Friday, June 02, 2006

Where are the young to step into place?

A few weeks ago, Tim Peters [founder of Helping Hands Korea] stood in the pulpit of the Youngnak Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest, largest and most graceful churches in Seoul. The congregation was more than 2,000 strong, joined together in a two-day prayer vigil for North Koreans.

His sermon, on a text from the Old Testament, was stark: "Joshua had fallen to the ground in long and desperate prayer," Peters said. "But after a period of time the Lord said, 'Get up Joshua, why are you still lying on your face? Now is the time to do what I have shown you to do.'"

As Peters sees it, there is still much work to be done. … One underground-railroad activist held in Yanji is 68 years old. An American evangelical preacher drowned in 2004 leading a group of North Korean refugees across the Mekong River was 62.

"Where," Peters demanded at the Youngnak Church, "are the young men—the young soldiers—to step into the place that older missionaries now fill?"

He stepped from the pulpit, and the organist led the congregation into a loud, emotional version of the tune associated more than any other with escape from bondage. In Korean, 2,000 voices swelled to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

[Excerpted from TIME magazine “Long Walk to Freedom”]

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