Rich and Karen Barrett spent part of their second week in South Korea visiting several of our saints in the Busan area. Among them was Young Ja, a woman who lived with Brother Rich’s parents when they were missionaries in Busan. They also met with the pastor of our Agyang church, Ok Soo Seo, and his wife, as well as visited our Okpo church where Gyung Yoon Kang is the pastor. On Wednesday they left the area and headed toward Seoul, stopping for one night in Daejeon, ninety miles south of their destination, to enjoy an evening service among the saints there.
Thursday evening, they had dinner with Daniel Lee and his wife. During the meal, Brother Daniel shared with great feeling how he became a Christian under “Papa” Barrett.
In the afternoon on Friday, the Seoul congregation gathered for a rooftop barbecue. Sister Karen said that many who attended the 2014 Portland camp meeting where there. She brought out a photo album from that year as well as 2015, and the saints had a great time finding themselves in the pictures.
During the barbeque Sister Karen had an opportunity to hear the testimony of Brother Jang who was converted a few years ago. He had known her parents, because he had visited our Portland church as well as those in Puyallup and Tacoma, Washington, years ago as a seaman. He said the saints in all three prayed with him, and he remembers being amazed at the tears that sprang up within him when he followed them to the altar. He now knows he was under conviction. However, he resisted God’s call and turned to drinking. He said he made many mistakes while he was not saved, and was hard on his wife and three children. Then a few years ago, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and stomach cancer drew him to God. He repented and God did a wonderful work in his heart, changing him on the inside. He now shares his testimony with fellow patients at the hospital, and prays with them. Sister Karen said he is still an in-patient, and was only given a four-hour pass to attend the barbeque. She assured him that the saints in Portland would be praying for him.
In the evening, the Barretts went to dinner with Michael Ahn—someone they have known since they were in high school. He was a third officer on the ship that carried Brother Rich’s parents to Korea on their first trip in 1966.
On Sunday, a combined service with the Daejeon congregation was held in Seoul. About ninety filled the church to near capacity. Young Doo Ra, pastor of the Daejeon, church preached. He used the account of Peter going to Cornelius’ house to stress the importance of listening to God and obeying, saying this would bring assurance of God’s blessing. A good prayer meeting followed with many praying for close to an hour.
After the service, lunch was served to a packed crowd in the fellowship area of the church. The Barretts enjoyed this opportunity to visit with several whom they had not yet seen on their trip. One of these was Sarah, who had interpreted for them in the past. She is the mother of twins, a boy and girl. Sister Karen said they were babies the last time she saw them, but are now “cute and active toddlers who have been taught a few English words of greeting, and who made us miss our grandkids (well, to be honest, that was already happening).”
In the evening service the Barretts sang a duet and then both gave their testimonies as they have been doing at each location. For the message the Seoul pastor, Kim Jeong Min, read from Philippians 3 and then emphasized the importance of being like-minded. Everyone was captivated as he demonstrated a tug-of-war he had witnessed at a grade school gymnastics event. He explained how the winning side had pulled together in a synchronized rhythm. Again, a good prayer meeting followed. Sister Karen commented, “It has been heart-warming to observe how the Korean people still love to spend time around the altars.”
After the evening service, the young people took the Barretts out to eat. The group included Sister Jung Ok’s son, Simon, who lived in Portland for a time, and also Shin Hye who attended this past Portland camp meeting.
The Barretts plan to attend the Wednesday night Bible study before starting their return trip home on Thursday. Sister Karen wrote that their time in Korea has flown by and they have not been able to see everyone they wanted to, so “we have done our best to encourage everyone to visit Portland for camp meeting!”