From the Bishop
Their history will be changed
Bishop Young Jin Cho
In January I had a chance to spend four days on the campus of Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. The Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction spent two days as a learning group and two days in meetings. It was a great time of learning and fellowship. This visit was also meaningful to me to remember the beginning of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South’s mission to Korea.
It began with one brilliant young man’s conversion to Christian faith in 1887 while he studied at Anglo-Chinese College in Shanghai, China. His name is T.H. Yun, and later he came to the United States and studied at Vanderbilt University and Emory College. When he went back to Shanghai to teach at Anglo-Chinese College, he left a couple of hundred dollars with Dr. Candler, then- president of Emory College as seed money for mission to Korea.
Later Dr. Candler contacted missionaries in China and helped to start the Methodist Episcopal Church, South mission to Korea in 1895. The Methodist Episcopal Church North sent the first missionaries to Korea in 1885, 10 years earlier than the South. They started schools and modern hospitals and made a great contribution not only to evangelizing Korean people, but also to modernization of Korea.
My wife, Kiok, was converted to Christian faith and felt God’s call to ministry while she attended the junior and senior high schools founded by Methodist missionaries.
The reason I share a brief history of Methodist Church’s mission to Korea is to emphasize the importance of mission. The Gospel the Methodist missionaries introduced to Korean people touched so many people and changed their lives and their families. This Gospel also transformed the entire country and its history. A new education system and modern science and medicine were introduced. Many leaders who changed the history of Korea were raised by the church. The churches in the United States support the most missionaries in the world followed by the churches in Korea. I am also one of the persons touched by this Good News of Jesus Christ.
This year we will have another great opportunity to take part in transforming a part of the world with the gospel. The Virginia Conference has been supporting missions in Mozambique and Brazil. We will add Cambodia as our new Initiative of Hope. In January a mission team visited Cambodia and checked the mission works there. We are also planning to invite the representatives of Cambodian United Methodist mission to our upcoming Annual Conference. I am very excited about this possibility.
As many of you know, people in Cambodia have had a very painful and difficult time in their history. More than 2 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge era (1975–1979) and many people continue to be injured by landmines that were planted during that time. We are going to help Cambodians to overcome their painful past history and build their future by sharing the hope in Christ. We have an opportunity to transform their history with the Gospel.
As a person who has experienced the transforming grace of our Lord, I invite you to pray for this great opportunity. I believe that prayer should go first in our mission. If you sense that God is calling you to help and support this mission, please contact Glenn Rowley, director of Mission and Global Justice for our conference. During the Annual Conference in June we will have more information on this new Initiative of Hope partner. Your prayer and offering to support our mission will be deeply appreciated.
I am deeply grateful for this calling from the Lord. God wants to use us for the Kingdom of God. Let us respond to this calling with joy and gratitude. Especially, in this season of Lent, let us reflect upon ourselves and the mission God has entrusted to us.May the Lord continue to bless all of you with peace surpassing all human understanding.
In our Lord,
Young Jin Cho