GIFT ENCOURAGES PEACE
When Sara Altman, a college student from Gulfport, Miss., joined 18 of her U.S. peers in a pilgrimage to South Korea in 2015, the first thing she noticed was the prevalence of coffee houses. That made her happy.
Soon, however, she saw the sadness hidden in her host city of Seoul.
“I could almost forget the uneasy separation, enduring for seven decades, that has caused so much sorrow on this peninsula,” Altman admitted.
“That sorrow,” she said, “was not so buried in Cheorwon, a village bordering the demilitarized zone. The eerie quiet hinted at a race of people torn apart. As I cried, I struggled with the words of our friend Peter, the founder of the Border Peace School: ‘Peacemaking is a happy business.’”
According to the Rev. Bruce Case, Mississippi Conference peace with justice coordinator, the pilgrimage encouraged participants to consider global issues in the context of faith and church. “We asked them to study the history, culture and faiths of another country [and] the role of the United States in their history,” he said, “and to make parallels and connections of justice and peace within our own place and time.”
Korea has been divided for more than 65 years. Korean Christians stress the urgency of reunification, noting that the division has separated families and people who share a common language, culture and history.
Altman and the other young adults discovered the rich 130-year history of U.S. Methodist missionaries in Korea as they worshipped with Methodists in Seoul and heard the faith stories of many Koreans — young and old.
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