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  • Writer's pictureEric Navas

Sarah Barry’s secret mission reports prior to UBF’s split from the church– part 10

Dear Friends,

During the past few months Student Work here in Kwangju has been moving ahead so rapidly that we haven’t had time to turn around and look back long enough to get a letter written.

There have been transformations in the Student Center. In October the Center became Mission property, purchased with money from the Kwangju land sale. Also, I moved from the upstairs of the Center to a rented Korean house nearby. The upstairs has now been converted into a reading room and lounge, a small library room, offices for Mr. Lee and me and a work room for printing the news sheet. We are now trying to build up the library with books that are useful to college students. Books in English which offer help in Bible study or deal with basic and practical aspects of the Christian faith in a way that is relevant to college students, books in the fields of English and American Literature, Science, Law, Economics, Engineering, Agriculture, etc. will be most welcome!

However, the most exciting things are happening not at the Center but on Campus. The Lord has raised up a small group of Christian Students who are willing to be His men and women on campus. We have the audacity to believe and pray that the Lord will work through them not only to bring individual students to Himself, but also to significantly change the total atmosphere of the two Universities here in Kwangju. Through prayer together these students have begun weekly evangelistic Bible Study groups in 16 different departments and/or classes on the two campuses. The members of these groups are mostly new believers or inquirers.

Early last spring Mr. C.W. Lee and I picked 6 students from our English Bible classes, inviting them to meet with us for prayer and Bible study in Korean. Although most of them were very new Christians, we felt that they were men and women who could honestly face their responsibility as Christian students on Campus. We have been meeting together regularly to pray for each other and for the Campus. Last Saturday these 6, plus 3 others (who, after prayer and thought had been invited, one by one, to join the prayer group) had a meeting which lasted nearly four hours. They organized a University Bible Fellowship, dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel on Campus through Bible study and prayer.

Let me introduce you to these students. The first student for whom Mr. Lee and I prayed and the first one to accept the Lord and stand up firmly to be counted for Him on Campus was Lee, Chul Woo, then a sophomore in the English department of the Liberal Arts College of Chun Nam University. He became a Christian last November and his life was changed so abruptly that there was violent reaction among his classmates. As president of his class he has faced many temptations and has experienced something of the cost of taking a stand for the Lord in a hostile environment. He is now leading a study group in the Commercial College. Kim, Choon Soon, then a sophomore, now a junior in the English Department made a decision to become a Christian soon after Lee, Chul Woo. She is an excellent student and has an inquiring mind that will not be satisfied with shallow answers. She has grown rapidly in the Lord and perhaps has the clearest concept of what her own task as a Christian student is and what the group’s task is. Her witness is characterized by a real personal joy in the Lord and a deep concern for the individual needs of others. She is leading a Bible study group for the girls in the Liberal Arts College and another group for freshman in the Agriculture College. She is also general trouble shooter for the other groups in both Chun Nam and Chosun Universities. Chun, Chang Sun, pre-medical department second year, became a Christian about the same time as the other two. He also came to know the Lord through English Bible classes, but Mr. Lee and I did not spend much time working with him. The Lord picked him and raised him up Himself. He was the first to take the step of faith and start a group on campus. His life and witness are an inspiration to the whole group. As a pre-med student, he is very busy with his studies, but he has time to lead 2 study groups regularly and is the most faithful in his support of the Church. He has also led his mother to the Lord and spends much time in personal witnessing on and off campus. These three students were baptized in October. Kim, Han Ok, also a junior in the English Department, was an “old” Christian. Although she is the daughter of a fine Christian Elder and was raised in an unusual Christian home, she had no sense of her responsibility as a Christian on campus. She began to wake up when her friend became a Christian and when the group began to meet together to pray for the Campus. Her experience in the Church and her knowledge of the Bible have given needed stability to the group. She is the first Christian of the Small Council. Kim, Kwan Ok of the Law College of Chosun University was raised in a country village and has been active in the Church from his youth. He was perhaps the only one actively trying to win a fellow student to the Lord before he joined the prayer meeting. He has a keen mind and a clear concept of the task and has dedicated himself to the Lord to be used by Him on Campus. Chosun University is a tough nut to crack but the Spirit of the Lord is at work there. Kim, Kwan Ok is now leading or supervising the 4 groups which meet there. Chung, Soo Il, a sophomore in the History Department of Chun Nam University and last term top man in his grades in the whole Liberal Arts College is a big fellow with a temper that was formerly explosive. He was an atheist, and after a great explosion of temper at our Conference last March, he repented and came humbly to give himself to the Lord. He is leading a group in the Chun Nam Law College and in his own History Department. Pai, Chong Hyuk, now a sophomore in the Agriculture College, is newest in the faith. He is still struggling with many doubts. He is perhaps the only one of the group who had never had any contact with any church before coming to English Bible Classes. He has a humble spirit and a deep interest in other people. He is top student in the Agriculture College and a natural leader. His group in the Agriculture College is the largest and in many ways, the most stable. He made his decision to become a Christian last summer. Kim, Sung Jung, Medical College, second year, is one of the last two members to be added to the Council. He is an “old” Christian and although he has a real sense of responsibility for the campus, he is deeply involved in church activities – Sunday School teaching, Choir, etc. The Medical College group is largely composed of students who have been Church attenders for a long time. Suh, On Suk, sophomore in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture College, is also an “old” Christian. He has a keen mind and although he is one of the newest members of the Small Council, he seems to have a gradually growing concept of what the campus task is and how it must be done. The group which he leads in his own department is very small but the students there are growing in their knowledge of the Lord and in their realization of Campus responsibility.

Please pray for these students as they seek to testify to the Lord on Campus by word and life – and as they seek to train young Christians in the lower classes to maintain the witness which the Lord has established through them. Also pray that the Lord may raise up dedicated Christian Students on the other campuses throughout Korea. Mr. Lee and I also need your prayers as we study and pray with the Bible Study Leaders as they prepare to lead their groups.

Although it’s early to send Christmas greetings to you all, from past experience, I have a feeling that I won’t be getting another letter off before Christmas, so may all the joys of continually renewed life in Christ be yours especially at this time of the year when we think about His birth.

Sincerely,Miss Sara Barry

Commentary: This mission report and the ones that follow afterwards really start to sound like the typical mission reports you see on UBF's website

This is the first report where students are being elevated

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