For New York’s Korean Adventists, Concentrated Outreach Works
At least 50 sign up for Bible study after week of nightly, two-hour meetings (Posted June 24, 2013)
 
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor, reporting from Queens, New York
 
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TEACHING WITH HIS HEART: “I have been preaching for almost 30 years on Bible prophecy, so when they asked me to preach here I was very glad,” Kim Dae Sung, president of the Korean Union of Seventh-day Adventists said of his New York City outreach. [PHOTOS: Mark A. Kellner/AR]
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single week of outreach meetings – widely advertised, suffused with prayer and presented by a guest speaker imported from Seoul – has marked the NY13 outreach of Korean-American Seventh-day Adventists in the greater New York City area. At least 50 people have signed up for further Bible studies designed to lead to baptism, local Adventist leaders said.

 
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Culturally sensitive and presented in a manner to which other Koreans can relate, the nightly meetings began June 17 and featured pastor Kim Dae Sung, president of the Korean Union Conference in Seoul. Preceding Pastor Kim, ten young Adventists from the Republic of Korea spent three months in New York City helping to prepare for the event.
 
John K. Kim, a local elder of the Northern New York Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church, said the joint outreach brought together five of the area’s Korean Adventist congregations, each affiliated with the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. About 700 Korean Seventh-day Adventists live in the region, he said.
 
While separate efforts will also take place at individual congregations, Kim said the churches decided on a united venture at Daedong Manor Wedding Venues, a popular banquet facility, on Northern Boulevard in Flushing, a large neighborhood in the New York borough of Queens. The location is the heart of the city’s Korean community, which, according to U.S. Census figures, boasts 88,000 people.
 
The series was heavily advertised in four Korean-language newspapers as well as on Korean-language radio and television. The room in which the series was held could accommodate between 250 and 300 people, Kim said, and on the first night, it was “packed out,” he noted. Subsequent nights have been equally popular, something a visitor noted on June 21, the next-to-last day of the series.

 
LIFE CHANGING: Sulgi Park, age 21, is a major in multicultural and English communications at Adventist church-owned Sahmyook University in Seoul. She spent three months as a missionary to Korean-Americans in and around New York City, along with nine other Adventist young adults from the Republic of Korea.
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Mr. Kim said the meetings were so successful that two Korean-American Protestant pastors – concerned, perhaps, about losing some of their members to the Adventist message – took to the local media attacking the Seventh-day Adventist meetings as being fronts for a “cult.” The result was that a local Korean-language television station showed up to interview participants, gaining extra positive exposure for the effort.
 
It also spurred the Korean-American Adventists to further prayer, Kim said.
 
“Every night, between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., someone is praying every 10 minutes” in a room adjacent to the main venue, he said. “So we have 10 to 12 people from a [congregation] praying each night. My turn is at 8:50 p.m. this evening,” the friendly, retired dental technician who came to the United States from Seoul in 1970, said.
 
But this prayer effort wasn’t the beginning: “We were praying since last year in five churches preparing for this event.” The local conference supplied $20,000 for the outreach, a figure matched by the congregations themselves.
 
One advantage in reaching many non-Adventist Koreans here is that they already have a strong Christian background – Korea has Asia’s largest Christian population – and are often already familiar with biblical texts.

 
DEDICATED LOCAL ELDER: John K. Kim, a local elder of the Northern New York Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church, said the joint outreach brought together five of the area’s Korean Adventist congregations, each affiliated with the Greater New York Conference.
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“They study the Bible,” Kim said, “but they never heard of the Adventist message, and they’re excited to learn these truths.”
 
Among the ten volunteer missionaries from the Republic of Korea, the experience of working in New York has already changed one life. Sulgi Park, age 21, is a major in multicultural and English communications at church-owned Sahmyook University in Seoul. Her three months in America end on July 1, but the impact of her trip will remain, she said.
 
“This totally changed my life,” Park said, after describing weeks of holding Bible studies with young Korean-American adults and guiding them towards greater participation in the church. “I want to live my whole life as a missionary now.”
 
For Korean Union president Kim Dae Sung, the Flushing, Queens seminar was something of a homecoming, even if Gotham is nearly 6,900 miles from Seoul.
 
“I have been preaching for almost 30 years on Bible prophecy,” he explained, “so when they asked me to preach here I was very glad,” Kim said of the New York City trip. “I believe that the Bible’s gospel [message] makes people Christians, and that Bible prophecy makes Christians Seventh-day Adventists and also makes Adventists heavenly minded citizens.”
 
He added, “When I am teaching, I am teaching with my heart, and sowing seed. The Holy Spirit does the reaping.”



 

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