It was also good to learn about the particular issues facing the church in South Korea and hear about their earnest prayer for the reunification of North and South Korea. I was honoured to attend an early morning prayer meeting with 5000 local believers, as the culmination of 40 days of prayer for the reestablishment of the church in North Korea. I learned that there used to be a flourishing church in North Korea as described on this notice board outside the church where we were meeting.
As I arrived for the early morning meeting, many had already gathered and were silently and fervently praying. Each person had brought their Bible with them, some of which were very well worn and clearly loved, and many took notes as the Pastor preached. The commitment, fervour and spiritual hunger of the Korean Christians was a challenge to me and something from which we in the UK can learn so much. We gave thanks to God that although just a year ago the nation was on the verge of war, today the prayers of many have been answered as reunification seems a step closer.
|Prayer wall in the entrance to the church|
It was also an experience to share in worship on a grand scale on the Sunday morning, complete with orchestra and full robed choir. Kwanglim Methodist Church has around 85,000 members who meet at various times and places during a usual Sunday. It was amazing to experience church on a large scale like this, though I have to say, not something I would want to do every week! The sheer organisation of getting communion to over 5000 people at a time, taking up the offering and getting people in and out was awe inspiring!
|The President and Vice President of the World Methodist Council leading prayers.|
|There were banks of cameras everywhere!|
|The very professional choir.|
|The team collecting the offering - with military precision!|
|Lovely Mataiva from New Zealand who has a remarkable testimony of how Jesus has brought her healing from cancer.|
|We had to sit in special pews!|
On the Sunday evening we were invited to take part in an open air peace prayer service, again praying for the church in North Korea. It was a blessing to stand with the people of the church in South Korea to pray for the breaking down of the barrier that divides their nation, and in many cases, their families.
|Gathering for open air prayer meeting|
|Korea's Methodist head office|
|Statue of the king who introduced the Korean language|
One of the highlights for me was sharing a meal with some of the Korean women from the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church women, along with other leaders from the UK and USA. We were treated to a traditional Korean meal eaten with chopsticks of course. I have decided that this is a brilliant diet plan as I just couldn’t eat very much at all! Clearly I need more practice!
It was a real honour to receive the generous hospitality of our Korean brothers and sisters and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the wider world church through the WMC and I am so grateful to everyone back home for your prayerful support as I travelled.
|Library in a shopping mall - it reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast!|