Thousands of Korean Missionaries Lauded at Major Conference

WHEATON, Ill. – Thousands of missionaries from the second largest missionary-sending country packed Edman Memorial Chapel at Wheaton College on Monday for the 6th Korean World Mission Council for Christ conference.

Korean missionaries who have been serving in countries around the globe were welcomed with a standing ovation Monday night as the five-day conference, themed "The World is Calling Korean Churches to be the Last Runners to Finish Unfinished Tasks," opened. They convened to discuss mission strategies, especially for the 21st century, and to strengthen one another for world missions.

"God is working in this very conference to call the people, the Koreans of America, to go to the ends of the Earth," said Dr. Avery Willis, a former missionary of Southern Baptist Convention, in his congratulatory remarks. "We waited 2,000 years and 2,100 years to see the Great Commission fulfilled and God wants to know 'Will you fulfill it in your generation?' I can imagine the last unreached people group that never heard the Gospel and looks up and sees missionaries coming and it's a Korean missionary."

Willis compared Korea to the Israelites in the Old Testament, speaking about the difficulties Korean Christians have faced. But he urged the Korean churches to go to the ends of the Earth, delivering the Gospel to the very last person.

The Rev. Seung-Je Rhee, pastor of a Korean church in New Jersey and a conference organizer, also urged the some 3,500 missionaries to go and harvest what is plentiful.

There are around 17,697 Korean missionaries serving in 168 countries, making South Korea the second largest missionary-sending country in the world, according to a report by KWMC. Last year, Korea sent over 2,800 missionaries despite several persecutions.

Some 50 missionaries who served more than 20 years in the field were honored during the ceremony and a special plaque of recognition will be sent to the Rev. Ji Il Pang who has served for 71 years in foreign countries. Pang was unable to attend due to health reasons.

KWMC was founded in 1986 to create a global Christian overseas mission support network by a small group of global mission-minded Korean-American pastors and others with the endorsement of Dr. Billy Graham at the Billy Graham Center on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. It has held some of the world's largest Christian mission conferences every four years since the first conference in 1988. This year's conference features major speakers including Dr. Ralph Winter of the U.S. Center for World Mission, the Rev. Loren Cunningham of Youth With a Mission, and the Rev. Reinhard Bonnke of CfaN.