From the wilderness

Rev. Peter Lee is going to Tian-Jin in China in 1 March 2010. He is the third sent from CMS Seoul Centre, following Rev. Zinkoo Han to Cyprus and Rt. Rev. Joseph Lee to Mongolia. He is going to be trained by Jin-Hua Foundation which would arrange a school for him to teach in China. This is summary of his speech in a meeting of the ‘Lovers of Jesus’ in 22 February.

to China in 1 March 2010

“My story starts in 15 June 2000, when South Korean president visited P’yang, the capital of North Korea, to meet Kim Jong-Il. I was studying at the Anglican Seminary in Seoul, praying for evangelism of North Koreans. Then I heard a voice inside me reciting ‘China’, and it was so clear that I studied about China relating to North Korea. It was surprising to find that China could be the key for future development of mission to North Korea. China is deeply related to the economy of North Korea. It is said that 80% of business of the country is already owned by Chinese companies. North Korean political leaders may take reference from Chinese model when they open the country, particularly about the policy on religion.

I withdrew from seminary for a year to visit China. I tried to obey His willing that had shown me the vision to China. I finished M Div, when I return back to seminary in one year. The thesis was ‘Thought of Bp. Ting in China’. Then the Rt. Rev. Matthew, bishop of Seoul, encouraged me to go to China for study. He recommended me for scholarship to an ecumenical conference. I came to know the application was failed, a day before leaving to China in August 2002. I managed to live with money from selling my flat in Seoul.

I could finish the study by your support. ‘Lovers of Jesus’, a lay group which started to support Jesus Abbey, an intersession prayer mountain which was found by Archer Torrey, an Anglican pastor from US. When he died in 2002, you decided to follow his way committed to mission as the last missionary to Korea. You decided to support me for four years with KW 14,000,000 ($12,000) for tuition.

In January 2006, I have got Ph. D. from Nan-Jing University with thesis on history about ‘Sun Yat-Sen and Yo Un-Yong, famous democratic leaders of modern China and Korea’. I met Chye-Ann when I served a Sharing-House as a deacon. CMS recommended me as a faculty for Nan-Jing seminary, and helped me a trip to visit bible schools. I found time was needed to get relationship of mutual trust with Chinese church leaders to teach young leaders as a foreigner.

Phil Simpson, Asia director of CMS, introduced Jin-Hua Foundation, when he met me in 2009. He consulted me to be steady in trying possible alternatives successively. As the name of ‘building up China’, the foundation has their mission to offer good teachers, nurses and social workers from abroad to China. I wish to serve the country by teaching history and language to Chinese young people. I will do my best to serve them within my ability and the area given to me. I will not do hurry in the starting point, but build confidence with the people.

I am meditating the verse of Jesus’ going to desert to be tempted by Satan. It was lonely place, but I found that he was not alone. He was accompanied by the Holy Spirit. I imagined that his mother Mary was praying for her son, Jesus. My first trip to China could be a wilderness, which is needed to stay to do His works. I found there was the Holy Spirit and peoples who prayed for me.

I am going to the second wilderness, apart from the land of families, friends and you. Jesus encourages me with the Bible passage, that I will not be alone in any place for His presence and prayer of peoples. I think there will be one more wilderness to North Korea, according to the voice I heard when I was studying at the seminary ten years ago. Even though I do not know what will be the ways to pass, I will follow the voice to go and to remain steady and sincere.

Some Christians try to help North Korean churches. Some people find no way but to build church buildings there. In the long run, the key may be in discipleship. One small gate is opened to me by CMS, and the way looks monotonous. The thing needed for pilgrim is to walk following the voice to go forward. Thanks for your prayer and co-work in this way of obedience.”