Friday, November 14, 2008

Korea Tip 96: History of the Church of the Nazarene in Korea - through 1985

Korea, situated in the heart of the Far East, remained for centuries a strangely remote land, ethnically pure, and tied to its ancient traditions. It has been aptly called the “Hermit Nation.” Even the Church of the Nazarene passed it by as it established work in the country's more dominant neighbors, China and Japan.

But the beautiful Land of the Morning Calm was not wholly out of mind. In 1936 Sung-oak Chang, a young Korean student who had gone to Japan to further his education, crossed paths with Rev. W. A. Eckel and Rev. Nobumi Isayama. These men were able to help him become established in the Christian faith and encouraged him to return to his homeland and start a Nazarene church there.

He successfully launched a work in Pyongyang, the capital city of what is now North Korea, and then went down to Seoul, present capital of South Korea, to establish another church. In the latter place he secured an assistant by the name of Huk-soo Sung. The work was officially under the supervision of the Japan mission, but the relationship was apparently quite tenuous.

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