Old kinships renewed in Korea

Old kinships renewed in Korea

Jan 22, 2014

Old kinships renewed in Korea

by Clinton R. Brown


I did not plan on going to South Korea. I wanted to go, but our contacts there had just started actively communicating with us again, so they were six months to a year on the waiting list for a visit.

I was scheduled to go to the Philippines in November (with Pastor Michael Spearl from Bradenton, Fla.), and our Board of Managers had already authorized a visit to the Andhra Pradesh SDB Conference in India. Though anxious to receive us, Korea would just have to wait.


08a Clint and Jin Kim CLR


That is, until our best connection leaving India included a two-hour layover in Seoul, Korea. Extending that layover for a day would allow us to sit for a few hours with the Koreans and give us a chance to get to know each other a little bit better.

To our surprise, because of a problem with the Indian embassy, we were not going to be able to go to Andhra Pradesh. This freed up our plans and allowed a last-minute flight correction putting us in Korea for nearly a week. Looking back, it seemed we were supposed to go to Korea all along.

 08b Lawton and Kim CLR

The Korean reception was gracious, friendly, and welcoming. They shared their food, families, history and lives with us. At first, I had believed this was a new group of Sabbath keepers, just discovering us and wanting to affiliate. But soon I was introduced to Jin Sung Kim, an honored, older leader of the group.

After bowing then shaking my hand, Jin Sung Kim sat down and pulled out a thick portfolio of documents and pictures. With it he took me through a history of relationships with the U.S. and Canada Conference, the World Federation, and the Missionary Society spanning 50 years. There were letters of encouragement from the then Sabbath Recorder editor, Leon Maltby, as early as 1963. Documents of a global SDB ambassadorial tour in 1974 (including Leon Lawton) were produced.

Then their photographs confirmed baptisms, Korean SDB churches, and even some level of attendance at a 1996 SDB World Federation gathering. Brother Kim’s daughter was standing next to Gabriel Bejjani, representing to them, South Korea’s participation.

Their desire to validate the longstanding relationship was matched only by their drive to move forward in ministry together. They are eager to make plans for the future and see God raised up through Korean SDBs in cooperation with our global family of Sabbathkeeping believers. We confirmed that their leaders’ beliefs and polity are in agreement with those generally held by Seventh Day Baptists around the world, and their congregation confirmed for us that those leaders were the ones God had called to pastor their congregations.

They are putting together documents in their own language—a Constitution, Statement of Belief, and Covenant—as well as making plans for local, regional, and global ministry, while seeking God’s will for them in these endeavors. May we pray for the renewal of this old SDB ministry focused on new opportunities to impact the region to God’s glory.

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