In the past few months, since CoVid 19 started to spread like wildfire from Wuhan, China, to many countries, life has suddenly made a stop for many missionaries ministering in many parts of the world. The pandemic threatened their ministries, the people they are ministering and their very own lives. In this turn of events many South Korean missionaries have been affected by the spread of this virus.
The most recent number of Korean missionaries sent to countries all over the world is now 28,039 according to Dr. Yong J. Cho, Gen. Secretary of Korea World Missions Association (KWMA). With the outbreak of Corona virus, KWMA began to take measures on how to assist the needs of thousands of Korean missionaries in hundreds of mission fields.
In a virtual conversation with Dr. Yong J. Cho he said that after the Corona Virus broke out in S. Korea, KWMA encouraged the missionaries to stay in the mission fields instead of coming back to S. Korea. However, because of the aggressive rise of the CoVid infection, and the health risks it brings to people, KWMA instructed the member mission agencies to check and consider the conditions of the individual missionaries and the health situation of the countries where they are serving. Then they can decide whether missionaries must stay or must return to S. Korea for protection and safety.
WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT
With the declarations of lockdowns in many cities due to health emergency, KWMA was informed that many missionaries will be returning to seek refuge from the pandemic. The association immediately facilitated the preparations for temporary housing for those who are coming home due to the severity of the Covid 19 in their mission fields. About 18% of the total missionaries deployed by member mission agencies have decided to return because of the riskiness of the situation.
KWMA worked with the government’s agencies in charge of temporary housing. Though they faced the strict measures of the Korean government, KWMA complied with the detailed requirements. Meetings after meetings with government agencies took place so they can provide for temporary housing needs. Since thousands of homes will be needed, a lot of paper works need to be accomplished. In the end, through the initiative and cooperation of the local Christian churches, the housing for missionaries have been finally arranged.
USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION
Technology is a God-given gift to us! Without it, in this time of pandemic, where communities are placed under lockdown or quarantine, communicating will be a lot difficult. KWMA made use of virtual meetings to reach the mission agencies and thousands of missionaries in the fields for smooth intervention, counseling, and encouragement for those who opted to stay and facilitation of housing, transportation, coordination and other necessities for the returning missionaries and their families.
Through the availability of facebook messenger, Zoom, Whats app, Kao Talk, etc, KWMA connected to hundreds of missionaries abroad, mission organizations, agencies and other networks to be able to work for the safety and health of the Korean missionaries.
PARTNERING WITH LOCAL CHURCHES
Since the beginning of mission awareness in S. Korea, the local church has been a solid partner of missions agencies in recruitment, financial support and prayers. The local church is truly the most valuable partner KWMA and other mission agencies the Lord provided in this time of emergency. In Korea the supporting churches of the incoming missionaries were informed about the situation of their missionaries. And they were requested to continue their support financially, morally and psychologically. The local churches understood their missionaries’ needs and they agreed to give them support while they are back home. Missionaries in these times need a lot of support from their local churches and friends. Stress and anxieties are two of the most frequent visitors of people whose days are bleak and uncertain.
This pandemic will not only give health-related problems, but more difficulties as an outcome of the lockdowns in communities preventing people to go out and move around for businesses, politics, ministries and other activities. Economic instability may be the next scenario after this CoVid 19 pandemic. The Lord our God is our protector and provider whether in the missionfields or in the hometowns.
With the18% of the total Korean missionaries returned to Korea due to the CoVid 19 pandemic, KWMA and its member mission agencies are waiting for other missionaries to follow. They will continue to prepare whatever needs missionaries may have and face circumstances this pandemic will bring and their ministries. KWMA will be a strong support and comfort for the missionaries who returned and the missionaries who are still the in the mission field. As Dr. Yong J. Cho wrote in his 2019 new year greeting, “KWMA will be faithful to the mission task laid before towards the stewards of the Great Commission.”
With CoVid 19 God is in control. Even this Corona Virus that brought a lot of changes and challenges to people and countries, God will be the comfort and in this time of uncertainty!
“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)
ABOUT KOREA WORLD MISSIONS ASSOCIATION (KWMA)
Started 30 years ago, KWMA was established in June, 1990 as an association of mission agencies and denominational boards that aspires to achieve effectiveness in world mission through a reciprocal cooperative and unified effort in all mission-related activities–mission information, missionary training and education, sending of missionaries and support, etc, between Evangelical churches, both denominational and non-denominational, mission boards, and mission organizations.
KWMA is committed to finishing the remaining task of missions by cooperation and unity.
To fulfill the mission, Korean church / denominational mission organization will cooperate with churches all over the world in networking, mission training, mission policy & administration, and mission strategy development.
1. By 2030, more than 50% of Korean churches will participate in missions
– 1/300 Movement – Every group of 300 believers will send one missionary.
– Mobilize Korean churches around the world
– Korean diaspora church will participate in world mission.
2. Developing a systematic training for missions
– For local church mission
– For missionaries
– For organizations
3. Expanding the frontier mission movement
– Continuing the strategic deploying of missionaries
– Through creative contextualization
– Expansion of cooperation with the international frontier mission movement
4. Sending 100,000 missionaries and raise 1 million tentmaker missionaries
– Execute TARGET2030 Movement
– Develop and implement the MT2030 Movement
– In charge of KODIA 1/10 Mission Movement
5. Achieving strategic mission by establishing mission information network
– Network with domestic mission agencies
– Network with Korean missionaries and Korean churches around the world
– Network with international mission society
6. Building a holistic member care and mission work evaluation system for a healthier mission
– To achieve all member-care. (conducting the Nine-Care system: Physical/Medical care, Counseling/Psychological care, Training/Carrer Care, Family/Missionary Kids Care, Missionary Furlough, Retirement Plan, Field Ministry Care, Crisis/Contingency, Pastoral/Spiritual Care )
– Implementing missionary family-care (parents, children)
– Utilizing all mission organizations for the evaluation system. (self-evaluation within the organization every year / formal evaluation from the mission evaluation service every third year.)
7. Developing Korean mission models to contribute to world mission
– The foreign missionary’s legacy – conducting the Four-Self Formula Movement (Nevius method: self–propagating, self-governing, self-supporting, and self-theology)
– Models developed by Korean missionaries – small group, prayer, and new CAS movements.
– Models developed in the mission field – church planting, local missionary training and sending.
– To share with the churches around the world – publish the Korean model of mission.