Recently, a Ten Days team of young professionals from Victory Los Baños was deployed to South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Highly urbanized at 92%, South Korea allows freedom of religion and showcases a distinctive urban lifestyle. However, in 1900, only 1% of the country’s population was Christian, but largely through the efforts of missionaries and churches, Christianity has grown rapidly in South Korea over the past century. In 2010, roughly three out of ten South Koreans were Christian.
This goes to show that the nation is relatively open to the preaching of the gospel. Nevertheless, there is still a big chunk of their population who need to hear God’s word, especially, young people. We asked Cla, their team leader, to share their experiences during their stay here.
“We witnessed the busy schedule of students,” Cla shares, “There’s a competitive atmosphere, and the students are really pressured.” They’ve also observed the ubiquity of plastic surgery, especially among women—a possible societal pressure to obtain a certain look, and to flaunt that they have the means for a cosmetic procedure.
Societal pressure to be successful and look successful will not go away over the course of ten days. It is deeply ingrained in the culture and won’t be remedied overnight. This is all the more reason for the gospel to be preached in South Korea. “What makes a cross-cultural trip different from long-term missions is the sense of urgency we have. We have to do what we can do while we are there,” Cla explains. “Given that we had little time, our goal was to quickly connect with the people we meet and bridge cultural differences.”
Despite the language barrier, the team was able to engage students in Myongji University, Kyonggi University, Ewha Women’s University, and Seoul National University. According to one of the campus ministers from Every Nation South Korea, it is the first time that they’ve entered the last two universities. They currently have church members enrolled in these campuses as PhD students. With this development, they are looking forward to connecting with more friends and start a ministry in these universities.
“South Korea made a great impact in my life,” Cla reveals, “My prayers for that nation will never be the same. There has been a longing in me to intercede for it more.” The team also has a burden for the state’s nearest neighbors, the North Koreans. Because of its restrictions of basic human rights, people situated in that area of Korea escape and become refugees of South Korea. The church sees this as an opportunity to provide hope by preaching the gospel to these refugees.