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God’s plan for spreading the gospel
Pastor Steven Petersen, an Evangelical Lutheran Synod missions counselor, shares how a relationship between a Korean Baptist pastor and a WELS pastor gave the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) an opportunity to minister to Koreans in the United States and abroad.
Who would have thought that the chance meeting between a Korean Baptist pastor and an American Lutheran pastor would have such significant impact?
Pastor Young Ha Kim was searching for space to rent for the small Baptist congregation he served in Chicago during the mid-1990s when he met Dennis Kleist, a WELS pastor in the nearby suburb of Morton Grove. Kleist befriended the Korean and began instructing him in Lutheran theology. Young Kim wanted to know more.
In this way, God set Kim on a path that would eventually lead him back to his homeland as a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
With advice and encouragement from the late Larry Marquardt, a WELS businessman and mission supporter, Kim made his way to Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (ELS) in Mankato, Minn.
After two years of seminary study, Kim underwent a colloquy with the ELS. (A colloquy is a professional theological examination in which candidates must demonstrate their knowledge of and subscription to Lutheran doctrine.) When Kim passed the colloquy, synod officials wondered, “Now that we have a Korean pastor ready to serve, what do we do with this man?” Eventually the synod’s Board for Home Missions issued him a call to start Asian Mission Church in Irvine, Calif. The mission would sublet space from Faith, an ELS congregation there.
Southern California, and especially Orange County, welcomes immigrants from all across Asia, and some of them found a home in the mission in Irvine. The wives of visiting Korean graduate school students studied English as a second language at the church. The congregation helped arrange housing for some newcomers. Relationships were built, the gospel was shared, and many adults were instructed using Communicating Christ.
Then, from among the members, another Kim was discovered. Jong In Kim (no relation) had served as a Presbyterian pastor in Korea before coming to the United States. He joined Asian Mission Church and eventually followed Young Ha Kim’s trail to the seminary. He too studied and underwent a colloquy.
April 10, 2005, was a special day for both ELS Home and Foreign Missions. On that day Young Ha Kim was commissioned as an exploratory missionary to South Korea, and Jong In Kim was installed as a pastor at Asian Mission Church, Irvine.
In Korea, Young Ha Kim has renewed his relationship with families that had associated with Asian Mission Church in California and then returned to Korea. He also works among families of students who have enrolled at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, as well as WELS area Lutheran high schools in Appleton and Winnebago. English-as-a-second-language classes are planned as part of the outreach ministry of the mission, which is located in Seoul. About 40 people are involved in Bible class and worship with several families under instruction.
Author: Steven Petersen
Volume 92, Number 11
Issue: November 2005
Volume 92, Number 11
Issue: November 2005
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2009
Permission is granted for a single personal copy of an article. Additional copyright information is available at Northwestern Publishing House.
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Bible translation revision
Have you heard that the publishers of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible have updated the translation? A Translation Evaluation Committee has been established to study and examine this new translation, along with other English language translations. The committee has compiled essays, information, and studies on the topic.
Home Missions partners with Church Extension Fund to build worship facilities for mission congregations. Learn about two congregations that recently dedicated new buildings.