Teamwork is traditional on the Korean farm. Whether it is setting out rice plants or repairing a dike, everybody in the village comes out to lend a hand, singing a work song. The three-man shovel is an example. This shovel (see picture above) is long-handled and has a large blade. Ropes are attached to rings on the blade. One man guides the blade as teams of two, four, or six men pull on the ropes. This "team shovel" can move a lot of dirt!
The team spirit was evident as hundreds of laymen joined workers in a successful city-wide evangelistic campaign in Seoul.
The leaders realized the awful responsibility of finding honesthearted children of God in this vast city of 3.5 million people!
$520 or $1,080
It was felt that the greatest need in preparing for the campaign was a revival in the church. Logically that revival should begin with the leaders, therefore a three-day retreat was planned for church leaders in a quiet mountain rest camp run by the YMCA. Here lay leaders of the church had the opportunity to pray with ministers, and veterans of the Book sat down with young interns to study a translation of Pastor L. E. Froom's book The Coming of the Comforter. As conference leaders and lay preachers felt the impact of this great theme, tears of repentance flowed. Confessions were made, resulting in a spirit of unity such as the church here has not seen for some time.
Plans for the campaign were presented. A spirit of cooperation was seen as leaders raised their eyes to higher goals. Some hesitated as a goal for campaign offerings of $520 was suggested. It was too much—even present goals were not being reached! Then someone dared to suggest that we go higher. Later, the church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, responded with a total offering of $1,080!
Before the leaders left the retreat they felt that the blessings gained there should be shared with the church. Fourteen ministers were assigned the task of holding revival meetings in twenty-three large churches in the city. Without prompting, prayer groups were organized in the wake of the revivals. Fifty members met each Sunday morning on a wooded hill, all seeking for the cleansing and the power of the Spirit of God.
One Hundred Volunteers
With the help of the local mission workers training classes were held to teach principles of personal evangelism. A group of almost one hundred volunteer counselors was taught how to help new interests with their spiritual problems and also was given methods of persuading men and women to solve their own problems through prayer and Bible study. Others were taught how to usher and perform other duties in public evangelism. Translations of counsels from the Spirit of Prophecy were mimeographed and given to these eager learners. Later they helped to counsel with the interested persons who remained after the meetings. Many of them came every night for two months and served faithfully. One brother who did not have bus fare walked four miles every night to take part in this work!
Cross Jordan and Take Jericho!
The whole church was involved in this evangelistic experience. One week before the campaign every church met in special seasons of prayer. All prayed that God would bless the campaign in a marked way. It was to be the largest campaign ever held in the city of Seoul. On Sabbath, August 29, just two days before the opening night, 3,500 Adventists gathered in the modern air-conditioned Citizen's Hall. Never before had the church in Korea had such a large gathering under one roof. A choir of one hundred voices sang anthems of praise as Milton Lee, division evangelist, challenged the congregation to "cross Jordan and take Jericho." It was planned that he and Mrs. Lee would hold evangelistic meetings for the Chinese people living in Seoul while the writer preached to the Koreanpeople. As the congregation left the auditorium they carried with them 180,000 handbills. These silent messengers were distributed to every corner of the city. It was encouraging to see Adventist missionaries and American servicemen passing out handbills on the busiest corner of Korea's capital city. That evening more than three hundred members came to the Sam Ill Hall, where the campaign was to be held, to pray all night, seeking for God's special blessing upon the evangelistic team. There were seasons of private prayer, sermons by ministers, and group prayer circles. The Lord was very near. Later on in the campaign another all-night prayer service was held closing with a communion service. Those who attended were blessed by these prayer sessions.
It Won't Work in Korea, or Will It
Veteran preachers said, "The people just don't respond to appeals. Korean people are not used to making decisions in public." When earnest prayer has been made and the speaker is inspired by the Spirit to make a call for decisions, God will answer with impressive results. More than 1,400 people filled the Sam Ill Hall. Much to the surprise of those who knew it would not work, more than one hundred adults remained after the meetings to counsel with ministers and pray with the evangelist. Night after night they remained to seek for spiritual help. Bible classes were organized as Evangelist Woo Pil Won studied every morning for two hours with those Nvho were Christians. Another group was led by Pastor Kim Tong Joon, radio evangelist. The students in this group had no Christian background.The Korean Voice of Prophecy Bible School staff members, led by Pastor Pak Won Sil, worked closely with the evangelistic team as they registered hundreds of interested people at the Voice of Prophecy center, a booth near the entrance of the hall. During the two months two graduation services were held as 380 people received diplomas.
Literature Evangelists Join Crusade
A group of sixteen faithful literature evangelists joined the team and worked in the vicinity of the auditorium, selling hundreds of dollars' worth of books and visiting scores of interested people. In the evening they helped with the attractive bookstand and there sold more than $160 worth of books and magazines. Others helped to usher and performed other duties.
Dr. Clarence Lee and staff members of the Seoul Sanitarium were on hand in their uniforms and with medical supplies. They helped those who needed treatment and visited in the homes and treated the sick there.
Ministerial students from the Korean Union College, led by their teachers, came out in the afternoon to visit the people in their homes. They worked with a group of ministers and about thirty laymen. They were given cards with the names and addresses of more than seven hundred interests. After special prayer and instruction, they went out to visit from house to house. Others came in the morning to help, bringing their lunches and then staying to visit interests.
Bible Marking Plan in Korea
The most effective follow-up program of the campaign was the Bible-marking program that followed the main meetings in the Sam Ill Hall. Just one week before the close of the meetings the people were urged to register for a free Bible. Large bookcases were set up in the hall and 450 new Bibles were placed in the cases. More than 350 people registered for a Bible. They were proud to see their names on the Bibles in the entrance hall. This feature boosted the registration. A smaller hall was rented for the Bible-marking classes. All were surprised when the program began the next night in the Chong No Wedding Hall. More than six hundred people filled the auditorium. The speaker used a large blackboard and illustrated the studies. The Bible texts were written in Korean characters on long white strips of paper and attached to the blackboard to be pulled off as each text was read and marked. One sound that is dear to the heart of an evangelist is the rustle of pages as the Bibles are opened to each text. The angels of heaven must have rejoiced as more than five hundred voices read the texts in unison. More than 25 per cent of the campaign audience continued in the Bible-marking class.
Adventists were alighting from buses, streetcars, and taxis with Bible and hymnal in hand. They streamed into the main gates of Seoul stadium. Past the base ball stadium they came to gather around the large swimming pool. Already hundreds were finding their seats in the amphitheater. This was to be a day of thanksgiving and decision as 170 candidates were to be baptized—the first fruits of the Seoul campaign.
The same faithful team of workers and laymen were busy making final preparations. Arrangements had been made for 2,000, but more than 3,000 members came through the gates. This campaign belonged to the church. The members wanted to see what God had done. There they stood, college students, businessmen, and housewives. Happy in the belief that Jesus was coming again, that the seventh day was the Sabbath, that men sleep after death to await the resurrection morning. Some wives were smiling, for several husbands were joining the true church that morning.
The choir was singing, "There is a fountain filled with blood." A converted minister entered the water as a long line of candidates followed to be baptized by five happy ministers. The water was cold that late October Sabbath, but all hearts were warm as voices praised God from whom all blessings flow.