Journey Towards Reconciliation

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Journey Towards Reconciliation

Interested in exploring what it means to be a peacemaker? What does it mean that the center of the gospel is the gospel of peace? How are we to live out our lives as peacemakers in a violent world?

We invite pastors, lay leaders, missionaries, and seminarians who want to seriously wrestle with these questions to a ten-week intensive course. Please look at the poster for details, and if you have any questions or anyone you know who may be interested in this course have questions, email us or call us. Thank you!

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Korean Anabaptism: a Witness for Peace

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From left: Yongha Bae (Korea), Junho Han (Korea), Jina Im (US), Kyunchae Oh (Korea), Jinho Jang (US), Junggyu Yang (US), David Kim (Canada), Sook Park (Canada)

From July 1-6, 2013, over 4,000 people gathered in the blistering Phoenix heat to participate in the bi-annual national convention for MC USA.  Throughout the week, we wrestled with the theme of what it means to be “Citizens of God’s Kingdom” and how we are to move ahead “Healed in Hope.”  Numerous workshops, seminars, learning experiences inside and outside of the convention center were planned throughout the week for the participants to engage in the theme of the convention.

On July 3rd, Korean Anabaptists were given the opportunity to plan a Learning Experience. These Korean Anabaptists  from Canada, Korea, and the US gathered in the designated Phoenix Convention Room waiting nervously to see if anyone would attend the Learning Experience workshop.  Would anyone be interested in a workshop entitled, “Korean Anabaptism: a Witness for Peace”?

016Apparently, people did.

The room was packed with over 60 people who came to the workshop eagerly wanting to hear what has been happening amongst the Korean Anabaptists.  We began the workshop showing the film, “Memory of Forgotten War” which narrated the stories of North Koreans who now reside in the US but their heart longs for reunification and peace in the Korean Peninsula.

Then, we showed another film about Mennonite Central Committee workers who served in reconstruction of Korea after the Korean War.  We had not planned this, but discovered shortly before the workshop, that an ex-MCC worker who served in Korea was going to attend the workshop.  After the film was shown, we recognized and thanked him for his service and sacrifice in the rebuilding.  It was a moving moment witnessing that the seeds of peace he had helped to sow in Korea have raised up Korean peacemakers who were present in the room.

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Namshik Chon shares about the growing interest in Anabaptism in Korea

Next, Namshik Chon, from Dream Church in Daejun, shared about Korean Anabaptist Fellowship as well as the vision of planting Mennonite churches in Korea.  Then, Hyun shared about the vision and mission of ReconciliAsian.  Lastly, Hyungjin Pablo Kim shared about Church for Others, the only Korean Mennonite church on the west coast.

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Left upper corner: Rhoda shows off “I am a fan of ReconciliAsian” fan; Right bottom: Jinah greets Palmer Becker whom she met in Korea several years ago

At the end of the three presentations, the participants were invited to gather in small groups around their table with a large butcher paper, and they were encouraged to write down important questions that these different Korean Anabaptist ministries need to ask as they wrestle with their identity, calling, and mission.  The conversations were lively and insightful. Palmer Becker, the author of What is an Anabaptist Christian? participated in the conversation around the table with Noel Moules of the Anabaptist Network in England and Rhoda Miller Blough of Everence.  Old friends like Jennifer Sensenig and Matt Hamsher who helped to initiate the formation of Korean Anabaptis Fellowship were also present.  Kuaying Teng from MC USA Asian Ministries also came as well as the Riegseckers and the Yordys who have supported Korean Anabaptist ministry endeavors since the birth of KAF.

We have commented that in preparing for the Learning Experience workshop, the facilitators were the ones who learned the most.  The Korean Anabaptist leaders felt deeply encouraged that they were affirmed by the larger Mennonite community, and though their work could be difficult and lonely as they trudge ahead, what they want to pursue is valuable and meaningful.

If you would like to support the ministry of Korean Anabaptist Fellowship, ReconciliAsian, or Church for Others, prayerfully or financially, please contact us at reconciliasian@gmail.com.

What we learned from David

On June 21st and 22nd, we had the privilege of having Dr. David Augsburger as the main speaker for the Advanced Conflict Transformation Workshop. David has been an avid supporter, encourager, and friend since the very inception of ReconciliAsian.

People came eagerly to hear the words of wisdom that effortlessly come out of David’s lifetime of experience as a pastoral counselor, mediator, and scholar, and they were not disappointed. The first two hours of his workshop on examining the entire Letter to Philippians from Paul as a a mediator alone were valuable enough to chew on for the two days.    David also shed his insights on how Jesus handled conflict, challenged us on how to facilitate as leaders, and led a detailed case study to flesh out the contents we have been learning.  All of these things were important nuggets to prepare us for the ministry of reconciliation. However, what really struck me (Sue) personally was not only David lecturing in front of the class, but what he did when he stepped away.

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On June 21st, a great friend to both the Augsburgers and the Hurs was undergoing a major surgery at a nearby hospital in Pasadena. David left from his home at about five in the morning and visited our friend before he came to Fuller to lead the ReconciliAsian’s full day workshop from 9am to 5pm. He said he simply wanted to pray for the friend before surgery. Then, during the lunch break, David skipped lunch and quickly dashed onto his Smart Car and drove over to the hospital again to check on the friend and his family after surgery.  After three minutes in the recovery room checking on our friend, David stepped out and headed back to Fuller to resume lecturing.  From 5am to 5pm, David simply and sacrificially gave himself to serve us and his beloved friend in the hosptial. David Augsburger

This simple act of being with someone when they most need it is not easy, but to witness this small but intentional act was powerful, and it brought us back to the essence of ministry- the ministry of love.  As we get trained and train others for the ministry of reconciliation, we must remember and live and love well.  Thanks David, for exemplifying loving lavishly and reminding us that true mediators must live undergirded in God’s love.