When massive flooding devastated the southern regions of the country in August, North Korean leaders asked if we would help provide assistance. Samaritan’s Purse and BGEA responded with $8 million of emergency relief supplies loaded on a 747 cargo plane bound for Pyonyang, the first American-flagged plane to land in North Korea in six decades. BGEA contributed $50,000 to the effort.
The compassion of Jesus Christ is not limited by politics or geography. God loves the people of North Korea, and I pray that through our efforts we will have the greater opportunity of sharing the Good News of the Prince of Peace in this spiritually isolated land.
Just across the border in South Korea, we have seen how hungry the people of Asia are for this message of hope and how eagerly they respond when presented with the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Less than 100 years ago, Christians were a very small minority, but the Lord has moved in dramatic ways to build His Church.
My father preached in Seoul in 1973, and although it had been almost 20 years since the Korean conflict, the people were still trying to heal from the fighting that split the country and left bitter memories on both sides. Just as he always did, my father preached the simple message of salvation through Jesus, and the Lord blessed his efforts. With more than 1 million people in attendance on the final day, it was his biggest crowd ever, and multitudes made decisions for Christ.
Since that time, Christianity has flourished in South Korea. Although the majority of the country still claims to be Buddhist, churches are overflowing with tens of thousands of faithful believers. The nation has become a hub of evangelism, second only to the United States in the number of missionaries it sends out every year. Just recently, we witnessed the bold testimony of the South Korean Church when 23 believers, working to provide medical care, were taken hostage by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Two were killed before the remaining hostages were released.
This month I will have my first opportunity to preach in South Korea as we hold a Festival in Busan, the country’s largest port city. Not long ago, a North Korean cargo ship docked there and since then has been making regular trips between the two countries. This easing of tensions has created an atmosphere of hope in both nations. Please join me in praying that the Korean people will continue this process of peace and reconciliation and that God will use our efforts to bring many more souls into His Kingdom.