I am currently visiting my daughter and her family in Seoul, South Korea. When I called to say good-by to my dad before leaving the US, he said, “I guess you haven’t been watching the news.”
I had been, but I lived in Ethiopia during the Communist revolution and Mozambique during the civil war; I am well aware that regardless of what shows up on the news, people on the ground may well see none of it.
Seoul is beautiful, modern and peaceful. To walk around (or ride the subway as I have been doing), you wouldn’t know anything is wrong. Saber-rattling is an annual ritual for the neighbor to the north, and the average South Korean doesn’t take it seriously. If they did, they would freak out like the press does every year at this time.
Not freaking out doesn’t mean I didn’t think through possibilities. Mostly I concluded that if non-essential personnel were evacuated, it would be good for me to be here to help my daughter with my grandson. Admittedly, I did assume I would be at their side all the way to the States. However, after I got here I found out that I would be a lower priority for evacuation. So I could help her prepare, but not go with her. After that is unclear, but the Lord is not without his plans, and I do have other family in town.
One unusual opportunity I have had so far was to sing in the choir at the Easter service American Vice-president Mike Pence and his family attended. (Bet you can't recognize my tiny face in the choir picture in the VP's tweet.) We also had dinner with him. Not exactly an intimate affair. We were several hundred, and I was not in the VIP room seated with the VP, but he came to the classroom where we were eating to greet the group. I never even had the chance to tell him my dad attends the same church in Indinanapolis as he did when he was governor there.
Pence needs your prayers whether you voted for him or not.
So does the South Korean church. Someday the unthinkable may happen. Will South Korean Christians be prepared to trust God through the crisis, shine as lights in the darkness, and embrace their enemy in Christ’s name when it is over? Or will they be bitter and disillusioned? The church here is large and growing. At one point I read that they had plans and funds prepared for taking the gospel north when the border opened, but that was years ago. The generation that remembers a united Korea is nearly gone. The urgency and compassion for lost relatives beyond the border may well be waning. I pray that the faith of the South Korean church would be real and deep and not merely a badge proclaiming how modern they are.
Why not let every newscast that mentions the north be a call to prayer, reminding you to pray for this land in both its political divisions?
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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