Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Kwangwoon Univ. Chaplain Park Jeong-u: Nearly 20 Years of Mission With Foreign Students

2017-09-07 16:12

“My body is in Korea, but I have the mind of an overseas missionary.”

Rev. Park Jeong-u (photo, chaplain of Kwangwoon University Mission Society),who has carried out mission with foreign exchange students for nearly 20 years at Kwanghoon University (Chun Jang-ho, president) in Nowon-gu, Seoul, described himself in these words. On September 1 when I met him on the Kwangwoon campus, he was engrossed in preparations for his ministry, with the start of second semester.

Rev. Park’s original dream was to be an overseas missionary. He first came to Kwangwoon University Mission Society in May 1998 in the status of evangelist, while attending Chongshin University Theological Seminary. As a campus missionary, he led Bible study with graduate students, meanwhile being trained for foreign mission. At that time, he was trying to decide whether to go to Japan, China or India.

Just before he was to leave for India in September 2002, something unexpected happened. His second son Eun-seok, then a nine-month-old baby, was found to be suffering from primary immunodeficiency syndrome (PI), a rare and incurable disease. Eun-seok was constantly in and out of the hospital, hovering at the brink of death nine times before at last he departed to the embrace of God in 2014. “It was a time of spiritual suffering, but as I cared for my son, I was awakened through God’s abundant grace,” Rev. Park confessed. “In the midst of my son’s suffering, it became clear that God’s will was for me to do campus evangelical ministry in Korea.”

Thus his foreign missionary dream began to take shape within Korean campus life, something he had never imagined. As late as 2002, Kwangwoon University’s foreign exchange students consisted of just two persons from Mongolia. “Looking at them, the thought came to me, ‘These are souls I could have met if I had gone to the overseas mission field,’” Park said. From 2003, the number of foreign students gradually increased. He noticed that during the Chuseok (Harvest Festival) holidays, Chinese and Mongolian students who could not go home were wandering around in PC rooms and bars. He created a “Foreign Student Chuseok Invitation Circle,” invited the foreign students to his home and served them Chuseok food, and this became the start of his comprehensive mission for overseas exchange students.

His current foreign student ministry centers on Bible study and multicultural worship services at the Kwangwoon University International Church. The students study the Gospel in a four-week course with Rev. Park teaching them individually. Their textbook is “Raising Disciples in One-to-One Bible Study” (Duranno), a series published in both Korean and foreign languages. So far the textbooks have come out in Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, English and Arabic. 15 students from Mongolia, China, Hungary, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries completed the Bible study course last semester. Last year, six foreign students who had done this discipleship training returned to their home countries after being employed as professors. All of them declared their intent to nurture disciples in their own countries, while living by Gospel values.

Each Sunday, the students listen to the sermon in Korean and English at Kwangwoon University International Church’s multicultural worship service, with about 20 exchange students currently in attendance. During vacations there is a whole-Bible reading program, so that students on home visits may continue receiving disciple training. Since this past July, they have been reading one page each from the Old and the New Testaments, daily. Nowadays the number of exchange students at Kwangwoon University has been exceeding 300 each semester. Rev. Park is wholly in charge of pre-orientation for incoming foreign students. He also operates a “Vision-Finding Coaching Seminar” that offers students tips on how to apply for courses and motivates them for study. He strongly advised, “Churches and university student mission organizations should be concerned and make preparations for exchange student ministry.”

Article and photo by reporter Gu Jachang (critic@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Original Article in Korean:
박정우 광운대선교회 교목, 국내 캠퍼스서 20년 가까이 해외유학생 선교 이어와

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