so I saw him every day. But he was always
worried that American churches were too lax and that the seminary students‟ lifestyles
were too distant from what the Bible outlined. This was because there were smokers and
people who went to the theater and parties among our student body.
After graduation, he served God for a long time as the secretary of the Iranian
Bible Society in Tehran. We used to send each other letters once in a while, and one time,
he sent $100 (a very large sum of money at the time) to help Korean churches.
With that money, I was able to recruit a female minister for the Second Church of
Sinuiju. One time, I passed through Tehran on my way to Europe, but I didn‟t have a visa
so I could not meet him.
After that, I was invited as a guest lecturer at a conference for ministers organized
by Dr. Haggai in Tehran three years before the Iranian Revolution. I tried looking for
Pastor Bulbullian, but he had already passed away by then. When I asked about his
family, his wife had already passed away three years ago, and both their sons lived in the
United States, but only one attended the funeral. I wanted to at least visit his grave, so I
followed his successor of the Armenian Church in Tehran to the cemetery with flowers in
one hand. There was a cemetery for Armenian Christians on the outskirts of Tehran, and
on the grave of Pastor Bulbullian‟s wife, there was a tombstone that he had put up for her.
But there wasn‟t a tombstone on his grave yet. I stood in front of his grave with my head
hung low and gave a silent prayer to God.
Pastor Bulbullian had dedicated his life to God‟s will in a country dominated by
headstrong Muslims and still managed to hold on to his faith by proclaiming the Bible
and spreading God‟s words. Whenever I think of his life, I am inspired, and I thank God.
Phillip Austin was a fellow seminary student who had previously worked for a
corporation for 10 years after graduating from college. However, after receiving the call
of God, he re-enrolled in a seminary and had a great influence on me.
He desperately wanted to be a missionary in a country that had never heard the
gospel, but he was worried that the Missions Committee would reject him because of his
old age. One time, he said he wanted to talk to me so I went to see him when he told me,
“I would like to go to Korea as a missionary, but I don‟t think I‟ll be able to learn the
language or become a missionary. So I had a thought. If there is someone in Korea who
wants to become a pastor, I would like to provide for his middle school, high school,
college and theological education. He can then serve Korea in my place.”
I came to admire his faith and passion for missions that night. Afterwards, I
started praying to God and looking for someone to connect to Austin. I was worried that I
would find the wrong person who would exploit Austin‟s innocent enthusiasm. But at
some point, I thought of the perfect person.
I had recalled my childhood years at Jajock Church and the youngsoo, Youngsoo
Guk-Chan Kim, who prayed in tears. If he had a son then he would be perfect. Even
though I was young, whenever I saw him I thought that he was very faithful.
I immediately wrote a letter to Josa Yong-Jin Woo at Jajock Church. I explained
how there was someone that wanted to support a student who would want to go into
ministry and asked him if he had anyone to recommend. I also asked if Youngsoo
Guk-Chan Kim from my childhood had a son. Some time later, I received a letter from
the josa. Youngsoo Guk-Chan Kim did have a son, but their family was too poor to send
him to another school after he graduated from the church-run Jingwang Elementary
School. He was now helping his father with the farming.
I had never seen Youngsoo Kim‟s son, but through the Holy Spirit‟s inspiration, I
connected him with Pastor Austin. After that, with the help of Pastor Austin, Youngsoo
Kim‟s son was able to graduate from Soongsil Middle School, Soongsil University and
Pyongyang Theological Seminary to become a pastor. He grew up to become Pastor
Jong-Sup Kim. He has worked with me longer than any other person, first at Sinuiju and
then at Youngnak Church. Like his father, he is a loyal servant to God and makes me
wonder if there is another person on Earth who is more faithful than him. When he was
an associate pastor at Youngnak Church, he acted as my hands and feet.
To be honest, there are a couple of reasons as to why Youngnak Church was able
to expand and grow. The first reason is God‟s grace. The second reason has to do with
the dedicated effort of elders. The third reason has to do with the commitment of church
leaders like Pastor Kim. Pastor Kim is currently retired and comfortably living in the
United States with his children.
It has been many years since Pastor Austin passed away, but his faith was truly
profound. To donate out of one‟s pocket for God‟s works while one is a student is
impossible without really devoting oneself to God.
Looking back, there is nothing as precious as supporting another human being. If
you properly raise another person, you have no idea what that person can accomplish.
That is why orphanages and schools are valuable. When you train a person, you are
bound to see the fruits of your labor in 20-30 years.

10 Even the toughest fights are in God’s hands

Before I finish the tales of my years at Princeton, there is something that I need to
say no matter how much pain it may cause me. I have to say this accurately; hopefully the
Holy Spirit will guide my heart and lips.
Princeton Theological Seminary is a prestigious institution that has the oldest
history and that has produced the most religious leaders and missionaries of the nine
seminaries that are affiliated with the United States North Presbyterian Church. At the
time, there were about 250 students and about 20 professors.
During my time there, a great religious debate arose that rattled not only the North
Presbyterian Church but also the entire Protestant religion in America. It was the debate
between conservatives/fundamentalists, who wanted to preserve the historic tenets of the
church, and the progressive liberals/modernists, or the new wave theologians. In other
words, it was a question of compatibility between evangelical and liberal theology.
Students and young believers were especially torn. On one side, people argued that the
basis of historical biblical faith, which has been passed down for generations, must be
maintained. That way future generations will be blessed. On the other side, people argued
that they weren‟t trying to abandon the historical elements of Christianity. They were
merely trying to provide a modern interpretation of the gospel.
During this time, the chief representative of the modernists was Henry Emerson
Fosdick, a Presbyterian pastor. He was a very intelligent and skilled speaker. His
declaration, “The Bible requires a new interpretation. Just because it was previously
believed does not mean it should be now. It should be interpreted to fit the zeitgeist,” had
a very good response among many young students. However, it was strongly criticized by
the Presbyterian Church because his beliefs went beyond the traditional creed. The details
are unknown, but in light of these circumstances, he was ejected from the New York
Presbytery. In other words, he was condemned as a heretic. But later on, with the support
of Rockefeller, he built Riverside Church next to Columbia University in New York.
Some say that the Rockefeller Foundation built it in commemoration of Rockefeller‟s
mother. I have been there a couple of times and the 300-seat chapel is always flooded
with people. After the death of Pastor Fosdick, the church was revived even more.
As I recall, seminaries became affected by this wave of liberal theology one by
one. But as a historical theology institution, Princeton Theological Seminary maintained
its traditional position. The President and all the professors were fundamentalists, some
of them even being on the extreme end.
Leading the fundamentalists was Dr. Machen. The Old Testament scholars,
Professor Wilson and Assistant Professor Allis, among others were right behind him. Dr.
Machen argued that liberal ideas would eventually cause harm to the church and
maintained a strong belief that the lessons and wisdoms of the Bible were to be believed
as is. He published many books in response to liberals, including Christianity and
Liberalism and The Virgin Birth of Christ, and they have all been acknowledged
throughout history. He also attacked the trend of theological liberalism through articles
published in religious journals.
Even within the conservative faith, the faculty was split into two factions. The
split faculty naturally had an influence on the students, and even before you knew it, the
students had split into two factions. As a foreign student, I was very cautious about taking
sides, and while I respected Dr. Machen, I couldn‟t agree with his hostile criticism.
Dr. Erdman, who taught practical theology, believed that debating or fighting
about theological issues was never in the best interest of the church and avoided the
debate altogether. He agreed with Dr. Machen‟s beliefs but criticized his fighting spirit.
Dr. Machen was the lead pastor at the First Church but was later forced to leave,
because the members of the congregation did not like that every sermon he delivered had
a theological topic. By the time I enrolled in Princeton, Dr. Erdman was chosen as Dr.
Machen‟s successor as the lead pastor of the First Church. Considering these
circumstances, there was tension between the faculty members at Princeton as they were
divided into Machen supporters and Erdman supporters.
But there was a moment during the General Assembly where Dr. Machen and his
fellow conservatives attacked the North Presbyterian Church Missions Committee. They
argued that the Missions Committee dispatched liberal missionaries who weren‟t doing a
proper job. They even mentioned the names of several missionaries and requested that the
Committee summon them.
The Committee and General Assembly rejected their request on the basis that
while their claims had some merit, their request were over-the-top and not peaceful. Then
Dr. Machen and his supporters left the meeting and announced the formation of an
independent Missions Committee to the Presbyterian Church.
“The Missions Committee within the Assembly has failed to do things correctly,
and I have formed a new Committee with the purpose of sending people of correct faith
to foreign countries. For those who adhere to the orthodox faith of the Presbyterian
Church, please send your missions donations to here.”
As they formed a new Missions Committee, recruited missionaries independently
and accepted separate donations within the same Presbyterian Church, this caused a legal
issue with the General Assembly. First, the problem was contained within the presbytery
until it spread and traveled up to the General Assembly. However, the General
Assembly‟s position was firm.
“This is against our rules. There already is a Missions Committee directed by the
Assembly. We cannot have another Committee created by a few people collecting their
own funds.”
As the situation got larger, the Presbytery individually punished the supporters of
Machen, but I do not remember the severity of the punishment. The Machen supporters
did not back down and went on to organize a new Presbyterian Church. There were
faculty members who left Princeton in support of Machen. Dr. Wilson who taught the
Old Testament, Dr. Allen, Dr. Bentil and others left and formed the Westminster
Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
Even the General Assembly split and formed a separate Presbyterian Church, and
the number of churches that left was about 70-80. From what I hear, Westminster
Theological Seminary had an internal division later on and another seminary known as
the Faith Theological Seminary was built under the leadership of McIntire. I heard that
there was another division since then. And so the northern Presbyterian Church had some
unfortunate experiences with internal divisions, although not many; likewise, the historic
Princeton Theological Seminary followed the road of partition.
This all happened in 1929, the year I graduated from Princeton Theological
Seminary. I graduated in May, and the seminary split into two that summer. For this to
happen, there were a lot of difficult problems that arose within the Church and the
Many years after it split, Princeton Theological Seminary appointed the famous
theological educator Dr. J. Mackay as its President. During his presidency, the Seminary
underwent many developments and even found itself at the center of the Ecumenical
After our liberation, when I visited Princeton, it had already found stability.
During my visit, I was exchanging words with President McKay when the year of my
graduation came up.
He said, “So you graduated during the year of agony.”
Looking at either the Seminary or the northern Presbyterian Church, the year
1929 was clearly the year of agony. Looking at the situation then and now, my position
has not changed. Dr. Machen was a good teacher and a great educator. However, he went
to excessive degrees to attack and prove his point when his opponent‟s opinion differed
from his.
I think that my assessment about Dr. Machen‟s attitude is right. He was
narrow-minded and insisted too much on his correctness.
Who among us can demand others to follow his or her beliefs? We are merely
sinners in front of God. And as people of different backgrounds, educations and
characters, we can all feel and interpret the Bible differently when we read it. And so
while we should strictly follow the faith that we believe to be true, we should be able to
accept other people‟s interpretations even if they are slightly different. No matter what
happens, the fellowship of Christians should not be broken up.
It still hurts to think about what happened then. But 30 years later, the Korean
Church faced a similar divide. It is a frustrating and painful thing. I believe that if the
Korean Church knew of the tragedy that the Church of the United States underwent
beforehand, this sad event in history would not have occurred. The Korean Church also
split at the end of its dispute; the faction that left became divided again and formed
separate seminaries and churches, only to have the division repeat over and over.
There is no other division like it. As we live according to the Bible and believe in
Jesus Christ, we need to remember that there are limitations to the human intellect; we
cannot know everything. Our Almighty God alone knows everything. There is one Lord.
There is one God. There is one Bible. And there is one dogma. However, the
understanding of faith may differ from person to person. Even though we memorize the
same dogma, our understandings and interpretations may differ. Just because someone‟s
interpretation differs from mine, I think that labeling him or her as a heretic or as a
self-righteous activist is extreme. We need to hold onto our historic faith and humbly
realize our own limits at the same time. We need to tolerate other opinions and ideas in
the spirit of acceptance. This is truly a valuable thing in maintaining peace in a church.
When we are too extreme, both sides can easily make mistakes. Therefore, we always
need to be humble. No matter how right you are, you should not condemn others and
cause divisions.
Looking back, the most important things in faith are the correct theological ideas,
humility and love. What is love? If you look in Corinthians 13:4, love is patience first of
all. Love is being patient, gentle and kind among Christian believers and others; it is not
being jealous of one another.
There is a lot of jealousy within churches. Jealousy is what divides churches. The
tragedy that I experienced at Princeton was very helpful when I returned to Korea and
served the churches there. I was never interested in fighting. Now that I think about it, it
was all part of God‟s plan for me to attend seminary during the time of such conflict.
It was entirely God‟s grace that I, born in the remote mountains of Korea, was
able to study at the historic Princeton Theological Seminary for three years. I am thankful
for the friends and upperclassmen that looked after this poor clueless fellow. I cannot
forgot, first, the grace of God, and second, the grace of these people.
Chapter 05: I thank God for providing me with strength when I am weak

01 The special happiness I received at Albuquerque Nursing Home

In 1929, with my graduation from the seminary ahead of me, I started to worry
about the two choices I had. The first was returning to Korea and starting my ministry,
and the second was continuing my graduate studies, considering I had traveled far. At the
time, Japan was in control, so leaving Korea once I returned would have been very
After my graduation in May 1929, I visited Battle Creek, Michigan for whatever
reason. Unfortunately, I became ill there. I was always weak to begin with, and while I
was attending Princeton, I was once hospitalized with a combination of a cold and
bronchitis. It is true that I was still quite fragile around the time I graduated.
Waiting to hear back from graduate schools, I became sick one summer day and
visited the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium. The Seventh-day Adventist Church ran the
sanitarium. I didn‟t know at the time, but I later found out that the Seventh-day Adventist
Church headquarters was located in Battle Creek. The famous Dr. Kellogg was the
hospital director when I went there. The doctor who treated me was Dr. Olson, and he
was a very kind and competent physician.
I was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB). Modern medicine can easily treat a
disease like TB nowadays, but back then, you could only rely on natural remedies, and
surgery was not even an option. It was no different from a death sentence. The doctor
also said that there was no hope for curing my second stage tuberculosis. Back then,
people with TB were isolated, and so most people who caught it fell into despair. The
duration of the treatment was so long that many people died without receiving the proper
treatment. Only a person who has been in this situation can know how I felt, to come to a
foreign country alone and to become this sick.
Battle Creek Sanitarium was enormous in size; the main building had 16 stories,
and there were more buildings on the lush green lawn in between trees and flowerbeds
like a park. The hospital used natural remedies. They prohibited all meat and
recommended that I eat only vegetables if possible. They didn‟t use any dairy products
besides milk and eggs as their ingredients; instead of meat, they used cinnamon, walnuts
and other kinds of nuts not found in Korea to produce a similar taste. They said that the
hospital treated many people with hypertension, neuralgia, diabetes and arthritis. And

using a method called hydrotherapy 水療法, they used different types of drinking and

bathing water as part of their treatments.

With a heavy heart, I prayed to God asking what I should do, when at some point,
a prayer of thanks for His grace spilled forth. And then I was at peace.
One day, a pastor at the hospital came to visit. Even though it was a Seventh-day
Adventist hospital, the pastor was Presbyterian. It was explained to me that while the
hospital executives were Seventh-day Adventists, most of the patients were Protestants,
so the hospital invited a Protestant pastor. He knew that I was a graduate of Princeton
Theological Seminary and tried to actively help me.
For some unknown reason, the chairman of the US National Tuberculosis
Association and famous TB doctor, Dr. Peterson, visited the hospital I was admitted to.
The hospital pastor found Dr. Peterson and discussed ways to treat me. At the time, Dr.
Peterson was working hard to help patients with TB financially and emotionally.
“What denomination do you belong to, young student?”
“I am Presbyterian.”
“And what seminary did you attend?”
“I graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary.”
“Then I can help you.”
I asked him how he could help me, and he started to carefully explain.
“If you want to be cured, you need to go far away to somewhere where the air is
clean to treat your TB. I am currently working in a place called Albuquerque. It is
probably your first time hearing about it, but the US city of Albuquerque, New Mexico
was built more than 1,600m above sea level. The air is dry and very clean that TB
patients from all across the US gather there to be treated. And since you are a
Presbyterian who graduated from a Presbyterian seminary, you can be treated at the
Albuquerque Presbyterian Nursing Home. At the Presbyterian nursing home, there is a
separate building where pastors and ministry candidates are treated. I will write a letter
introducing you to the director soon. As long as the hospital accepts you, I will provide
all treatments for free. I will write a letter just asking for a room and meals to be provided.
Don‟t worry. You should also write a letter to the President of Princeton Theological
Seminary asking him to write a letter about you to the director of the hospital.”
How can this not be God‟s work? I immediately wrote to the President of
Princeton, and he, too, took care of it immediately. Soon afterwards, I received a letter
from the director of the Albuquerque Hospital.
“Come quickly. I‟ll have all the arrangements ready.”
Even during my sad and lonely time in sickness, how thankful I was for God‟s
blessing! If Dr. Peterson hadn‟t visited the hospital just then, I wouldn‟t have even known
about the Albuquerque Presbyterian Nursing Home. But he came to visit while I was
there, took pity on my situation and agreed to help me. How can this be man‟s doing?
New Mexico is located in the southwest region of the United States and is an arid
desert surrounded by rugged mountains. Most of the inhabitants were Mexicans who used
the Rio Grande River to irrigate crops, vegetables and fruit trees. Albuquerque is located
in the highlands and is the largest city in New Mexico. The summers aren‟t very hot and
there is very little rainfall throughout the year, making the air very dry. All of New
Mexico was covered in cacti and spiky grass. There were a variety of cacti and the
flowers were beautiful too. Each American state has a state flower, and New Mexico‟s
was the cactus while Kansas‟s, the state I stayed in, was the sunflower.
People throughout the United States who suffered from respiratory diseases like
TB and asthma started to gather there and started a city.
I took a train in my sick condition and arrived in Albuquerque two days later. In
Albuquerque, many denominations had set up nursing homes to treat their
denomination-affiliated patients. The director of the Presbyterian nursing home was
Pastor Cooper; he originally came to Albuquerque with weak lungs, but after recovering,
he established a small Presbyterian nursing home to help others in his situation. By the
time I went there, the nursing home had become more developed and had a 2-story main
building, a rectory, a dining hall and scattered cottages for individual use. During my stay,
they built another 3-story building. I can‟t be sure of the exact number, but I believe there
were about 60-70 patients at the time.
I was assigned a room on the first floor of the rectory. The room was divided into
an interior space and a terrace outside so that you were able to enjoy fresh air at any time.
There was a bed in the outer area too, so I spent most of my time outside even in the
winter when it wasn‟t too cold.
All year round, the weather was clear so I was able to lie in the fresh air every day.
My gratefulness to God for sending me to live in such a pleasant place was short-lived. I
was sad and lonely, and for a while, my bed was soaked in tears. And I looked back on
my past.
„I‟ve studied for 17 years. In a school that someone else built, I was able to study
not using my money but with the help of several other people. If I don‟t return to my
country to repay this debt and then die, would there be any other person in the world that
has only received and never given back like me?‟
With these thoughts, I was filled with remorse. But God comforted me with his
infinite love. I left my depression behind and offered a prayer of thanks to God.
“God has sent me here, so I will place my future in his hands. I will be at peace
and focus on my treatments.”
Like the Bible says, I placed my future entirely in his hands and decided to lie
there in happiness. There was no special treatment or medicine. The doctors and nurses
just brought me milk, eggs and other foods and told me to eat up. Once a month, a doctor
came to examine me and test my mucus. In my case, Dr. Peterson, whom I had met
earlier at Battle Creek, and another doctor, Dr. Mulky, were my primary physicians. The
doctors comforted me and told me, “Don‟t worry about anything and just lie still. Our
first priority is to help you gain some weight.” There was a person who was specifically
in charge of weighing patients and recording their weight every week. Of course, a nurse
came every day, in the morning and evening, to check and record my temperature and
The doctor was truly happy for my weight gain and said, “Your health is
recovering, and your weight is continuously increasing. So don‟t be anxious about
anything, and get some rest.” My weight continued to increase, and in two years, my
weight had increased by 20 kg. It was the fattest I had ever been in my life.
Since I didn‟t do anything all day but just lie there, my thoughts became more
complex, and my past passed through my head like snapshots. The thing that depressed
me the most was my future. Was the end result of my laborious studies this? Will my life
end here in this lonely place, where no one knows about my life? Whenever I thought of
these questions, I would fall into depression.
But lying there in a comfortable private room and looking back at my past, I
realized that there were a lot of things to confess to God. I had entered the seminary to do
God‟s work, but looking back, there were so many sins that I had committed. There were
sins that I hadn‟t realized I had made, sins I committed from temptations when I was
younger and sins of personal ambition. I repented my sins and put myself down once
again before God. Although I couldn‟t remember all the sins I had committed, I vowed to
dedicate myself to God more than ever before.
Then as my health was gradually restored, my mind began to clear up, and I
started to read the books that I never got to. While reading papers that I didn‟t have time
for during school because of lectures and papers, I was filled with happiness. I read the
biographies of Saint Anthony and Saint Francis several times, as well as Tolstoy‟s A
Confession and My Religion among other books that filled me with grace.
On one hand, I struggled to devote my body and mind to God completely
regardless of life or death. And I asked God to give me an opportunity to work for Him if
that was His will. At first, I prayed to Him to give me an opportunity to work for 3 years,
but eventually, I prayed for 17 years for the 17 years that I had spent studying.
For six month, I laid in bed until finally, I was allowed to exercise a little and take
baths. Before that, a nurse used to wash my body twice a week while I was lying down.
As I was getting better and better, I was able to meet the other patients in the same
building. Two rooms from me, there was a patient named Johnson who had graduated
from Princeton 4-5 years before me. He had been a pastor when his lungs became weak.
His father was a missionary in Korea but he had briefly come back to the US because of
health problems. After fully recovering, Pastor Johnson was a professor of Bible Studies
at Parker University in Missouri for a very long time until recently when he retired. I
have met him a couple of times since then.
I often exchanged stories with Nicastri, a seminary student from Italy, too. He had
a particular talent for music. After his treatment, he finished his education and practiced
ministry in a church where many Italians gathered. I heard that he passed away after a
few years unfortunately.
I met a Korean student named Chang-Eui Kim who was being treated at a
Methodist nursing home, not the Presbyterian nursing home where I was being treated.
He had graduated from Yonhi University and was studying at Ohio West University
when his lungs weakened. I was glad to see a fellow Korean so far from home. We would
often take walks together and share stories. After a few years, he recovered and returned
home after finishing school, where he was able to secure a faculty position at Yonhi
University. Sadly enough, he passed away in the late colonial period.
When I think back now, I realize that my illness was a result of God‟s love. God
is truly gracious and merciful, and there is no other possibility but to praise his
compassion. I believe it was God‟s gift of love that wanted to purify me, to help me
realize the correct path of faith and to enlighten me.

02 The hand that transformed sickness into grace

The two years I spent in Albuquerque was a great blessing that aided both my
bodily and spiritual recovery. Lying in bed for a long time was a great help in my
ministry. I can understand those who are ill, and I can relay God‟s comfort through my
own experiences.
While I was in the hospital, I received many letters of condolences and support
from my friends. Among those letters, I distinctly remember the letter Chang-Gun Song
sent me while he was studying at Pittsburgh Western Seminary. A few years ago, the
seminary united with a nearby Xenia Seminary and is now called the Pittsburgh
Theological Seminary. Chang-Gun Song comforted me with words of sympathy and
encouragement and sent me his picture along with a Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 12:10,
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I reflected on how Paul the Apostle prayed to
God three times for him to remove the thorn from his flesh, but God didn‟t remove it.
Instead, in his weakness, God provided him with a greater blessing. I was comforted in
this reflection.
Dr. Peterson, the doctor in charge of me, was always kind when he cared for his
patients; he had apparently come to Albuquerque when his lungs weakened. He was
helping others through the pain he had previously experienced.
Ms. J. Van Deventer, the secretary of Director Cooper, always tried to comfort the
patients too. It might have been because she thought that I would be lonelier as a
foreigner, but every time she came to visit, she would bring pretty flowers and would tell
me not to be discouraged and to receive my treatment in happiness. She had the gift of
making other people happy with her smile.
Ms. Van Deventer attended college in Richmond, Virginia and started teaching
high school after graduation. During college, she was engaged to her sweetheart when he
was admitted to the Albuquerque Nursing Home. He had fallen sick while he was
attending a northern Presbyterian seminary in Richmond. This was many years before I
came to the nursing home. With the money she earned as a teacher, she was covering his
medical expenses when she decided that she wanted to help him close by. And so she
moved to Albuquerque and nursed her fiancé while working as a secretary to the
Unfortunately, his health continued to deteriorate and was only given a few more
days to live by doctors. Even during this sadness, she thought, “I have devoted my life to
this man. Even if he dies, I want to keep his name.” And so she asked the Albuquerque
First Church pastor to marry them.
“I understand your intentions of true love, but is there a reason to get married?”
She refused to be discouraged by the pastor‟s words.
“I would like to at least hold on to my loved one‟s name by marrying him.”
And so because of the fiancé‟s serious condition, they had a wedding while he
laid in bed. Since then, she has been called Ms. Van Deventer. After the wedding, the
wife nursed her husband in a small apartment. But by the grace of God, the husband was
able to safely overcome his death sentence and lived happily for another 8 years.
Mr. Van Deventer passed away 7-8 months after I was admitted, but I couldn‟t
attend his funeral in my state. I believe it was the Sunday evening after his funeral. There
was a small memorial service for him in the hospital prayer room, and with special
permission, I was able to attend it as well. I still remember the words she delivered that
“I can‟t express how grateful I am that I had the opportunity to serve him for 8
years. Thank you Lord.”
And while she had nursed her husband for the past 8 years, she said that she
would help the patients in the nursing home in the future. Seeing her, I realized how
precious and beautiful the love between husband and wife is.
She lived her life the way she said she would during the memorial service. She
devoted the rest of her life to visiting and encouraging patients that were admitted into
the hospital. Later, she became the secretary for the hospital board of directors and
personally raised money for the expansion of the hospital.
I talked to her on the phone when she was 82 years old, but even then, she was in
good health and was continuing her work. From then until now, every Christmas, she has
sent me a long letter. A couple of years ago when I was visiting the US, I went to the
hospital to meet her, and she was still working as the hospital secretary. The hospital only
had one building from when I was there, and the rest of the buildings were new. They had
even changed the name from “Nursing Home” to “Presbyterian Church”. In the United
States, they were treating lung diseases with medications and operations, so there was no
need for a nursing home.
When I was going to the US for a vacation in 1981, I had a long-distance phone
call with her. She was almost 90 years old, but she was still in good health and living next
to the hospital.
Ms. Van Deventer was one of the greatest women I have ever met. Whenever I
think of her sincerity and love and how she transformed her love for her husband to help
others, a prayer of thanks naturally spills from my mouth. I am grateful for having met
her during my sickness, and I am grateful that she is still with us today. Whenever I
preach on the theme of love between husband and wife, I mention her as my example.
When I was in Albuquerque, there was another American woman besides Ms.
Van Deventer that helped me. She was an 80-year-old woman named Ms. Phillips who
had worked as a missionary in Mexico when she was younger. I first received a letter
from her when she was at Emporia and when I was attending Princeton.
The dean of Emporia University once wrote a short article about me in a
magazine. It was a magazine called Presbyterian, published by the northern Presbyterian
Church, but Ms. Phillips had read it and sent me 50 dollars to use while I was attending
the seminary. And from then on, we communicated via letters, but after hearing the news
that I was hospitalized in Albuquerque, she came to personally visit me a few months
Not only did she come visit me, but she also rented a small room next to the
hospital, saying that although she did have son, he lived far away. She would often visit
me with prayers of comfort and would give me allowances too. While I didn‟t have to
worry about hospital bills while I was there, I received her help if I needed money for
anything else.
Whenever I could see no way out using my own strength, the Lord provided. I
cannot express how grateful I am.
For the kindness that Dr. Peterson and the other hospital members including
Director Cooper, Ms. Van Deventer and Ms. Phillips showed me, thank you. And thank
you God.

03 When I became a student at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver,

My room overlooked the Sandia Mountains, which changed color in the morning
and in the evening light. It usually had a purplish tint to it, and so whenever I looked at
the mountains, I was reminded of Psalm 121.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes
from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

My health gradually improved, and after a year, I moved out of the parsonage into
a small hut. Besides having a lunch break from 1-3 pm, my day was relatively free, so I
would sometimes drive to Sandia Mountains with a friend. The mountain was covered in
juniper trees so the air always smelled sweet. During the winter, I would use a wood
stove to heat my cabin. I would use the juniper wood and its scent would fill the entire
If you climbed all the way to the top of the mountain and looked down, the
autumn-colored plain stretched far into the horizon. But near the Rio Grande River, it
seemed as if a green sash was wrapped around it with the pastures around it being
exceptionally green. When I was on a plane passing over Egypt, the scenery was similar.
Even in the Egyptian desert, there was a stretch of land about 100km wide surrounding
the Nile River that was filled with green trees and crops. When I looked down on the Rio
Grande River from the Sandia Mountains, I was reminded of how water was a precious
resource and the source of all life. I understood why the Lord would compare the
teachings of the Holy Spirit to water. Wherever there is water, there is life, and likewise,
wherever there is the Holy Spirit, life overflows.
After two year in Albuquerque, I made a full recovery and weighed 66kg. The
doctor said that I would be fine in the future as long as I was careful. I had already given
up on my plans of continuing my graduate studies. I had made up my mind to use what I
had learned in the past year to become God‟s faithful servant no matter how big or small
his plans may be for me. I didn‟t hope to succeed in life, not did I expect big things. I just
wanted to for work for God and my country.
I wanted to immediately return to my country and put my thoughts into action, but
my doctors and friends suggested that I wait at least six monthss, or else my body could
potentially weaken once more. Their suggestion made sense, so I started thinking of
where I could rest when I recalled Denver, Colorado. My reasons were two-fold. Denver
was located near the Rocky Mountains, was a scenic town where it wasn‟t too hot and
was a popular vacation spot for its clean air. Another reason was that Pastor Chang-Gun
Song was studying at Iliff School of Theology, a Methodist seminary. Pastor Song
invited me to stay with him for at least a couple of months in a letter, so at the end of
May or beginning of June in 1931, I took a train from Albuquerque and headed towards
At the time, the Iliff School of Theology was starting their summer semester, so I
signed up for classes. There was only one small building, and the School of Theology had
very few students and had a family-like environment to it. I also got the impression that
their school was very theologically liberal. Our Protestant theology was at one point
radically liberal until Karl Barth‟s and his followers‟ efforts helped restore its orthodox
framework. During the time I was studying in the US, liberal theological ideas were at
their climax. But having studied traditional Presbyterian theology at Princeton
Theological Seminary, I was able to maintain a critical perspective against principles that
were far from trinitarianism.
After a few months there, my health deteriorated again. I was hospitalized again
in a Jewish hospital in Denver and was released after 3-4 months. Considering these
circumstances, I couldn‟t be sure about my health and determining my course of action
was not easy either. An American pastor I had met in Denver suggested that I start my
ministry in the US rather than returning to Korea.
But I couldn‟t break my promise to God just for health reasons.
Even if I were live for a few years, or even a few months, I thought that it would
be better to fulfill God‟s plans for me before entering the kingdom of heaven. Risks
needed to be taken now more than ever, and so I decided that I would put everything in
God‟s hands and return to Korea no matter what.

04 That summer, my dreams were confirmed in Japan

In June of 1932, I drove from Denver to LA and took a boat from LA to
Yokohama, Japan. It took me 7 years from 1925 to 1932 to finish my studies abroad and
head back home.
When I stopped by Tokyo, Mr. Seung-Man Choi was the secretary and Pastor
Hock-Jun Park was in charge of the staff at the Tokyo YMCA. I was very happy to see
them. These two people are some of my most beloved, trusted and respected friends.
While I was staying in Tokyo for a bit, I met a couple of students who were studying
abroad there. Of those students, I particularly remember Pastor Kwan-Joo Kim who was
studying at a Japanese seminary. Even though he was studying under adversity, he
managed to secure a large house where he provided meals to other Korean students. I

also met Mr. Suk-Young Kim who was attending Rikkyo University 立敎←大學唆 in Tokyo.

They formed a religious organization named Ilmaekhwe, meaning a grain of wheat, for
Korean study-abroad students to pray and help each other. They also ran a hostel for
Korean students. These two people also remained my dear friends for life. Pastor
Kwan-Joo Kim actually worked with me at the Second Church of Sinuiju, and when I
resigned, he succeeded me.
Through Pastor Kwan-Joo Kim, I also met Mr. Sung-Mok Kim, who was
studying at Kyungin College at the time and who later became an engineering professor
at Inha University. At his invitation to at least rest for the summer, I went to a place
called Inubousaki 犬吠냑埼 99 in Chiba Prefecture 千葉땍縣 99, not too far from Tokyo.

Inukousaki was located at the leftmost tip of Chiba Prefecture and was a lighthouse
overlooking the Pacific Ocean in all directions. A church in Japan built a small house

named Boeun 報恩쵭 Rehabilitation Home that was cared for by an old Japanese couple.

When I went there, the only other person who came to rest besides me was a young
Evangelical Japanese woman. She had a habit of praying in a loud voice even at night. I
spent my time taking strolls along the beach, meditating and praying about what I would
do once I returned home.
One time, I saw something like a white cloth in the sea from the top of the
lighthouse. From what other people were saying, a young man and woman had fallen off
the lighthouse. Their bodies had gone far out into the sea but the waves were carrying
them back ashore. In Japanese, when a man and woman jump off somewhere and die

together, it is called shinju (心中興). People took a little boat and brought the corpses

back. Looking at that scene form afar, I had a thought that there were many young
Japanese men and women out there who did not know God and the meaning of life. And I
thought that I should spread God‟s gospel to the people in Japan too.
That summer, I had a meaningful time in Japan. Pastor Kwan-Joo Kim introduced
to me a ministry position at the Sinuiju Samil Church when I was working in Sinuiju.
And when I had to leave there, he led me to the Second Church of Sinuiju and worked
besides me for many years. I know that it was God‟s blessing that I met Pastor Kwan-Joo
Kim, with whom I have deep ties, in Tokyo. And for that, I am always thankful.
People like Mr. Seung-Man Choi and Pastor Hock-Jun Park worked to lead
students studying in the foreign country of Japan onto a path of faith for a very long time.
Mr. Seung-Man Choi attended Youngnak Church when he returned to Korea and
remained my life-long friend. He was a role model for many young people through his
faith and integrity, and for that, I am very grateful.
I stayed in Tokyo for about a month and took a boat to head back home. I took the
train to Shimonoseki and transferred onto a ferry. As soon as I stepped foot onto the ferry,
Japanese detectives stared at me with a frightening glare and made a thorough
investigation. We finally crossed the strait, but as soon as I arrived on Korean soil, I was
interrogated just for having been in America. I felt like I had just entered a large Japanese
prison rather than returning home. Compared to the freedom I had experienced in the US,
I was under heavy supervision and was treated like a criminal. I had my doubts about
what I was trying to do in my motherland, but I was a man that had to return.
I still can‟t forget what happened. I was on a train ride to go to my hometown; I
think we were somewhere near Hwanghae. The train was crossing over a railway bridge
when a man who was walking on the tracks saw that the train was headed towards him
and jumped off the bridge into the river. I am not sure what happened to him, but he
probably died. I was a witness to such a terrible scene. “I guess our nation is collapsing
like that under Japan‟s militaristic imperialism.” When this dawned on me, I was angry
and didn‟t know what to do.
“What can I do to lend even the smallest hand to our countrymen against this
cruel reality?” With these thoughts, my mind was not at ease during my train ride
returning home.
Chapter 06: I thank God for providing me with new work

01 Returning to Pyongyang and working as a teacher at the Soongin Trade

One summer day in 1932, I returned to my hometown 7 years after I left my
country. After I got off at Uhpa Station, I walked about 2 miles northeast along a
mountain trail, and right before the final pass, I walked up the slopes to my right for a
long time. Whenever I visited my hometown, I would look for my mother‟s grave
halfway up the mountain. I got down on my knee in front of her grave and gave a prayer
of thanks to God for helping me return in one piece from my travels as I looked back on
my life.
When I came down from the mountain and entered my house, everyone was
surprised and joyous as if their child awoke from the dead. The neighbors stopped by to
congratulate my safe return too. I don‟t know if it was because my father was soon going
to be 70 years old or because he had been worrying about me, but he had aged
considerably. It was evident on my wife‟s face that she had been laboring in the fields.
And my young daughter, Soon-Hee, who had waved goodbye to me on her mother‟s back
when I left, was now a big student. My stepmother had considerably aged as well and my
younger sibling, Seung-Chik, was a grown student too.
Nothing had changed in the mountainous town. It was still poor and the old
chapel was still standing. I have many memories of spending time with the relatives and
friends who came to visit me in the evenings. As I talked with them, certain issues were
brought to the surface, and I contemplated about these issues all summer long.
First, how can I spread the gospel to this nation so that they can all lead lives as
new people? Second, how can I help develop this rural area and its economy and improve
people‟s living standards? And third, what is the correct path to recovering our freedom
and independence from Japan who is currently suppressing our progress and
development? What can I do for such a large problem? What should be done?
After that summer, I left Pyongyang with my family. Thankfully, Pastor
Chang-Gun Song had already returned to Korea by that time and was teaching Bible
Studies at Pyongyang Soongsil Middle School. And Osan School‟s principal, Mr.
Man-Shik Cho, was doing many things as the secretary of Pyongyang YMCA.
At the time, there were two types of Christian schools in Pyongyang: schools that
were funded by missionary donations and schools that were run by Korean churches. Of
course, missionaries operated a majority of the schools. Soongsil University, Pyongyang
Theological Seminary, Soongeui Girls‟ Middle School and many others were managed
by the north Presbyterian Church Missions Committee.
As I recall, several Korean churches in Pyongyang collaborated to build 3 schools.
There was a boys‟ middle school called Soongduk School, a girls‟ middle school called
Soonghyun Girls‟ School and another school that was built later on called Soonghyun
Girls‟ High School.
There was an all-boys middle school named Soongin Trade School that was built
though only the efforts of Korean parishioners. I believe the Pyongyang Presbytery
directly operated the school. The Director of Soongin Trade School was my beloved
teacher, Mr. Man-Shik Cho, and the principal was Elder Hang-Bok Kim who graduated a
year ahead of me at Osan School. Soongin Trade School was located in Kyungsanggol
below the valley of Kyungsangri Moran Hill, which led up to the Eulmildae castle. The
school wasn‟t big but it was quiet and was easy to get to from both Moran Hill and
Eulmildae castle. It was a big deal at the time to build and manage our own school.
When I returned to Pyongyang, I wasn‟t a pastor or a jundosa (seminarian before
being ordained as a pastor). I was just a young man. That was when Mr. Man-Shik Cho
said to me, “You can do other things, but I would really like for you to come teach Bible
Studies and English at our school.” I didn‟t think twice before replying, “If that‟s what
you think would be good, I will do as you say.”
I was grateful that the school was 100% Christian. There were Bible classes and
daily prayers; it was entirely based on a Christian education. Principal Hang-Bok Kim,
being an elder at a church, was very passionate about religious education too. Mr.
Man-Shik Cho, who was the dean of the school, stressed the importance of a nationalistic
spirit to students whenever he had the opportunity.
Not only did I teach Bible Studies and English, I was able to deliver 30-minute

sermons on morality during our morning meetings 朝會甕甕| in the fields.

I have a very amusing memory from then. It was a very cold winter day, and I
must have delivered the lecture for about 30-40 minutes. The students were shivering in
the cold. All of a sudden, a student got into an attention position. I thought perhaps the
physical education teacher had given a command when I wasn‟t paying attention, so I
looked behind me. The teacher had taken off his suit and underwear and was standing up
straight, stark naked. The teacher, Mr. Jin-Kyu Kang, was from Hamkyungdo and was
very strict in disciplining the students. We were similar in some ways, and so we would
often meet and talk.
When disciplining the students, there were other ways besides using force. He
was setting an example for the students to see. As I looked at him, I felt that there should
be more teachers like that in schools.
But I didn‟t stay at Soongin Trade School for very long. I started there in the fall
and stayed until the following spring, but I am still in touch with some of the students I
taught back then. I believe Sung-Hwan Kim, who has passed away now but used to be the
President of Bank of Korea and an elder at Youngnak Church, was in his third year back
then. There is Bong-Yun Choi, who came to the US early on to study and became a
college professor in California. He is retired now, and I saw him a couple of months ago
in San Francisco. I haven‟t met him in a while now, but there is also Woo-Hock-Won
Sun who is now a professor at some university. There are also many elders and deacons
at Youngnak Church who are graduates of Soongin Trade School. While it was only for a
short period of time, I realized then that as long as I try my best with sincerity and
enthusiasm to lead the students onto the right path, the impressionable middle school
students will grow up to have faithful lives. I thank God for sending such an unworthy
being to Soongin Trade School.
Every week, I attended Pyongyang Namdaemun Church led by Pastor Chang-Ho
Lee, and I taught the Bible to young students. The pastor served as the principal of a
school for the blind after resigning from the church. He then left the North and passed
away in Jejudo during the Korean War. At the time, there was Jundosa Kyung-Shin Jan
who served the church, but after leaving the North, he continued to work for Pyongyang
Church in Pusan and Youngnak Church in Jeju. After retiring, he attended Seoul
Youngnak Church and later passed away.
There is a reason that I couldn‟t stay at Soongin Trade School for long. When I
was teaching at the Soongin Trade School, I would often meet with missionary and
President of Soongsil University, Dr. McCune. He would say to me, “Teaching the Bible
at Soongin is a good thing that you are doing, but don‟t you think you should come to
your alma mater, Soongsil University? You can teach the Bible and Chapel at the
university and be a bigger inspiration to college students. Are you always going to stay
there? You should come here.”
After listening to his words, I was conflicted for a short bit. At the time, I needed
to be accredited by Japanese authorities in Pyeongan Province if I wanted to teach. I had
already petitioned and received my certificate when I went to go teach at Soongin. But
some detectives had been snooping around and listening to what I was teaching. And so
one year later, my accreditation was canceled. That is why I couldn‟t stay at the school
anymore. And like that, I couldn‟t teach at Soongin Trade School or at Soongsil
Since God has a plan for everything that happens, I decided that I would return to
the church like I originally planned. Teaching students at a school is very rewarding. But
looking back, God called me and protected me to use me as a pastor, not as a
schoolteacher. I am so grateful. Therefore, I believe in Romans 8:28 without a doubt.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose. “

02 I am invited to join the ministry of Pyongyang churches

As the news of my circumstances became known to my acquaintances, I began to
receive requests to join their ministries from different churches. Truth be told, I was
already delivering weekly sermons at Kilim Church in a small village called Kilim while
I was teaching at Soongin. Kilim Church was about 7-8 years old and had Principal
Hang-Bok Kim of Soongin Trade School serving as its elder. It was a small church that
had a gathering of about 150 people.
One day, I ran into Missionary Baird when he made an unexpected proposal.
“Ibsuk Church in Anju is looking for a pastor and it would be good if you went.
The famous elder, Elder Han-Kyu Ko, attends that church.”
And on another day, Elder Ki-Bum Kim, who had a beard so long that you could
feel its grandiosity, came to visit my shabby house from Sinuiju. His age was almost
approaching 60, and he was a senior member of the Second Church of Sinuiju.
“The reason I came to see you is because I wanted to ask you to come to our
Second Church of Sinuiju as our pastor. Our church is a small church with about 300, 400
if many, parishioners. We do not even have a chapel. We are currently repairing a house
that a Japanese person previously lived in, but it is old and small. But our church has
many young people. In order to lead the young people onto the path of righteousness, we
need a young pastor.”
At the time, my fellow classmate from Princeton, Pastor Ha-Young Yoon, was a
pastor at the First Church of Sinuiju. The church had about 2,500 followers including
children and was the largest in the country. On the other hand, the Second Church of
Sinuiju had separated from the First Church about 7-8 years ago. It was led by Pastor
Deuk-Eui Choi up until a few months when he resigned, leaving the position vacant.
When I discussed the issue with my friends, they recommended that I stay in
Pyongyang, since it was the center of Christianity in Korea where I would be in the
position to affect the entire nation.
But I couldn‟t make up my mind and waited for God‟s instructions. And strangely
enough, I felt attracted to the church in Sinuiju. It was probably the calling of the Holy
Spirit. More than anything, the fact that a 60-year-old elder had come to 30-year-old me
with a request left a deep impression. He was modest but also honest. He told me, “Our
church has nothing. If you come, there is a lot of work to be done. But there are a lot of
young people to help you with your work.”
The church that Pastor Baird recommended, Ib-Suk Church, had a nicely built
chapel, a well-equipped preschool and all other amenities. The ministry was stable so all I
had to do was help lead the parishioners. They even had famous people like Elder
Han-Kyu Ko to help.
But when I was young, I made the decision to do God‟s work, so I thought that I
should go where I was needed most. And like that, my heart went out for the church in
Sinuiju. One Sunday, I visited the church and like the elder said, the church was in
terrible condition. The chapel was flat and the complex required much repair. But the
young members passionately prayed and praised God. Seeing their enthusiasm, I decided
that I couldn‟t be hesitant anymore. So against the advice of my friends, I packed my
bags and went to Sinuiju.

03 My first ministry, the Second Church of Sinuiju

In retrospect, everything was made possible by God‟s guiding hand and the Spirit
of God. The church in Pyongyang that I was volunteering at as a jundosa fell into a
dispute three years later. I can‟t express how thankful I am that I didn‟t stay there.
In September 1933, our family of three moved to Sinuiju. The city of Sinuiju was
on a border that if you crossed one bridge, you were in Andong, Manchuria. I remember
that Andong was a much larger city than Sinuiju. There were many Manchurians living
there, but there was also a considerable Korean and Japanese population in the vicinity of
Yalu River. You couldn‟t freely walk across the border without a visa, considering the
police and customs officials heavily guarded it.

At the time, Zhang Zuolin 張 i 作@霖 Mhad almost complete control over Manchuria.

But back then, Japanese forces were so powerful that they had control over the South

Manchuria 南 n 滿¡Railway. Wherever you went, their control was overwhelming. It is said

that Sinuiju became a developed city when the railway connecting Manchuria and Korea

was built. Since a long time ago, the northwestern border city was Uiju 義 q 州{. People who

traveled back and forth from China as diplomats as well as traders all had to pass through
Uiju. But after the South Manchuria Railway was built near Yalu River about 10 miles
west of Uiju, Sinuiju developed as the new frontier. After Japan took the land that had
been passed down to farmers for generations, many of the Korean farmers moved to
South and North Manchuria with the hopes of finding jobs. During World War II, it was
estimated that the number of Korean who had migrated was about 2 million. There were a
lot of people in Sinuiju who traveled north, away from the pressures of Japanese
For these reasons, besides a few successful businessmen, the majority of the
people living in Sinuiju were poor farmers. At the time, there was a relatively large

sawmill named Youngrimseo 營林蔤蔤 L under the control of the Japanese government.
Trees were cut down near the top of Yalu River, where they were put onto a raft and
steered down to Sinuiju to be milled. There was also a large paper company that used the
lumber as raw material, and the Japanese also owned it. Koreans worked in the
Japanese-owned factories as cheap labor.
When I came to Sinuiju, I learned that many people were directly and indirectly

involved in smuggling 密 K 輸107, a phenomenon that you can only find in border cities.

Because the price of goods greatly differed in Sinuiju and Andong, the temptation for
merchants was great. In the poorest areas, they used such business ventures as their
means of surviving.
The Second Church of Sinuiju was exactly the way I imagined it to be. They had
bought a Japanese residential home not too far from Sinuiju Station and repaired it to use
as a chapel.
The Second Church, which had separated from the First Church 8 years ago, had
11 elders who were all much older than me. One of the elders, Elder In-Jik Kim, had a
son named Ik-Hwan Kim who was attending Trade School back then. Ik-Hwan Kim later
became an elder and served Youngnak Church for a very long time.
There was an elder named In-Bum Kim whose presence was very dignified. He
ran a large store called Munhwadang in Sinuiju. There was the youngest of the elders,
Elder Kyung-Bo Baek, who ran an ironworks. He crossed the 38th parallel before I did
and helped me erect Youngnak Church. Elder Baek attended Youngnak Church for a very
long time up until a few years ago when he immigrated to Los Angeles. There was also a
very serene elder with a long beard named Si-Kyun Kim who was from Uiju. The rest of
the elders whose names I cannot remember were all very respectable individuals as well.
At the time, I went not as a pastor but as a jundosa to the Second Church of Sinuiju.
After I graduated from primary school in my hometown, I went onto Osan School,
Soongsil University and many other schools in the United States. Because I was always
moving, I wasn‟t able to stay at one church for very long. Of course, I also hadn‟t done
any work for the church as a deacon or an elder, so I knew very little about things related
to ministry.
Thankfully, the pastor and elders had a lot of experience and helped fill my
lacking knowledge. At the time, Pastor Deuk-Eui Choi had left the Second Church of
Sinuiju one year ago after serving the church for 7 years. The famous Pastor Myung-Jun
Choi from Euisan Presbytery stood in his place. Pastor Myung-Jun Choi was a pastor at
Pihyun Church for a long time until he retired. But whenever a church couldn‟t find
another pastor to tend to their church, Pastor Myung-Jun Choi served as a replacement.
It‟s the same case now, but when a church leader resigns, it is not peaceful most
of the time. But when Pastor Myung-Jin Choi tends to the church for a couple months,
the church becomes filled with peace. He wasn‟t able to study for very long, but in
Pihyun, they went as far as to call him Jesus Choi because of his integrity. He was a
paragon for all churches.
Pastor Myung-Jun Choi had come to the Second Church of Sinuiju because they
couldn‟t find a successor. An old man with white hair, Pastor Choi was a healthy person
whose red face reflected his healthiness. He was always eager to make house visits and
deliver sermons. I am always thankful that He sent a person like Pastor Choi to the
Korean church.
Pastor Choi took care of me like I was his son. In 2-3 months, we visited about
250 homes in 12 different districts, and he guided inadequate me with love. I am always
thankful that I, having no experience, was able to start my pastoral duties under the
guidance of someone so experienced yet modest.
At the time, there were about 400 adults and about 200 children gathering at the
church. I still remember the first impression I had of the church. In a small, old chapel,
I later heard they were
about 400 people, mostly young, had gathered. And two young deacons
Elder Duk-Chang Kim and Deacon Seung-Min Kim
were leading the congregation in singing the hymn I
Will Forever Praise My Savior, Jesus Christ. Hearing this hymn, I was deeply moved. It
is my belief that for a church to be revived, its praising of the Lord must be revived. Even
the old teacher Calvin advised people to always praise the Lord.
The elders loved and cherished inexperienced me like a son or younger brother. I
discussed everything I did with the oldest elder, Elder Ki-Bum Kim, whom I treated like
my father. His oldest son was the same age as me, and Elder Kim would advise me on
everything so that I would make no mistakes due to my inexperience. He even told me
from whom I should keep my distance. When I think about it now, I wonder if there was
any other person who took care of a church leader like he did.
There were 10 active elders back then: the oldest, Elder Ki-Bum Kim he was the owner
of Dong-Heung Trading Company and one of his grandsons, Joo-Young Kim, is an elder in Los Angeles
, Elder In-Chik
his oldest son, Ik-Hwan Kim, is currently an elder at Youngnak Church he was an active
Kim , Elder Kyung-Bo Baek
elder at Seoul Youngnak Church and is now a retired elder at Los Angeles Youngnak Church
, Elder Yun-Soo Jang
currently a retired elder at Seoul Youngnak Church he is the father of Elder Hok-Joo Kang of
, Elder Deuk-Rok Kang
Seoul Youngnak Church currently a pastor of a Presbyterian church
, Elder Sung-Shik Jang , Elder Duk-Chang
he is the father of Deacon Seung-Hui of Seoul Youngnak Church
Kim , Elder Si-Kyun Kim, Elder In-Bum Kim
at the time he was managing Mun-Hwa Trading Company with Elder Si-Kyun Kim, and after I left the North, he took on the

responsibility of running the Sinuiju Neighborhood Association he worked at the North

and Elder Byung-Won Jang
Pyeongan Provincial Hall for a very long time and was the treasurer of the Sinuiju Neighborhood Association
. Later when the
Korean War broke out, Elders Kyung-Bo Baek, Yun-Soo Jangm Sung-Shik Jang and
In-Chik Kim left the North and passed away a long time ago; as for the other elders, there
is no way of knowing what happened to them.
There were two female kwonsas (female elders), and their names were Ban-Suk
Choi and Ko Dok. Both were in their 60s. Although Kwonsa Ko Dok did all things with
sincerity, her memory was failing her and so it was difficult for her to visit parishioners‟
homes. On the other hand, Kwonsa Ban-Suk Choi had a good memory and was in great
health so she would often accompany me on my visits.
Her son was Elder Deuk-Rok Kang, who was an elder at the Second Church. Her
grandson, Hok-Joo Kang, is currently an elder at Youngnak Church. Not only that, her
great-grandchild is a deacon at Youngnak Church and even her great-great-grandchildren
attend church. Starting from the Second Church of Sinuiju and moving onto Seoul
Youngnak Church, Kwonsa Choi‟s family has had a long history with me going on for
four generations. Elder Kyung-Bo Baek‟s family has also joined me for 4 generations.
When I first came to the Second Church of Sinuiju, I received a lot of help from
Kwonsa Ban-Suk Choi. She took me from house to house to introduce me to all the
members of the congregation. But she had a habit of never looking behind her whenever
she left a house. I asked her about it once and she said, “If I turn around, the conversation
continues and continues, taking up a lot of time. We need to visit many homes, so it
would make our visits difficult if we stayed at one house for too long.” Through her, I
learned many subtleties of visiting parishioners‟ homes.
Kwonsa Choi told me a memorable story once. When I first went to Sinuiju,
people‟s mannerisms were very different than in Pyongyang. When replying “yea (yes),”
people would say “yo”. Instead of the word “maewoo (very),” people would use
“hokkae”. They used the word “yuhsan” instead of “yaesan (budget)” too.
There were also a lot of women who smoked. When I asked the kwonsa if she had
ever smoked too, she turned red and said that she had. She had lost her husband at a
young age of 28 and fell into despair. She was lying down when an old lady from next
door told her that she would feel a bit better if she smoked a cigarette. She tried one but
didn‟t feel any better. And in the midst of her despair, she followed a woman to church,
quit smoking and found the will to live again.
In Korean churches, there are so many widowed women who regain their strength
and become inspirations of faith after believing in Jesus! Thus, the gospel blesses those
who are poor and lonely first.
Kwonsa Choi‟s son was an elder at the Second Church of Sinuiju, and her
grandchild is currently an elder at Seoul Youngnak Church. Even her great-grandchildren
are either deacons or choir members who diligently serve their church. Faith truly blesses
a family for generations.
After I joined the church, another jundosa joined us. His name was Chang-Suk Na,
and he was from Namdaemun Church. Jundosa Na was a graduate of Pyongyang Bible
High School and served either as its superintendant or housemaster. As rumor had it, he
proved to be a quiet, gentle man who took responsibility for his work.
With the help of wonderful people, I was able to start my ministry at the Second
Church in Sinuiju with no trouble at all.
After that, the church grew in numbers so we invited many more jundosas. They
included Jundosa Dong-Hwe Choi who graduated from Kyung-Shin School, Jundosa
Dong-Hui Kim who had become a jundosa while attending our church and many others.
With these men, we were able to serve the church in harmony.
Jundosa Dong-Hui Kim was especially a man of many abilities; he helped erect
Songwondong Church. After our liberation, he passed away without ever leaving the
North, but his wife, Jundosa Bong-Shik Jun, was able to leave. She helped establish
Jang-Suk Church with Pastor Kyun-Jae Jang. Jundosa Dong-Hui Kim‟s son, Mr. In-Sung
Kim, served in the US military for a long time after graduating from Yonsei University.
From what I hear, he is now a lieutenant colonel and attends Youngnak Church in Los
Pastor Kwan-Joo Kim originally came as a jundosa and later became a pastor.
Elder Sung-Shik Jang became a pastor after our liberation. Even now, I can‟t express how
thankful and touched I was that our church members were in unison with one another.
For a church to be peaceful, the church leaders need to be in harmony. Thankfully
enough, I was able to peacefully carry out my ministry at the Second Church of Sinuiju.

04 All the church members get together to build a chapel

The biggest problem the church had was the chapel. Our congregation was
expanding but our chapel was embarrassingly small. There was a drain in front of the
church where dirty water flowed and there wasn‟t even a front yard. If we wanted to
expand our church, we would have to move to a new place entirely. Fortunately, before I
was appointed, Pastor Myung-Jun Kim had already purchased a piece of land for a new

It was a 巨111-shaped piece of land about 380 square meters big with nothing to

spare. One disappointing thing was that the new location was too close to the First
Church of Sinuiju. When building a church in a city that has a church of the same
denomination in it, it is not good to build the church too close to it. I believe that
presbyteries and General Assemblies in Korea have a rule that churches need to be at
least 500meters apart.
It was an unfortunate thing, but considering that it was difficult to find a vacant
space of that size in the city, we decided to carry on with the building of the church.
When we consulted someone about the building of the church, he drew and brought the
floor plans of a two-story, 159 square meter building where the bottom floor would be the
Sunday school and the top floor would be the chapel. A bell was drawn on either side of
the building with one being lower than the other. I had seen many chapels that were
better built in the US, but taking everything into consideration, we decided that it was
good enough for a church in Korea and started to build the church according to those
It cost 20,000 won to build back then, which is equivalent to about 200 million
won. But while our parishioners were fervent, they were generally consisted of young,
poor people. This is because the Second Church was erected by young people who
followed Pastor Suk-Jin Han out of the First Church. Thankfully, the two elders who left
the First Church to help the building of the Second Church, Elders Ki-Bum Kim and
In-Bum Kim, were relatively well-off.
I thought that our church should make an offering of 20,000 won but decided that
I would split the offering into two, since giving it all at once would be unreasonable. I
thought that offering 10,000 won now and another 10,000 won later would mean that all
the construction costs would be covered in 2-3 years. But trying to cover 10,000 won
wasn‟t easy. I had started off as a jundosa and had just become a pastor then.
I was against placing too much burden on one person, but the members of the
congregation felt that Elder Ki-Bum Kim should donate 2,000 won of the 10,000 won we
were collecting. We were holding a meeting the following day, and I needed to announce
that Elder Ki-Bum Kim had donated 2,000 won for our construction fund when planning
our donations. My worries were endless. I was left with no choice but to visit Elder Kim.
We started talking about various things when I mentioned the construction donations. He
quickly said, “I‟ll donate 1,000 won.” The 1,000 won back then is worth 10,000,000 won
nowadays in 1981. I was thankful for even that, but I decided to be a bit greedier.
“Elder! From what I hear from other people, if we want to make a donation of
10,000 won, you need to at least donate 2,000 won.” I told him boldly since he was like a
father to me. Elder Kim briefly closed his eyes to think and replied, “I will donate 2,000
won then.” After hearing these words, I was so happy that I wanted to get up and dance
right then and there.
The next day at our meeting, we each pledged according to our abilities. There
were many people who pledged 1,000 won, 500 won and 300 won that for our first
offering, we went over 10,000 won. At the time, my salary was 80 won, but I faithfully
promised 500 won. At the time my daughter was attending Sunchun Bosung School and
my younger brother, Seung-Chik Han, was attending Shinsung Middle. On top of paying
their tuition, my wife saved 20 won a month for 2 years until we were able to pay the 500
won. Whenever I think of the Second Church of Sinuiju, I am reminded of how Elder
Ki-Bum Kim took the initiative to set an example. I am so happy and grateful that people
like him were a part of our congregation.

A brick 煉瓦皊制 113 church was designed that would be 365 square meters,

combining the two 159 square meter floors and the bell towers together. In early spring of
1934, the entire congregation gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for the start of
the construction. To make up for our insufficient funds, the parishioners did all the
construction work that didn‟t require a specialist to do it, such as laying bricks. Everyday,
hundreds of people showed up to dig up the land, but since we were located near Yalu
River, if we dug too deeply, water would prevent us from laying down cement. To
resolve this problem, we stuck a tree that was over 3 meters long into the ground.
Nowadays, you can use a motor press to push the tree into the ground, but back then we
would have to take a large piece of metal and slam it down onto the tree. The members of
the congregation dug the foundation, put the tree into the ground, drained the water when
it filled up and much more. Elder Kang, who had built many churches before, took on the
job as the director of the construction with little pay.
Since I would have to visit homes during the day, I visited the construction site
early in the morning. And I would return in the evening to see the day‟s work. But one
night, my visits ran late so it was almost dusk by the time I arrived at the site. It was
already late so the site was quiet with very few people left. But there was an old man
pumping water alone in the corner. I saw that it was Gwonchal (position before becoming

a deacon) Jung-Sun Kim from Kangkye 江界 when I went closer. I remembered what he

had told me when we started the construction.

“All the young members are all working, but I can‟t seem to find any work that I
can do. What can an old man like me do to help?”
While I was wondering what he could do, I saw a water pump in the corner and
asked him if he could do that. While building a brick house, I figured there would be a
large need for water. He happily said that he would be in charge of the pump. After that,
the large water tank was never dry. That night, he must have been filling up the water
tank for people to use tomorrow morning. He was truly a faithful steward. A steward
should be diligent at whatever job he is given, big or small.
With every member of the congregation working diligently in whatever they
could do, the construction ended earlier than expected. On November 11, 1934, we were
able to hold our first service full of joy and gratitude. The person in charge of the overall
construction was Elder Kang from Uiju, and the overseer of the construction on behalf of
the church was Elder Yun-Soo Jang.
Immediately after we finished the construction of the church, we built a day care

center. Its name was Gunhwa 槿花貤 Day Care Center, meaning “a rose of Sharon”.

Currently a kwonsa at Seoul Youngnak Church, Kwonsa Byung-Ok Moon was the first
teacher at the Day Care. Kwonsa Moon was a graduate of Soong-Eui Girls‟ Middle
School and the School of Primary Education. During the week, she would teach children,
and during the weekends, she would play the accompaniment for the church service and
choir. We didn‟t have a conductor for the choir, so she volunteered as the conductor too.
As the number of children grew, Ms. Bong-Hui Park and Ms. In-Yub Baek, wife of
current Elder Soon-Bok Park, volunteered as additional instructors.
After we built a large chapel, the church began to develop quickly and take on
more congregation members. In order to help all of them, I invited a female jundosa,
Chang-Suk Na. Jundosa Na was very skilled and became a role model for female
parishioners with her gentle spirit and simple lifestyle.
The earlier church‟s women‟s mission team sent someone to Songwondong, not
too far from Sinuiju, to convert non-believers. However, feeling the need for a male
jundosa, we invited him to our church, and his name was Dong-Hui Kim. Not only was
he also a man of faith who worked diligently for the church, he also worked very hard in
converting others. He was also humble and gentle in nature and served as the apostle of
peace for resolving conflicts within the church.
Every way you looked at them, the two fellow church leaders were valuable to
our church, and I thank God for sending them. We were all young people of similar
As our congregation grew, we needed another male jundosa and invited Jundosa
Dong-Hwe Choi, previously a deacon at our church. His mother, Kwonsa Hwan-Soon
Park, served as a jundosa at Seoul Young-Dong Church for many years. Jundosa Choi
was a graduate of Seoul Kyungshin School and had a strong faith and sense of
responsibility. He showed the qualities of a preacher from early on and became a jundosa
after studying theology later.
Old elders always encouraged us and were behind us to help us financially and
emotionally. With the help of young deacons and other parishioners centered around
young, passionate church leaders, the Second Church of Sinuiju became revived.
According to church statistics, our church had an attendance of 833 families, or 2,850
members, total.

05 Learning how to resolve conflicts within the church

When I served as a pastor at the Second Church of Sinuiju, I was met with some

unexpected difficulties. One was the translation of the single-volume 單卷翪 Bible. The

then Secretary of Education for the Methodist Church, Pastor Hyung-Ki Kyo, was
assigned the task of translating the Abingdon Bible into Korean, and he entrusted me the
translation of the book of Corinthians. Even in the midst of my busy pastoral life, I
translated the chapters and returned them to him.
But the General Assembly of the Korean Presbyterian Church questioned the
interpretations of the translation of the single-volume Bible. In short, there were some
translations that the Presbyterian Church could not accept. The General Assembly then
ordered all the presbyteries to question all the pastors that were a part of the translation
process. This problem arose in the Euian Presbytery that I was a part of, and so I was put
under investigation.
There were rumors that Pastor Han was drawing up a cult even and that all his
friends were liberal theologians. However, there were no parts in the translation of
Corinthians that the Presbyterian Church disagreed with. I was found innocent without
the situation escalating.
The Presbytery ended, but it wasn‟t before the negative consequences affected me
as a young pastor. That was when I realized that my actions within the Presbyterian
Church needed to be very careful. Ideologies and thoughts are not tangible things that
you can see, so making the right judgment is a difficult thing. Theological ideologies can
always be misinterpreted, so you must always be careful when dealing with such issues
individually and within the church.
Another difficulty arose within the church. As I mentioned earlier, as our
congregation grew in number, we invited Jundosa Dong-Hui Choi to our church. Jundosa
Choi originally owned a business and was contracting with our male gwonchal,
Young-Hyun Lee. A deacon from West Uiju Church cosigned for Gwonchal Lee, and
Jundosa Choi provided Gwonchal Lee with 500 won of materials. However, as Gwonchal
Young-Hyun Lee‟s business failed, he was unable to pay the loan from Jundosa Choi.
Considering the situation, Jundosa Choi was left with no choice but to ask the guarantor
to pay back the debt immediately. However, the Deacon from West Uiju Church refused
to be responsible as a guarantor and did not pay back the debt. After enduring this
conflict for a long time, Jundosa Choi‟s mother, Kwonsa Park, decided to hand off the
case to a lawyer without consulting her son. At this, the deacon of West Uiju Church
became angry, told the Presbytery that Jundosa Choi was asking him to pay for
something that the jundosa gave to one of his church members and even threatened to sue.
Since it went against the Bible for a jundosa to be tried in a court of law, the deacon was
asking the presbytery to resolve the conflict.
At the time, I was in a tight spot as the moderator of the presbytery. A jundosa
from my church had caused a problem that was brought all the way to our presbytery, and
as its moderator, I felt the need to quickly deal with the situation. I met with both parties
multiple times and tried to help them reach a compromise. However, the deacon of West
Uiju Church would only agree to pay 250 won, while Jundosa Choi‟s mother, Kwonsa
Park insisted on at least receiving 300 won. I had no choice but to take 250 won from the
West Uiju Church deacon and use 50 won of my own money to assuage both parties.
We reached a compromise using such methods, but both parties seemed dissatisfied. One
side believed that they could have received more money but didn‟t because of me, and
the other side believed that they would not have had to pay so much but did because of
me. Even though I had made sacrifices to help both parties reach an agreement, they still
had complaints.
Then one day, I was having dinner with my Soongsil University classmate,
Lawyer Jae-Yoon Jung Mr. Man-Shik Cho‟s son-in-law, when I told him of my situation.
“Is it true that both parties are still dissatisfied?”
I replied that this was true and he said, “Then you made the right decision. If one
side was unhappy and the other side happy, then it would‟ve probably been an unfair
I was reassured after hearing his words. I understood Jesus‟s response to a man
who asked Jesus to divide his brother‟s inheritance.
“Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”. Luke 12:14
Jesus refused the man‟s request, and through this incident, I was able to
understand Jesus‟s intentions. When future conflicts involving money among
parishioners arose, I asked an elder with a lot of experience in such areas to resolve the
conflict. There were many people among the elders who had expertise in commerce or
law. And when it came to financial transactions, there were elders who were more
sensible and knowledgeable than the pastors. Everyone has a different gift, and I believe
that it is very important to take advantage of said individual gifts in ministry. This is

exactly what the old saying 适材适所 (shì cái shì suǒ) means.

06 Taking in an orphan with my Father’s heart

One early morning, I was home after finishing my prayers at the church when
someone came to see me. It was someone young. He told me that there was a patient in
Sinuiju whose life was in danger if someone didn‟t help him now, so I followed him out
of my house.
I followed him into a room whose ceiling hung as low as a crypt. It was filled
with smoke that I couldn‟t see anyone but could only hear the sound of someone
coughing. Looking carefully, I saw a man in his 40s lying down; apparently, he had been
suffering from a coughing illness for a very long time. I wasn‟t a doctor, but I did know
that he was suffering from a severe lung disease.
I heard a sound from the kitchen and opened the kitchen door where I saw a little
girl of 8-9 years making food over a fire. When I looked carefully, I saw that one of her
legs was wooden. The child supported her wooden leg with one hand while stoking the
fire and washing dishes with the other hand.
The man had been living in the country when he moved to Sinuiju where he got
sick doing odd chores. His disease had progressed because he had no money to go to the
hospital or eat better food. As the man‟s health deteriorated, the wife left with a child on
her back, leaving behind the man and the little girl who had lost a leg when she was hit
by a train.
I felt that I needed to help the family in some way and consulted the elders. These
elders were part of what we now call the volunteer committee.
“I went to see them and they have no relatives or other people to help them. If our
church didn‟t know about their situation, it would be another story, but now that we do,
let us help them.”
The elders all happily agreed. When I visited the patient, his room was still filled
with smoke. The smoke indicated that there were many rat holes in the house. I made a
suggestion to the committee, “The house is not fit for a patient to live in. Let‟s find a
clean house for them.”
One of the members of the committee said he knew of a clean house, so we used
the church‟s funds to acquire and repair the house for the family. We even bought them
rice, other side dishes and trees and brought a doctor to see him. The daughter‟s name
was Bok-Soon, and she would prepare meals for her father daily.
“He has Stage 3 lung disease, and it doesn‟t seem like there is any hope for him.”
We felt that we should make him comfortable in his last days and brought him
eggs and prepared meats. He lived through the winter but passed away the following
spring, and the church provided all the funeral arrangements.
There was still the question left of where Bok-Soon would go. Kwonsa Sung-Do
Hwang, a woman of deep faith and devotion to evangelism, had an unexpected answer.
She said that she was already raising two daughters and volunteered to take care
of Bok-Soon. Kwonsa Hwang continued on to serve at Youngnak Church and is now
living in Los Angeles.
One time, Bok-Soon came to see me and when I asked her how she was doing,
she didn‟t answer but started to cry. I waited, patting her shoulders for a long time when
she finally replied, “Pastor! The kwonsa is nice to me but when she isn‟t around, her
children hit me. During the day, she is out visiting parishioners and is not home, and that
is when her children hit me. I don‟t think I can stay there anymore.”
Listening to her, I figured that it was quite possible. The kwonsa took in the child
out of compassion, but to her children, it was just another kid stealing their mother‟s
attention away from them, making them jealous.

07 Million dollar orphanage of love

I was contemplating what I should do when I decided to build an orphanage,
considering that there were many children in Sinuiju and Ahndonghyun in similar
situations. In order to do so, I needed to find a house or build a house, and I couldn‟t
decide whether or not I should bring this up with the church, and if I did, whether or not
the issue would be resolved quickly. Since there were bound to be some church members
against the idea, I decided that it would be better to bring together a couple of members
who would be interested in helping and then asking for the church‟s help later on.
I then thought of Elder Jee-Ryub Baek. Elder Baek was an elder at the First
Church of Sinuiju, and I knew him through his brother, Pastor Young-Rok Baek. He ran
an Ehwa clock shop in Sinuiju, where he sold records and other forms of music. He ran a
very successful business and built a two-story home in the largest development in Sinuiju.
Unfortunately, he passed away a year ago (1980) in Seoul.
I went to see Elder Jang and told him that I wanted to build an orphanage to help
poor children. I asked him if he could help me.
“That sounds like a good idea. How much help do you need?”
When I told him that about 500 won would be appreciated, he happily agreed. If it
was 500 won back then, it is equivalent to about 5,000,000 won now in 1981.
In front of Elder Baek‟s store, there was a boutique owned by Deacon Eung-Rak
Kim from the First Church of Sinuiju, whom I knew very well too. He was one of the
original members of Youngnak Church and was a great financial supporter when building
the chapel. During the Korean War, he was martyred in front of Youngnak Church, so
there remains a monument dedicated to him at the front door.
At the time, Deacon Eung-Rak Kim was a very young deacon at the First Church
of Sinuiju. When I was talking to Elder Baek, I was suddenly reminded of the deacon,
and when I explained my situation to him, the deacon gladly donated 500 won as well.
After that, Elder Seung-Sung Ahn from the First Church of Sinuiju happily supported the
building of the orphanage. Thankfully enough, I was able to receive help from three
members of the First Church of Sinuiju.
I received a lot of help from the members of the Second Church of Sinuiju, but of
those members, Elder Byung-Won Jang especially comes to mind. He worked for the
North Pyeongan Province Government for a very long time. He was originally a deacon
when I first came to the church but later became an elder. I believe he was in charge of
accounting before, but he also agreed to take care of the books for the orphanage as well.
And like this, we were able to buy and repair a house in a place called Hajung in
Sinuiju. I don‟t know where they heard that an orphanage was opening in Sinuiju, but
more than ten kids showed up.

We named the orphanage Borinwon 保 O 隣院, meaning “to help your neighbors”.

But we still needed a person to take care of the kids. That is when I thought of Kwonsa
Sung-Do Ha from the Second Church of Sinuiju. Kwonsa Ha has now retired after
devotedly volunteering for the Second Church of Christ and for Youngnak Church for a
long time. Kwonsa Sung-Do Ha had two daughters named Yong-Soon Jung and Jae-Soon
Jung, The oldest daughter, Yong-Sun Jung was a Sunday School teacher who married a
pastor‟s son but who later became widowed. I would visit homes very often with Kwonsa
Ha, so I knew about her two daughters very well.
One day, I asked Kwonsa Ha if her eldest daughter could be in charge of the
orphanage, when she unexpectedly replied, “If you want her to, then she will.”
Ms. Jung was humble and gentle that she took pity on the parentless children and
took care of them very well. To the kids at the orphanage, she was like a mother.
While she operated the orphanage, she never asked the church for money, but that
is because there were many church members who personally helped the orphanage after
hearing about its opening. Everyone donated rice, food, clothes and money with a sense
of duty. Although it was opened in a hurry, there was never an instance where finances
became a problem. After 2-3 years, the number of kids had increased to about 30.
As the numbers increased, we decided that they needed a larger home in the
countryside that had more fresh air and space than Hajung. At the time, I was the director
of the orphanage and Elder Seung-Sung Ahn was the assistant director. Elder
Seung-Sung Ahn‟s son, Guk-Bo Ahn, was also an elder at the First Church of Sinuiju as
well as the principal of the primary school that was operated by the church. The Ahn
couple had many sons and were from a wealthy family. He would often make one of the
sons watch the store and come to help out the orphanage. My title was director, but I was
too busy to do much, but the Elder stopped by often with rice and firewood for the
There was someone else who made many sacrifices for the Borinwon, and his
name was Ki-Jo Kim, a chamui (government rank) at the Doeuiwon and Jeungchuwon
(advisory boards) during the colonial period. As a deacon of the First Church of Sinuiju,
he was influential in society and was quite wealthy. I believe his wife was also a deacon
or a kwonsa at the First Church of Sinuiju.
If you walked about 6 miles from Sinuiju, there was a town called South Sinuiju
and a train stop called South Sinuiju Station. It was called Kwansangmyun, Uijugun. I
believe I went to go see the head of Kwansangmyun, Chief Kim, with either Elder Ahn or
Mr. Ki-Jo Kim. Chief Kim was not a Christian.
“Are you going to build an orphanage? If it is going to be at South Sinuiju, then
the back mountainside is ours, so I can give that you.”
When he offered to give the land away for free, I thanked him multiple times.
South Sinuiju was the back of the mountainside, and if the land was flattened, we would
be able to build a beautiful house surrounded by trees. The land that was donated for the
orphanage was relatively 4,300 square meters. We received that large piece of land
without giving anything in return.
But I figured that we might as well build a sturdy house made out of bricks. But it
was a job that cost 10,000 won at the time. I suddenly remembered how we were able to
collect 500 won from individuals when building the orphanage and thought, “If we are
able to collect 500 won from 100 individuals, that would be 50,000 won. I can find 100
people in Sinuiju who would donate 500 won.” At the time, there was no social
organization in Sinuiju or Ahndong to promote donations, so we decided to ask for
donations from the general public. This fundraising movement was led by Elder
Seung-Sung Ahn and Deacon Ki-Hyung Kim from the First Church of Ahndong. Deacon
Kim knew many people and was even friendly with some Japanese people and
non-believers. There were many business owners and wealthy people at the church he
attended too. And so Deacon Kim went around Ahndong for donations while Elder Ahn
and I traveled around Sinuiju for donations. I can‟t remember exactly, but about 300
people participated in our donation drive, and we were able to collect over 30,000 won.
Because we collected more money than we expected, we decided to build a
nursing home for the homeless elderly in Sinuiju.
I don‟t remember exactly how big they were, but we built a large orphanage, a
smaller nursing home next to it, a compound for the caretakers and another building for a
total of 4 buildings. In the orphanage, there was a prayer room, a kitchen, a dining room,
a bathroom, an office and 10 rooms for where the children stayed. The nursing home
also had a dining room, a kitchen and 10 other rooms where the elderly could sleep.
Behind the Borinwon, there was a forest, and in the front, there was a large courtyard.
Many influential members of the community contributed for the construction of
the Borinwon, including deacons and elders of Sinuiju Church, Mr. Ri-Hwang Kang (the
chamui at Jeungchuwon), Mr. Dong-Soo Lee who owned a large steel factory in Sinuiju
and many other non-believers. The number of orphans increased to about 30-40 children,
and including the elderly, our family expanded to about 50-60 people.

08 The Borinwon Fundraising Movement all the way to Shanghai

We built the house without any trouble, but the next problem was maintaining it.
Now, orphanages and nursing homes are supported by the government, but at the time,
governments didn‟t subsidize let alone fund orphanages and nursing homes. You needed
to support them through private donors.
Whenever I had time, I would deliver a sermon at church and then immediately
try and recruit sponsors for the Borinwon. And so I traveled all around the country even
during the late colonial period. At each church, we placed a branch system where the
individual churches would manage the donations and report to Elder Byung-Won Jang of
the Second Church of Sinuiju.
In order to finish the construction of the Borinwon, many people put in a lot of
dedication. Elders Seung-Sung Ahn and Byung-Won Jang went around collecting
donations day and night, and they even continued to help the Borinwon after its
construction. Sadly enough, Elder Ahn was not able to escape from the North and passed
away. Likewise, Elder Jang was not able to move to the South, and I wasn‟t able to
receive any news about him. Their faith, dedication to helping poor children, loving heart
and sacrificing mindset for helping others is truly being rewarded in heaven.
One time, Deacon Ki-Hyung Kim said to me, “Pastor Han, if we go to Bongchun
奉天, present-day Shenyang and Bukji 北至, North China in China, we can receive a lot of donations.”

And so we traveled all the way there to collect donations.

We even traveled all the way to Shanghai once on Elder Suk-Jun Jan‟s
recommendations. Elder Jang was always very interested in social services and later
served as one of the fellowship leaders at Youngnak Church for a very long time. He is
now living in Los Angeles.
Elder Jang, Mr. Ki-Jo Baek and I went to a Korean church in Shanghai which was
under Japanese rule. We met Mr. Chang-Shik Son, a Korean entrepreneur of considerable
wealth, who was visiting the church pastors, Pastor Hyo-Won Bang and his son Pastor
Hwa-Il Bang. The Korean population in Shanghai promised us a donation of 30,000 won,
but because the war broke out, we weren‟t able to receive that sum.

After we went to Shanghai, we visited Beijing 北_京123 and Tianjin 天津弰 among

other places. In Beijing, we saw historically valuable relics like the Kofun tombs 古 j 墳 X

and the Temple of Heaven 天壇捔 and even visited the famous Great Wall of China. Back

then, Japan occupied the shorelines, so everything was controlled by the Japanese. And

on our train ride from the Shanhai Pass to Nanjing 南 n 京123, we saw how much pain had

been afflicted on China due to the war. There were many rural farmers along the great
stretches of land, but the conditions were really distressing. We visited the historic

places 古 j 蹟123 in Nanjing as well, but by then, the Japanese government had established

what was known as a ``wangdomyung government`` or a puppeteer government. We took

the train along the Yangtze River from Nanjing to Shanghai.
As I saw the reality of China, I worried about whether or not the government
would become Communist. After a few years, my concerns became reality when China
became Communist.
Despite everything, it is a very thankful thing that I was able to visit China even
during the war. If I hadn‟t, it would have probably been very difficult to ever set foot
onto Chinese soil during my life. Of course, I had already visited Bongchun, Shimkyung,

Harbin and Longjing 龍井 in Hangzhou for retreats.

I would like to take this time to truly express my gratitude to those who sponsored
the Borinwon.

09 My fellow workers with the heart of shepherds

After we built the new house and the orphanage started to expand even more, we
needed more staff members. So we ended up inviting Ms. Eun-Hye Kim as our teacher
from Seoul in addition to our original teacher Ms. Yong-Soon Jung. Ms. Kim graduated
from Seoul Jung-Shin Girls‟ School and Tokyo Theological Seminary in Japan. She was
teaching Bible Studies at Jung-Shin Girls‟ School when I visited there. She expressed an
interest in working for children and the elderly in a quiet place, so I invited her to work
with the Borinwon. She had studied for a long time and was fluent in Japanese; she was a
great help to me since I wasn‟t very fluent in Japanese. She was also a great contribution
to the Borinwon during the Japanese colonial period.
I invited a few other teachers besides Ms. Eun-Hye Kim. Kwonsa Sae-Jung Kim
had married at age 20 but became single a year later when her husband died. She did
many things for the Borinwon and was devoted as a kwonsa, as a secretary and later
vice-president of the Women‟s Committee at Youngnak Church.
Ms. Yun-Ohk Choi worked hard for the children, and there was another teacher,
Ms. Lee, whose name I can‟t remember. We also had a groundskeeper.
While the entire country was being demolished during the war, if there wasn‟t the
dedication of these individuals, it would have been very difficult for the Borinwon to
have survived. During the colonial period, we couldn‟t receive a dime from the
government, so we had to maintain all our expenses through church offerings and private
donations. Hence the teachers and staff members were always busy trying to raise money.
Our food was being collected for the war, so it became difficult to find other grains let
alone rice. The teachers rolled up their sleeves and started to farm. I, of course, was
unable to tend to the church and was working at the orphanage. We would rent a piece of
land in front of the Borinwon or use the land that Mr. Kee-Jo Baek gave us. Elder Kim, a
wealthy entrepreneur, also gave us a piece of land in South Sinuiju for the Borinwon to
In the field near the Borinwon, we planted corn, pickles, tomatoes and other
vegetables that we needed often. The oldest kids at the Borinwon were 13 or 14, but the
teachers took those students and farmed potatoes and peas. In the field behind the
Borinwon that Elder Kim donated, we planted corn and potatoes. The field originally
belonged to a Chinese farmer; the land was so fertile that we had to borrow a wagon and
carry mounds of potatoes back and forth from the field to the Borinwon multiple times.
One time, we didn‟t have enough space to store the potatoes, so we had to empty out a
small room.
And like that, we were able to safely survive without starving. First, it was
possible by the grace of God. Second, it would have been impossible without the
dedication of the female teachers. Third, many churches helped us here and there.
Whenever I think of these things, I cannot express how grateful I am of God‟s blessings.
And I can‟t forget the teachers that labored alongside me.
There weren‟t fridges back then, so we would have to dig our own ditches to store
food. We began to dig a hole where we had flattened the hill behind the Borinwon, and
thankfully enough, the ground wasn‟t fully rock-solid. But it wasn‟t an easy task. With
the kids, the women were able to soften the ground with hoes and dig a hole using
shovels. We were wondering what we could cover the hole with when Deacon Ji who
worked at a Japanese company gave us an idea.
“Our company, in preparation for the landing of the American troops in
Yongampo, is building cement trenches all around. We are going to be receiving a lot of
cement, and I will give you some of it when it comes.”
Therefore, in the fall, we were able to store pumpkins, radishes, other vegetables
and kimchi. We even used it as a shelter during the war. Using Deacon Ji‟s name as a
token of our appreciation, we used to call the place “Jiyongho.” I wonder if it is still
standing. They probably had to rebuild the crumbling house, but I feel as though the
jiyongho could still be standing.
Anyways, I am thankful that I was able to serve orphans and the elderly while
tending to my ministry in Sinuiju. I am thankful that I was able to contribute even a little
despite my shortfallings. It was possible through the grace of God and the dedication of
Elder Seung-Sung Ahn, Elder Byung-Won Jang, Ms. Eun-Hye Kim and Ms. Yong-Soon
Kim among other contributors. I always pray for their descendents with a grateful heart.

10 Things that make a steward happy

There is one thing that I deeply felt while I building and managing the Borinwon.
It was that there were many individuals with beautiful spirits that work for charity in
churches as well as in the general society. When I was building the Borinwon, I received
the help of many individuals, and they were mostly believers that willingly donated their
money. The important thing is that theses individuals need to be of good character and
integrity. As long as people keep these things in mind, anyone will have the compassion
to help poor orphans and other individuals.
Among the people that I contacted for help, there were some people who denied
my request. There were people who were in the position to help others, but their petty
hearts pushed them to procrastinate helping others. There were times when people would
act as is they were going to donate but would turn me away empty-handed. And
whenever that happened, I tried not to be disappointed in them.
And after a year, we were liberated and the Communist Party was introduced.
Many believers and prominent, wealthy people escaped empty-handed from the North. I
also escaped and met them again in Seoul. But there were some people who had happily
supported the Borinwon in Sinuiju that said, “Pastor, the money that I spent towards the
Borinwon when I was in the North was the best way I could‟ve spent my money. Even
now, when I think about how you asked me for my help for the Borinwon, I am
But there were also people who said, “Pastor, I don‟t know what to say. When
you asked me to help out the orphanage, I didn‟t help you. I‟m embarrassed at my past
actions. How great it would have been if I had actually helped you then. I was blinded by
my greed. Please forgive me.”
Whenever I heard these words, I couldn‟t help but remember the Lord‟s words.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not
destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”. Matthew 6:20
But the surprising thing is that there were still many people who couldn‟t use their
wealth for God‟s works. God is the owner of all things, and man is just briefly stopping
by to manage God‟s possession as a steward. I wonder how many people realize the
Bible‟s deep lesson. How beautiful would it be if people could realize this wisdom and
truth early on and live as faithful stewards?
Worldly goods are things that can be both given and taken away by God.
According to the biblical principles of stewardship, it doesn‟t matter how much or how
little you have been given because everything is God‟s possession. We are merely
stewards who have been given these things to watch over. If we use them for God‟s
works, then it will glorify God and become a blessing for us.
Among Jesus‟s many parables, there is the “Parable of the Rich Fool”. Like the
fool in the story, we often believe that we are the owners. They couldn‟t use their last
possessions meaningfully. They couldn‟t glorify God and know the true feeling of
happiness; in the end, they returned empty-handed.
When I was managing the Borinwon, I was given the true knowledge of a

11 Sending away the people I love

I am about to tell the tragedies that occurred during my pastoral life. One of the
hardships in a pastor‟s life is taking care of a patient and comforting their remaining
family members when taking care of the funeral arrangements.
All funerals are sad, but there were a couple of times when they were especially
difficult. Kwonchal Kim lost her husband at an early age and took care of her young son
by tailoring clothes and doing odd jobs. When her precious son was about 20 years old,
he fell gravely ill. I can‟t remember what the disease was, but he was in great pain for
about a year. During that year, there was not a single time that the mother ate a meal
comfortably. They tried all kinds of drugs and treatments, but in the end, the son died.
The entire church prayed together for the son and mother.
The Bible reads, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who
weep.” Such great sorrow and suffering was brought upon a lady of great faith and
character, and all I could do was mourn alongside her. The entire congregation cried with
her and prayed for Kwonchal Kim to find new strength. In the midst of all this, Kwonchal
Kim was consoled by God, had a renewed hope in heaven and regained her strength to
continue to work for the church. In the end, the only way to overcome grief was through
the deliverance of faith-based hope in the Lord‟s words. That kind of faith is made
possible by the Holy Spirit, and the prayers of the members of the congregation brought
forth this miracle!
When a sister or brother in a congregation is faced with a great sadness, the entire
church must mourn with the member for the person to gain the courage to overcome their
grief. There is no other way to overcome the grief that follows the death of a loved one
besides the certainty about an afterlife brought by faith. For these reasons, Paul the
Apostle said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me
The death of our church jundosa, Judosa Dong-Hui Choi, was a great loss. His
faith was truly youthful and character precious; we had high hopes for his future. But
within 2 years of being appointed to our church, he fell sick and could not recover. He
fell ill with the same disease I had earlier: tuberculosis.
I asked Deacon Tae-Hwan Lee, the Director of Bomin Hospital, from the First
Church of Sinuiju to treat him exclusively. Director Lee was a gentle and religious man
who had studied medicine in Shanghai. At the time, he did everything he could in his
power to treat Jundosa Choi emotionally and physically. But in the end, Jundosa Choi
could not recover his health and passed away, leaving behind his wife and two young
It was my first time losing a valuable servant of the church; I couldn‟t bring
myself to face his mother, a kwonsa, and the rest of his family. As a person who lost a
fellow worker, I was heart-broken as well.
I read a book called Borden of Yale once. A son from a wealthy family, Borden,
attends Yale University and decides to devote his life to God. After graduating from
Princeton Theological Seminary, he leaves as a missionary to the Middle East, only to die
from an endemic disease. It is said that after reading this book, many young people were
inspired to carry out Borden‟s wishes by becoming missionaries in the Middle East.
Borden‟s death was a grain of wheat that had fallen on the ground.
During Jundosa Choi‟s funeral, I preached for his death to be a grain of seed that
had fallen to the ground as the Bible states. God‟s intentions cannot be fully realized on
this side of the grave.
Among Jesus‟s 12 disciples, James was persecuted and martyred by King Herod
early on. However, his younger brother, John, lived for a long time spreading God‟s
gospel. God loved James and John all the same. Taking James to the kingdom of God
was through His love, and leaving John to faithfully serve Him on Earth was through His
love as well. Therefore, I believe that everything we encounter on this Earth was made
possible by God‟s love.

12 The biggest mistake of my life- the observance of the Shinto Shrine

I must truthfully confess the mistakes I made while I was a pastor in Sinuiju. This
mistake was not only the biggest mistake I made while I was in Sinuiju, but it was also
the biggest mistake I made in my life. This mistake was the observance of the Shinto

Shrine 神社姚參拜栠.

People who have lived through the colonial period probably know this already,

but the Japanese had a tradition of building a shrine 神社姚 and paying respects to it by

clapping their hands and bowing down to it.

Japanese militarists led the Manchurian Incident 滿洲﹁事變 and occupied the

land. They then set up a puppet government in Shinkyung 新 s 京129, now known as Changchun.

Afterwards, the Greater East Asian War 大 j 東 F 亞129 started and Japan started to occupy

the Chinese mainland. They occupied Beijing, Tianjin, Nanjing and then Hong Kong.
They traveled down towards Southeast Asia, occupying Taiwan, Myanmar, Malaysia and
even the Philippines. As the number of colonies began to increase, there was a need for
more forces, and Japan started to force young Koreans to serve in the Japanese military.

Afterwards, they started the “unification war”內鮮一體, arguing that the Japanese

and Koreans were one. They started a transparent propaganda campaign that declared
“Koreans are the same as the Japanese”, or in other words. “Koreans must conform to the
Japanese identity.” Hence, they insisted on hwangguksinmin and the worshiping
of the Shinto Shrine. At 12 o‟clock in the afternoon, a moment of silence needed to be
observed even in the middle of service. The hwangguksinmin narrative' had to

be read every day in school. Of course, this might not have posed a problem to those who
didn‟t believe in the hwangguksinmin. But this posed a problem for us.
“This is not bowing down to an idol. This is the tradition of a nation, and as a
symbol of being a Japanese citizen, everyone must observe the Shinto Shrine. A chanbae
is to bow your head slightly.”
They forced the observance of the Shinto Shrine through such words. As a matter
of fact, the Pyongyong Soongsil Middle School and University, Soong-Eui School and
other schools run by missionaries almost closed down because of this problem. Churches
also became targets of repression solely for the fact that they opposed this tradition.
As time went on, the war became more oppressive and the Japanese more strict.
They even went as far as to ration food and metals. And they started to crack down on
churches more. The public opinion began to shift in favor of the Japanese government as
well; it was merely bowing your head down and there was no reason for churches to have
to close doors because of it. If I remember correctly, the Pyeongbuk Presbytery was the
first to observe the Shinto Shrine, and soon after, the General Assembly followed suit.
The police began to enforce the tradition and most churches and Christians followed the
I was against the shrine for two reasons. The first reason was because although
the government claimed it to be a national tradition, there was still the reverence to

Amterasu 天照晊大 j 神130 and other Shinto deities behind the action. The second reason was

because it was some kind of ritual for some other god. I couldn‟t bring myself to bow
down to the shrine for both religious and nationalistic reasons.
Pastor Ha-Young Yoon of the First Church of Sinuiju had similar beliefs, and
together we opposed the shrine. And following our lead, some church elders and we were
arrested and put in jail for about 20 days. The guards were so corrupt and oppressive that
although I was subjugated to some harassment, it made me ill to watch them torment the
other Korean nationals.
When we persevered to the end, the Japanese officials surprisingly let us go.
However, we soon realized that they had gathered the other parishioners and had
convinced them to observe the Shinto Shrine while we were in jail. I was in distress for
“Should I close the church or should I keep my head down and hold onto the
church? Is it not a sin to bow my head down to a piece of paper written by the Japanese
government? Will our salvation be at risk because of this sin? If our salvation was at risk,
what good was it for me to go against the shrine alone and be saved alone? We are all the
sons and daughters of God, and my responsibility was so great! What should I do?”
My heart wavered over time. People around me said, “Pastor, what is the point?
In order to maintain the church, we must be obey their orders. How long do you think
that this can go on? Japan will fall soon and so isn‟t it a better idea to pretend for a
moment that we are listening to their orders in order to hold onto our church?”
And so with these recommendations, Pastor Yoon and I decided to allow the
observance of the Shinto Shrine at the Sinuiju churches.
“I have committed a large sin. How can I face the Lord now?”
I couldn‟t eat nor sleep properly for days in anger. And in the midst of all this, I
had a vision.
In this vision, I was walking along a road alone, but I was so tired that I couldn‟t
carry on any longer. I was swaying right and left and back and forth, but whenever I was
about to fall, a hand ten times larger than mine grabbed a hold of me. When I awoke from
my vision, I had a realization. “This is the hand of Father God. My Father has shown
mercy on me and hasn„t abandoned me despite my sins. He will hold onto me. Therefore,
I shouldn‟t be discouraged and lead the other sheep who have sinned with me into tears
through the grace and power of God.”
Since then, whenever I read the words “Father‟s hands” in the Bible, I am deeply
touched. The hands of Father God have truly created a history. His hands not only helped
me then, but they also gave me strength when I was weak and couldn‟t stand on my own.
God is infinitely merciful and compassionate, and therefore opened a path for me
so that I wouldn‟t suffer any more. Soon afterwards, the Japanese police received orders
to oust Pastor Ha-Young Yoon from the First Church of Sinuiju, Pastor Ha-Soon Song
from Uiju Church and me from the Second Church of Sinuiju.
As I was being kicked out, I thanked God, because otherwise, the Japanese
government would have continued to intervene and harass me. It was better for me to be
kicked out.
I spent the remainder of the war in South Sinuiju working at the Borinwon with
no activities related to the church. I paid penance for the sins I committed with regards to
the shrine and worked with the orphans tying kelp and driving cattle.
When I consider all things, this was God‟s grace. I had devoted my body and
mind completely to the church, but God knew my weaknesses and allowed me to leave
for a brief moment.
“Rest for a bit. Leave for a little. This is not your time to work.”
While I was helping the orphans and elderly at the Borinwon, I would travel to the
rear of the mountain and pray for the church and our nation in tears every day, morning
and night.

13 When the leaders are peaceful, the church is peaceful

I am about to talk a bit more about the Second Church of Sinuiju. Among the
young population at the Second Church of Sinuiju, there were some people who
particularly prayed a lot and devoted their body to the Lord. They included Deacon
Eung-Geol Kim, Deacon Eul-Chul Shim and Jundosa Dong-Hui Kim among others.
Deacon Eung-Geol Kim studied at Pyongyang Theological Seminary shortly after
and served in Pyeongbuk. He was a pastor in China at the Tianjin Korean Church, but
after the liberation, he couldn‟t travel to the South; there was no way for me to hear from
him. Deacon Eul-Chul Shim also studied at Pyongyang Theological Seminary and served
at Pyeongbuk. He was working in Sinuiju after our liberation but unfortunately could not
make it down south either.
Jundosa Dong-Hui Kim was also studying at Pyongyang Theological Seminary,
but was on leave for poor health when we were liberated. Jundosa Kim was a devout
Christian whose faith was very difficult to find in others. He would visit the households
of all church members, but unfortunately, I heard that he passed away about a year after
the liberation. Fortunately, his family was able to escape from the north, and his wife,

Jundosa Bong-Shik Jun served at the Jangsuk 長石鱠 Church in Seoul. His eldest son,
In-Sung, is an elder at the same church. He is carrying out what his father couldn‟t finish.
One of the elders of the Second Church of Sinuiju, Elder Yun-Soo Jang, was
appointed as a jundosa. Elder Jang put in a lot of work during the construction of the
chapel, and afterwards, he worked diligently as a jundosa at North Sunchun Church.
During the time the Second Church of Sinuiju was being revived, an elder from
Samil Church came to see me.
“Our church pastor has resigned.”
Pastor Chui-Gon Kim had served as the lead pastor for a long time until he
recently resigned. They were asking me to introduce a new, young pastor to lead the
church. Come to think of it, I remembered Jundosa Kwan-Joo Kim with whom I had
resided with when I visited Tokyo for a month on my way back from the United States.
He had been a student at the Tokyo Theological Seminary at the time, so it was about
time that he graduated.
“I can‟t think of anyone else on the spot, but there is a recent graduate from a
Japanese seminary that I remember. I haven‟t heard anything about his return to Korea,
but I think he might still be in Tokyo. I met him briefly, but his future seemed bright. If
you would like, I can send a letter to him.”
And so I sent a letter to Jundosa Kwan-Joo Kim. He had been worrying about
where he would go when he returned to Korea and replied that he would come to Sinuiju.
When I showed the letter to the elders at Samil Church, they took my word and said that
they would like to invite him as their pastor.
Jundosa Kim had married a graduate of Tokyo Women‟s Medical College and
came to Sinuiju with his wife and baby. He was appointed as a jundosa of Samil Church.
I was grateful to hear that the entire congregation, including the elders, was delighted.
Coincidentally, the presbytery held a meeting about 2, 3 months after he joined the
church. In the process of admitting Jundosa Kim into the presbytery, I heard that there
was some opposition.
“There is a big problem. We trusted your opinion and brought him as our jundosa.
We like his sermons and such, but there is some opposition from the congregation
members. We are not really sure what to do as elders. We are trying to appeal for his
admittance into the presbytery, but it seems like the votes aren‟t consistent.”
After hearing what the elders were saying, I realized that I had made a mistake. I
knew Jundosa Kwan-Joo Kim personally and knew that he was a faithful man of
character, but the problem was his abilities as a preacher. The members of the
congregation agreed that he was a fine gentleman, but they said that he didn‟t know
how to deliver a sermon or how to teach.
While studying in Tokyo, Jundosa Kim had had very little opportunity to stand at
the pulpit. He had no experiences teaching someone, and he wasn‟t even being appointed
under an experienced pastor. He had been invited to lead an entire congregation, and
there was no way that he could have known how to do so. As a newlywed with a baby,
how difficult it would have been for him to visit and tend to his flock. He was still used to
speaking Japanese and probably had a difficult time preaching in Korean. Considering all
things, I could understand why people were against his appointment.
Everything was my fault for not taking all things into consideration. I got down
on my knees and started to pray.
“God! What can I do in this situation?”
God provided me with guidance while I was praying.
“You should take Jundosa Kim under your wing and use him.”
His instructions were so clear that I decided to bring Jundosa Kim to teach and to
train him. Our church was growing fast, and we needed young workers, especially a male
jundosa. And so I brought the congregation together, introduced Jundosa Kim and
expressed my interest in bringing him as our jundosa.
“Our church is growing so rapidly that our elder, Elder Yun-Soo Jang, is currently
serving as a temporary jundosa. He has been helping with our community visits, but he
has expressed his wishes of stopping. I believe it is time for us to invite a male jundosa.
There is a man who has just finished his theology studies in Japan that I would like to
invite as our jundosa.”
They must have heard some things from Samil Church because they were quiet
for a second until someone spoke up. As soon as someone started to speak, it became
quite noisy.
“You are correct, but there is something that we need to take into consideration. If
we invite this jundosa who has been rejected by Samil Church, and our church members
oppose his appointment as well, who is going to take responsibility?”
There were asking why we would want to take in a jundosa that another church
did not want. Jundosa Kim was a young man with bright prospects through God‟s will,
but the situation had become tough with the congregation‟s opposition.
That was when Elder Ki-Bum Kim, one of the smartest and most magnanimous
members of our congregation, spoke up after thinking quietly to himself. “What many
people are saying is correct. There must be good reasons for a church to reject a jundosa,
and so of course we wouldn‟t want to invite a jundosa that another church doesn‟t want.
But there is one thing that we need to remember. I would be against inviting Jundosa Kim
as our lead pastor. But when Pastor Han wants to invite him under his wing, I think that it
is a different case. When there are many ministers in a church, the most important thing is
that the leaders all work together in harmony. When I look at it, I think that Pastor
Han‟s wish to invite Jundosa Kim to our church is sincere. But if we continue to oppose
Pastor Han‟s wishes, what does this mean? Are we not rejecting our pastor? When we
oppose Pastor Han‟s wish to invite Jundosa Kim to our church, we are effectively
rejecting Pastor Han. Am I not right?”
And when the other members started to retort that this was not the case, Elder
Kim continued to speak.
“When it comes to jundosas or assistant pastors, following the lead pastor‟s
wishes ensures that the church affairs happen smoothly and peacefully. Thus, appointing
other leaders is not the parishioners‟ decision but the lead pastor‟s. The church‟s
responsibility is to just choose one pastor to lead them.”
When Elder Kim finished his speech, the congregation fell silent. Even in the
United States, the citizens only vote for the president. They do not elect the vice president
nor other cabinet members. They leave these decisions up to the president so that the
president may choose people that he/she can work with. In order for a church to
peacefully develop, these principles must be kept clear.
As the members fell silent, they became united in one voice.
“The Elder‟s words are correct. We will obey your selection.”
And so we invited Jundosa Kwan-Joo Kim to the Second Church of Sinuiju.
Jundosa Kim was honest, hard-working and well-educated, but his preaching skills were
weak. It must have been because he hadn‟t spoken Korean in a very long time, but his
teachings were sparsely scattered. At first, there were some complaints among the
parishioners, but after some time, the entire church, regardless of deacon or elder status,
welcomed him. Afterwards, he was ordained as a pastor and served the church besides
I cannot express how much the Second Church of Sinuiju benefited from Pastor
Kim‟s arrival. His sermons and teachings gradually improved, and soon, there was
nothing he couldn‟t do well. Because he had lived in Japan for a long time, he was very
fluent in Japanese and interacted very well with Japanese people. We were still under
Japanese rule at the time and had many difficult moments, but Pastor Kim was able to
help not only the Second Church of Sinuiju but also all the other churches in Sinuiju.
Then, when I was expelled from the church and was working at the Borinwon,
Pastor Kwan-Joo Kim became the lead pastor. There was much suspicion about me
because I had studied in the US for a long time, but because Pastor Kim studied in Japan,
there was no such suspicion. But Pastor Kim was also a true patriot and nationalist. If you
take a look at what happened afterwards, it is clear what kind of person he was.
When I left the church and the church was going through many difficult
challenges, Pastor Kim was able to lead the Second Church of Sinuiju in the right
direction. Because of his loyalty to me, he consulted me on most things. Even after our
liberation, Pastor Kim stayed as a pastor at the Second Church of Sinuiju. The presbytery
was trying to reappoint me as a pastor, but the Communist party was still trying to catch
me, so I fled to the South.
Pastor Kim stayed behind at the Second Church of Sinuiju and was persecuted by
the Communist Party. He was even put in jail for a long time. Afterwards, he was
released in Pyongyang, where he fled to the South.
He fought against the Communist Party on the front lines with his strong will and
determination when the West Gate Church did not have a pastor to lead them. It seems as
though he was serving the West Gate Church when he was arrested. I am not completely
sure, but I heard that the Communist Party made him mine coal. When the Communist
Party was being driven back north by troops, they killed all the incarcerated men, and I
heard that this was when Pastor Kim was killed.
Pastor Kim was truly a loyal servant who was always working. He probably had a
chance to flee to the South but didn‟t take the opportunity at the thought of leaving
behind his flock. I believe that he decided to dedicate his life to the Lord. His wife and
other family members couldn‟t escape from the North so I do not know of their
whereabouts, but fortunately enough, his eldest son, Myung-Hyuk Kim, was able to flee
to the South. He studied theology in South Korea and studied at many seminaries in the
United States where he finished his doctorate studies. He recently came back to Korea
where he is serving as an assistant pastor at Hooamdong Church with Pastor Dong-Jin
Cho. I am always thankful that God raised such a valuable servant. I also give me prayers
for Myung-Hyuk Kim‟s future.
While I was a pastor in Sinuiju, I was able to carry out my ministry without any
difficulties. First, this was made possible by the grace of God. Second, my fellow
leaders all worked together in harmony. I also believe that was possible because many
members were wise, experienced Christians whose faith and love for the Lord allowed
them to constantly work for the church.

14 If these people were absent

Sinuiju was a small village where the roads were not paved. When the wind blew
once, the entire place became encased in dust. I lived there for about 10 years. God
always took pity on my weaknesses and insufficiencies and held onto my hands.
One of the reasons I allowed the observance of the Shinto Shrine was because I
feared that I would die if I was jailed in my weak health. It might have been a better
choice to die in jail, but at the time, I didn‟t see why I should walk along a path that
would surely lead to my death.
About 3-4 years after I arrived in Sinuiju, I started to cough and spit up sputum
again. This signified that the tuberculosis was acting up again in my body. But at the time,
I was responsible for the church and could not rest.
One summer, I was so tired and in pain that I consulted with Elder Kim to stay at
a mineral spring in Ohkhodong for about 3-4 months. If you go about 15-20 miles from
Sunchun, there is place called Yaksoo where they were famous for their mineral water.
As I drank the water, I waited for God‟s hands and rested my body. However, no one
knew that I was taking a rest because of my diseased lungs.
However, I began to take care of my body when I realized that I would be causing
harm to the church is I were to become more ill. I went to Ohkhodong during the summer
and even traveled to Yangduk Springs with my wife to rest for a month or two. Even
when I left my post for extended periods of time, no elder, kwonsa, deacon or other
member of the church once complained. They continued to love and care for me.
Whenever I think about the Second Church of Sinuiju, I first thank God and then
the elders, kwonsas, deacons and other parishioners for their loyalty. It has been about 30
years since I have left Sinuiju, but I still pray for the members of the Second Church of
Sinuiju and for the orphans that I took care of. I believe only three of the orphans that I
took care of made it to the South. The other children who couldn‟t escape are probably all
grown up, living somewhere in North Korea. It is my duty to pray for them, no matter
what situation they may be living in. I love them with all my heart, and so naturally, I
pray for them everyday.

15 The dreamlike revival of Sinuiju

When I was appointed as pastor of the Second Church of Sinuiju, there were three
Presbyterian churches in Sinuiju. Combining children and adults, there were about 2000
parishioners that attended the First Church of Sinuiju, the Second Church of Sinuiju and
Samil Church the Third Church of Sinuiju. While I was there, the First Church of Sinuiju branched
off to form the Fourth Church of Sinuiju in the western region of Sinuiju. Afterwards,
Samil Church separated to form the Fifth Church of Sinuiju. And then the First and
Second Church of Sinuiju got together to build the Sixth Church in Majundong, Sinuiju.
To protect Sinuiju, Majundong was surrounded by a levee, but there were still
many houses outside the levee. The Sixth Church of Sinuiju was built for the people who
lived outside the levee.
At the time, not only did Sinuiju have many churches, but the entire North
Pyeongan Province had the most churches compared to any other province. Uiju and the

adjacent Yongchungun 龍 s 川 t 郡 phad a presbytery. And in Uiju, Sakju, Byukdong,

Changsong and even in Yanbian near the Yalu River, the number of churches was
growing significantly. The Korean churches were also developing in Andong and
Manchuria on the other side of the Yalu River.
At the time, Deacon Bong-Ki Baek, who lived in the Majundong area, was an
active member in the building of the Sixth Church of Sinuiju. He later became an elder,
but at the time, he did many things for the building of the chapel and help facilitated its
construction. As the population in the area grew, the Sixth Church of Sinuiju grew
rapidly as well.
Back then, there was Pastor Ha-Young Yoon at the First Church of Sinuiju, me at
the Second Church of Sinuiju and Pastor Chui-Gon Kim, who later resigned, at Samil
Church. There was Pastor Sang-Chul Kim at the Fourth Church of Sinuiju; I do not
remember the name of the pastor at the Fifth Church of Sinuiju; and there was Pastor
Hyo-Un Kye at the Sixth Church at Sinuiju. Besides these churches, there was a church
called Majun Church that was constructed in the northern region of Majundong before
the Sixth Church of Sinuiju was constructed, and the pastor was Pastor Jun-Ha Lee.

A Euisan Presbytery was formed by combining Uijugun, Sakjugun 朔州烎郡 pand

Sangun 山 s 郡 p, and there were many pastors who served as senior pastors for a very long

time. There was Pastor Myung-Jun Choi, Pastor Suk-Hang Kim from Namsan Church
and another good pastor from Yongsan Church whose name I cannot remember. As a
young pastor, I was able to meet many senior pastors through the Euisan Presbytery, and
they were all faithful servants to the church.
Even when I moved from Pyongyang to Sinuiju, the churches in Sinuiju were not
very developed. But after a few years, the region expanded and the churches developed
more than any other region.
In Uiju, there was the East Church and the West Church, and both were large
churches. There was Pastor Ha-Won Kim at the East Church, Pastor Ha-Soon Hong at the

West Church and Pastor Bo-Shik Lee at the Mihyun-Myun Chaema 替馬嬤 Church.

Across from the Yalu River, Andong was part of the Euisan Presbytery, and at the First
Church of Andong, there was Pastor Deuk-Eui Choi from the Second Church of Sinuiju
and his successor, Pastor Yun-Jo Kwon. At the Central Church of Andong, there was
Pastor Sae-Jin Kim; Pastor Kim later came to Seoul and established the Dongshin Church.
He is now retired.
North Pyeongan Province near Sinuiju was smaller in population compared to
Uiju, but approximately one out of every four persons was Christian. Back then, the
leaders of Sinuiju did not attend church, but their family members did. This applied for
Uiju as well. The center of Yongchungun, which was located near Sinuiju, was Yangsi
楊市走 and Yongampo 龍 s 岩浦光, and it was developing fast enough that a presbytery for only

Yongchungun was necessary. The churches in Yangsi and Yongampo, including the
First Church and the Central Church, were very big. There was Pastor Ki-Hyuk Lee at the
First Church of Yongchun and Pastor Byung-Hyuk Han at the Central Church from what
I remember.
I was once invited by the Yongchun Presbytery to deliver a sermon. I believe it
was the second week of May, and I was told that the Yongchun Presbytery was having an
all-day Sunday service. I stayed one night in Yongampo and worshipped on the top of
Deokcheon Mountain the next day. Deokcheon Mountain was the highest mountain in
Someone lent me their car, and I was able to reach the top of the mountain early
on. When I looked down from the top of the mountain, the parishioners of the churches in
the Yongchun Presbytery were coming up the mountain in all directions. One church was
marching up the mountain with a band. The clothes of the children and women were like
blooming spring blossoms, and I can never forget that image. As I praised the Lord with
the thousands of people who trekked up the mountain, I felt blessed and rejoiced in the
I still dearly wish for this, but I hope that we will be unified soon so that we can
travel to the North and host a revival on top of the mountain.
Sunchun was a small city, but they had four large Presbyterian churches; some
even said that if the market day fell on a Sunday, the market would be silent.
While I was in Sinuiju, there were 6 large Presbyterian Churches. If you include
the original Majun Church, there were 7 churches. The young members of the First
Church of Sinuiju left to form a Methodist Church, and that church became known as the
Sinuiju Methodist Church. Pastor Hyun-Sul Hong served as the pastor. The Evangelical
Church entered Sinuiju and built two churches as well. There were 7 Presbyterian
churches, one Methodist church and two Evangelical churches to make a total of 10
churches in Sinuiju. There was also one Catholic church.

There are several reasons as to why so the number of churches grew to be so

many. Before missionaries came to Korea, many young people from the Pyeongbuk
region traveled to Bongcheon, Manchuria. They met the Scottish missionary, Missionary
Ross, and Pastor McEntire there, where they were baptized and were able to even print a
translated version of the Gospel. Among these original members, there was the famous
Kyung-Jo Suh, Sang-Ryun Suh and Hong-Jun Baek among others. Not only were they
the first believers in Jesus Christ from Uiju, when the government was enforcing a strict
isolation policy, they quietly crossed the Yalu River to spread the Gospel in Uiju. They
later traveled to Hwanghae and Songchun to build a church. This was how Uiju became
the first place to receive the seeds of the Gospel.
Not only was Uiju the first place where the Gospel was spread, but many great
leaders of the early church were produced in Uiju. They include Pastor Suk-Jin Han,
Pastor Jun-Baek Yang and Pastor Suk-Chang Kim among many others. Pastor Bong-Suk
Choi is the most famous of all of them; he started his ministry on the coast of the Yalu
Pastor Choi wasn‟t very educated, but he traveled all throughout Junggangjin,
Chosan and Byukdong, praying and converting people. At the time, there were many
Koreans living in the south of the Yalu River, but there were also many Koreans in the
north near Manchuria. Pastor Choi traveled to the north and south of the River,
evangelizing people. He farmed with the farmers, trying to convert them. For twenty
years, he traveled across the Yalu River, building approximately 70 churches. Later on,
the North American Presbyterian Church stationed missionaries in Sunchun and Kangkye
where they actively spread the gospel. Among the missionaries, there was N.C.

Whittemore 魏大模, C.S. Hoffman 咸嘉倫, S.L. Roberts 羅富悅, H.W. Lampe 南行理 and A.

Campbell 甘富悅.

Most of the churches that were developed were along the coast of the Yalu River.
I believe that there were two reasons for this. First, the influence of the missionaries was
very large. At the time, the missionaries were centered around Sunchun, North Pyeongan
Province where they built Shinsung Middle School, Bosung Girls‟ Middle School and
Leedong Hospital. The missionaries were also very active in Kyangkye where they built
Youngsil Middle School. In other words, they started their ministry on the high plateaus
below the Baekdu Mountains.
Another reason for the rapid development was because the churches were filled
with the grace of God. One Christmas, I sent letters to the churches in the Euisan
Presbytery and the Pyeongbuk Presbytery.
“If you could remember the children and elderly at the Borinwon when giving
your Christmas offering, it will be used for the glory of God.”
The district which included the churches in Kyangkye, Chosan, Byukdong and
Joongkangjin sent more money than any other district. I am ashamed to say that I was
weak then too and couldn‟t travel far. Nevertheless, the fact that the district was able to
send so much money was proof that God‟s grace resided in those churches.
Now, the churches are probably all closed. But there were some members of those
churches who were able to come down to the South. When I was visiting the US and
Canada this past trip, I was able to visit some of them. Wherever they were, I saw that
they were working hard to serve their churches, and for this, I gave my thanks to God.
Chapter 07: Thank you God for letting me live my life on the edge

01 The vision of the white stone in the black dirt

During the Japanese colonial period, I spent my time with the Borinwon children
farming and praying in silent tears on the rear side of the mountain. During that time,
God comforted me to no end.
After the Japanese declared the Greater East Asian War, they bombed the Pearl
Harbor, sunk American ships and even occupied the Chinese mainland including Hong
Kong. They started to occupy Southeast Asian countries one by one. In every corner, they
placed a Japanese flag, and their domestic policies of Japanese nationalism became even
more stringent.
“Koreans shall die as a nation and be reborn as a Japanese nation.” They even
forced the replacement of ancestral Korean surnames with Japanese names. When you

woke up, you needed to participate in Dongbangyobae 東方遙拜, and you needed to speak

in Japanese in schools and in churches.

I can‟t remember the exact name, but I believe it was called the United Korean
Christian Federation. They formed this organization and placed a Japanese pastor as the
head. They would travel all around the country, stressing that the Korean and Japanese
church needed to be united.
The forces of evil were expanding and overcoming the forces of good. I couldn‟t
stop worrying about what would happen to our country and the world if we were to
continue along the same path.
I would find myself in tears for no reason and fall asleep in exhaustion. But one
day, I had a vision.
From Baekdu Mountains to the Halla Mountains, the entire Samchully was
stretched in front of me. I cannot possibly describe how beautiful the Samchully was, and
in the high and low green pastures, there were many villages. In each village, there was a
chapel built in white stone, and I heard bells ringing all around me.
That is when I realized that what I saw with my eyes was not the entirety of the
world. In reality, more and more churches were falling, but the churches that I saw in my
vision, as well as the Samchullly that I saw in my vision, was beautiful. Although the
forces of evil have taken over currently, soon they will be defeated and our independent
nation will have white chapels in every corner praising God. There was no need to be
discouraged by the dreary reality. I prayed to God asking that he provide for this new
world sooner than later.
When I fled to Seoul and built the Seoul Youngnak Church with poor refugees, I
originally planned on building a simple building considering everyone‟s financial
situation. However, I remembered the vision and decided to build a stone building. Even
when I fled to Pusan and was building the Pusan Youngnak Church, I built it with stone.
It was the same for the Jeju Youngnak Church.

At first, it seemed as if the Japanese forces were going to win, but as time went on,
they started to wane. The number of warships and aircraft in the Pacific Ocean started to
diminish, and I heard that the Japanese forces could not withstand General MacArthur‟s
military strategy. All across Asia, there were Japanese planes and ships being sunk to the
bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
God is living. God lives forever. God is an Almighty God. Our God is a merciful
and compassionate God. God is love. Take a look at the atomic bomb that was dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. While the analysis is lacking,
it was not an accident that it happened. It was the judgment of God.
There are people who say that God‟s judgment is not all evident in this world.
This is true. God does not deliver justice in this world through judgment. Even after a
man dies, his soul exists forever. Therefore, an individual receives his or her judgment in
However, God does provide some judgment in this world. So that humans don‟t
forget about God‟s eternal judgment, he often brings down judgment onto this world.
Evil people are punished in this world. Even if it is not the individual, future generations
will be judged. Whether it is an individual or an entire nation, they will be judged by God.
While I haven‟t lived long, I believe this to be true through my experiences.

During my most difficult times in South Sinuiju, there were some neighbors who
comforted me. There was Elder In-Mo Kim who lived near the Borinwon, Dr.
Byung-Sook Yoo who was the director of the South Sinuiju Health Center, Elder
Duk-Song Jang who used to head the town and Deacon Heung-Sun Moon who was a
trader as well as others. I would meet with these citizens of South Sinuiju often to discuss
our current nation, to pray and to comfort each other during the depressing times.
Elder In-Mo Kim is still alive today. Dr. Byung-Sook Yoo would come to the
Borinwon to treat the sick children, to help the elderly and to talk with me about our
country‟s future. After our liberation, he worked at a hospital in Seoul for a long time
until he passed away a few years ago.
I remember Elder Duk-Song Jang being the most affluent person that attended
South Sinuiju Church. The South Sinuiju Church was built using approximately 25,000
bricks; I heard that Elder Duk-Song Jang, Dr. Byung-Sook Yoo and Elder In-Mo Kim
each donated 8,000 won for its construction. That is how much they were dedicated to the
Deacon Heung-Sun Moon moved from Sunchun and attended the Second Church
of Sinuiju. He worked diligently for the church and for his business, but he couldn‟t
escape during the Korean War, so I had no means of communicating with him.
I thank those who were by my side during those times and pray to God that He
bless their children wherever they may be.

02 The faithful leaders who carried the gospel to Korea

There is a reason that the churches in the North Pyeongan Province developed
before churches in any other province. That is because missionaries like Dr.
Underwood and Dr. Moffet were spreading the gospel across the Yalu River in
Manchuria before they came to our country. This is a story that is famous in the Korean
Christian society.
Earlier, the Scottish Presbyterian Church in Northern England deployed
missionaries to China and Manchuria, so there were active missionaries in Beijing and
Sang-Ryun Suh, a young lad from Uiju, crossed the border back and forth for
trade and became the first Korean to believe in Jesus Christ. Along with him, a couple of
other young men and Sang-Ryun cooperated with a missionary in Bongchun, and I
believe that that missionary was Pastor Ross. Through Pastor Ross, they were introduced
to Christ Jesus and were baptized.
At the time, the first thing that people who had accepted Christ Jesus into their
lives did was to contemplate how they could spread the knowledge to their fellow
nationals. He was not an exception.
“We have been saved by believing in Jesus Christ and are now the children of
God. Shouldn‟t we convert our fellow Koreans? If we want to spread His words, we must
first translate the Bible.”
And with the help of the missionaries, they started to translate the Gospels. I
believe that they translated the shortest of the Gospels, the book of Mark. And they
needed to print this translation, but they didn‟t have a Hangul press in Bongchun. So they
personally made a printing press and completed the book.
Now the remaining problem was distributing the books. During this period, the
isolation policy was in place, and even crossing the Manchurian border was tightly
regulated. If you were caught trying to cross the border, you were immediately arrested,
so there was no way to cross the Yalu River. There were some rumors that someone
stored the books for a very long time north of the Yalu River until they later threw them
into the water.
After hearing that the books were thrown into the river, Pastor Ross said,
“Brothers! Do not worry. From now on, all those who drink from the Yalu River will
become believers of Jesus Christ.”
Like Pastor Ross said, before our liberation, many large churches were
constructed along the coast of Yalu River. All the large churches in Sinuiju, Andong,
Sakju, Byukdong, Chosan and Joongkangjin were built along the Yalu River. We must all
pray for the fiery revival to happen again.
Christians from Manchuria must have smuggled some copies of the book of Mark.
And they spread the gospel to close family and friends in Uiju and started a worship
service in a small part of Uiju. And so it isn‟t an exaggeration to say that the first church
in Korea was erected in Uiju. This is even before the missionaries came to Uiju.
When the authorities heard of this, they tried to make an arrest, so they fled to a
small village named “Songchun” near Gumipo in Jangyuneup, Hwanghaedo. They used a
small thatched house to hold their services, and this church became known as Songchun
Church. Afterwards, the church erected in Seoul was called Saemunahn Church.
When the missionaries later showed up, they heard that there were believers of
Jesus Christ in Songchun and built a church there. And the missionaries found the
beautiful beaches of Gumipo 4 miles away from Songchun and built their summer retreat
there. As I mentioned before, this is the same place that I went to with Pastor Baird.

A million people gathered for worship the Easter Sunday after our liberation,
during Pastor Billy Graham‟s revivals and even during the revivals hosted by Campus
Crusaders in Seoul. We must remember that these large numbers of Christians were able
to gather because a long time ago, before we were born or when we were very young, a
group of missionaries, senior church leaders and original members of the church went
around urban and rural areas, spreading the Gospel wherever they went.
I am always thankful towards the senior members of faith, missionaries, pastors,
elders, kwonsas, deacons and other church members who introduced the gospel to our
country. I believe that everyone is like in mind.

03 Starting a new day at the Borinwon

As the war drew to an end, we heard rumors that American planes were flying
above Sinuiju and that there were bombings near Bongchun near the last months of 1944.
There were rumors that American troops were near Japan and Korea and had landed near
Yongampo. This was because the Japanese forces were camping near Yongampo and
Sinuiju. South Sinuiju was located about 4 miles away from Sinuiju and was surrounded
by high mountains to the north.
The Japanese soldiers started to dig trenches to the rear of the mountains near the
Borinwon. They would build ammunition depots as well. When we heard that we would
be in danger if American forces were to land in Yongampo and were to travel up the Yalu
River, the staff members of the Borinwon began to worry. Then a Japanese soldier
ordered us to empty the building because they needed to use the place.
There were about 50-60 people at the Borinwon during this time; where would we
go with all these people? Entering the city of Sinuiju was dangerous, so we needed to
enter the countryside where people weren‟t being affected by the war. Where would we
find such a place? We were faced with yet another problem.
While wandering around, we met a pastor in Yangsi and followed him to Gueup,
Yongchun. Gueup had a military base at the time and the Yongchun District Office was
located in Yongampo. When I visited Gueup, there was an old Confucian school located
on a mountaintop. But large parts of the school had collapsed and the construction costs
would have been too high. I decided to look for another place.
One rainy day, I heard that there was an old school with large rooms about 8
miles from the Borinwon and decided to take a look. Because the Japanese military was
pushing us to quickly evacuate the building, I decided that we would stay there if we had
no other choice.
When I returned home, it was a little past 12, and they were playing the Japanese
national anthem on the radio. A bit later, they announced “Tennohaika“. This meant that

the Imperial Majesty 天皇陛下 was coming on the radio.

“His Majesty the Emperor will be making an speech so pay attention and listen
I was wondering what it was about, so I sat there intently listening in my wet
clothes. The Emperor announced that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration. The
Potsdam Declaration had been written by President Truman of the United States,
Churchill of Britain, General Secretary Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Communist Party and
Chen Jiang of China in Potsdam where they presented some conditions for Japan‟s
surrender. The Emperor had accepted these conditions.
When I heard these words, I was so thrilled that tears streamed down my face like
the rain. I ran towards the Borinwon to notify the others, but Ms. Eun-Hye Kim had heard
the announcement as well and was coming down the mountain in tears.
“Japan surrendered! Japan surrendered!”
I cannot express the joy that I felt then. The members of the Borinwon, adults and
children alike, held each other in happiness and praised the Lord in tears. Even now, I
cannot express how thankful I was for that day.

04 The Japanese governor and the Sinuiju local government

After Japan surrendered, the Borinwon received many phone calls. Pastor
Kwan-Joo Kim and a couple of elders wanted to relay this happy message. I spent the day
receiving many phone calls and thinking about what I would do in the future.
The next morning, two government officials from North Pyeongan Province came
to see me. The government office of North Pyeongan Province was in Sinuiju, and there
was a Japanese governor. When I heard that they were from the Japanese office, I was
very surprised.
“I do not speak Japanese very well, nor have I had much contact with Japanese
people. Why would the Japanese governor want to see me?”
They told me that the Japanese governor wanted to see me. It was so unexpected
that I contemplated about whether or not I should go. But because it was such an
important time period for our nation where a servant of God like me needed to lead the
nation onto a blessed path, I agreed to see the official.
The governor was a small man poorly dressed in a military uniform, but he looked
like a good person.
“As you probably know, Japan has surrendered to the Allied forces. Soon,
American forces will enter this land. Before the American forces arrive, I would like to
resolve a problem.”
He wanted to make sure that the area would not fall into social turmoil when the
Americans came. He was especially worried that there would be conflicts amongst the
Japanese and Korean populations. Several people had recommended that he speak to me,
and so he had invited me. He continued on to say, “Truthfully, we can no longer maintain
the security in the area now that Japan has surrendered to the Allies. Is there a way that
we can resolve this potential conflict before the American troops arrive?”
I was puzzled at the sudden request, but this was our reality, and I did not want
any problems to arise in Sinuiju or in the North Pyeongan Province. So I told him
whatever came to mind.
“This is, of course, not something that I can do on my own. However, if you leave
it up to me, I will organize a committee with community and church leaders to carefully
handle the issue.”
The Japanese official was very happy and offered to subsidize whatever the costs
may be. I believe that he predicted a large conflict to arise from this sudden dilemma and
was just happy to pass on this responsibility to someone else.
“Well, this isn‟t something that we should wait on. Let us go to the Sinuiju
broadcasting company and announce our plans right away. I believe that we should create
a stable environment first. I will leave the responsibility up to you, and I will announce
that you will be heading the committee via the radio. If you go on the radio afterwards,
the public will accept your announcements.”
After quickly explaining the details, he urged me to act quickly as well. And so
the two of us got into a car and drove to the Sinuiju broadcasting station.
The Japanese official first briefly explained the situation and announced through
the broadcast that he would leave future policing responsibilities up to Pastor
Kyung-Chik Han, because he could no longer contain the situation. And when he passed
the microphone to me, I first expressed how thankful I was that we were now a free
nation through God‟s grace.
“I am an insignificant man and cannot do this task alone. However, there are
many church and social leaders in Sinuiju, and as soon as this broadcast is over, I will
cooperate with them to form a proper committee before the American troops arrive.”
Next, I stressed the importance of this opportunity to show the world Korea‟s
“We must be cautious at a time like this. We must maintain the pride of our nation
and try not to seek petty vengeance. We suffered under Japanese rule for 36 years and
have been liberated through the grace of God. In this joyful time, we must love one
another, cooperate with one another and forgive one another to maintain the peace until
the American forces arrive.”
When I returned to the church office, I called the community leaders to form the
Sinuijui Local Committee and invited Mr. Yoo-Pil Lee as our chairman. At the time, he
was an elderly and faithful member of the First Church of Sinuiju. He had participated in
the early independence movement as a part of the provisional government in Shanghai
and was qualified in many other ways. His selection as our chairman was unanimous.
However, due to his old age, Pastor Ha-Young Yoon from the First Church of Sinuiju
and I took on the responsibility as Vice Chairmen.
Along with the local government, the first thing we did was to request that the
governor pass over the police authority. The governor happily acquiesced and we were
able to establish a security department. This is something I heard later, but Sinuiju was
apparently the first place to reinstate a police force.
However, we didn‟t have any power over the Japanese army stationed around
Sinuiju. Hence, at the end of discussions, we agreed that the Japanese military was to stay
inside the barracks at all times and that they would disarm as soon as the American troops
arrived. The new security department took over the weapons at the police station. And we
appointed experienced people as the chief of police and security to reinforce the laws of
the land. However, the Sinuiju government remained stagnant for a period of time but
gradually developed over time.
From what I recall, no accident or incident was reported in Sinuiju during that
time. The joy of liberation must have gotten rid of thieves as well because there wasn‟t
even a case of petty crimes. With the tender sentiment following our liberation, we were
busy thinking of ways we could rebuild our nation.
And so there was not a single person who tried to seek vengeance or break the law.
Sinuiju was a peaceful place even in the absence of any laws.
However, during the imperial age, the Japanese forced every household to have a

small shrine 神社姚 called the “Kamidana” 神棚, and I heard that the streets became littered

from people throwing them away.

05 The first political party of my life- the creation of the Social Democratic
We believed that everything would become okay once the American troops took
away all the military equipment. The local government of Sinuiju threw a party
celebrating our liberation and even held an inauguration party for the new government.
However, we received some unexpected news from Seoul. The 38th parallel was being
drawn somewhere and the American troops were only entering the South. The North was
to be occupied by the Soviets.
“What is going to happen if the Communist Soviets enter the North?”
After we heard the news, we were grief-stricken. And about two weeks later, the
Soviets passed through Manchuria, Bongchun and Andong to cross the Yalu River and
enter Sinuiju. No one came to welcome them, but they came carrying supplies on horse
and donkey-drawn carriages. Looking at their uniforms, it seemed as though the soldiers
were hastily assembled. Rumors of their entrance spread like wildfire.
“The Soviets steal whatever watch they see!”
There were rumors that the soldiers took the watches off of men and women,
where each soldier wore up to 10, 15 watches. That wasn‟t all. There were rumors that
the members of the Communist Party that came with the soldiers were organizing a
Communist Party in Sinuiju.
One day, I heard a noise outside and went outside to see the Communist Party
singing and marching. The Communists that came with the Soviet soldiers had loaded a
truck full of farmers and were forcefully transporting them to a farm in Yongchungun. A
Japanese person owned a large farm near the Yellow Sea, and even among the Koreans,
they owned a large farm. The soldiers were taking the farmers to those farms. And the
leader called the Chairman of our Committee and declared that he would form a local
Sinuiju government. He left Mr. Yoo-Pil Lee as the Chairman and replaced Pastor Yoon
and me with members of the Communist Party. We lost our police force as well.
By this point, the anger and dismay of the people was great. Sounds of
lamentation flowed from here and there, and there were daily uproars involving fights.
Already stripped of our positions as Vice Chairmen, Pastor Yoon and I spent our
time in frustration without any news from Seoul and Pyongyang. We needed an affront to
the Communist Party, so we organized the Social Democratic Party centered on those
who were part of the original local government of Sinuiju. The Social Democratic Party
was mostly comprised of pastors, elders, deacons and other believers. We even drew up
plans expanding the party beyond Sinuiju into Pyongyang and Seoul.
In the Party‟s constitution, we drew up plans of land reform and large factory
contracts. At the time, most of the land was owned by the Japanese, so we drew up plans
of returning the land back to the peasants; the large factories previously owned by the
Japanese government would be operated by the government.
The Social Democratic Party came into conflict with the Communist Party and the
local government set up by the Communist Party. Considering our ideology had nothing
in common with the socialist ideology and none of our members agreed with their
socialist ideals, there was no way for us to not fight them at every step.

06 Traveling alone from Sinuiju to the South

Up to that point, I was staying at the Borinwon in South Sinuiju and working at
the town council during the day. One day, I was visiting a parishioner‟s home when
someone came to find me.
“Pastor! You need to quickly flee the city. The Communist Party is arresting all
the leaders of the Social Democratic Party.”
I wanted to return to the Borinwon to gather some of my possessions, but I was
advised to leave everything behind. There was a truck they had managed to supply for
“Pastor! I am very sorry but you should get in the truck and leave.”
I was about to leave when a young man named Chi-Sun Kim came looking for me.
This lad later served as an elder at Youngnak Church and as the Dean of Law at Seoul
National University. At the time, Chi-Sun Kim had been studying in Japan but had
returned to Sinuiju just before Japan surrendered. His older brother Elder Chi-Buk Kim,
his father Elder Ik-Soon Kim and his mother Kwonsa Eui-Soon Yoon all attended Sinuiju
Church and were like family to me. Elder Chi-Buk Kim was a young deacon at the
Second Church of Sinuiju at the time and liked to discuss everything, big or small, with
me. When he sent his younger brother, Elder Chi-Sun Kim to Japan for his studies, he
consulted me before sending him off.
For whatever reason, Elder Chi-Buk Kim was in Seoul at the time and his
younger brother, Elder Chi-Sun Kim, came to me and said something unexpected.
“I realize that I am inadequate, but I would like to take you across the 38th parallel.
Please come with me.”
And so I rode the truck, left Sinuiju and headed towards Seoul. On our way, we
stopped by Baekma and picked up Pastor Yoon. I didn‟t even have the chance to tell my
wife that I was leaving, let alone visit the Borinwon. We were able to barely escape with
Pastor Yoon before arriving in Sunchun.
The Communist Party and the Soviet soldiers hadn‟t arrived in Sunchun yet, and
Pastor Young-Ub Baek was serving as the chairman of the local government. This
happened later on, but when the local governments in North Pyeongan Province united
together, Pastor Young-Ub Baek served as the Chairman. While staying at his house for a
night, we were able to exchange some news.
We were told that there was a train headed for Pyongyang, so we boarded the
crowded train. Even during the commotion, we tried to remain as inconspicuous as
possible by sitting quietly during our trip. We were worried about the situation in
Pyongyang and wanted to see the city for ourselves. However, we feared that we would
never make it to Seoul if we got off the train and just continued on to Sarinwon. But our
train would not travel past Sarinwon. I can‟t remember if we waited standing up all night
to take the train or if we took the train the following morning, but we were able to travel
to Geumchun near the 38th parallel.
When we arrived in Geumchun, we met many Koreans who had lived in
Manchuria but were fleeing to the South. There was a considerable number of Japanese
people too. When I saw the poor Japanese people who had been stripped of their
possessions, I felt the generation gap. We spent the night in Geumchun at a believer‟s
home where we were able to receive more information.
“There are Soviet soldiers guarding the 38th parallel, but they haven‟t been asking
very many questions. They assume everyone is a refugee, so we just need to blend in with
the others around us and slowly walk past the guards.”
We were just thankful at hearing his words. We followed the long line of refugees
to the 38th parallel, and surely enough, there was a Soviet guard at the border. But they
didn‟t ask any questions or examine any of us; they just stood there staring at us. After
safely crossing the 38th parallel, we walked continuously for a day or two. When we were
too exhausted to walk, we sometimes stopped to rest in a private home. I remember
crossing over a mountain path, which I later found out was the edge of Bokyun Falls.
When we were near Gaesung, we met an American soldier in a Jeep. We wanted
to know what had happened since we left Sinuiju, so we approached him and explained
our circumstances in English.
“We are originally pastors with the Presbyterian Church. After our liberation, we
formed a local government body to maintain the peace, but the Communists came and
tried to arrest us, so we fled. We would like to know of the situation in the North and
would greatly appreciate it if you could tell us what you know.”
Then, they kept telling us that we had gone through a lot and recommended that
we ride in their car. We had no choice but to get in the car and travel to the American
military base with them. For 1-2 hours, we exchanged whatever information we had.
Thankfully enough, after hearing our situation, they agreed to drive us to Seoul.
“You are pastors and I am a Christian. It is a small car, but I can drive you using
the Jeep.”
And while many refugees struggled to walk along the path, we were able to ride a
Jeep to Seoul.

07 Traveling to Seoul with blessings and blessings

There were a couple pastors we knew in Seoul, but given the circumstances, I
couldn‟t imagine seeking them out. In addition, we had left Sinuiju in a hurry and
brought no money. Even if we hadn‟t left immediately, Pastor Yoon and I were not
overseeing church affairs, so our financial situation would have been the same either way.
When we left Sinuiju, we only wanted to arrive safely in Seoul, but when we arrived in
Seoul, our future looked dim. That is when Pastor Yoon remembered Elder Ji-Ryub Baek
of the First Church of Sinuiju.
“Elder Ji-Ryub Baek from our church came to Seoul before the war ended and
bought a large house. Perhaps we can stay there for a little bit? Let us first go there.”
Elder Ji-Ryub Baek was one of the first people to help the Borinwon, so I knew
him well too. I don‟t know how we found his house, but we did. I believe it was located
where it is now Ohkindong, next to Joongahngchung. It was a well-built two story house.
When we entered the house, Elder Baek warmly greeted us and told us that we could stay
as long as we wanted. Chi-Sun Kim stayed with us for a little bit until he left to find his
brother, while Pastor Yoon and I stayed a bit longer.
We were not the only people staying at Elder Baek‟s house; he was providing
shelter for people who were part of the independence movement in Shanghai. That is
when we met Mr. Suh-Hang Cho and other members of the provisional government in
Shanghai. There were many people sharing a space on the second floor, but he provided a
separate room for us on the first floor.
Seoul was in a very chaotic state. The Allied Forces, led by army chief Lt. Gen.
Hodge, occupied the Peninsula Hotel. The Peninsula Hotel was a 12-story hotel built by
the Japanese in place of where the current Lotte Hotel stands. In other words, Seoul had
become an American military base. The military government office was located where
the colonial government had previously been and where the current capitol hall stands.
The American soldiers knew nothing about Korea including the language; in
every department, they hired a person fluent in English and used them as a translator and
deputy. Unlike today, there were very few people who spoke English back then. When I
visited the military government office, I knew most of the people who were working
there. There was Dr. Il-Hyung Jung; Dr. Yong-Sul Lee, who is now retired but used to
teach at Severance Medical College; and another doctor who had served as the Chairman
and President of the College of Agriculture at Soongsil University. There was also Mr.
Oh, who had studied in the U.S. and was from a Christian family. The majority of the
people like them were helping staff the military government.
At the time, there were about 10 different political parties assembled, including
the Democratic Party and the Communist Party. The Korean Democratic Party was led by
Jin-Woo Song, Duk-Soo Jang and other members of Dong-A Ilbo. At the center of the
Communist Party was Hun-Young Park. Mr. Woon-Hyung Yuh was the leader of another
party, and there was a pastor who has already passed away that led another party that was
primarily centered on Christians.
The American soldiers tried to promote peace and foster democracy, but it was
too soon after the liberation, and we had very little experiences as a country.
There was a lot of discussion about the organization of the police force. They
were trying to hire experienced policemen and had to employ trustworthy men who were
minions during the colonial era.
People who were high ranking officers in the police force held most of the police
posts in the new military government. It was the only way to maintain our security force.
We couldn‟t generalize that everyone who worked for the Japanese government was
At the time, the Chief of the Civics Department was someone I deeply respected,
Mr. Seung-Man Choi. He even served as the governor of Jejudo later on, but up to that
point, he was still trying to rectify social faults through the Civics Department. One
common trait was that no matter what department you went to, there was always one
American soldier.
The military government must have heard that Pastor Yoon and I were in Seoul
because they asked for our help. We briefly helped with some translations.

08 The Chosun Theological Seminary that arose amidst the chaos

I quit my job as an English translator for the military government shortly after.
During the Greater East Asia War, a seminary was built in Seoul because the
Pyongyang Theological Seminary had to close its doors for a while. The seminary was
called Chosun Theological Seminary, and Elder Dae-Hyun from Seungdong Church
donated a considerable fortune for its construction. The principal of Chosun Theological
Seminary was Pastor In-Kyu Yoon, who later served as the President of Yonsei
University and Pusan National University. When I was in Seoul, Pastor In-Kyu Yoon
resigned from his post and Pastor Jae-Joon Kim succeeded him as Principal. From what I
remember, Chosun Theological Seminary was originally operated by Seungdong Church,
but after our liberation, Duksoo Church, a church opened by a Japanese, took over its
When I went to Seoul, I was able to meet my old friends, and after our liberation,
Pastor Chang-Gun Song, Pastor Jae-Joon Kim and I spent much time together. When we
got together, we would worry about the church and our country, and I still remember
Pastor Jae-Joon Kim‟s words.
“Are we not pastors who have received God‟s calling? National affairs are
important, but there are other people who can take care of our country. I think it would be
good for us to focus on the church. If we hope to make our churches better, we must
educate future leaders, so let us expand Chosun Theological Seminary.”
Since the establishment of the seminary, Pastor In-Kyu Yoon had continuously
invited me to the school, but I had been the lead pastor at the Second Church of Sinuiju. I
had visited once before, but I couldn‟t bring myself to leave Sinuiju.
But times had changed, and I was able to help operate the school with Pastor
Chang-Gun Song and the principal of the seminary, Pastor Jae-Joon Kim, by taking on a
teaching position. Pastor Hyung-Kyu Byun from the Methodist church also came to teach
the students. I thank God that I was able to teach seminary students in the midst of all the
Chapter 8- I thank God for allowing me to see the people that I dearly missed
once more
My travels to the US after Ms. Chan-Bin Kim‟s death (1975)

01 My gratitude for the warm hospitality

On January 13, 1975, exactly 9 months after I buried my wife, I left Seoul Kimpo
Airport with my son, Pastor Hye-Won Han, and his family. On that same day, we arrived
in Los Angeles, where I was unexpectedly greeted by many parishioners. Elder
Hong-Sun Kim (younger brother of Youngnak Church‟s Elder Chi-Bok Kim) and his
wife drove 2.5 hours to greet me. As we had arranged in Seoul, we met Pastor Eui-Joo
Lim of the Korean Church Development Institute and traveled to Elder Hong-Sun
Kim‟s residence in La Jolla.
Elder Hong-Sun Kim and his wife operated a fairly large motel called Travel
Lodge that had about 45 rooms in La Jolla. The motel was located about 3-4 minutes
away from the ocean and was very close to the beach. La Jolla is originally a Native
American name meaning “pearl”. Surrounded by a beautiful sandy beach with large rocks,
La Jolla always had a dry and mild climate. Young people enjoyed windsurfing on the
beach even in the winter. Elder Kim provided me with the best accommodations near the
roof of the building. Pastor Hye-Won Han had to travel to Pittsburgh the next day
because of his ministry, but Pastor Lim and I were able to enjoy ourselves for an entire
Approximately one year ago, I met Kwonsa Eui-Soon Yoon, Elder Hong-Sun
Kim‟s mother, in La Jolla. Elder Kim‟s eldest son, Sung-Gul, was already married and
was overseeing the hotel‟s administrative duties. His second son, Sung-Soo, was in high
school, and the third son, Sung-Jun, was in middle school. I was told that both were
bright students and were even teaching TaeKwonDo to their friends. Their eldest
daughter was studying dentistry in college, and the their second daughter, Sung-Mi, was
studying biochemistry in college as well. They had received high marks for their grades
and were on scholarships. The daughter studying dentistry had many other talents as well,
and her drawings on the wall were comparable to those of a professional artist.
There were three women who cleaned the hotel, and one of them was a second
generation Chinese immigrant. When there were family events or there was a special
occasion, an elderly black couple would watch the register for them. Elder Kim
personally maintained the garden and outside structure of the hotel, and the
well-maintained flowers always made the hotel colorful. Elder Kim‟s wife, Deacon
Na-Ja Hwang, personally maintained the conditions of the rooms; she was also fluent in
English and always warmly greeted the guests.
It could‟ve been because my room was located on the top-most floor of the motel,
but when I sat in the room, I was able to look down and see the ocean‟s endless stretch of
blue. In my room, there was always a beautifully arranged bouquet of flowers. I don‟t
know from whom they were told that I liked fruit juices, but the fridge in my room was
always stocked with orange, apple and grape juice. And on top of the sink, there was a
cabinet full of antacids, cold tablets and vitamins. They also prepared three meals a day
for me that were always different. Kwonsa Yoon also washed, ironed and folded our
laundry by hand.
Everyday I would either walk along the beach or enjoy making friends with the
seagulls and pigeons while on the beach with Kwonsa Yoon or Pastor Lim. The birds and
animals in the US do not fear people. I think it‟s because Americans are nice to the
animals and birds. When you go to the beach, the seagulls and pigeons follow you around.
It‟s because they are hoping you would throw some bread crumbs their way. If you throw
some crumbs their way, the seagulls and pigeons swarm around the crumbs like a dark
cloud and snatch the bread even before it touches the ground. The pigeons even peck at
food on people‟s hands. There was no better luxury. I was surrounded by a constant
stream of warm sunlight and breeze, and the sky and sea were blue. There wasn‟t a more
beautiful environment. On top of that, I was receiving the best possible hospitality at
Elder Kim‟s hotel.
I was also thrown an unexpected surprise party for my birthday. That night, I was
told that we were going to be having dinner with a few elders from LA, but when I
showed up at the location, I had an unforgettable experience. Our meeting location was a
quite spacious conference hall. Pastor Gye-Yong Kim, Pastor Dong-Geun Hong, elders,
kwonsas, deacons and other parishioners totaling to about 70 people traveled far from
Los Angeles. They had even prepared all the food. And Pastor Jin-Sang Kang from a
Korean Presbyterian Church in La Jolla and about 40 of his parishioners came as well
with Pastor G. Glam from his presbytery. Not only that, but some of my fellow
classmates from Princeton and my retired pastor friends came as well.
All of them wore a mask and asked me to individually guess who they were. After
I came to La Jolla, I had met up with some of my classmates, but some of then, it was my
first time meeting them. There were some that I had last seen 47 years ago at Princeton. I
was finally able to guess who they were after repeatedly asking questions, but I will never
forget the thrill of that night, To be honest, that was the first time that I have ever had a
birthday party thrown in my honor. Besides my wife‟s 60th birthday, we had always
spent our birthdays in a quiet place together.
One of my classmates that I saw that day was Pastor F. Cropp who has now
retired but used to work as the secretary for the American Bible Society for a long time.
There was also Pastor W. Macinnes, who had his ministry in Southern California but is
now a clerk for the San Diego Presbytery, and Pastor H. Chon, who was a secretary for
presbyteries in Denver, Portland and Southern California for a long time, as well as
Pastor Canaway who has long since retired from ministry. This was the first time I had
met them since I left Princeton. The now retired Pastor K. Wilson was a missionary in
China until he moved to Japan where he started his ministry targeting the Chinese
population in Japan. But I had met him once at the Keswick Convention in Japan. He had
planned on attending the party that night, but unfortunately his wife was hospitalized with
a weak heart. Of course, Elder Kim and his wife had planned the entire party. I realize
that this was an expression of their friendship and an attempt to try and comfort me. I
was truly thankful.
Elder Kim and his wife were trying their best to console me in losing my wife.
Almost every day, they had an event planned for me or they would arrange for me to
meet some friends and explore various places. One time, I visited Sea World and
observed all the aquatic wildlife and their strange behaviors. And then I went to the
world‟s largest zoo, the San Diego Zoo, and I never knew that there were so many
different kinds of snakes and monkeys. And the bears were trained so that when we drove
past them in our car, they held out both their feet and bowed their heads in greeting.
There was a separate wildlife park, and it was arranged so that people could observe
animals in a free and natural environment.
Not only that, but Elder Kim had arranged for a Korean doctor, Dr. Byung-Mok
Kim, to give me a full physical examination and provided for my health. Dr. Kim‟s wife
was also a doctor, and she was also the grand-daughter of one of the first Korean pastors.
And Elder Kim pitied my failing hearing and ordered hearing aids for me.
Like this, Elder Kim and his wife spared no money nor time in comforting me. I
am forever indebted to them, and whenever I think of them, my eyes well up in tears.
A Korean Presbyterian Church was established about a year ago in La Jolla, and
they were renting an American church for their weekly service. Upon the request of
Pastor Jin-Sang Kang from the Korean Presbyterian Church, I hosted a brief revival
service for 3 days. I especially cannot forget meeting Woo-Hyun Nam, a professor of
economics at the University of Southern California. He was the son-in-law of Elder
Heui-Ohk Jung who had been an elder at Seoul Youngnak Church. He had received his
baptism lessons in Korea, but had yet to be baptized. He insisted that I baptize him. A
couple of years ago when I was in Nashville, there was a family that had attended
Youngnak Church previously. But they had family members who hadn‟t been baptized
yet that I baptized then. But they didn‟t have a Korean church there. However, Dr. Nam‟s
scenario was different. La Jolla already had a Korean church , so it would have sufficed
to be baptized there during Easter Sunday. I told him this multiple times, but his
perseverance never waned. In the end, I accepted it as God‟s will and baptized him at
Elder Kim‟s house during a small family service. It is standard protocol for baptisms to
take place in churches, but I believe that it is the obligation of a pastor to make
exceptions in special cases.

02 Dearly missed Pastor Pierce

While I was in La Jolla, I attended an annual conference held by World Vision in
Los Angeles to celebrate Pastor B. Pierce‟s achievements. That year marked the 25th
anniversary of the founding of World Vision. World Vision is a Christian organization
that was founded by the young Pastor Pierce in Seoul, South Korea, the spring of 1950
when the Korean War broke out. At the time, I was introduced to Pastor Pierce through
another missionary, Harold Voelkel, and had invited him to deliver a guest sermon at
Youngnak Church. Afterwards, there was a large revival in a vacant lot next to the South
Gate where he passionately devoted himself to preaching the gospel to the youth. I was in
charge of translating for him at the time, but there was no way that I could voice his
passion in my translation. Through God‟s blessing, thousands of people showed up. No
more than two months after this retreat, the Korean War erupted, and I was able to meet
him again in Seoul and Pusan. He was wearing an army uniform when I met him again;
he had come back to Korea as a war reporter soon after the war started.
That summer, there was a rush of refugees to Pusan. Amongst the refugees, there
were many pastors that had lost their churches. In order to comfort them, Pastor Pierce
rented a large house south of Pusan in Songdo for the pastors to live, to preach and to
share stories with each other. All accommodations were covered by Pastor Pierce. This
was the start of what is now known as pastor conferences which are hosted in the
hundreds every year. Not only that, but Pastor Pierce founded the World Christian
Organization to help war-stricken orphans and widows. However, his overflowing
passion interfered with his health; eventually, Pastor Pierce had to resign from his post as
President of World Vision. However, thankfully enough, he is now generally healthy.
Marking its 25th anniversary, World Vision hosted a special night for its founder,
Pastor Pierce, praising his achievements. That evening, the Beverly Hills Sheraton Hotel
was filled with approximately 600 attendees, gathered together to celebrate with Pastor
Pierce. I was invited to be a guest speaker from Korea to commend Pastor Pierce for his
efforts and achievements in Korea. I was only one of the many people in all walks of life
that came to pay a tribute to his legacy. On behalf of the city of Los Angeles, K. Hahn
presented a Certificate of Appreciation. As the second Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, he
was a good Christian and brother to G. Hahn, one of the members of World Vision.
President Ford sent a special message as well.
Following our liberation, there were many foreigners that helped Korea. Together
with these people, Pastor Pierce was a true servant of Jesus Christ who loved his
neighbors as himself. He was one of the first to reach out to needy refugees and orphans
and spread the gospel. He was one of the recipients of the Order of Cultural Merit from
the government. After he and I organized the first World Vision relief program, we
became lifelong friends that would later consult each other on big and small affairs.
When he got sick, my heart was so heavily weighed down that whenever I lowered my
head, prayers would automatically spill forth for his health. Fortunately, through the
grace of God, he has almost made a full recovery. However, it saddens me to say that
circumstances have prevented him from returning as a board member to World Vision. I
thank God for sending such a valuable friend when our nation was facing one of its most
difficult challenges. And I am also touched that I have a friend with whom I can discuss
anything, big or little.

03 I am reunited with Dr. Bright

I once visited Arrow[head] Springs in San Bernadino with the invitation of Dr.
William Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (C.C.C.). The world
headquarters for CCC was located in a 6-story building at the valley of a high mountain
in San Bernadino, about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles. Perhaps it was
because it was originally built as a resort, but it had spacious lawns, beautiful trees, tennis
courts and other various sports facilities. In one area, there was a conference hall and
dorm that could host about 500-600 students. When I looked down from my room, I
could see the main town and the snow-covered peaks just beyond it. It was a place that
was equipped with everything for a conference.
After graduating from college and seminary, Dr. Bright realized that the fastest
way to evangelize the United States was through students and started the student
evangelism movement in the University of California Los Angeles with his family and a
few other members. This movement slowly expanded and has now developed into an
international organization under God‟s blessing. This movement was introduced to our
country early on through Pastor Joon-Gon Kim, and last year, we hosted the EXPLO ‟74
conference in Yuheuido Plaza in Seoul. There were over 100,000 attendees, including
3,000 international participants.
It was truly God‟s blessing that Dr. Bright found this place for the organization
headquarters. It was originally built as a resort hotel, but when Las Vegas became famous
and the number of visitors decreased, the hotel closed down. 1-2 years later, Dr. Bright
discovered it and bought it for 2 million dollars, although it had been sold for 5 million
dollars 10 years prior to his purchase. More surprisingly, he was able to pay off the 2
million dollar debt within a year. He says that this was only possible through faith.
When we went to visit Dr. Bright and his wife, they welcomed us, fed us and
housed us in the best room. I had heard that a 200-person seminar on church management
was being hosted that week and had tried to arrive on time for it. When I arrived, I was
blessed in two ways. The first was that I became closer to the Bright family, and the
second was that I learned more about Campus Crusade for Christ. Of course, I also
gained invaluable insights in relation to church management that I was able to use for a
similar seminar in Korea.
Dr. Bright asked me to speak at the conference many times, but I had just been
separated from my wife and could not bring myself to do so. I just quietly sat in on the
conference. While I was there, I thanked God multiple times for sending someone like Dr.
Bright to start a student evangelism movement in a critical time like this. And I prayed
that the movement would continue to be blessed by God and that the 4,000 or so servants
of God dispersed across the nation would follow Dr. Bright‟s example of faith, hope and
passion to fully commit themselves to their mission. This would cause a big change in
Korea, the United States, Japan or any other nation in the world. I pray that God‟s great
blessing will follow.

04 Meeting the people I missed in Los Angeles

On February 13th, I traveled to Los Angeles with Elder Kim and his wife. Los
Angeles has the highest Korean population in the United States. According to deputy
mayor Kenneth Hahn, Los Angeles is the home to about 62,000 registered Koreans, over
80 Korean churches and an intricate Korean social network. I think that there will be
more Koreans settling in Los Angeles in the future. First of all, Los Angeles is the closest
to Korea after Hawaii; in fact, there are multiple flights between the two places every
week. Also, the climate is temperate and there already is a Korean community that you
could receive help from. Streets like Olympia Boulevard are already famous for Korean
restaurants, grocery stores, beauty supply stores and trading companies among other
Korean shops. But as big as the Korean community is, it is also very complex.
Two years ago, young parishioners from Youngnak Church gathered together to
build a church in Los Angeles where many immigrants could attend. There were about 10
elders that had the help of kwonsas and deacons to serve the church. Immigrating across
an entire ocean, there are many difficulties in settling down, but the members of
Youngnak Church were able to comfort one another and receive help from each other.
The lead pastor, Pastor Kye-Yong Kim used to be a pastor at Seoul Moohak Church until
he was sent as a missionary to Sao Paulo, Brazil where he set up a United Church. During
his brief return to Korea, he was the respected secretary of the Missions Committee.
I personally thought that there was no need to build a Youngnak Church in Los
Angeles. But there is no need to talk about what has already passed. I only pray that God
blesses this church and helps it develop into a true Youngnak Church.
I met many former parishioners when I held a 3-day revival service. During this
time, I stayed at Elder Sae-Hwan Noh‟s house in the best neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Located on the high grounds of a hill surrounding Lake Hollywood, the house was big
enough for his Bible study group to meet at with a spacious living room and many
bedrooms. Seeing how God‟s grace allowed Elder Noh to be so successful so far away
from home, prayers of thanks automatically escaped my lips. I was moved by how the
entire house welcomed me.
There was an ordination of an elder during the Sunday service I attended. The
unity of elders, kwonsas and deacons mirrored that of Jerusalem‟s first church. They had
already raised about 100,000 dollars for the construction of the new church and were
sorting out the details for the church grounds. When I visited the grounds, the

1,500-1,600 pyeong (one pyeong= 3.3058 ㎡) looked very good for a church.

Pastor Kye-Yong Kim, a bachelor, had previously served the Second Church of
Sinuiju and was a dedicated man who lived to serve the church. With such a passionate
pastor and devoted parishioners, I believe that God will bless Youngnak Church of Los
Angeles soon.
There are a few members of Youngnak Church of Los Angeles who worked with
me at the Second Church of Sinuiju. The oldest members are probably Elder Kyung-Bo
Baek and his wife Kwonsa Gu-Han Jung, Kwonsa Sung-Do Hwang and Kwonsa Hui-Jin
Kim who has recently moved from Seoul with her family. There is also Elder Joo-Young
Kim, grandson to one of the most respected members of the Second Church of Sinuiju,
Elder Ki-Bum Kim. Elder Joo-Young Kim immigrated to the United States early on and
owned a gas station. He used to attend a different church, but when Youngnak Church
was opened in Los Angeles, he moved churches and devoted his time and energy to
Youngnak Church. He insisted that I stay at his house for at least a few days while I was
in Los Angeles, and when I visited his house for dinner one night, I was filled with
gratitude when he and 40 of his relatives greeted me at the door. Pastor Young-Ub Baek‟s
grandchildren, Pastor Suk-Hang Kim‟s descendants, Pastor Gun-Ho Kim‟s descendants
and the offspring of my closest pastors and elders all came as well. I was touched by
God‟s unpredictable blessings as I saw them. Who would have thought that I would see
my friends‟ families in a place like this! I remembered God‟s words that he would bless
the children of righteous men and prayed to God with thanks. No matter when or where,
there is no friendship greater than those formed in the love of Jesus Christ.
My two old friends, Dr. Sung-Rak Kim and Mr. Sun-Joo Lee, currently live in
Los Angeles. Dr. Sung-Rak Kim was one year my senior at Soongsil University, and Mr.
Sun-Joo Lee was my fellow classmate at Soongsil University until he moved to the
United States in his third year. Mr. Lee‟s wife, Elder Hwa-Mok Lee, was a close friend of
my wife, and my wife never forgot her and would talk about her often, even on her
deathbed. We all met one night for a gathering, but unfortunately, our fellow classmate at
Soongsil University Mr. Tae-Mo Lee was not feeling well and couldn‟t join us. After our
liberation, I would meet up with them often and talk about our past whenever I visited the
United States.

05 Visiting Westminster Garden and meeting the missionaries that I am grateful

Every time I visit the US and pass through Los Angeles, I visit Westminster
Garden in Duarte. Built by the US Presbyterian Church Missions Committee, it was a
place for missionaries who had been sent to foreign countries to return to for the rest of
their remaining days. It was a large spacious garden that was surrounded by flowers and
trees. Within this large spacious area, there were many small houses where retired
missionary couples lived in. There was a dormitory that was operated for widowed and
single missionaries. They also built a hospital for ill missionaries and an entertainment
facility comprised of swimming pools, tennis courts and indoor arcade machines where
people could gather and enjoy themselves. There was also a large prayer room. There
were about 150 missionaries that resided in this place.
This place was built using the 2,000,000 dollars that had been donated by a
Chinese businessman. He was a man that had been educated in mainland China who later
opened a successful business in the US. He donated the money to possibly repay one
hundredth of the grace that missionaries showed for education, service and evangelism in
Whenever I visit this place, I find myself admiring the nameless Chinese
Christian‟s spirit of gratitude and appreciation. There is a need for countries to reflect and
be thankful towards the missionaries that brought the gospel to the said country. I believe
that in this sense, we as Korean Christians need to reflect upon the missionaries‟ grace as
well. Currently in Seoul, the Samuel Moffett Memorial Building is being built. As I was
supporting its construction, I felt that there was a need for Korean Christians to be more
thankful towards the missionaries and the churches whose missions were to preach the
Every time I visited Westminster, I saw Pastor Blair, to whom I became indebted
to when I was a student. But he passed away and went to heaven a few years back. But
during my last visit, I was able to visit Lois, the eldest daughter of Pastor Blair, who had
been working in South America as a missionary. Not only that, but I was able to meet my
fellow Princeton classmate, Pastor Voelkel, and his wife who had been missionaries in
Korea for over 40 years. I also met Pastor Baird, who was the son of one of the first
missionaries in Korea, Pastor William. M. Baird, and a missionary who had worked at
Kang-Kye. Pastor Voelkel prepared tea and refreshments at his house and invited about
10 missionaries who had worked in Korea. That is where is I also met Mr. M.A. Nesbitt,
a long-time member of the US Presbyterian Church Missions Committee who later
worked with me for the education department at Youngnak Church in Korea. Mr. Nesbitt
was still very healthy. I also met Missionary Johnson, a female missionary who worked
in Kang-Kye before our liberation and in Chung-Ju after our liberation. She was very
healthy as well.
These individuals not only all love God, but they also love our nation. That is why
whenever they hear some positive news about Korea, they are happy and proud as if it
was part of their affairs. Of course, they lament and pray when they hear unfortunate
reports about Korea. Whenever I visit the United States, I thank God for sending our
nation such true friends.

06 Reflecting on our past with my friend Mixon

During my last visit to LA, I was grateful to be able to meet my good friend Dr.
John Mixon, a fellow student of Emporia College with whom I was roommates with for a
After graduating from Emporia, he went on to study theology at McCormick
Theological Seminary where he specialized in social work. When I first visited the US in
1948 after our liberation, he was a professor of social work at the McCormick
Theological Seminary. But about 15 years ago, he left McCormick and started to teach at
Claremont Seminary near LA until he retired two years ago and settled down nearby.
Together with Pastor Kye-Yong Kim and Pastor Eui-Joo Lim, I visited Dr. Mixon and his
wife in Claremont.
He and I reminisced about our school days when we were roommates. He told me
that he still remembered how to speak Korean from those days and said, “It‟s cold, it‟s

cold (춥다, 춥다).” At the time, I was always cold and wanted to close the windows

before going to bed. However, Mixon liked the room to be cooler, and when I fell asleep,
he would secretly crack open the window. I would say, “It‟s cold, it‟s cold” in Korean in
my sleep. As we shared stories, I told his wife about how mischievous he was when he
was a student. There is a Korean saying, “Clothes are better new, but friends are better
old,” and it is true. I can‟t express how happy I am to be able to meet an old friend and
talk about our past adventures together.
With him as my guide, I was able to tour Claremont Seminary and even the new
church that was being built by the university. The University Church was built in such a
modern style that confused me. Claremont Seminary was managed by the Lutheran,
Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and other denominational churches, and all the
students would take the common courses together but take specialized courses within
their denomination.
The most impressionable place at the seminary was the library. There were many
books, and students were free to take as many books as they wanted to quietly read.
I also visited the new Methodist chapel that they built, but at first glance, it was so
plain that you would mistake it for a house; there wasn‟t even a cross on the roof. The
church was specially designed so that the wall behind the altar was completely made out
of glass where you could see the beautiful mountain peaks. On one wall, the bible verse
Psalms 121:1-2 was inscribed. “I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come
from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Even without a
cross, I thought that an atmosphere like this would have a positive effect on someone‟s
focus during service. Even if people had difficulty concentrating that day, they could look
up to the mountains and remember God. This was the American church‟s attempt at
something new and different.
Faith is life, and life cannot be equally represented. There are no two trees that
are alike, nor are there two leaves that are alike. Finding unity among diversity is the true
spirit of a church.
After coming back from a delightful meal with Dr. Mixon and his wife, a wave of
sadness suddenly washed over me. It was because of Dr. Mixon‟s deteriorating health. He
had skin cancer and had already gone through 15 surgeries that had left permanent scars
on his face. He and I were both getting old, and I wondered when we would be able to
see each other again.
Human beings cannot live forever in flesh, so we are bound to leave this world.
However, at the thought of being able to meet in heaven again, I was able to find the
silver lining. As we pledged to meet again in heaven, we shared a powerful handshake.

07 The fortuitous encounter in Chicago

The purpose of this trip was not to attend a retreat of any sorts, but was just to
come to a free country to relax and meet some old friends and congregation members.
They say that there are about 70 Korean churches in Chicago. Among those
churches, I went to Cicero Korean Church where I had deep ties. The lead pastor of
Cicero Church was Pastor Sun-Young Lee with whom I had worked with for over 10
years at Youngnak Church. Pastor Sun-Young Lee was someone who was always
thorough and responsible for every task he was given, and I was able to get another good
look at his character when I visited the church. At the time, most Korean churches rented
a small space from a pre-existing American church for their services, but Cicero Church
had already built their own church and was confidently holding their services at a church
with their own name post. They said that they had purchased the original church two
years ago.
I hosted a revival for 3 days there, and I couldn‟t help but be surprised by Pastor
Lee‟s meticulous preparation. Everything went on smoothly despite the bad weather, and
I was able to see some old Youngnak Church members who attended the revival. Deacon
Sae-In Park and his wife drove 11 hours from Minneapolis near the Canadian border;
Kwonsa Duk-Han Kim took a 7-hour bus from La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Deacon
Wan-Bo Lee drove 6-7 hours from Akron, Ohio. I cannot express how nice it was to see
them again. Being a Christian means always loving Jesus Christ and loving one another,
and through this opportunity, I was able to feel the deep love amongst our parishioners.
There was another man that I was happy to see again, and that was the assistant
pastor, Pastor Young-Jin Huh. He was a devoted student at Seoul Youngnak Church who
worked for the education department. His father, Pastor Duk-Hwa Huh, served at the
Youngnak Church in Daegu until he passed away. A few years ago, Pastor Huh moved to
San Paulo and helped Pastor Kye-Yong Kim with his ministry and then came to Cicero
Church to assist in another ministry. He was a quiet man whose sense of responsibility
was great. With great leaders working together as a team with the parishioners, members
of the choir, and youth members, the church could only undergo growth. When you love
the Lord and devote yourself to the church, the church is bound to receive God‟s
blessings. Looking for Father God to bless this church beyond blessings, I gave a prayer
of thanks. While I was in Chicago, I stayed at Pastor Sun-Young Lee‟s home, but the
entire family, including his wife, his elderly mother, and niece Shin-Sook, took care of
me so well that I could not help feeling sorry and grateful at the same time.
I met another dear friend while I was in Chicago. One early, snowy morning on
February 25th, I traveled to a far town called Fairchild, Wisconsin with Pastor Eui-Joo
Lim. Pastor Sun-Young Lee accompanied us as the driver. We were traveling to meet my
fellow Emporia classmate, Pastor John Mastin. As previously mentioned, after graduating
from McCormick Theological Seminary, he was a pastor in Minnesota and Oklahoma for
a long time before he retired. But on that very day, there was so much snow that at times,
we could not see the road in front of us. Six accidents and seven hours later, we finally
arrived. After arriving through such treachery, prayers of gratitude naturally spilled forth.
We finally met Pastor Mastin who had been waiting for us the entire day on the
streets. However, even after meeting him, it was a struggle to safely arrive at his home in
the snow. It was probably the most trouble I have ever gone through to meet an old friend,
but I was that much more happier to finally see him.
Thankfully, to this day, Pastor Mastin is healthy enough to travel to a church
17km away to deliver his sermons. The Mastin couple is especially kind to Koreans; my
son, Hye-Won, stayed at their home for a year learning English from Pastor Mastin‟s
wife. Teachers Yoon-Yul Son and Soon-Hui Lee, as well as Pastor Tae-Hwa Moon, are
all close friends of Pastor Mastin. His home was surrounded by forest slopes. They said
that deer, rabbits, hedge hogs and even wild boars from the forest would come down to
eat their vegetable garden.
After spending half the day reminiscing about our past, we watched a movie
produced by a Korean church together. The movie was introducing the Korean church.
That day was coincidentally January 15th according to the lunar calendar, so it had
stopped snowing and the winds had calmed. Under the bright moon, I was able to return
back home, mesmerized by God‟s love that was expressed through my friends and by
God‟s grace that was shown through nature. Pastor Mastin says that he is still healthy, but
considering his age, I fear that it might have been my last time seeing him. However, we
are destined to meet again in heaven, so we can only be thankful for God‟s grace.
When I was staying in Chicago, I had the chance to understand and experience the
lonely life of a Korean immigrant a little bit better. It was especially difficult for the

elderly with their failing memory 聰氣튕 and the language barrier. And because of the

large land area, it is difficult to travel around without a car. Since they can‟t understand
the language, it is scary to leave the house, and the children are busy all day so you‟re
shut inside the house all alone. I‟ll never forget one person‟s lamentation. “When I see
the birds flying outside the window, I can‟t help but think how free that bird is. I, on the
other hand, am like a caged bird. What a life!” He said that sometimes he would sing
hymns all day, other days, he would pray for a long time, and sometimes, he would cry
all day long.
Someone who came to live at her daughter‟s house set out for church with a Bible
in her hands on Sunday when she got lost and fainted in exhaustion. An American find
her and took her to Cicero Church. This had happened because she had set out to go to
church alone since her daughter and her son-in-law didn‟t attend church. Truly man
cannot live on bread alone; they must have the word of God and His spiritual
nourishment to live. These problems are more severe in places where there aren‟t very
many Koreans. Therefore, there is a need to immigrate to places where there is a large
Korean population, and even if you decide to move to a place where the Korean
population is small, you must live near a Korean church where you can be comforted.

08 Enjoying myself in Detroit

When I arrived at Detroit Airport after leaving Chicago, I was greeted by Pastor
Deuk-Yul Kim and his wife; Elder Ga-Young Kim and his wife; and Elder Chang-Ha
Hwang. Pastor Deuk-Yul Kim was in charge of educating teachers at Seoul Youngnak
Church for many years. Elder Ga-Young Kim had served as a senior deacon at Youngnak
Church for many years until his entire family immigrated to Argentina eight years ago.
They have all settled down in the United States now. Elder Ga-Young Kim, a faithful,
conscientious and dedicated man, invited me to stay at his house for a week where I was
showered with love and hospitality. Elder Kim has 4 sons and 2 daughters, and besides
one daughter who married and moved to Seoul, all of his children live in Detroit. His
oldest son, a doctor, is married and lives nearby, while the rest of his children (3 sons and
1 daughter) live with him and his wife. They currently attend university for medicine and
engineering. All the children have inherited their parents‟ devout faith and are dedicated
workers of the church; four family members are members of the church choir.
While looking back at Elder Kim‟s and my past relationship, I realized that there
was a special reason for why his family was so blessed. Even when Elder Kim fled to the
South during the Korean War and was renting a room in someone else„s home, he says
that he always paid tithe. His following of God‟s commands even during hardships had
become his children‟s spiritual assets. Their faith that made them love God and serve the
Lord‟s body, the church, was unchanging when it came to welcoming us. Elder Kim had
even called my home to ask what I enjoyed eating. After hearing that I liked to drink
apple juice in the morning, the daughter brought a glass of apple juice to me every
morning. Grateful, I just prayed that God would repay their sincerity.
The United Presbyterian Church in Detroit only had about 150-160 adult
members, but their intellectual level was probably higher than any other church. There
were about 80 doctors, 5-6 college professors, and many experts in different fields. And
under Conductor Jung-Yoon Park, the highly skilled church choir had many devoted
music majors, albeit the choir was not very large.
Another surprising thing was that there were many couples that I wed in Seoul at
the church. All of them were doctors, professors and specialists in all areas of expertise
who served the church. I even had dinner at one of the households and took pictures with
the children. The children of the married couple looked at their parents‟ wedding picture
and asked, “Who is the grandpa standing behind mom and dad?” When we told them that
it was me, they asked, “Why don‟t we have pictures like that?” So that day, we granted
them their wish.
One day, all the families got together at the church to cook dinner and participate
in various activities. One of the activities included having the couples that I married sing
a hymn. The one duty as a pastor that is stress-free and still filled with gratitude is
probably marrying two people. Truth be told, I don‟t remember all the weddings, but
wherever I go, I hear people say, “You joined us in holy matrimony.” Once, I even
married the grown child of the couple I had married. I was thankful, but on the other hand,
I couldn‟t help but wonder if I was getting too old.
In Detroit, I met Pastor Kwan-Sook Lee and his wife, both of whom I hadn‟t met
in a very long time. Pastor Lee had stepped on a landmine during the Korean War and
was hospitalized for a very long time. Through such tragedy and suffering, he was able to
become closer to Christ. After he was discharged, he helped Dr. TorryDr. Torry was missing an
make prosthetic limbs for war amputees. He worked for Severance Prosthetics until he
moved to the United States a few years ago; he continued on to work at a prosthetics
company in the US as well. He studied theology in Korea and became a pastor and
continued to serve as a dedicated pastor in the US.
Pastor Kwan-Sook Lee found and led the Detroit United Presbyterian Church.
Afterwards, he established a Korean church in Ann Arbor near Michigan University and
headed it for 3 years. Currently, he is in the process of erecting a Korean church in
Toledo, Ohio. In other words, Pastor Lee and his wife were self-supporting evangelists. I
am always thankful that their faith and service remains a model for all pastors and
When there was a retreat here, parishioners from different cities came to
participate. There were some people who lived very far away, but they all came in a
united heart to share our blessings. The Koreans who have come to live here in such a far
and strange land yearn to be filled with the grace of God. It could have been because they
haven‟t been to a retreat-like retreat, but it broke my heart to think that it reflected their
troubles in a faraway land.
Once, I visited the hospital that Dr. Yul-Ha Cho operated, and as I watched the
white nurses and white patients waiting in the waiting room, I wanted to applaud the
sweat and effort of Koreans that was put into the hospital. As I watched them practice
medicine for the betterment of society with their faith and knowledge, I couldn‟t help but
be proud of them and be thankful to God.
While I was in Detroit, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Kresge, the President of
Kresge Company and the Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Company was founded by
President Kresge‟s father and was a global company that had over 3,000 branches all
across the United States and Canada. And the Kresge Foundation supported churches and
public service organizations, including Junju Presbyterian Medical Center, Seoul
Theological University and Soongsil University. When Dr. Kresge once visited Seoul, he
had attended Sunday service at Youngnak Church, so I had met him once before, but this
was the first time that I visited the Foundation office building. For three and a half hours,
we had a meal together and shared stories. I had the chance to ask him for help in the
ongoing construction of the Samuel Moffet Memorial Building.

09 The fruits of faith in Philadelphia

In the afternoon of March 13th, we arrived in the historic American town of
Philadelphia. Pastor In-Ho Ko and Elder Jung-Eun Kim of the Philadelphia Korean
Presbyterian Church welcomed us when we arrived. Known as the birthplace of the
American Revolution, Philadelphia was the home to the Liberty Bell and Independence
Hall. I remember visiting a convention for the 150th anniversary of the US
Independence in 1926 when I was a student, and next year already, the 200th anniversary
convention was going to be held. Philadelphia was home to the Quakers and was founded
by the famous patriot, William Penn. It was famous for being home to many churches,
and there were especially many Presbyterian churches. When you are walking down the
street, there are many churches with crosses and high bell towers that catch your eye.
Many Koreans have immigrated to this historic town, and it is said that there are over 10
Korean churches now.
Among those churches, the church with the most members is the church that is
headed by Pastor In-Ho Ko. Pastor Ko immigrated to the United States early on for his
studies, received his degree in Applied Chemistry and even worked for a company for
5-6 years. But after he received God‟s calling, he studied theology at the Princeton
Theological Seminary and became a pastor with a clear mission in life. A distinct
characteristic of the church was that each Bible study group met bi-weekly to operate a
Bible research class, and they said that the size of the church doubled last year alone
through this program. Now there are over 100 participants in this Bible research class.
Not only did they learn the basics of the Biblical scripture, but they were also blessed
through the hymns and through the prayers. Through their fellowship, there were able to
realize the joy, peace and blessing that follows a religious life. And these experiences
served as evidence for Christ Jesus and continued to foster the growth and revival of the
church. For their services, they were renting the chapel next to the University of
Pennsylvania called Tabernacle Church. The building retained a 100-year old history, but
unfortunately, with many of the parishioners who had lived in Philadelphia moving out
into the suburbs, their Sunday service only had about 50-60 parishioners with most of the
members being elderly. Their lead pastor was very socially involved as a youth minister.
Of course, proper social involvement is one of the missions of a church, but the church‟s
first priority should be about saving souls and not about social participation. Tabernacle
Church was located near a college campus, yet despite the fact that tens of thousands of
female and male students walked past its doors every single day, it saddens me that they
could not spread the gospel and capture these souls for Christ Jesus.
But our Korean Presbyterian Church was gathering at this historic church. During
the revival, 300-400 Koreans gathered every day, and a majority of them were young
people. Among these gatherers, there was a group of about 20 people who had traveled
all the way from Baltimore, led by Pastor Yoo-Il Pil from the Korean United Church.
Most of the parishioners at this church led by Pastor Ko were also doctors and young
students with their doctorates, so you could say that their intellectual level was very high.
As I watched the young Korean Christians praising the Lord in this old church, I felt the
movement of a new life.
Who can know all of God‟s plans! To send a pastor with a burning faith and a
congregation devoted to Biblical studies to this historical town, would this not be God‟s
intention of creating a new light of life in the United States?
My relationship with Pastor In-Ho Ko‟s family runs deep. His wife, Mrs.
Myun-Sun Jung, is the daughter of Elder Suk-Joon Jung. Elder Jung had served the
Second Church of Sinuiju as a lay member, and after he migrated to the South, he worked
hard for the Youngnak Borinwon and served as an elder at Jeju Youngnak Church. Up to
this day, he has done and is continuing to do many things for the Seoul Youngnak Church.
Mrs. Myun-Sun Jung previously graduated from the Seoul Presbyterian Theological
Seminary with a degree in Christian Education and was working as a member of the
Youngnak Church Education Committee until she met Pastor In-Ho Ko and married him.
She now has two young daughters. I am filled with gratitude whenever I see the couple
serving the church together in unity. The church choir is led by Pastor In-Duk Hyun of
Daegu Youngnak Church, and not only is the music well-rehearsed, but it also touches
the heart of those listening. I believe that this church will progress in many ways.

While I was here, I received a much undeserved royal treatment from many elders,
including Elder Man-Woo Lee, Elder Jung-Eun Kim, Elder Sang-Won Song and Elder
Dong-Han Kim among others. We were also staying at Deacon Woon-Taek Yang‟s
house. Deacon Yang, a doctor, did not attend church in Korea but had gained a deep faith
in the United States and served the church diligently. He and his wife had two cute,
spunky sons. Deacon Yang took a special vacation for a week, attended all the revival
meetings day and night and took us around for sight-seeing. Not only that, Deacon Yang
personally drove us from Philadelphia to New York when we left. This kind of service is
not a coincidence. It was the fruit of faith based on his love for the Lord.
And where we were there, we had a truly great experience in visiting the home of
Elder Hwa-Jin Park‟s eldest son. Elder Park was an elder of Youngnak Church, and his
eldest son, Dr. Hyung-Gyun Park, originally lived in Baltimore until he took a job at a
hospital here. His wife was the daughter of Youngnak Church‟s Elder Lin-Kwan Shin.
They were two precious young people who grew up attending Youngnak Church together
and who later started a family together in faith. To travel so far and to be able to meet
such a young family is a great joy in my life.
While I was staying here, meeting the pastors of the Presbyterian churches in
Philadelphia was already a meaningful thing. I was able to meet them, tell them the
current Korean church situation and even show them a video produced by the Christian
Institute, titled, “50 Million for Christ.” After being deeply impressed by the movie, they
even had a debate about it. I was moved when I met someone who had come to Korea as
a soldier during the Korean War. He came to Youngnak Church every week and talk an
English Bible Study class. Pastor Richard Foster was just a lay member at the time, but
after receiving God‟s calling, he was now being used as God‟s worker. And I almost met
Pastor Jung-Guk Kim and his wife here, both of whom have deep ties to Youngnak

10 Visiting my Alma Mater, Princeton

On the way to New York from Philadelphia, there is Princeton University and
Theological Seminary. I was especially grateful that Pastor Jung-Guk Kim, Pastor
Bong-Guk Lee, Pastor Choi and others accompanied me to Princeton Theological
Seminary where together we toured the campus where I studied. We also had the
opportunity to speak to the current dean, Dr. McCord.
I studied at this school from 1926 to 1929. Of course, many of the buildings and
trees remained unchanged. The only thing that was different were the new buildings that
had been built in addition; the library was remodeled as a modern building too. But I
didn‟t recognize any of the students or professors that walked across the campus. We
couldn‟t meet a single person who had been a dean or a professor when we were students
there. They have probably all gone up to heaven after finishing their given tasks here on
this earth. There is one fellow peer whom I studied with that became a professor there,
but we could not meet him that day.
This is life. Humans are merely visitors who will return to their homeland. I stood
on the campus of the old Princeton Theological Seminary and felt life‟s freedom and
God‟s everlasting love once again. Humans leave, but God‟s work must continue on and
on. While we are alive, we must fulfill our duties and responsibilities and not let our lives
be wasted. As I walked across the campus, I prayed that this place would forever walk the
blessed path.

11 A reunion with the dearly missed in New York

After leaving Princeton, we arrived in New York. It was a place that I often
visited as a student using the train. Now, the easiest way to get there is by car; you can
also best observe the changes in the atmosphere this way. We crossed the George
Washington Bridge and arrived in New York City. We immediately entered the
American Church Center and found the place that used to be called the Missions
Committee. The building was unchanged, but the name Missions Committee, as well as
the people who were in charge of it, had all changed. Dr. J.C. Smith, who served as a
secretary for the Missions Committee, had already retired five years ago, and besides him,
many others had retired. Thankfully though, there are three young Korean pastors who
are working there currently. They are Dr. Seung-Man Lee, Pastor Shin and Pastor Pil-Lib
Park. They had specially prepared a lunch for my visit where I was able to meet all the
important members of the Missions Committee and the pastors of the Korean churches in
New York City in one setting. I had the opportunity to learn and have a lively discussion
about domestic affairs. According to them, there were about 20 Korean churches in New
When we came out of our meeting, Mr. Sung-Woong Kim was waiting for us. Mr.
Kim had escaped from the North by himself and was a young man who grew up in the
Youngnak Borinwon. He had the opportunity to come to the United States early on and
now had a good job. Thankfully enough, he was also a senior deacon and the church
treasurer at the Bronx Korean Church. His childhood was difficult and lonely, but I am
always impressed at his spiritual growth and at how he has been used as an important
person in the church and in society. Not only him, but nurses Young-Heui Jun and
Chun-Guk Kim also grew up in the Youngnak Borinwon, and both have married honest,
Christian men and are leading their lives raising their children. Through this visit to New
York, I was able to receive special treatment from their families. I received a phone call
from Soon-Joon Ji in Washington who also grew up in the Borinwon. She became a nurse
and is now the wife of a pastor who works diligently for the church.
Truthfully, after our liberation, I was not able to personally spend some time with
the children at the Borinwon. But I am thankful that these children remember me and
welcome me. My chest bursts with gratitude when I see that they have grown up to
become useful workers in society. More than anything, I am so thankful that they were
able to meet and rely on God and serve the church in the midst of their troubles. Because
of them, I was able to continue to focus on helping children at the Borinwon even with all
my busy pastoral duties. Helping and raising people is one of the most important and
rewarding things. However, this cannot be done within a year, but rather, it takes at least
20 years.
In Korea, for various reasons, there are still many orphans. Orphanages that take
care of these children are mostly still receiving support from foreign organizations. How
great it would be if we could take care of and raise our society‟s disadvantaged children
on our own! In my opinion, this is an area that Korean churches could especially work
together on. No matter what people say, the most valuable thing on earth is mankind, and
the most important time in a person‟s life is his or her childhood. For disadvantaged
children, I think that many individuals and organizations should play the role of proper
parents and lead the children onto right paths. There are many jobs that are valuable, but
what job is more important than teaching people and leading them onto right paths!

While I was in New York, I stayed at Elder Young-Ohk Min‟s house; Elder Min
is my cousin. I originally had an older sister, but she moved to live in Manchuria early on
and passed away. But after our liberation, her son, Elder Min was able to flee from the
North. Elder Min‟s wife originally worked for the Sinuiju Borinwon, and after she moved
to the South, she volunteered at the Youngnak Borinwon. She is now leading a very hard
life in New York. Despite their difficult lives, they went through all lengths of trouble to
make us feel welcome. I do not know how I can express my gratitude. Even in the
midst of all their troubles, they worked hard to serve the church and as I watched these
supporters of the Borinwon, I couldn‟t help but be moved by their diligence.
Since Elder Min was an elder at the Bronx Church, I naturally attended the
Sunday services at the Bronx Church. And on two occasions, I held a special revival.
Pastor Hae-Young Yoo was an honest leader who led the ministry for the Bronx Church.
Of course, the service was held in an American Presbyterian church whose entire
congregation consisted of about 40-50 elderly members. This is a trend in American
churches that has been started by white Americans moving out of the city proper into the
suburbs and African-Americans and other foreigners replacing their living quarters.
When I see Korean parishioners, especially young members, replacing the slowly
emptying pews, I can only confess my gratitude. God has prepared a place for Korean
children to come and worship Him. I met Youngnak Church members here as well.
Wherever I go, joy is always overflowing.

Elders Kyu-Han Kim and Tae-Soon Jang, who used to serve as elders at
Youngnak Church, had built a church near New York in Jersey City and requested that I
visit the church. We set out for Jersey City at 3p.m. on a Sunday. They were renting an
Anglican chapel that was a beautiful self-standing building for their services. I thanked
God for allowing our fellow Korean Christians to hold their services in such a beautiful
chapel. It is a truly admirable thing that the Christians of Korea are able to erect a church
and build their fellowship no matter where they are. Pastor Yong-Joo Kim, a student at
Princeton, was their lead pastor, and I believe that God will shower them with great
blessings in the future.
I met some Youngnak Church members there as well. There probably is nothing
as precious as the love created in the presence of the Lord.

12 Ending my journey in Vancouver

On March 28th, we arrived in Vancouver. Truth be told, while I was in the central
and eastern parts of the United States, it rained and snowed almost every day, and the
weather was very unpredictable. But in Vancouver, the sky was blue and clear. The high
mountains to the north of Vancouver enveloped the city like a screen. And the
mountaintops were covered in white snow while the rest of the mountain was blanketed
by evergreens. Below it, the deep blue sea penetrated into the soil and kept all of
Vancouver green. Houses were scattered amongst the green forest, giving the entire city a
park-like feel. In other words, Vancouver was a picturesque city.
During this vacation, Vancouver was the only city that I visited in Canada, and
there was a reason for this. My granddaughter Soon-Hwa and her husband Deacon
Moon-Chang Choi had moved to Vancouver a year before. And Kwonsa Do-Myung Ahn
and her family, who attended Youngnak Church for a long time, moved to Vancouver
ten years ago. And the oldest United Korean Church in Vancouver was being headed by
Pastor Myung-Sub Bahn, whom I knew well. I only attended the Easter Sunday service at
that church and got to know the parishioners by watching the introductory film for the
church at night. I was relieved to see that Soon-Hwa and Moon-Chang had already settled
into new jobs even though they had only been there for a year.
From what I heard, there were three Korean churches in Vancouver that had over
1,000 parishioners: United Church, Presbyterian Church and Gospel Church. But it
seemed like the entire Korean population went to church on Easter. Pastor Bahn took me
to see the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Theological Seminary, and
being located on the beach, they were both very beautiful. We crossed a bridge to see
reservoirs and salmon hatcheries at the base of the mountain.
Salmon are beautiful creatures that swim up the river to lay their eggs and die.
The baby salmon also swim down the river to the sea, and after growing up, they swim
back up the river to lay their eggs. So in parts of Canada and northern United States, the
salmon create quite a scenery when they swim up the river.
The city of Vancouver erected a dam to get water, so they had to build an
artificial nursery for salmon to safely lay their eggs. It is beautiful to see humans
protecting nature and nature allowing humans to lead bountiful lives. This is something
that we can learn from.
Kwonsa Do-Myung Ahn was born in Yongchun, Pyeongbuk and married into the
Oh family in Sunchun early on. Unfortunately, she lost her husband at the young age of
19 when she already had a one-year-old daughter. Kwonsa Ahn and her young daughter,
Chang-Sook, had to fight through all kinds of hardships in the North and then again in the
South after our liberation. I was able to see with my own eyes how Kwonsa Ahn was able
to keep her faith throughout all her lonely difficulties to serve the church and other
people. To see that kind of woman settled in a large home in Vancouver made me truly
grateful to God.
Kwonsa Ahn raised her only daughter and child well, sending her to college and
then seeing her off to marriage. The husband of Kwonsa Ahn‟s daughter is Dr. Hyun-Joo
Lee. Dr. Lee was one of the first Korean doctors to open a successful practice in
Vancouver. The couple is currently happily married with two sons and two daughters.
When we were visiting Vancouver, a party was held for Kwonsa Ahn‟s retirement.
She had apparently worked for an airplane company and was planning on hosting a
retirement party in March. But after hearing that I was planning on visiting, she put off
the party until then. About 200 Koreans gathered in a ballroom, and it seemed as though
all the pastors, parishioners, consuls and every other well-known Korean showed up. The
party started with a solo from Kwonsa Ahn‟s granddaughter, and it served as a comfort
for all the suffering Kwonsa Ahn experienced as well as a testimony of her faith. Her life
was an inspiration for many Korean immigrants. You can probably only find such a
woman in Korea. I was especially happy that she was a devout Christian woman.
There are several other prominent physicians in Vancouver besides Dr. Hyun-Joo
Lee. They include Dr. Kwang-Duk Kim, son of Youngnak Church‟s Elder Sung-Chan
Kim, and Dr. Young-Il Lee, the youngest sibling of Elder Young-Geum Lee who served
as the Dean of Seoul Soongeui Girls‟ High School, among others.
There was also Colonel Yoo-Sung Lee who had served the army for more than 20
years since the Korean War; he came to this place and opened a business. Our itinerary
included staying at his house for a couple of days as well, and his entire family graciously
showered us with hospitality. I believe that this was all possible because of Deacon Lee‟s
and his wife Yoong-Kyung Kim‟s faith, their love for the Lord and their dedication to
helping their neighbors.
Chapter 09: Final words I leave behind to my family

01 The only thing I have to leave behind is prayer

At this time, I would like to leave behind a few words to my current and future
family members.
Frankly, I have no assets to leave behind to my children. I have no house, not
even a piece of land, to leave behind. Everybody already knows this. There probably was
and still is some property under my name from when I served the church or when I

served as the chairman of a school board. But that is all public 公的蝶 property and not

Everyone already knows, but when I originally decided to dedicate my body to
God, I decided to fully dedicate myself. As God‟s slave, I always hear the Lord‟s words
in my ears. I remember his words, “Even foxes have their holes and birds of the air have
their homes, but you shall not have anywhere to rest your head.” And so to even think of
owning my own property makes me ashamed. This is, of course, my conscience and does
not mean that church leaders should not have their own assets. All I am saying is that I
wanted to dedicate my life to the Lord even through means like that. Jesus said the
following during His Sermon on the Mount:
“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.”
“And all these things will be given to you as well.”
I wasn‟t able to live by His words, but it is true that I did try my entire life. For
that, whenever I think about my family, I am sorry. In reality, my family has sacrificed a
lot for me. I am especially sorry to my wife, mother of my daughter and son, who has left
this world already. Because of my mentality towards working for the church, my wife has
had to sacrifice and suffer greatly. All I can say is that I am sorry.
When I was pursuing my ministry in Sinuiju, a pastor once gave me some advice.
“Pastor Han, you can‟t live like that. A pastor has a family and children to
educate; you can‟t only live like that.”
He told me this with caring and loving intentions, but at a young age, I did not
take his advice seriously. I thought, “Let me lead a life like this even by myself.” And so
my family had to live with the sacrifices and the consequences. So I am very sorry.
But there is one thing that I can confidently say to my family. It is that I pray for
them ceaselessly: in the morning, in the evening, and whenever I have time. Thankfully
though, Soon-Hee‟s mother, who is in heaven already, walked her poor, lonely life as a
pastor‟s wife in happiness. I believe that this was made possible by God‟s grace and I
thank Him for it. I don‟t know what to say to her to express my gratitude. And it seems
like you didn‟t blame me too much while growing up, and for this, I thank you too.

One thing that I always thank God for in my heart is that my only daughter,
Soon-Hee, married Dr. Young-Hyun Lee, a professor at the Presbyterian Theological
College, and became the wife of a pastor. I am also always thankful that my one and only
son, Hye-Won, became a pastor and is now at Urbana Church in Illinois. Truthfully, I
have always wanted Hye-Won to become a pastor, but I have never made such
suggestion to him. But seeing that he responded to God‟s calling and became a servant of
God by himself, it can only be explained as God‟s grace.
I believe that becoming a pastor requires God‟s calling, not someone‟s suggestion
or encouragement. That is why I didn‟t encourage Hye-Won, but God called him and
made him his servant. I can‟t express how grateful I am for that.

02 I hope you lead your lives like this

When I reflect on my past life, I often contemplate, “What is life? What is a
person‟s greatest goal?” The more I think about these questions, the more I realize the
following: life is living by God‟s words for his glory, and the truth is that this is our
greatest goal.
Even if someone lives for a hundred years, if it wasn‟t for God, then his or her life
has been wasted. In order to say that one properly lived one‟s live, one cannot forgot that
the goal is life is to glorify God and to make Him happy. That way, life is not
meaningless. If someone is to forget this goal, then his or her life has been wasted.
I realize that I speak often at church and even to others personally, but I would
like to say a few things that come to mind to my family.
First, I hope you lead a faithful life
I am not asking everyone to become a church leader. Like I said earlier, one
becomes a pastor through God‟s calling. But everyone should lead a proper Christian life.
What I mean by a proper Christian life is a life that is centered on the Bible without
steering off the right path. The reason the first thing I mention is a proper religious life is
because although there are many devoted Christians, many still walk along the wrong
There are a couple elements that make up a Christian life.
First, there is the intellectual element. Unreasonable faith leads to wrongful faith.
However, if a faith is too intellectually based , your spiritual life can still be lacking even
if all the Christian ideas are understood. Therefore you must intellectually delve into
theology and study the Bible, but when it comes to your spiritual life, this cannot be all
that you do. This is because we are too simplistic to know God through our intellect.
Second, there is the element of tranquility. You need to experience God‟s works
firsthand. And so while you should read and study the Bible, you mustn‟t forget to pray
and meditate. You need to have a quiet time every day to meet God. Everything that is
done must be consulted with God, and you must be aware of God‟s existence in your life
every second of the day. John 15:5 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man
remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can nothing.“ You
must never forget Jesus‟s words and live in the Lord. These words mean that the Holy
Spirit should occupy our hearts, filling us with constant love, joy, peace, patience, mercy,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and moderation, and that we should live by the power,
wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit.
However, the tranquil element should not be solely stressed. There are some
people who say that they need to pray and neglect their jobs and responsibilities. There
are even those who neglect their children‟s education. There are also people who rebuke
others despite daily prayers and others who incorrectly believe that one must speak in
tongues to be blessed. One must be able to differentiate between the Holy Spirit‟s fruits
and gifts.
There are 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit and 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit, but if you
carefully read the 12th chapter in 1 Corinthians, the Holy Spirit‟s gift is different for
different people. You must remember and believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are
wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous power, prophecy, distinguishing
spirits and interpreting tongues.
Third, there is a volitional element to a Christian life. It is putting what you learn
into practice. In James, it is written that faith without deeds is dead. There needs to be
volunteerism. Sacrifices need to be made. Churches aren‟t able to do their duties because
they lack people who practice such ideals. We, as believers, need to love more, help
more, live more peacefully and volunteer more through social and educational initiatives.
But you can‟t focus on serving the community only. In other words, you can‟t
become social activists. And you can‟t think that you need to be involved in politics.
You can‟t think that you can fix all of society by yourself. These are things that cannot be
done by the powers of an individual. You also need to be careful about your religious life
and your social/political affairs. Even if you participate in social affairs, you must make
sure that it doesn‟t damage the church of the country. Church leaders don‟t necessarily
have good political skills. People of faith may not be apt in certain areas if they did not
receive a gift in that area. And so taking these things into consideration, I hope that you
do not stray from the path of faith.

Second, you must live by moral principles.

God is the owner of all things. We are merely stewards taking care of God‟s
properties during the short duration we live on this earth. A steward is also known as a
manager. God is the rightful owner of everything we own, and we are just His stewards.
As stewards, we must remember to be faithful, diligent and wise in properly
managing God„s property. Stewards always return to the owners, and to use the words of
the Bible, they will receive a final judgment.
When you think of a steward or manager, there are three things that you should
keep in mind.
The first thing to keep in mind is talent. God gave everyone a different talent.
Some people are good at math, while others are good at art or music. It is our duty as
stewards to develop this talent and glorify God and do good in our churches and society.
The second is time. Whether we lead a long life or a short life, we sustain our
lives through time. Therefore, time is our life. You must be able to use this time
according to the will of God. To do so, first, you must be diligent and be on time. You
must do your job in sincerity. You must keep the holy Sabbath and pray and read the
Bible daily.
Third is our material possessions. We earn money, even if it is not much. This
income has also been entrusted to us by God, so we must always be ready to use it
according to God‟s will. You must remember that this starts off by offering God‟s tithe.
Therefore, as stewards of God, we must remember that we will receive our last
judgment in front of God and live as obedient stewards. We must not let our talents just
be. We must use our talents to benefit others. I hope you use time and your material
possessions as stewards.

Third, you must love God and love your neighbor as yourself
We must never forget God‟s big commandment of loving the Lord your God with
all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and loving your neighbor as
yourself. Of course this first commandment to love the Lord also includes leading a
righteous religious life as a steward of God. I especially wish that you will love your
neighbor as yourself. Jesus Christ gave us believers a new commandment of love. He
stated that even if we love each other among believers, the entire world will know that we
are His disciples.
I sincerely hope that wherever you go, you will follow the commandment of love
and lead a life of love and peace. There are some people who attend church regularly and
lead a religious life, yet they fight a lot. Every way I look at it, I still think that that is far
from the lessons of the Bible. Good believers must be able to live in peace. Of course,
noble fights must be fought. But the conflicts and fights that occur in churches today are
not fights for the good but are small problems. I hope that you will follow the Bible‟s first
commandment of love and live a life of love and peace and be recognized as children of
God. Like the Bible says, I wish that you will go as far as to love your enemies. As
believers, we cannot have any enemies, but there could be many people who treat us as
enemies. There are many people who slander, lie and envy others. But as the Bible states
to love your enemies, I hope that you will pray for them and try to lead a peaceful life.
There are especially many Koreans living abroad, and I hope that you never fight
amongst your fellow Koreans.

Fourth, no matter where you live, I hope you never forget your country and
To live like human beings, your must never forget your roots. The world has
become globalized. Now, anyone can live anywhere. Our country, being so small, has
especially scattered and developed all around the world. I agree with this in principle. If it
was possible, I wish Korea would move to a larger land to develop. But I hope that
wherever you go, you won‟t forget the nation and country you were born in.
Whenever I see people living abroad criticizing their motherland, it breaks my
heart. It also saddens me to see people of the same nationality not being able to live
peacefully in another country. Even if you live in another country, I hope that you will
pray for your nation and serve your local community with patriotism. This doesn‟t mean
that you should be disloyal to the country you reside in. It is a given that you should
fulfill your duties as a citizen of that country. All I am saying is that you should
remember your Korean heritage and try and serve Korea whenever possible. You must
also pray that the 38th parallel is taken down, that North Korea under the communist
regime can obtain their freedom and democracy, and that Korea may become a country
where justice prevails over all.
If a neighbor has a misunderstanding about your native country, you must try to
reveal the truth regarding the misunderstanding. Above all, you must remember that our
nation must thrive in order for us to treated with respect anywhere we go. While
cooperating with the world, we must also love and serve our nation.

Fifth, you must become a Christ-like Christian.

As Christians, our greatest goal is to glorify God. In order to glorify God, what is
the first thing an individual thinks to do? After Paul the Apostle repented, he always
wanted to become like Christ Jesus. He wanted to gain the character and mindset of a
Christian and wanted to live, work, love, die, and be reborn like Christ Jesus. In other
words, our ultimate goal as believers is to become a Christ-like Christian. I hope that you
don‟t forget this in your religious life.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and
jumble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls“ in Matthews 11:29. I hope that you
will remember these words and endeavor to be like Christ to glorify God. Your goal for
your spirituality is to resemble Christ by learning his love, patience, wisdom and virtues.

Sixth, remember the words, “You reap what you sow.”

You get to reap what you sow. The more you sow, the more you reap. If you sow
goodness, you reap goodness, and if you sow evil, you reap evil. If you sow justice, you
reap justice, and if you sow injustice, you reap injustice. If you sow love, you reap love,
and if you sow hate, you reap hate. But you can‟t sow just by looking at what you would
I wish that you will sow whatever you sow just because you want to do something
good. No matter how indifferent a person may be, it is good to show love and kindness. I
have gained this insight from my past experiences.
When I was in Sinuiju, I was able to build and work at an orphanage through
God‟s grace. Looking back, I realize how fulfilling of a job it was, and I am thankful for
it. I was able to gain something bigger through the orphanage children. What I mean is
that there is something I reap in time.
You especially reap so much when you sow evangelism. When you introduce
someone to Christianity, that one person bears many fruits as they grow. That one person
starts to bear fruits of evangelism, education and service.
Living in this world is comparable to a stranger walking along a path. If I plant
flower seeds along my path, then many flowers will bloom where I walked. And after
some time, it will bear fruits. But if I were to plant poor seeds, then only weeds would
grow in that area.
One thing I would like to especially ask for is that as you live your life, if you can
convert others, convert them, if you can spread love, spread love, if you can help
someone, help, and never let go of an opportunity where you can do good in the world.
You must do good and sow seeds of goodness wherever you might be and whoever you
might meet.
If we are to sow seeds of goodness today, then won‟t the next generation be able
to reap them? Even if it is a generation later, someone is bound to reap what we sow. You
will reap it in heaven as well. Hence, whatever you do, I hope that you sow many good
As I get ready to leave, I confess that all I can do is get on my knees and pray to
“Oh! My Heavenly Father, full of mercy and compassions, all I have for you is
gratitude and my wish to praise, glorify and honor you: Father, Son and Spirit, the Holy
Trinity. My God, I am thankful and thankful and thankful again. Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah! It will never be enough even if I shout it all throughout the night.
When this poor sinner reflects on his life, I do not know how I can express my
gratitude. I am just thankful. Thank you for entrusting unworthy me with a church. From
Sinuiju to Seoul Youngnak Church and even after I have retired, thank you for blessing
these churches. And at this time, thank you for blessing me with my plentiful offspring
and allowing then to serve their churches. I can‟t express how grateful I am. Father, I
pray that you will give my other children who aren‟t directly working for the church the
same spirituality.
God, you have blessed them with talents, and I pray that they will become good
stewards with these talents. I pray that you will bless them so that they won‟t stray off the
path of righteousness. I pray that you will bless them so that they will become children of
love and peace after you.
And although they are weak, please allow them to sow many seeds with your
grace. Please help them sow many seeds: seeds of evangelism, service, education and
societal works for their country and for the world.
But please make them into humble beings so all the glory goes to you.
Father! Not all thanks and praises can be delivered to you. They are weak humans.
People of this world are surrounded by evil. Please allow the Holy Spirit to always reside
in these children so that they can resists the temptations, tests and tricks of the evil Devil.
Hold them up especially when they are weak, forgive their sins when they sin,
lead them back onto the path of righteousness when they do wrong and bless them so that
they can stand back up when they fall. I sincerely pray that we can all joyfully meet once
again in Heaven.
I give all the glory to you, Father, and this weak sinner, in thanks and praise for
dying on the cross for my sins and for delivering me to salvation, deliver this prayer to
you, our Lord, in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Page 16
I sometimes imagine what my life would have been like if I had been born in a
big city like Seoul or Pyeongyang, and then I consider myself lucky that I was born in a
small rural village comprised of 20-30 families.
I prefer the simple and honest rural lifestyle of waking up early in the morning,
working in the fields, eating dinner and going to bed over the bustling city life corrupted
by sin and evil. There were no fights either, considering that our neighbors were all living
in similar situations.
I would start off my mornings by watching the morning sun rise in the garden,
while in the evenings, I would rush home to the sun setting behind the mountains.
When I would walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would follow the
round moon and the innumerate twinkling stars would comfort me.
There were a lot of flowers in the countryside too. In the spring, azaleas would
color the entire mountain red. I remember walking up the mountain, Okryubong, behind
our house and picking flowers for my mother. I thank God for guiding my life so that I
was born and raised in a beautiful rural village. Someone once said, “A city is made by
man, but the countryside is made by God.” I am thankful to have been raised in God‟s
garden, and when I think of it now, it has been all possible because of God‟s grace.

Page 31
1970- At the Order of Civil Merit awards ceremony with wife, Ms. Chan-Bin Kim

Page 33
A family portrait during my ministry at the Second Church of Sinuiju
From the left: My wife Ms. Chan-Bin Kim, daughter Soon-Hee, son Hye-Won,
Pastor Kyung-Chik Han

Page 50
At the time, our family could only afford to put food on the dinner table, and
sending me away for higher education was not an option. But my teacher, Mr. Kee-Joo
Hong, and Josa Yong-Jin Woo must have visited my father multiple times to try and
persuade him otherwise.
“Kyung-Chik is a smart student. You need to send him to middle school.”
Knowing that sending me off to school would place an additional financial burden
on him, my father still decided to send me to middle school. At the time, I didn‟t know
what it meant to have faith, but I still silently prayed to God, asking him to send me to
middle school.

Page 58
Osan School

Page 84
Soongsil education was through and through Christian, and so every day, faculty
and students attended service. Not only that, but before every class, we prayed first, and
in order to observe Sunday as a holy day, all sports were forbidden on Sunday. A ban on
smoking and drinking was strictly enforced as well. This also applied to the junior high,
as all the students and teachers were Christian. The purpose of the Mission School wasn‟t
to evangelize and educate non-believers, but was to train and educate Christian students
to become workers of God. Although I received a Christian education at both Soongsil
University and Osan School, I feel as though Osan School stressed patriotism while
Soongsil University placed the kingdom of God before our nation.

Page 92
In class at Pyongyang Soongsil University: the man in the white in Pastor
Kyung-Chik Han

Page 107
September 17, 1907- anniversary picture of the Presbyterian church

Page 124
I followed him into the building, and there were two Korean flags hung across
from each other. Underneath it, there was the “Declaration of Independence” used during
the Samil Movement as well as the list of the 33 nationalists. At the sight of the Korean
flag the Declaration of Independence that couldn‟t be seen anywhere on Korean soil,
tears streamed down my face. It was the first Korean flag I had seen since the Samil
Movement. It made me realize how much the United States was truly the “land of
freedom” and I thanked God for it.
There were so many people who had been killed or imprisoned for waving the
Korean flag on Korean soil. It was heartwarming to see the same national flag in the
strange land of Honolulu.

Page 180
When I was in Albuquerque, there was another American woman besides Ms.
Van Deventer that helped me. She was an 80-year-old woman named Ms. Phillips who
had worked as a missionary in Mexico when she was younger. I first received a letter
from her when she was at Emporia and when I was attending Princeton.
The dean of Emporia University once wrote a short article about me in a
magazine. It was a magazine called Presbyterian, published by the northern Presbyterian
Church, but Ms. Phillips had read it and sent me 50 dollars to use while I was attending
the seminary. And from then on, we communicated via letters, but after hearing the news
that I was hospitalized in Albuquerque, she came to personally visit me a few months
Not only did she come visit me, but she also rented a small room next to the
hospital, saying that although she did have son, he lived far away. She would often visit
me with prayers of comfort and would give me allowances too. While I didn‟t have to
worry about hospital bills while I was there, I received her help if I needed money for
anything else.

Page 206
But when I was young, I made the decision to do God‟s work, so I thought that I
should go where I was needed most. And like that, my heart went out for the church in
Sinuiju. One Sunday, I visited the church and like the elder said, the church was in
terrible condition. The chapel was flat and the complex required much repair. But the
young members passionately prayed and praised God. Seeing their enthusiasm, I decided
that I couldn‟t be hesitant anymore. So against the advice of my friends, I packed my
bags and went to Sinuiju.

Page 254
The foregrounds of the Sinuiju Borinwon (orphanage)

Page 290
That is when I realized that what I saw with my eyes was not the entirety of the
world. In reality, more and more churches were falling, but the churches that I saw in my
vision, as well as the Samchullly that I saw in my vision, was beautiful. Although the
forces of evil have taken over currently, soon they will be defeated and our independent
nation will have white chapels in every corner praising God. There was no need to be
discouraged by the dreary reality. I prayed to God asking that he provide for this new
world sooner than later.

Page 323
Pastor Kyung-Chik Han‟s oral dictations have only been found up to here. We
will wrap up the previous chapter here with promises of adding on future discoveries.

Page 324
Of course, the service was held in an American Presbyterian church whose entire
congregation consisted of about 40-50 elderly members. This is a trend in American
churches that has been started by white Americans moving out of the city proper into the
suburbs and African-Americans and other foreigners replacing their living quarters.
When I see Korean parishioners, especially young members, replacing the slowly
emptying pews, I can only confess my gratitude. God has prepared a place for Korean
children to come and worship Him. I met Youngnak Church members here as well.
Wherever I go, joy is always overflowing.
Page 377
A prayer that was written in the Bible used by Pastor Kyung-Chik Han

Page 378
Living in this world is comparable to a stranger walking along a path. If I plant
flower seeds along my path, then many flowers will bloom where I walked. And after
some time, it will bear fruits. But if I were to plant poor seeds, then only weeds would
grow in that area.
One thing I would like to especially ask for is that as you live your life, if you can
convert others, convert them, if you can spread love, spread love, if you can help
someone, help, and never let go of an opportunity where you can do good in the world.
You must do good and sow seeds of goodness wherever you might be and whoever you
might meet.
If we are to sow seeds of goodness today, then won‟t the next generation be able
to reap them? Even if it is a generation later, someone is bound to reap what we sow. You
will reap it in heaven as well.

1902. 12. 29 Born in Pyongnam Pyeongwongun
1916 Graduation from Pyongwon Jin-Gwang Primary School
1919 Graduation from Jungjoo Osan School
1925 Graduation from Pyongyang Soongsil University
1926 Graduation from Emporia College in the United States
1929 Graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States
1933-1942 Ministry at the Second Church of Sinuiju
1939 Establishment of Sinuiju Borinwon (Orphanage)
1945-1972 Ministry at Seoul Youngnak Church
1947 Establishment of Youngnak Borinwon (Orphanage)
1947-2000 Establishment and inductance as Board Member of Daegwong School
1948 Named Honorary Professor of Theology at Emporia College
1950-1977 Establishment and inductance as Board Member of Bosung School
(Girls‟ Middle-High)
1951Establishment of Youngnak Mojawon (Center for Women)
1952 Establishment of Youngnak Kyunrowon (Center for Elderly)
1954-1957 Reconstruction of Soongsil University and inducted as first President
1955 Awarded honorary doctorate of theology from Yonsei University
1955 Chairman of the Korean Presbyterian Church
1959-1977 Establishment and inductance as Board Member of Youngnak School
1962-1973 Board member of Seoul Women‟s College
1964-1986 Board member of World Vision
1967-1974 Board member of Holt Foundation
1970 Awarded Order of Civil Merit (Mugunghwajang) of South Korea
1973-2000 Named Pastor Emeritus of Youngnak Church
1976-1984 Inducted as board member of the Asian Center for Theological Studies
and Missions
1977 Awarded honorary doctorate of philosophy from Soongsil University
1983-2000 Inducted as board member and governor of the Council for the 100th
Anniversary of the Korean Church
1986 Awarded the Grand Prize for the Moral Re-Armament Initiatives of Change
1986-2000 Inducted as honorary board member of World Vision
1989-2000 Founder and first President of the Christian Council of Korea
1990-2000 Inducted as first President of the Spreading Grains of Love Movement
1992 Awarded the Templeton Prize
1998 Awarded the Order of Merit for the National Foundation of South Korea

Back Cover
“Praise the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits”
Psalms 103:2