As Bob Weeks and I entered the sanctuary (at 5:00 AM) more than 1200 parishioners were already seated and worshipping the Lord. We had been seated for just a moment, our radio translators affixed on our ear, when I heard the most beautiful sound: the rush of a gentle breeze as the congregation opened their Bibles and the brushing sound of pages being turned to follow the reading of scripture washed across the room. Pastor Hong Eun-Pa shared from Genesis 18 and Abraham’s prayer for Lot. He preached and illustrated to us in many ways “the most beautiful prayer is the prayer for others.” Pastor Hong reminded us that it was Jesus that instituted the early morning prayer service and that is Jesus we follow as He cries out and intercedes to the Father for the salvation of the lost and the healing of the nations.
Bupyeong Methodist Church is in the midst of 50 Days of Special Morning Prayer Services and it was a delight to finish the first part of the service with a hand clapping rhythm to the fastest version of Blessed Assurance I have ever sung and then for that to give way to the earnest prayers of the faithful continuing over the next half hour.
For others, we are called to live. It was in the words of the sermon. It was in the intercession offered up strongly by the congregation. It was emblazoned on the walls of the church where one side of the sanctuary had a quote from a prayer of H. Z. Appenzeller, the first Protestant missionary to Korea, “to bring light and liberty to Korea” and the other side reminded us through John Wesley, “the world is my parish”.
As I prayed and reflected upon these early morning moments, I felt the tug of God on my own ministry at Laurel Hill and beyond. I am so thankful for the way we are blessed by God, but how can we produce more fruit for the Lord and how can we do more for others? What can we do at Laurel Hill that manifests the gospel in Varina and throughout the earth. You think about this with me and tomorrow I will share one vision for ministry which the Lord has already initiated in our congregation and which we can help bring to full flower. Love you all, Norman