Adoption in Korea

adopt.jpg

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.

HANDLE WITH CARE CONFERENCE

 

 

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!

 




 

Partner Highlight: Ride Against Traffick

RATK_black_logo.jpg

Ride Against Traffick is a growing group of justice seekers who envision the end of human trafficking in Korea and beyond. In 2012, a ragtag band of 11 Christ followers caught God's heart for the oppressed and fatherless. With hearts burning for justice, they decided to cycle across the peninsula with a message of hope... and that's how the Ride was born.

 

1. What is the Ride?

The Ride is an annual 4-day, 550-km bike ride from Busan to Seoul to raise awareness and funds for human trafficking issues in Korea. Cyclists and support crew pay their own way and commit to raising funds on the group's fundraising page. In the past, Ride Against Traffick has raised over $100,000 (100 million KRW) for organizations actively fighting for justice: Oak Tree Project, a scholarship-mentorship program for orphans; and HOPE Be Restored, an anti-trafficking ministry based in Seoul.

 

2. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH THROUGH THESE RIDES

The vision of Ride Against Traffick is to raise awareness, raise individuals, and rouse the Church for the cause of justice in Korea. Every year, we seek to engage more people in the fight against human trafficking and challenge them to pursue justice in their own lives. The first step is educating our communities about the evils of modern-day slavery happening right here in Korea. It can be overwhelming at first, but we hope to shed light on issues that are often shrouded in darkness and obscurity.

The next concrete steps are prayer and taking action. We know that the hope and victory is already ours in Christ, yet we must continue to battle in the spirit to advance God's kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Through the Ride, we encourage individuals and call upon the church to rise and stand up for justice. It may be hard to see the direct impact of our Rides on human trafficking, but we believe we are moving in the spiritual realm by raising up an army of justice seekers and channeling resources to those on the front lines of justice ministries.

 

 

3.  What has been the greatest challenge in organizing the Ride? 

Every year, we experience spiritual attacks-- cyclists getting sick or injured or crashing on the road-- and there are logistical difficulties, but the greatest challenge is in getting the word out and bringing in funds. God has been faithful to provide each year what we've needed to make the Ride possible, but we are expectant for greater resources to reach wider audiences and make a deeper impact for these ministries helping the exploited and oppressed. We hope to see this modern-day abolitionist movement grow until it rocks this nation. So as we cycle and pray, please help us spread the word!

 

4. WHEN IS THE RIDE?

This year (2016) the Ride is on September 14-17, during the Chuseok holiday. We've chosen the dates over Chuseok for the past few years because these are the dates most people can take off from work or school for a stretch of 4 days-- that's how long the Ride takes because we ride 120-150 km per day.

We have 35 cyclists and 14 support crew registered for the Ride this year. Our group represents many churches and backgrounds, including foreigners and expats living in Korea. We will be riding into Seoul and finishing at the Jeremiah Prayer Meeting on Saturday evening, September 17 at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to come out and cheer us on there! Location TBD.

For more information on Ride Against Traffick, please check out their website

Seoul Church Planting Boot Camp

For the past 100 years, Korea has been a model of how Christianity can transform a society. From the small spark of American missionaries in the early 1900’s, to the Pyongyang Revival of 1907, Christianity has spread like wildfire across Korea and to other parts of Asia.

In the past 30 years, Christianity has not grown in Korea. It stands at 29% of population. In addition, the growing secularism sees Christianity and religion as whole, as unimportant with about 65.5% of the population sharing this view.

How do we continue to fan the flames of revival? One key is the renewal of church planting. As Dan MacDonald notes that “planting of new churches . . . is both symptom and catalyst of revival and renewal of the church”. In other words, when revival strikes churches are planted and when churches are planted, revival continues.

From July 11th through the 15th, Footstool will be hosting the Seoul Church Planting Boot Camp. Dr. Raymond Chang, Director of the Regenerant Network, will be leading this intensive five-day training. This will be an all-day class, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, equivalent to a 3-unit seminary level course.

Seoul Church Planting Boot Camp will provide participants with an introduction to the major start-up issues the planter faces in the first year of starting a new church. This course will cover thirty practical skill modules in the areas of personal preparation, strategic planning, core group development, and public launching. Boot Camp style training with immediate interaction, application and coaching applied to each training module will be utilized.

Our hope and prayer is this class would become a spark to renewal a vision for planting new churches in Seoul and beyond.

 

Interview: Dr. Nate Shannon on Theology & Missions

Dr. Nate Shannon is a professor of Systematic Theology at Torch Trinity Graduate University in Seoul. He graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary and earned his PhD in theology at the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). Dr. Shannon currently resides in South Korea with his wife and two children.

 

1. How did you come to teach theology in Korea?

I had some experience with Korean ministry in the United States—I served as a youth group jundosanim (youth pastor) at a Korean American church outside of Philadelphia—and so I had some inkling that this would be an opportunity that might possibly fit my gifts and training. So I looked into it, and after some months, here we are. Long term, on a personal level, theology in some sense is every Christian’s interest. In my own personal walk with Christ, I needed rigorous answers. And I think in my teaching, though I try not to show it, much of my teaching is a search for deeper answers. So teaching is sort of an aspect of my own learning.

 

2. How would you define theology, and what role does it play in day-to-day Christian life?

There’s no distinction between day-to-day Christian life and theology. The definition I use in my classes of theology is that theology is the organization of the data of Scripture. So really the exercise of doing theology is taking all of Scripture and asking questions. What does Scripture teach about who Jesus is? What does Scripture teach about the nature of God? What does Scripture teach about our holiness, the Law, grace, repentance, the last things? Those are theological questions, and that is the substance of Christian belief. I hope no one who finishes a theology course with me will be left with the question of how it relates to daily Christian life.

When we do theology in the seminary, we do it biblically and for the sake of the church. Christ’s work until He returns is the collecting, gathering, and perfecting of His people—and we call that the church, the visible church. So I am nothing but a kind of servant of Christ’s work in the church to study and convey and clarify good theology for good preaching and teaching and ministry in Christ’s church.

"Scripture rewards careful, rigorous reading and thought."

 

3. What would you say to a Christian who views theology as “too intellectual” to grasp?

When you hear a sermon or tell someone what the gospel is or when you read your Bible and then you look up from your Bible and you tell someone what it means, you’re doing theology. You’re explaining the meaning of Scripture. The Biblical mandate for this is clear: explain, interpret, teach your children; argue from the Scripture that Jesus is the Christ, which is what Paul does. So the Biblical mandate for looking up from your Bible and conveying its meaning is pervasive in Scripture. It’s much of what the Church is tasked with. You hear your pastors every Sunday explain—they’re doing theology. So I would try to recover the word “theology” from those who try to soil it with this air of cold academia.

At the same time, we don’t want to democratize our theology all the time and measure the quality of our theology by the lowest common denominator. I think that would be very dangerous because we have to at least keep up with the most sophisticated skeptic. I think the Lord uses skeptics to enrich our self-understanding and our understanding of Scripture. Scripture rewards careful, rigorous reading and thought.

 

4. What is the number one thing missionaries should be equipped with concerning theology?

A good doctrine of Scripture as the Word of God. If you hold onto the uniqueness, authority, and trustworthiness of Scripture, you have some confidence that you are well-grounded and that your witness is tethered to the objective facts of redemption.

Paul in Romans 10 says, How can they be saved if they don’t believe? How can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? That, I believe, deserves as much attention as the Great Commission. Paul is saying people are not saved unless you go and bear witness, unless we send people. The power of Paul’s statement is that the objectivity of the accomplishment of redemption in Christ Jesus the Son of God—that specific One who is attested to in this Scripture—that’s the work of God to which witness must bear. Only a gospel of that accomplishment saves. This is so essential that Paul is here crying out, we must go tell people or they will not be saved. It’s these theological foundations that really make clear to us the urgency of bearing witness to Christ.

The call to missions, to evangelism and to witness, is a richly theological concept. We must explain who the Christ is. Which one? The One attested to in Scripture. That’s your doctrine of Scripture, of soteriology, of history. In that sense, even what you refer to as the missional task is the product of sound theology. If you lose those things, you can call it mission, but it’s an exercise without much Christian substance.

 

"The call to missions, to evangelism and to witness, is a richly theological concept."

 

5. What is an example of an issue in society in which the culture is shaping the theology of the church, instead of the other way around?

As church is practiced, it’s difficult for us to sift through our thoughts and ambitions and select those that are biblical and those that are just carried in from the world. It’s too often that purity of witness and faithfulness to the Scripture is left aside. And I think even in the purest of motives, there seems to be sometimes a shallow appreciation for the principle task of the Church—the gathering and perfecting of saints according to the gospel of Scripture.

We should remember the unique truth of Christianity is that God comes to man. Even when we are dead in our trespasses and sins, while we are still sinners, He died for us. And it is entirely the Spirit’s work to convict us of wickedness and sin and convert us. We are dry bones littered in a valley. We’re not waiting in line, we didn’t send a letter—we are too rotten to even know of our need. And so God comes to man. He comes down to an earth, to creation that has been so crippled and infiltrated by a principle of opposition to His glory, and He saves. And what is the church but the house that has received His salvation, and that has received His Word?

 

6. How would you encourage fellow believers as we continue to seek to know God more?


Personal maturity as Christians, which includes intellectual and emotional maturity, our ability to rejoice in all things, to suffer with hope, our Christian fortitude in times of difficulty in struggle, our steadfastness in theology, even the strength of our assurance of our salvation, and all the things that come with that (the faithfulness of your witness, effectiveness of your counseling, your sisterhood and brotherhood to fellow Christians)—all of that bears an organic relationship to your acquaintance with Scripture. There is the objective witness to the objective work of God, reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. So it's not optional. And I think the reward that is offered cannot be overstated.

Call2All Korea

Call2All is a worldwide movement calling all followers of Christ to carry out the Great Commission in focused collaboration. The first congress was held in January 2008 in Orlando, FL, under the leadership of Mark Anderson. Since then, there have been 24 congresses held around the world. From June 27 to July 1, 2016, the Call2All Korea Congress will be held in the Kintex Convention Center in Ilsan.

Located in the 10/40 Window, South Korea is a strategic launching point for the gospel into Asia because of its stable infrastructure and openness to religion. Having experienced dynamic evangelical growth in the past century, Korea has become one of the world’s largest missionary-sending nations today.

About 5,000 key Christian leaders from around the globe will meet to address how to engage the younger generations with the gospel message and reignite the hearts of believers about what God is doing in the nations. There will be vibrant discussions around church multiplication, evangelism, Bible distribution, and unreached people groups; interactive workshops hosted by diverse Christian leaders; opportunities for networking and collaboration; and powerful sessions of worship and prayer for the nations. Both young and old will gather to strategize ways to reach the least, the last, and the lost.

The Call2All Congress in Seoul will be an amazing opportunity for missionaries and ministry workers to connect, learn, and join the next wave of missions. For more information on this event, please visit the Call2All Korea webpage HERE.

Stop by our Footstool booth at the conference to say hello!

Design Thinking Workshop

 

On April 30, Footstool hosted its first Design Thinking Workshop for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) leaders at Jubilee Church. Design Thinking is a way to solve complex problems that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning to create desirable outcomes for the user experience.

The goal of this workshop was to explore creative possibilities for increasing BSF member engagement at Jubilee. In preparation, Footstool staff conducted research through a survey and multiple interviews and observations to gain key insights into the BSF experience.

The Footstool staff presented the research findings to BSF leaders, placed them into small groups to discuss, and facilitated a time of brainstorming new ideas. Each group chose one idea to focus on and collaborated on creating tangible solutions to improve the overall BSF experience.

Design Thinking provides a new, creative approach to solving everything from the most complex challenges to everyday tasks. If you are interested in our Design Thinking Workshop for your non-profit organization or ministry, please contact us at info@footstool.org.

2016 Seoul Missionary Appreciation Luncheon

This past Tuesday, 60 missionaries and ministers serving in Korea gathered for the first ever Seoul Missionary Appreciation Luncheon, co-hosted by Footstool Mission Center and Pastor Leo Rhee from CityLight Seoul Church.

Groups representing 6 areas of ministry (missions organizations, Christian schools, para-church/campus ministries, NK-related ministries, justice/mercy ministries, and local English ministries and churches) had the opportunity to share about their ministries and how they are advancing the Kingdom in our city.

The purpose of the event was to honor those serving in Korea and to build networks and relationships, with the hope of one day hosting a Seoul-based missions conference. We enjoyed a great time of sharing, eating, praying, and connecting with one another.

This event embodies the heart of Footstool’s mission, vision,values.

 

We would like to thank everybody who came out! Special thanks to the local churches that made this event possible: New Harvest Church (Sarang), Nam Seoul EM, New Philadelphia Church, Youngnak Church, Jesus Street Church, Jubilee Church, CityLight Seoul Church, Hallelujah Church, Lifespring Church, Oceans Church, and Crossway Mission Church.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Alex Lim of Five Two Foundation

Img.jpg

Alex Lim is the founder and director of Five Two Foundation, a crowdfunding platform based in Seoul, South Korea. Find out more about Five Two at www.fivetwo.org.

1. What is Five Two Foundation?

We are a ministry devoted to helping other ministries raise funds online. Our mission is to multiply God's resources for the common good. We believe that technology can be used as a lever to raise more funds for God's global mission. 

In practice, we offer GrassRoot which is a fundraising platform that allows any organization to create their own crowdfunding website. They can use their own brand/logo, donations go straight to their bank account, and we even automate tax receipts. The platform is "project-based" meaning that every ministry can create targeted giving pages for missionaries, short-term teams, events, and campaigns. In short, every org can now have its own version of GoFundMe to manage their own fundraising. 

2. Who is your main client/user base?

Our primary clients are ministries based in the United States. Although our platform can be used by almost any organization in the world, our focus has been the US due to the number of nonprofits and level of donations. We also have a fair number of clients in South Korea. From a missions funding perspective, the US and Korea are by far the largest donors to global missions, so it makes sense for us to be focused on serving clients in those two countries.

3. What has the process of driving Five Two Foundation's vision been like?

I think anyone who has ever started something new will tell you that it's extremely difficult yet rewarding at the same time. We believe we have something to offer and help ministries raise more funds and save time and money doing so, but it's not easy trying to convince someone that you can help them if they don't think anything is wrong or if there is nothing to improve. And because our clients are so diverse, they all have very different needs. From a design perspective, it's very difficult to create an easy-to-use platform that has particular features to meet the needs of many different clients. Anyone can throw together a million options and settings but to make it seamless is another story. 

The other side of running a ministry is fundraising for our own operational expenses. Let's just say I know exactly what other ministries and missionaries go through when trying to raise funds for a cause. Fundraising is a labor intensive job. I would like to think that going through this experience helps us know our clients better and translates to a better product.
 

Five Two Foundation's online giving platform -  www.fivetwo.org

Five Two Foundation's online giving platform - www.fivetwo.org

4. How has the church crowdfunding landscape changed over the past five years?

Crowdfunding as a general concept is nothing new. In some ways, churches have always been crowdfunded since it relies of many donations from many different people. The average church is still under 100 members with a budget of under $100,000. It has changed in that more and more donations are now coming from online sources. That includes giving for offering/tithing and missions. It still has a long way to go since online giving for all nonprofits still only represents less than 7% of all giving. I also think donors are becoming more savvy. They require more engagement, more feedback, and they want to know exactly how their funds are being used. It requires churches and other ministries to be more transparent and accountable for how they use donor funds.

5. What is a concrete way to share the Gospel with digital tools available and developing now?

To be honest, I don't really know. We focus on giving, which is only part of the process since ministries need funds to help share the Gospel. I've read about the Jesus film and how many people have been saved through it, and how some are smuggling digital/audio Bibles into some countries. I still think sharing the Gospel digitally is just part of the process and in most cases, it requires a person to walk them through the story as well. However technology changes, the Gospel will always require offline follow-up because it lives and breathes in community. 

6. What advice do you have for Christians who are using technology and social media as a platform to advance the Kingdom?

Content still counts. Technology and social media are just different tools to carry the same message. Although the content often needs to be contextualized, the core message of the gospel remains unchanged. The medium has always changed so that's nothing new, even though modern technology seems so advanced. Papyrus or leaded pencils were considered technology at one point. 

Also keep in mind that "advancing the kingdom" can also come in many forms. I think most people think of direct evangelism or gospel presentations as kingdom work, but any form of good work can advance the kingdom. We need a much broader understanding of work and kingdom and how integrated they are. 

Recap: Justice & Deliverance Seminar

Footstool wrapped up the year-long Ministry at the Margins certificate program with a five-day Justice and Deliverance seminar. Bob & Gracie Ekblad, Eddie Byun, and Gilles Boucomont led trainings on topics ranging from animism, spiritual strongholds, idolatry, and justice issues in South Korea. The class of over 40 students was trained and challenged to bring Kingdom-centered healing and liberation in their respective churches and communities.

Sharing from his wealth of knowledge and experiences as the pastor of Eglise Reformée du Marais in Paris, Gilles Boucomont integrated practical and theological approaches to deliverance ministry. Eddie Byun, a local pastor and activist, revealed current strongholds and challenges in advocating for justice issues in Seoul. Bob Ekblad directed transformational Bible studies and teachings related to justice and deliverance ministry.

The rich atmosphere of learning, sharing, and growth allowed for meaningful discussions and deeper relationships to blossom throughout the week. We are grateful to have hosted this event and pray that God's kingdom purposes of justice and deliverance will continue to be activated. A special congratulations to each of the full-time students who faithfully committed to completing the year-long certificate program!

Recap: Inner Healing Seminar

Bob Ekblad teaching on inner healing

Bob Ekblad teaching on inner healing

Bob & Gracie Ekblad, Directors of Tierra Nueva, along with Lin Button, a world leader in inner healing visited us here in Seoul for The Inner Healing Seminar. Throughout the weeklong course, over 50 people received healing prayer and hands-on training in inner healing ministry every night. Topics discussed dealt with healing in the bible, identifying issues, replacing false images, receiving healing from wounds, and recovery. 

Attendees receiving prayer from the speakers

Attendees receiving prayer from the speakers

It was a great week of witnessing transformative power of prayer as we saw firsthand physical healing and deliverance!

Footstool staff with Bob, Gracie, and Lin

Footstool staff with Bob, Gracie, and Lin


Recap: The Scrolls are in Seoul!

A world expert in ancient documents and languages, Dr. Carroll shared his depth of knowledge and experience in discovering Biblical and ancient scrolls. In addition to his expertise in the field, Dr. Carroll's passion for Scripture as God’s Word was both contagious and inspiring. The scriptures came alive as Dr. Carroll shared stories of the scrolls throughout the centuries. Two of the Torahs survived Nazi Germany's destruction of Jewish documents, and another was smuggled into a Nazi concentration camp.

Footstool is honored to have hosted this joint event with The Tribe and the Carrolls. A special shoutout to R45 and Jiwan's Worship Team for leading the worship sessions.