At a glance... Nothing could be more stark than the differences between the twin nations of North and South Korea. While those in the north experience oppression on every level and a dearth in development, South Korea is a picture of freedom and growth, as well as one of the most Christian nations in Asia. The first Protestant church was planted in 1884; by the year 2000 there were 60, 000 churches.
This unique situation does pose challenges, however. Spiritual pride is all too common, with a temptation for church leaders to seek success, wealth and good â€œstatisticsâ€? rather than lifting up the cross. Many new Christians also come from a background of Buddhism, and with such huge numbers of people converting there is a real need for more intentional discipleship. Despite these difficulties, however, South Korea is a nation with a clear outward focus, and they are ready to head out and reach the world for Christ.
North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 with goal of unifying the Koreas under communist rule. The United Nations intervened in the war and there was a ceasefire in 1953. The border between South and North Korea remains one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world. Praise God for the uniqueness of the South Korean church, and the dedication of believers to prayer, fellowship and evangelism. Pray for the nation of South Korea in the face of continued threats of aggression (including the danger of a nuclear strike) from North Korea. Pray for wisdom for the nationâ€™s leaders to be sensitive in their relationship so as not to cause war, but also not to condone the human rights abuses that North Korea are practising. Pray for the more than 10, 000 missionaries sent out from South Korea (this number is exceeded only by the United States). Pray for the continued mobilization of young people for missions, and the cultural adaptation of South Korean missionaries, who come from a very homogenous society, to very different regions of the world.
Pray for ministers undergoing theological training. There are hundreds of Bible colleges in South Korea, and many qualified graduates, but very few jobs in highly sought after, urban congregations. Conversely, there are big vacancies in small, rural churches, yet nobody wanting to fill the jobs. Pray that the best of these men and women may humbly commit themselves to less prominent rural pastorates and bless the world through cross-cultural missions.