Livin’ La Vida Mission


Written by Ryan Smith


Wouldn’t you agree that it is easy to fall into the flow of life’s responsibilities and get distracted from living with purpose? Anytime I have prepared to step into a new season of life in Asia or back in the States in the last decade, I always envisioned just how missional I would be living but then find it a challenge to maintain the same approach after getting into the grind. Essentially, to live missionally is to embody the heart of God’s mission to make disciples of all nations that all have been given by God, wherever they go.


I think there is always a new energy about us when we step into a place we believe God has called us to. However, although our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak. We need daily reminders and times to realign our minds and hearts on what God has called us for. In other words, we need to work towards living with purpose, on purpose. There’s no doubt that this is closely, if not the most, connected to our time spent with God.


We cannot only rely on the busyness of our job responsibilities that may include vital ministry elements to guide our missional living, but it must always come from a personal and habitual interaction with the Living God. Scripture reading, prayer, and conversations about Kingdom work are essential in building a ministry, but we need to actually take a step back and think about why and to what God has called us as individuals to in the first place. After all, He cares about the health of our heart before He cares about what our hands and feet are doing.


Many people think that being a “missionary” is only for those who move to another country, and therefore are not truly held responsible for the missional life. Whether living in the U.S. or abroad, I have always been challenged the same to consider the people that are within the circles of relationships in my life and evaluate how well I am showing them God’s love. From the middle school student I see every Sunday morning to the guy on my basketball team or from the field worker on the other side of an email to the man that also brings his child to the playground in our neighborhood, I am being sent as a representative of light on behalf of the good news.

If you’ll make the time to generate space for His direction, God will show you who you are, how He’s made you, and guide you in fulfilling your purpose wherever you are. Also, although it may seem strange at first, take some time to write down the people that you come into contact with on a regular basis, from the most personal to the most casual of interactions. Finally, ask God for wisdom and boldness to lead you in these interactions as you walk in your missional life. Then, I believe you will see the steps clearer that God has laid out for you to live a truly missional life, no matter where you are.

MCR 2019

On January 30th - February 2nd, Footstool Missions Center held their 3rd Annual Member Care Retreat in Seoul, South Korea. The Member Care Retreat is a time for those serving cross culturally in Asia, giving them time to rest, reflect, and go back out onto the field with a renewed passion.

The speaker for this year’s retreat was Dave Gibbons who is the Lead Pastor of Newsong Church in Orange County, California. His experience as a speaker, advisor, and author for both ministry and business-related areas allowed him to be an effective speaker for all those who attended.

We had 100 individuals coming from 10 different countries all over Asia who were excited to see what the hype was about our retreat. Many of the individuals who come are in desperate need for the rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation the retreat hopes to provide. 53 Volunteers and Staff served to make this happen in many different areas such as hospitality, children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship, prayer, and operations. We also had professional practitioners volunteer their time and services to provide not only spiritual but physical, emotional, and medical needs such as health-checkups, haircuts, physical therapy, and pilates. All the volunteers put their heart and energy into making the retreat a success which was felt by all of the fieldworkers.

We want to give a big thank you to everyone who supported us. Whether it be physically through volunteering time, financially through donations, spiritually through prayers, or something else, we appreciate it very much. It was definitely a time to put our mission statement to action - missions through unity. Thank you and many blessings always!  

Interview: John Mehn


In the past year, Footstool has expanded its network and partnerships with ministries in Japan. We sat down with John Mehn, longtime church planter and author of Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil (2017), to learn about missions in Japan.

How long have you been in Japan and what kind of ministry have you been involved with?

Hi, I’m John Mehn and I work with Converge--formerly known as the Baptist General Conference. I have lived in Japan since 1985 and been involved in church planting, leadership development, and directing the Japanese Church Planting Institute (JCPI) for the past 20 years.


You recently came out with a book--can you give us a teaser about it?

The book is called, Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil. Japan is very unreached in that it has the second largest people group in the world but there are only a few churches in the country. Basically, this book includes a lot of that information in an updated form to see what’s working in Japan and what’s not to reach the lost. Through this book, I am hoping to provide a lot of practical help for the pastors and missionaries working in Japan.


What are the greatest challenges for the church in Japan today?

One of the biggest challenges for the Japanese church is to become more "missional" and to have a vision for planting churches. Right now we are going through a large upheaval in the church where many of the pastors are over 70 years old and are retiring or dying and are not being replaced. Much of the focus of the church is just to survive--yet we have hundreds of communities that do not have a church. In all, we currently have 24 cities that still don’t have a church so we need to plant more to reach the 99 percent that are not believers in this country.


What do you envision for the next generation of church planters in Japan?

It’s hard to predict what my young colleagues will be doing in the next several years, but I think we will see a lot of innovation. Up until now, there was really only one way to plant a church. In the book, I outline six ways that are effective in not only planting churches but also in them reproducing themselves. I think we will see dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways to make the church relevant to Japanese culture and to plant it in Japanese soil. I would love to see that--it would be so cool.


Can you tell us a little about your story and what first drew you to Japan?

I came to Christ right after high school and was involved in student ministry. I then felt the call to missions after about a year of being a new Christian. Originally, I wanted to go on a medical mission but I felt like God was saying, “I want you to be involved in church planting.” My focus turned immediately to Asia because 60% percent of the world lives in Asia. When we came back from an internship in the Philippines, my wife and I heard from God that He wanted us to serve in Japan. That was in 1981 and we have followed that as best as we could since.


How can the global church be praying for Japan?

There is a whole section in my book about praying for spiritual breakthrough in Japan. We have seen other countries open up because of the prayer.  In 1970, there were very few Christians and now there are more and more Muslims coming to Christ than any other time in the history of the church. Fifteen to twenty years ago, Mongolia had only 4 Christians, but now they have a goal to be 8% Christian in their nation. As far as Japan goes, we believe that there is spiritual oppression and spiritual warfare involved in this place and I covet anyone’s prayer for the nation of Japan--that God would have mercy and open hearts.


What word of encouragement would you give those who have a heart to serve in Japan?

You are coming to a place where you are really needed. JCPI has a lot of help here for you. We have a conference you can come to every two years, plus a lot of other training that we do throughout the year. I would really encourage you to lock arms with others and their networks to be able to be more effective for ministry. There are a lot of resources out there that a lot of people are unaware of. There are a lot of very encouraging stories about the church that many people are not hearing as we often only hear the bad stories. There are a lot of good stories out there and you should be encouraged.


Member Care Retreat 2018


This past winter, Footstool hosted our second annual Member Care Retreat. We were able to serve a total of 42 missionary units consisting of families and singles. For four days and three nights, 97 individuals serving in four different countries in East Asia gathered together for a time of physical rest and spiritual rejuvenation. 



The retreat schedule consisted of worship and main sessions in the mornings. Attendees were given free time in the afternoon to spend with their families and friends, hold meetings that might be difficult to have on their mission field, participate in optional planned activities such as hiking and board games, and/or rest. Professional practitioners volunteered their time and services to provide massage therapy, medical consultation, counseling, pastoral prayer, haircuts, manicures, art therapy, music therapy, and family portraits.


We would not have been able to do all this without the generous donations of our donors and the help of our amazing volunteers. Our team of 42 volunteers helped in various ministries--hospitality, children's ministry, youth ministry, and worship team-- to make this retreat a success. The feedback from this year's attendees was overwhelmingly positive and full of gratitude. There is a clear need for member care in the mission field! We at Footstool are overjoyed to be providing this much-needed time of refreshment and encouragement to the missionaries who attend.



If you know someone serving in long-term missions in Asia who could benefit from this retreat, please feel free to contact us:

Missionary Appreciation Luncheon 2018


The 3rd annual Missionary Appreciation Luncheon was hosted by Footstool to honor ministers, missionaries, and lay people that have committed their time to serve in Seoul, South Korea.

The event was a great opportunity for all 54 attendees to connect, network, and build relationships that can lead to greater Kingdom work and unity in the body of Christ.

Partner Highlight: Hesed Home (Karen Lim)

Karen Lim has been working in orphanage ministry for nearly a decade since she first moved out to South Korea. In 2017, Karin started Hesed Home, a ministry housed in her own home that provides a safe space for orphaned kids to hang out, enjoy home-cooked meals, and celebrate special occasions together. Read on to find out how she began ministering to orphans in Seoul...


What brought you to Korea?

I was born in Korea but at the age of 2½ my brother and I were adopted to the States. I went through this art therapy program, which had a very profound personal impact, that brought a lot of healing from my past and early trauma. I had a dream that I wanted to come back to my orphanage...that I used to live in before I was adopted. I always had a curiosity about Korean culture and my roots, so in 2007 I decided to come out here.


How would you describe your time in full-time ministry?

There have definitely been some ups and downs, some challenges... but I feel it’s definitely brought me closer to Christ. It’s taught me to be more dependent on Him and I really have to seek daily what He wants me to do and be more connected to Him.


What do you envision for the kids that you work with?

I was adopted to an American family in the States, and I experienced the comfort and security of a home. I feel like the kids get support in the orphanage while they grow up, but once they graduate high school, there is very little support for them. I really hope this home can provide a safe place for them to know that they always have somewhere to come back to, celebrate holidays, have a place to hang out, and have dinner. I want this home to be a place where they can always come back to if they are in trouble or in a bind so that they know they always have a home.


What is the meaning of the name of the ministry?

Hesed Home has a very significant and personal meaning. When I was brought back to God I could just really feel His love. Hesed love is that unfailing covenant steadfast love of the Lord. And I really pray that these kids can really taste and experience a love that is deeper than anything that they know or anything that they have experienced. That they really can feel and know their Father's love.


How would you define 'mission' and how can people be involved?

I have heard it said that [mission is] finding out what is on God's heart and joining what He is doing. If I were to take that a step further, I would describe it as finding those areas and places that we are gifted and using those things that God has given us to help a group of people or person that could just benefit from something that you have. When I am painting, cooking, or doing something really creative, I feel God’s heart and I have found that now I can use it to really be able to spend time with these kids and build relationship with them. Sharing life with them just doing what I love and in that showing love to them and just spending time together.


What is the 'orphan spirit'?

I feel like it’s for any of us that don’t feel our Father's love and don’t know our true identity in Christ. I think for me and for true orphans that didn’t have parents to speak those affirmations and identities to us, we grow up with fear of rejection, abandonment, lack of trust; we can’t trust people and it's hard to build relationships. Not being able to receive love is very difficult. I know that I went through it myself.


Are there any stories of transformation that you have experienced with the kids?

I really sense the orphan spirit at the orphanage where I volunteer, there was one girl in particular who was very withdrawn. She never really smiled and never really acknowledged me. Over time as I kept going there, I would show her extra attention. I would always make a point to say, "Hi!" to her, smile, and show her extra love. It took years, but over time I could sense that she would come out sometimes to see what I was doing. One summer in particular, as I was going to go back to the States for a couple of weeks, I said, "Bye" and, "See you next time!"--she would never respond--but this particular time I got a reaction from her. I got a response, and she said “See you next time,” and waved. I felt like that was a real breakthrough with her, that she would even acknowledge me and talk to me. I felt that I really reached that level of trust with her, that she really believed that she would see me next time.


Do you have any prayer requests?

I would like to ask for prayer that the kids would really be covered in their Father's love. That they don’t believe the lies that they are not loved, that they really know their place in the Kingdom. Jesus says that the least of these are the greatest in the Kingdom, and I pray that these kids know that and that they have a place in God’s heart. Even if they experience discrimination and stigmas in this life, that they know their true place and their identity in God’s home. I just really pray that this home is a taste for them of their mansion waiting for them in heaven, that they really know that they are the most special in God's heart and most valuable.


Where would you direct anyone to get involved here in Korea?

You can find my project page on the Footstool website and I can post my email and other contact info on there as well.


Matt Whitlock is a speaker, writer, and founding director of The Tribe, a global network of Lifestyle Missionaries working for the common good of their cities. Footstool had a chance to sit down with Matt and chat about his recently published book.


How do you define a lifestyle missionary?

A  lifestyle missionary is someone that doesn’t have to change their physical location but they’re changing the posture of their heart toward the area that God already has them living in. Everyone should be on mission with Jesus—I think it’s more of a heart attitude than a geographic thing.


What was your inspiration for the book?

I spent a number of years with Youth With A Mission, (YWAM) a traditional missions organization. I had the privilege of traveling with the founder of that organization, Loren Cunningham, doing tours through Korea, New Zealand, Europe, and different places in the US...


I would get chances to share the stage with him and at the end of it he would do an altar call for traditional missionaries. I would be a part of that and people would come up and usually, if we were really lucky, we would get maybe 10% of the congregation. After a while of doing that I started thinking about the 90% that was sitting there. They have non-Christian friends. They are in their workplaces with non-believers. They don’t have any visa issues. They don’t have financial issues because they don’t have to raise money. They’re paid to be there. In some ways they’re kind of positioned to be better missionaries than some of the traditional missionaries were.


[That got me] thinking about this idea of missions as not just a career for some but a lifestyle for many. So then I started thinking of the ways that we have lived for so many years as traditional missionaries, and how we can translate the language for people to be lifestyle missionaries where they are. That was kind of the beginning of the lifestyle missionary message. In fact, I believe the first time I even spoke on the idea of the lifestyle missionary was at a YWAM location. I got up and spoke and then I just felt prompted to do an altar call like I would do with Loren for traditional missionaries but did an alter call for lifestyle missionaries and the entire audience came to the front of the stage. That is when I realized that this is something that is in people’s hearts right now, and we have to get this message out.


How do you involve your family in the ministry?

I try to do as much as I can with my family in everything that I do. If I’m going to the beach, I’ll bring my kids. If we try to be regulars at a restaurant, we bring the kids. If we do any kind of events in the community, like serving the homeless dinner, we bring our kids. It opens doors for doing work and I think it’s also shaping their worldview right now. They are realizing that if my parents can be on mission I can be on mission as well. I think they are getting to see that firsthand. And now, my daughter, who is 7, if she sees someone on the side of the road, she either asks, “Can I pray for them?” or “Can we give them something?” They can only learn that by seeing how we are living. I think it’s vital that we do those things as families and don’t separate that as 'This is my ministry thing,' and 'This is my home life.'


You used the phrase “as you are already going” in your book. What do you mean by that?

[In Matthew 28:19] when we read “go make disciples” in English it implies that you are sitting down, you need to get up and go. But in the Greek, it implies that you are already moving, already going. My heart with this book is that people would not read it and say, “Now I need to get up and go.” My heart with this book and the ministry is to help people realize that they are already going but they are not seeing that they are already going.


In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about already being in the place that God has put you, so you are already in the place that you are supposed to be. Jesus says you are already going, but the problem is we don’t realize it. The heart of the book is saying that missions isn’t a supplement to your life or a weekend event or a summer thing that you just chose to go to, but that your faith already puts you in a place of being on mission and you’re either aware of it or you’re not. When you read this book my heart is not that you feel like there is another thing you need to do. It’s more like “Okay, I’m already praying, but this is how I should be praying, since I am already in missions. I already read my Bible, and this is what I’m supposed to do with what I’m reading, since I am already in missions. I already have community with my friends, but this is what we could be doing with our community, since I am already in missions.”  The idea is that you are already in it, you are already in the midst of it. Now what are you doing with it?


What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

Around the world, it feels like we are consumed with this “find my purpose” quest right now. I think we are consumed with it because people feel like God is not answering, but he’s already answered. And the answer is: You are already in it. Jesus is already on a mission around you and He’s calling you to join that mission!


Church Planting Boot Camp 2017

On June 26-30, 2017, Footstool hosted for the second time the Church Planting Boot Camp taught by Dr. Ray Chang from the Regenerant Network. The boot camp was held at Torch Trinity Graduate University (Seoul, South Korea) and was offered as an intensive summer modular course for Torch students. It was also open to non-Torch practitioners (i.e. current or potential church planters), and offered for the first time as a bilingual course with Korean translation. In total, over 40 people attended the week long training.

Participants of the boot camp were equipped with effective strategies for launching a church planting team and cultivating healthy, propagating churches. Throughout the week, Dr. Chang invited previous participants of the boot camp to come and share their church planting experiences with the class. These church planters were able to discuss what worked well for them, as well as the difficulties and failures they faced.

According to a class survey, 11 participants are either currently involved in church planting or committed to church planting in the future. Footstool is excited to be a part of starting a church planting movement in Korea and beyond.

"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else--not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes--will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting." 

-Tim Keller

2017 Basic Missions Training

Written by Joy Choi


Footstool wrapped up a month of Basic Missions Training (BMT) at Jubilee Church for those going on short-term mission trips this summer. 

During our four-week training course, a group of 20 missions-minded individuals gathered with Footstool instructors Ryan and Joy to learn and discuss God's heart for missions to all nations. Participants from this training will be sent out on short-term trips to Indonesia, Cambodia, EUC (English Unification Camp), and Mozambique in the coming months.

On July 24th and July 1st, Ryan and Joy will provide an abridged version of the training course to the youth of Seoul Bible Baptist Church, who will go on short-term missions to the Philippines in July.


Every summer, Footstool offers the four-week BMT course in preparation for short-term mission trips. Our four sessions of BMT cover the following topics: 

  1. Biblical Basis for Missions
  2. Cross-Cultural Missions and Contextualization 
  3. Spiritual Realities 
  4. Unity

If your church or ministry is interested in Basic Missions Training, feel free to reach out to We would love to partner with you!

Member Care Retreat Follow up

On January 19-22, Footstool Missions Center held its first ever Member Care Retreat. We hosted a total of 78 individuals (adults and children) who are serving throughout Asia. This retreat was the culmination of years of planning, dreaming, and praying on the parts of many individuals and organizations.  

We have seen that missionaries rarely take vacations. During the few times they do take a break from "the field" to go home on furlough, they usually end up working anyway. They spend their time speaking at churches, meeting with current and potential supporters, and sharing what God is doing through them in their ministries. 

For most of the missionaries we served, this retreat was their first vacation in a long time. Their feedback on the retreat has been overwhelmingly positive and filled with thanksgiving. The retreat was, quite literally, an answer to many of the missionaries’ prayers. Not only were the missionaries able to rest and be cared for, but in the process they were encouraged and refreshed to go back and continue the work in the under-reached places they serve. This is the very vision Footstool was founded on: to be a basecamp for missions to the 10/40 Window-- in other words, a place for field workers to rest and get refreshed to continue their work.

Most member care retreats cost up to $500 to $1,000 per person, which does not include spouses or children. With the help of some generous churches, organizations, and individuals, Footstool was able to cover the expenses for this retreat. All the missionaries were able to participate in our retreat free of charge; all they had to do was book a flight to Seoul, and Footstool took care of the rest.

We would not have been able to run the retreat without the help of our volunteers. We had about 30 different people volunteer their time, resources, gifts and abilities to help us make this retreat possible. Thank you to all the volunteers who served, we appreciate you very much! 




* Answers are posted anonymously to ensure the safety and privacy of the missionaries. 





2.5 years this term.  (2.5 years before that in another city, with 2 years in the States between the two.) Last break:  Last vacation was June 2016.  Our mission organization in Japan had a country-wide retreat at the end of December as well.  Not sure that is actually a break, though.



Caring for team members from preparing them for the field, orientation and integration into the team, to long-term care for their social, professional, spiritual lives, and also readjustment to life back home.  It also includes enabling members to care for themselves.



That life overseas is, in many ways, not that different from life in the States.  One must do laundry, pay bills, etc. here as well.  And being intentional about evangelistic living is not easier overseas;  if one doesn't share their faith at home, they likely won't overseas either.






2 years. Last break was January 2016 for ten days.



You don't know you need it until you get it. You need to be aware of what's below the surface while on the field so it does not blow up when you are relaxing or decompressing. Deal with it gradually as it arises. Make daily or weekly time to deal with emotional and spiritual issues. Get a mentor!






7 years. Last visit home was 3 years ago.



The best way to support field workers is to break down the barrier between missionaries and non-missionaries. All believers are field workers in every vocational calling. If the church really believed that and taught that, then every field worker would be supported. We don't need to lift up missionaries more, we need to lift up all vocations to the same level so all work becomes holy.






We've been out for about 3.5 years.  We got to go home for my brother's wedding for 2 weeks last summer, though it was pretty busy since I was the best man.  Other than that, this was the first time we've had a break since we've been out.



Member care to us is the consistent caring for the needs of workers abroad - listening patiently, learning what they experience and what they go through, understanding their needs and desires, lifting them up, knowing them well enough to ask good questions to help guide them in making decisions (helping them to have good eyes to be able to see themselves and their situation clearly so they can make good decisions), being close enough with them that you can be involved in their life (helping them to be authentic and open with where they are in relationships, their work, and helping them to see blind spots that will cause them problems), and providing restful and growing respites from their work in the field.



That we are like them.  We have fears and doubts.  We have weaknesses and struggles.  We want to be known not just receive support.  And we want people to come and participate with us so they see and feel and understand themselves.






I have been on the field for about 4 and half years.  The last time I took a break was about two years ago when I traveled to the states.



To me, the term ‘member care’ means caring for the missionary- body, soul and spirit.  A lot of people just focus on one or two parts but not the whole person.  For example many missionaries are supported well financially but not always supported on a relational or spiritual level. I think a lot of people often have a unrealistic view of missionaries and think that they are super spiritual people who “have it all together” when actually we are real people who have the same struggles that any Christian would have.  Having regular accountability and pastoral care is important and very much needed as well as prayer and financial support.  



I think I would like people to know that it’s really difficult sometimes and although we take joy in our work, we also struggle a lot with the demand and pressures we face. The spiritual warfare is real and at times very intense and having prayerful covering is absolutely vital to our sustainability.



I think I would tell them that missions is personal, you can’t separate yourself and your personal life from your labor because who you are comes out in what you do. Being intentional about spending regular times with God is essential, not letting the work overtake your relationship with God. That should always come first. It’s from the place of our connection with God that the ministry should flow out of. I would also stress the importance of community whether it’s on the field or back home.  Be in community and find people who challenge you and encourage you.



I think first it’s important to really believe in the vision of missions. If you don’t really value missions you won’t value missionaries. Once we have a heart for missions and see the value and necessity of it we can seek to support the missionary.  For me when I come back to my home country I often become disappointed when people just don’t ask me how I’m doing or what it’s like etc. When I meet people who are genuinely interested and care about the work and care about me it means so much. These are the people who are usually our biggest supporters and who have trekked with us for the long term. When someone just drops me a couple of lines in an email saying they are praying for me or asking me how things are going- it really means a lot!  It makes me feel like I’m not forgotten. I also think rest is a big one.  A lot of missionaries I know struggle with the workload and often burn out. Helping missionaries to get the rest and refreshment they need is huge and helps sustain missionaries long term.



I felt honored. It think that was really big for me. This retreat made me realize that there are people who really love and care for missionaries and who are acknowledging what we do. 



Footstool Fridays Wrap-up






What are Footstool Fridays? This fall, Footstool launched Footstool Fridays as events open to the public on the last Friday of each month. In our fall series titled "Walking Justly," each event highlighted the extraordinary stories of ordinary people taking action for justice and allowed attendees to engage with key justice issues.



Our first event in October featured a film screening of Blood Brother. The film documents the story of Rocky Braat, a young American, who met a group of children at an HIV orphanage while traveling across India. Finding he could not help the children out of their current situation, Rocky did the only thing he knew he could do: he left everything behind in the U.S. and moved to India to work in the orphanage. Through the film, we were able to get a glimpse of the suffering and pain the children face, but we also saw Rocky’s heart for the children and how he is able to love them unconditionally. Blood Brother is a very emotional film that captures how an ordinary person can be moved to action and love even in the midst of profound suffering. We had the pleasure of hosting Rocky for a Q&A session after the screening of the film to hear more details about his work, ministry, and life in India. If you are interested in giving to Rocky's ministry, please click HERE.


For our second event, we invited Pastor Yoo Dae Yeol from Hanaro Church to share his testimony. Pastor Yoo shared his amazing personal story of coming to faith in Christ and his church’s ministry to marginalized groups here in Seoul. Pastor Yoo also held a time for Q&A, and the event concluded with the entire audience gathering around to pray for Pastor Yoo and his ministry.


We concluded our fall series by hosting a screening of the film The Drop Box. Inspired by his love for his own disabled son, Pastor Lee and his wife began taking in disabled children, whose parents could not raise them. Orphaned babies began to arrive at his doorstep. One day, after finding an abandoned baby in a cardboard box outside his door, he was horrified by the idea of what could have happened if he had not discovered the child sooner in the freezing cold. Thus, in 2009, Pastor Lee built a "baby box" on the side of his house, and he has been taking in unwanted babies ever since. We invited Pastor Lee and his wife to share about their ministry firsthand. As Pastor Lee spoke, this humble and faithful man of God emanated pure love. His lifelong devotion and sacrifice have demonstrated so clearly that every human life is precious and valued in God's eyes.


Thanks for joining us for our Footstool Friday events this fall! With your help, we were able to raise a total of 3.8 million KRW to help the ministries we featured. We are excited to bring you more great events in the future, and we look forward to seeing you again in the spring of 2017!

Do you have any ideas for upcoming Footstool Fridays? We would love to hear from you. Contact us as

Baby Box


An alarm blaring in the middle of the night might drive some to anger, but for Pastor Jong-rak Lee it is the sound that prompts him to love. In the winter of 2009 Pastor Lee decided to build the Baby Box on the side of his house after the startling discovery of a baby in a cardboard box, abandoned on his doorstep on a freezing cold night.

Giving birth to a child outside of marriage as well as raising a child as a single mother are social stigmas in Korean culture that unfortunately have drastic effects the lives of the parent as well as the child. Some families have been know to go as far as to sever ties with the mother and child. Single mothers have a harder time marrying and they face adversity when looking for and retaining employment, some have been pressured into quitting by their co-workers. Because of this, some see the baby box as an alternative to terminating the pregnancy.

Pastor Lee believes there was a significant increase of babies dropped off after a new adoption policy went into effect in 2012 that requires all newborns to be registered in an official registry. Before the policy, Pastor Lee claims to have received about two babies per month, and after the policy that number gradually increased to about 19 per month. From December 2009 through August 2016, the baby box has received about 1,000 babies.

When babies are dropped off in the baby box they stay in Pastor Lee's home for up to four days and then they are transferred to a local hospital for medical check-ups and foster care facilities. Because of health reasons, mostly those with physical or mental disabilities, some of the babies end up staying at Pastor Lee's church.

We will be hosting a screening of the film “The Drop Box” as well as a Q&A session with Pastor Lee. This event will be taking place on Friday the 25th of November at Jubilee Church, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. There is a 20,000 KRW suggested donation that will go directly to Pastor Lee and his ministry.

Adoption in Korea


Over the past six decades, at least 200,000 Korean children have been adopted into families in more than 15 countries, with the vast majority living in the US. Even though Korea has the longest running national adoption program in the world, adoption in Korea is still considered a taboo subject. Korean culture has strong Confucius roots that places a high value on ancestry and bloodline. Family is very important. Who you are as an individual is considered a direct reflection of your family and your bloodline. During job interviews, it is not uncommon to be asked for your family registry (which includes information about your family and genealogy) as well as details concerning your parents and their line of work.

After the Korean War, the South Korean government encouraged a limit on births per family: anyone with more than two children was seen as unpatriotic. People began to abandon unwanted babies at police stations or markets. There were also tens of thousands of biracial children, the result of relations between foreign servicemen and Korean women, as well as children orphaned by the war. These children were unwanted and shunned by Korean society. In 1955, Harry and Bertha Holt, an American couple from Eugene, Oregon, moved to Korea and started an orphanage to care for these unwanted children. With the help of Child Placement Services, Holt Adoption Program carried out its first international adoption process, placing twelve Korean-born orphans with families in the United States. Harry’s departure with the twelve children was very public and aired on many television and radio stations across the U.S.

In the peak of Korean inter-country adoption in the eighties, an estimated 24 babies a day left the country and came under the care of foreign families. In 1987, about 58% of foreign adoptees arriving in the U.S. were from Korea. In 1986, Korea hosted the Seoul Asian Games as well as the 1988 Olympic Games, which brought a lot of foreign attention to Korea. Around this time, the South Korean government issued administrative instructions to refrain from inter-country adoptions as they were receiving so much international attention. However, this did not regulate international adoptions. During the 1988 Olympic Games, the foreign press concentrated on the expanding number of children being adopted overseas and saw Korea as “the world’s top orphan exporter.” The media specifically focused on the continual increase in overseas adoptions in spite of Korea’s astonishing economic growth, its rapid rise to affluence, and prestige as hosts of the Olympic Games.

After receiving so much criticism, the government established the Adoption Project Improvement Guideline on June 1989 to boost domestic adoptions. This guideline was expected to lower inter-country adoptions every year and eventually eliminate it with the exception of mixed-race or disabled children by 1996. The plan was withdrawn in 1995 due to the lack of domestic adoption. Since then, the South Korean government has taken different measures to curtail the exodus of Korean-born children and increase domestic adoption rates. In 2007, the number of international adoptions dropped below the number of domestic adoptions--not because domestic adoptions increased, but due to Korean law that reduced international adoptions. Before the Special Adoption Law (2008-2011), there were an average of 1,408 international adoptions per year. After the Special Adoption Law (2013-2015), the average dropped to 669 children adopted internationally.

There have been many cultural and societal issues that have made adoption a taboo in Korea, but in the past couple of years the government has been changing policies and raising awareness about the issue of Korean-born orphans. Progress is being made to improve the lives of orphans and place them in caring homes. In 2005, the Ministry of Health and Welfare designated May 11th as National Adoption Day and the week immediately after has been designated as Adoption Week. In 2006, local organizations, with the help of the government, began carrying out events to help establish healthy adoption culture. There have been adoption policy establishments, surveys and research, post-adoption management, family support, education, as well as promotion of adoption through broadcast, newspaper, internet and pamphlet to encourage adoption and facilitate a smooth adjustment to family life after adoption.




On Saturday, November 12th from 10am to 4pm, the first ever foster care and orphan care conference will take place in South Korea. The conference will have speakers from Mission to Promote Adoption of Kids (MPAK), Hope for Orphans, Holt Children's Services, and other leaders in the field of orphan and foster care through out Korea. They will be explaining the challenges of orphan care in Korean culture and will raise awareness of the orphan crisis in South Korea. Attendees will also have a chance to hear testimonies from adopted children and updates on adoption laws. This conference will provide practical ways that churches can care for orphans, present other options aside from adoption as means of orphan care, and to really challenge churches in Korea to be active in caring for orphans. 


Pastor Eddie Byun will be one of the guest speakers at the conference. We asked him a few questions about the challenges that have made this a growing issues. 

Have there been major issues that made people realize the need for more awareness and intervention in the foster care/adoption system? 

Current laws and quotas placed on inter-country adoption is making it more urgent for Koreans and expats in Korea to become more actively engaged in caring for orphans in Korea. There are more opportunities for residents in Korea to be care-givers and those families who do give care from Korea (even expats), because even the adoptions by expats who reside in Korea will not be counted against the quota for inter-country adoptions, providing more opportunities for these children to gain families. 

What have been the biggest challenges in reforming these (adoption/foster care) systems?

There are many challenges. Korean cultural hurdles against adoption, the importance of bloodline in Korean culture, churches not seeing the role of orphan care as a gospel issue. These are just a few of the challenges I've come across over the years. 

How have things changed in the past decade?

Not enough has changed, which is why I felt the need to begin this type of conference to educate and mobilize the church to be caregivers for the orphans of Korea. 

For more information, tickets, location and directions please click here


The Need For Member Care

Written by Carolyn Klejment-Lavin


The Need for Member Care


Missionaries can be a stressed out bunch. I know, because I’ve been one. I’ve also been married to one and the both of us will likely be stressed out missionaries again.


Once upon a time my husband and I were brand new rosy-cheeked cross-cultural workers in Southeast Asia.  We fully expected the transition to our new home to be difficult. We were Intercultural Studies majors in undergrad, we knew all the stages of culture shock, we read the books on transition and adjustment, we took the pre-field training- we knew what we were getting into. And we were right, adjustment was hard. There was the oppressive heat, the crazy traffic, communication difficulties, intensive language school and the fact that the culture was barely anything like the dozens of pocket sized guidebooks we poured over had told us it would be. But there was also something deeper than some of those expected difficulties. We felt an incredible pressure to produce and perform. Surely our sending churches and organization had high expectations of us, however, most of the pressure was from within ourselves. Doing development work to be salt and light in the world was our dream. It was what we went to school for. What we stayed up for hours talking about. What we raised support for almost 2 years for.


"We felt an incredible pressure to produce and perform. Surely our sending churches and organization had high expectations of us, however, most of the pressure was from within ourselves."


We had to be effective. This was it. And people were sacrificially giving so we could do this! However, intense pressure to perform, high expectations, loneliness and 90% humidity is not going to end well. Several months after our arrival, the circumstances caught up with us and we broke down. When we got to the breaking point, we didn’t know where to turn for the professional help we needed. We eventually found some help outside of the country we were serving in, but it was very limited and we still needed more support. We were also ashamed that we needed help and didn’t want anyone to know. We were afraid we would lose our financial support if people knew how much we were struggling because they would think we weren’t a good investment. So we pretended we were okay.


"Missionary attrition can have negative effects on the missionaries, their families, the sending missions agency, other missionary staff and the local people the missionaries were working with."


Today, as a counselor and as someone who has been serving cross culturally for 6 years, I feel so sad thinking of how we felt and how we didn’t reach out to more people during that time. I wish we hadn’t been so afraid. I wish we had known how normal cross-cultural stress is and how necessary the need for care is. On one stress scale called the Holmes-Rahe scale, 300 points of stress or above is considered the danger zone for potential physical illness and a person is encouraged to make significant life changes. A study done on a modified version of this scale found that the average missionary has approximately 600 points of stress a year! Many of the stress factors are not unique to the missionary experience but the physical, cultural, political and geographical contexts in which missionaries live and work increase their risk. When all of these stressors and challenges add up and cannot be coped with any longer, it can lead to unplanned missionary resignation from the field, otherwise known as missionary attrition. Missionary attrition can have negative effects on the missionaries, their families, the sending missions agency, other missionary staff and the local people the missionaries were working with. In a study by the World Evangelical Fellowship, they found that of the career missionaries that leave each year, 71% leave for preventable reasons.


"This January, Footstool is offering a free member care retreat for missionaries serving in Asia to come and rest. To have time to process and reflect. Be loved on and cared for through time of Bible study, prayer, counseling, and pampering."


So what can we do? Well, I think there is a lot we can do! One starting point for both senders and goers is to promote a healthy ideology of work and stress from psychological perspective and prioritizes Sabbath rest and identity outside of work from theological perspective. At Footstool, our heart is to do all we can to support missions work in the 10/40 window and with the clearly critical need for member care we want to do our best to support those serving in the 10/40 window by caring for their emotional and mental health. This January, Footstool is offering a free member care retreat for missionaries serving in Asia to come and rest. To have time to process and reflect. Be loved on and cared for through time of Bible study, prayer, counseling, and pampering. We believe this kind of time of rest is necessary as preventative care so that cross cultural workers don’t reach the breaking point and to enable them to thrive in their work.


Would you consider helping us to provide this member care retreat?


The member care retreat will have seasoned member care speakers who have experience in leading missionaries into times of rest and refreshment. In addition to the speakers, there will be counseling services available, rest/relaxation specialists, free childcare, and medical/dental specialists to serve the retreat attendees. The retreat will offer room and board for four days and three nights for all participants and volunteers, including free transportation to and from the airport in Seoul, South Korea to the retreat center.


Footstool is partnering with a number of churches and organizations to host this member care retreat for those serving overseas in Asia. We are looking for help 2 major ways:

  • Finances: this retreat will be free for all the missionaries. We are looking for churches and individuals to come along side to care for these missionaries.
  • Volunteers: we need volunteers to help with children’s ministry, worship, prayer, logistics, and hospitality. We are also looking for medical, dental, massage, hair/nails, and education specialists.

We hope you will partner with us to provide this much needed retreat! To support with a financial gift please click HERE and to sign up to volunteer for the retreat click HERE.

Footstool Fridays



On Friday October 28th, from 7pm to 9pm we will be hosting our second Footstool Friday with guest speaker Pastor Yoo Dae Yeol at CityLight Seoul.  Pastor Yoo will share his amazing testimony and answer questions about his life "inside," how he encountered God on his journey to a new life in South Korea, and his vibrant ministry here in Seoul.

This event is the second installment of our Footstool Fridays series, "Walking Justly." The goal of Footstool Fridays is to give exposure to various ministries serving in the 10/40 window and provide a platform for sharing how they are making a tangible impact in their communities. Through this fall series we aim to raise awareness about current social justice issues and highlight inspiring, personal testimonies of those who are on the front lines of justice ministry. Suggested donations of 20,000 KRW will go toward financially supporting the organizations that we feature. 

Footstool Fridays are on the last Friday of the month, during the fall and the spring. Our last two events will take place at City Light Seoul. Click the link below for directions. 

Partner Highlight: Oak Tree Project

Oak Tree Project is a scholarship and mentoring program for Korean orphans who get into college. Thousands of children have been orphaned in Korea because of abuse, abandonment, poverty, and neglect. They are able to live in government-subsidized orphanages throughout childhood, but once they turn 18, they must move out and manage their lives on their own. The mission of Oak Tree Project is to provide true orphans with financial scholarships for living expenses and a dedicated mentor to help them through college.

Orphans have to pay for tuition as well as living expenses so they have no choice but to get part-time and sometimes full-time jobs, on top of their academic courses, in order to make ends meet. Oak Tree Project provides students with 500,000 KRW a month for living expenses and pairs them with a committed mentor who is there for emotional support until the student graduates. During the semester, Oak Tree scholarship recipients do not work so they can focus on studying, which enables them to achieve higher grades to receive additional scholarships for tuition.


Two of our Footstool staff members participated in the Oak Tree Run fundraiser!

On Saturday, October 15th, Oak Tree Project held its annual Oak Tree Run. There was a 5K, 10K and a half marathon making it accessible for runners and walkers of all ages to be able to participate. Oak Tree Project hosts this yearly event to raise funds (100% of the registration fees) for scholarships and to raise awareness about the struggles orphans. This year, over 550 people signed up for the run in Seoul, representing 35 different countries from around the world. Previous and current scholarship recipients and their mentors had a great time running the 5K together and seeing so many people come out to support their cause!

If you are interested in learning more about Oak Tree Project, please check out their website.

Partner Highlight: World Race


We asked one of our partners in Cambodia, Scott, about the importance of business as missions. Here is what he had to say on the subject. 


1. Why is business as missions important? 

We have great ministry access to many people all around the world. Business as missions creates more avenues of Kingdom opportunity for those who may not be called into traditional ministry (pastoral, children, church planting, etc.). People skilled in business, administration, hospitality, along with countless other expertise come alive as they utilize their gifting for Kingdom work. We make a way for those that don't have a way by empowering local people who want to become sustainable. We go farther and deeper into closed nations that blatantly refuse entry to purely ministry organizations. Our revenue paves a path to the very ministry opportunities that may have closed down due to the lack of funding. We see it as a way of adding a stronger arm to our Kingdom body.


2. What is the difference between a Christian in business and a Christian business, if any? 

The difference is the main focus of the business. Although many Christians currently run businesses, rarely do you see the primary focus of the business being Kingdom-centered. It is amazing to see many companies who give generously to benevolent ministries and contributing in a huge way. However, giving is just one aspect of Christ-centered businesses. Depending on the key focus of the business as missions company, the list ranges in the way they engage in Kingdom priorities. Some examples of Kingdom priorities include financial giving off the top (first fruits), sustainable development (empowerment and capacity building), pro bono/affordable consulting and services (providing for the poor and those in need), broader demographic reach for evangelism (guesthouse with people around the world at their doorstep who would normally not step foot in a church), among many others. 


3. What is your strategic advantage with business as missions?

Of the many advantages doing business as missions, the word that comes to mind is versatility. Suddenly you have a need for all types of professions ranging from hotel operators, baristas, tech developers and many others who find a higher calling in their lives. They are not just allowed in closed nations but embraced with open arms and asked to lead with their giftings. 


4. It seems like business ethics and Christian ethics are on opposite ends of the spectrum. How are you able to bridge that gap and successfully grow your profits without compromising your moral integrity? 

The way you make money is just as important (if not more important) than what you ultimately end up making. If you are here just to make money and looking solely at profit margins, you're in the wrong business. I believe most people who are doing business as missions do not seek monetary gain as the primary objective. Priorities vary based on the primary focal points of the company or organization. When you build a strong foundation of spiritually aligned people, they are able to walk out their business as missions objectives without compromising their core Christian values. At the same time, they keep each other sharpened and accountable.  


"The way you make money is just as important than what you ultimately end up making."




5. In what ways does your business help expand God's kingdom? Are you more focused on making a local or global impact? 

We currently operate a guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia in an effort to love guests from all around the world, love our missions community as they walk out their ministry and overflow to the local community with the hope of creating sustainability that builds capacity to equip and empower. This is the first of twenty we want to build in the next five years. We hope God will bring the right people who can help us expand His Kingdom in progressive ways that create opportunities for many to come. Locally we hope to raise up the next generation and be sent out globally. 


6. What advice would you give to a person who is conflicted over joining the business world as a follower of Christ?

If you are conflicted, you're in a good place. I remember the first time someone told me that being conflicted was a good thing. I became more frustrated at that someone more than the actual situation. Being conflicted in this manner is a good thing because it will lead to the right questions that they will hopefully take to the Lord. If you asked a majority of people in ministry in this capacity, they usually tell you that it amazes them how they got this far. It's rarely a linear path that outlines step-by-step instructions of Kingdom business. There's usually a point of conflict that leads to good questions, ultimately diving deep into dependence on Him who you learn to trust more and more with each step, every leap, and many falls. The question is... Are you willing to go there with Him?


To find out more about World Race, please check out their website.

If you would like to learn more about business in missions from Scott, he is looking for help from anyone with a 1 to 6 month commitment, please let us know.

Blood Brother Film Screening

On September 30th, we will host a screening of the film Blood Brother for our first Footstool Friday. Footstool's fall series titled "Walking Justly" will highlight different individuals and organizations involved in justice ministries.

Blood Brother is a documentary about Rocky Braat's decision to leave his comfy job in the U.S. and move to an orphanage for HIV-positive children in India. The film documents the pain, poverty, disease, and death that Rocky and the children endure as well as the deep joy they share in the midst of it all.

Rocky will be interviewed on TBS eFM This Morning on 101.3mhz on Friday morning to talk about his work in India and promote his Q&A at Footstool Friday.

Join us on Friday, September 30th from 7-9 pm for the screening and Q&A with Rocky at Jubilee Church.

Training: DCPI Church Planting Essentials


On October 4th-7th, Footstool Mission Center will be hosting a Church Planting Essentials training for anyone that has any interest in church planting. The training will be lead by Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI), an organization born out of the desire to see church planters thrive in fulfilling their God-given calling. The DCPI vision is to equip leaders to plant five million dynamic churches to reach the world for Christ. Dr. Paul Becker, Founder and President of DCPI, cast this vision in 2010. Since then, they have spread their vision to over 110 countries and have trained over 118,000 church planting leaders.

DCPI teaches THE BOSS PRINCIPLE: Christ is the Lord of church planting and He has a vision for the new church plant. This is based on Ephesians 1:22-23: “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Along with their strategy of establishing national partnerships, training and equip leaders, planting reproducing leaders, and multiplying the movement, only .01% of churches planted with the DCPI methodology fail (according to a study by The Barna Group). With such a high emphasis on multiplication, DCPI seeks to plant +323,000 churches in the next five years.

“The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches,” Peter Wagner, former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary.


Church planting is a strategic way to attract unchurched people, as new church plants tend to focus more on outreach and are more sensitive to issues outside their four walls. This provides an opportunity to disciple new believers and reach different demographics of people by strategically positioning ministries that serve the community in fresh and effective ways. Church planting also provides an opportunity for the church to bring reconciliation and healing to a hurting community.

Church plants are a great way to renew existing churches. Oftentimes, older congregations are reluctant to try new approaches because they have become comfortable doing things the way they have always done them. New churches have to be innovative, creative, and operate mostly in new ways. There is room to experiment, learn from mistakes, and grow together in their new community. New churches also provide an opportunity for believers to grow in leadership as new positions open up within the church.

If you are interested in church planting or are considering a church plant, this training is for you!