I came to visit the land of kimchi when God took me to a Ten Days missions trip on November of 2015. It was still autumn and winter was approaching. The wind was cold and sometimes, our team from the Philippines was met by constant rain. We stayed in Hongdae, a region in Seoul.
We came to South Korea with the purpose of engaging the Koreans and introduce Jesus to their lives. We also led the first ever Victory Weekend to our Every Nation Church of Korea, a retreat that would encourage Koreans encounter Christ.
Koreans are generally happy people. They live a simple lifestyle and the food is really great. Your mouth just have to be tolerant because almost, if not everything, is spicy. English may not be foreign to them but very few are really fluent and conversational. Especially the ahjummas and ahjussis (old ladies and gentlemen) who are still very active and industrious. Don’t try to ask directions from them unless you speak Korean. Most English speakers are the young professionals and university students.They are also accommodating but not welcoming I guess. You should get to know them first before you could form a relationship with them, especially if you’re a foreigner.
We visited some places such as Gwanghwamun Square, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village where we tried wearing a hanbok (Korean national costume), Namsan Tower, Cheongyecheon Plaza, Nandaemun, Nami Island, DMZ, and other Seoul universities.
All those times, it was the Holy Spirit leading our team of missioners. Every place we visit, it was an encounter with Him. Not just because of how beautiful He made South Korea, it was apparent in the sceneries especially with the colors of fall, but He had made our trip beautiful in His time. We did prayer walks and engaged university students. However, it was perceptible that a wall is built surrounding the people. It was not easy to approach them and share the gospel. Not just because of language gap but they were not open to Christianity. They had bad experiences from the so called “Christians” in their area. The mission is getting real. Opposition is real.
But that didn’t stop us from ministering unto the people. We silently prayed for them and laid our hands on their territories. We prayed that walls and chains be broken. We claimed healing and freedom.
Competition is tough in the job market of Korea. That is why parents spend lots and lots of money to send their children to good universities while students spend lots and lots of time studying. Not just in schools or universities but also in tutoring schools, review classes, English classes, and all other classes they can attend so that they could acquire “good education”. This will catapult them into prestigious companies and earn a sophisticated life. They were all about money and performance. Having all that they have, Jesus is not in their options list. They were “okay”.
And yet it was not only the walls around people that we have seen but there was another wall that is harder to demolish. The great divide between North and South Korea has been an issue decades ago that until now, thousands of Koreans have been separated from their loved ones. North Korea is so far different from the South. There was poverty, hard labor, hunger and restriction. It was soul-crushing knowing that they are so close in proximity yet so far from being free from the bondage of the communist government.
Nearing the end of our trip, we went to DMZ or the Korean Demilitarized Zone which was established at the end of the Korean War to serve as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. It was the location of unity in the great divide. It was such a lonely place. Seeing the North and South Korean flags waving in the distance made my heart flutter, not for excitement, but more for longing for the two nations to become one. It might not be a great idea for some South Koreans to reunite because they thought that the North Koreans would invade their territory and overcome them with their resources, but only if they see what is inside, what is happening in the homes of these North Koreans, they would just pity them and would long to see their brothers and sisters eating healthy foods or even know what flat screen TV looks like.
It’s high time for reconciliation and reunification. Remove all the bias and think of the many who needs physical and emotional freedom. In fact, both nations are lands of kimchi.
Everybody needs freedom. The greatest bondage we have is the bondage of sin. And yet we have been freed from death because of what Jesus did on the cross. Whether you are a South Korean or a North Korean, whatever nation you come from, you need the love of God and the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. We all have been separated from God.
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
Jesus is the only person who can free you. He is the only one who can free us from all forms of bondage: from government, from poverty, from sickness, from ourselves, from sin. Are you willing to receive this freedom?