Los Angeles is the home to the largest populations of Koreans outside of Korea. God used a first generation Korean-American to lead me to Jesus Christ when I was a sophomore in college. During my remaining years in college, I visited several Korean-American churches in Southern California. All were thriving and dynamic with its members faithfully serving God, leaving me with a very positive impression. I later learned that one of the largest Protestant churches in the world is located in Seoul, South Korea. It is the Yoido Full Gospel Church and was founded in 1958 and presently has nearly 500,000 members. Over 30% of the South Korean population is Christian. This is in stark contrast to the Christian experience in Japan where less than 1% of the population are Christians.
As a Japanese-American, I was struck by the ready acceptance of Jesus Christ in South Korea. Prior to the arrival of Christianity, Buddhism and Confucianism were prevalent, as it was in China, Japan, and most of Southeastern Asia. Why did Korea so readily turn to Chrisitanity?
In college, I asked my Korean brother in the Lord this same question who agreed with my observations. He said there were many reasons but surmised that it was because most Koreans have lived a difficult life. It is a resource poor country and for centuries has been attacked and ruled by foreign countries. When the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented to the Koreans, many identified with the humble origins of Jesus and the persecution He and His followers faced from the rest of the world. They found comfort and strength in the power of the Gospel and Resurrection when the rest of their world was crumbling.
The LORD helps the oppressed but brings the wicked to the ground.
Psalms 147:6 (CSB)
The message of Jesus Christ is for all nations and cultures of the world. It is a message of hope in a decaying world. It is light for nations wrapped in the darkness of government and religious oppression. God will always help the downtrodden and all who call upon His Name.
I praise God for the South Koreans and Korean Americans who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I pray that someday South and North Korea will once again be reunited and the message of the Gospel continue to spread throughout Asia.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.