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Missionaries return for first-time visit

Posted: April 26 2022 at 01:17 PM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt


Missionaries

Rev. Jin Yang Kim, Rev. Kyeong-Ah Woo, and their son Micah visit Rev. Arlene Christopherson at the NIC Chicago office on April 20. This was their first itineration back home in the U.S. since being commissioned as Global Missionaries serving in Geneva, Switzerland in 2017. Photo by Anne Marie Gerhardt

United Methodist Global Missionaries are encouraged to itinerate in their home annual conference every three years to visit local churches in person, but the pandemic put a hold on global travel plans for most of them.

NIC Missionaries' husband and wife team Rev. Kyeong-AhWoo and Rev. Jin Yang Kim, who are serving the world Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, hadn't been back to Northern Illinois since they were commissioned in 2017, but they finally got the opportunity to return for a visit this Easter. "We had a full two months of itineration planned in 2020, but it was not only postponed by cancelled (because of the pandemic)," said Rev. Woo. "This time is a limited itineration. We could only come for two weeks while our son Micah was on Easter break from school."

The main purpose of an itineration is to update churches on the missionary's work and ask for prayers and support. While this was a short trip home, Rev.Woo and Rev. Kim squeezed in several stops around the conference and caught up with friends they hadn't seen in five years.

"On Easter, we shared our mission work to the Sunday school class at Community UMC in Naperville," said Rev.Woo, who also preached at Wesley UMC in Sterling, and Rev. Kim preached at Grace UMC in Dixon. They also had the chance to meet and catch up with the Korean clergy caucus.

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Rev. Woo preached and visited with members of the congregation at Wesley UMC in Sterling, Ill.

The Rev. Hwa-Young Chong, lead pastor of Community UMC, said she feels it's important for the congregation to hear from NIC missionaries and was thankful to welcome Rev.Woo and Rev. Kim to share more about theWCC and the importance of ecumenical relationships.

"Both Rev.Woo and Rev. Kim shared powerful stories of world mission," said Rev. Chong. "Their commitment to justice and peace ministries was especially powerful. The congregation was deeply appreciative of their presence and witness."

While working with theWCC, Rev.Woo continues her work as the Coordinator of the World Mission and Evangelism. Rev. Kim continues his work on peace and justice issues, specifically the reunification of the Korean peninsula.

"One of my particular tasks is to organize pilgrim team visits which involve going to the most vulnerable places in the world where people are hurting and where nature is suffering," said Rev. Kim. "I've been organizing the pilgrim team visits to the most conflict countries, including Nigeria, South Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, the Korean Peninsula, and to the most marginalized communities."

The couple is also busy organizing and planning for the 11th Assembly of theWorld Council of Churches that will take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, from August 31 to September 8, 2022, under the theme "Christ's love moves the world to reconciliation and unity."

As a Global Missionary, Rev. Woo says her global view has changed in the last five years. "Even though we intentionally try to include all those people who are suffering in other parts of the world in our prayers, they can seem far away," saidWoo. "But now I can empathize more directly and see the importance of connectedness.We are all connected as one. When one suffers, we all suffer. I want to continue to promote that connection with local churches."

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Rev. Kim shares his experiences as a Global Missionary with members of Grace UMC in Dixon, IL.

Rev. Kim says his concept of mission has changed from being “for” the people to “with” the people. "JohnWesley said the 'world is my parish', and that's more than going out from the church, but Wesley was saying that we should go out and live with the people." The couple's work permit has been extended, and they plan to be in Switzerland until 2023.

If you would like to support NIC missionaries, you can give through the Advance. You can pay online at umcnic.org/missionlinks or send a check with Advance #3022322 (Rev. Jin Yang Kim) and #3022319 (Rev. Kyeong-AhWoo), to Northern Illinois Conference, PO Box 5646, Carol Stream, IL 60197-5646.

#Stillinmission virtual meetings

Global Ministries held virtual itineration through a series of #Stillinmission monthly Zoom meetings to hear first-hand how missionaries are still deeply engaged in sharing God's love in partnership with communities around the world. Rev.Woo was featured April 7, and Rev. Kim will be featured, June 2 at 1 p.m. For more information and to register, visit umcmission.org/stillinmission.

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