Archive for the 'south korea' Category


Update On South Korean Hostages: Free at Last! But…

Freed South Korean Hostage
It’s day 43 and the last of the remaining South Korean hostages are free. I’m thankful but still conflicted.
At what cost is this freedom? Is this what these brave volunteers had in mind?

I’m sure these relief volunteer workers like many who go in the name of Christ go knowing the danger and the consequences. Criticism of recklessness is unfair. They were there to help the poor and the helpless as Christians ought with reckless abandonment. They were there to build a hospital as Christians had done historically. This takes time and careful planning. Then it takes people who are willing to go in sacrificial love. They’re not suicide bombers on a mission to pursue personal significance and glory.

Now, all current Korean missionaries will have to pull out of Afghanistan and cease any future endeavors. What does this mean for other missionaries? Will this embolden the Taliban? Is this their new tactic? What does this mean for Germany? It’s been reported that there was money exchanged as well. So who wins? The Taliban for now.

And the church that commissioned these workers will be charged by the South Korean government for the expense of transporting them home and other related costs. hmmmm. sigh.

I’m left feeling very dissatisfied with these developments. So many questions on my mind. Where’s the US in this? Evangelicals?

According to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

The government will first request compensation for the cost of airfare, the transfer of dead bodies, and expenses for the transportation and medical treatment of the captives.”

And get this…from the Taliban,

The men accompanying the last hostages freed gave an unsigned note to journalists accusing the South Koreans of coming to Afghanistan on a mission to convert the staunchly Islamic country to Christianity.
“They came to our nation to change our faith,” the handwritten note read. “The Afghan people have given their lives for their faith. This is the reason we arrested them.”

eugene cho updates
michelle malkin updates

ABC News: Taliban Free Last South Korean Hostages


Update On South Korean Hostages: 12 Hostages Freed! But…

12 South Korean Hostages Freed
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – AUGUST 29: A woman reads a newspaper regarding the release of the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan on August 29, 2007 in Seoul, South Korea. Taliban militants released three South Korean hostages today, the first of 19 hostages scheduled to be freed under a deal struck between the insurgents and the South Korean government. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

wow. after 40 days (interesting huh? but let’s not get crazy about these things ok?) not two but 12 hostages were released this morning and reportedly all the hostages are scheduled for release.
that is indeed great great news.
but it’s not over yet. keep praying.
i think we have to pray all the more harder now.

there is of course a price to this freedom which is never really easy or free.

“The agreement was reached on conditions that South Korea withdraw its troops stationed in Afghanistan by the year’s end and impose a ban on its Christian nationals’ missionary activities in Afghanistan,” Cheon said.

What’s this mean? No more South Korean Christians in Afghanistan.
I don’t know how to feel about this. While I’m excited and overjoyed that these souls are going home I wonder about what could’ve been. Some have already criticized South Korea for having no backbone. We’re probably going to hear a lot now from Christians about this new development.

Just how is this event shaping missions?
How do we or should we think/rethink missions in the 10/40 window?

South Korean Hostages Freed

read eugene cho’s regular updates
read michelle malkin

read the press:
NYTimes: 8 South Korean Hostages Are Freed by Taliban, 12:05pm
NYTimes: Taliban Will Release Hostages, South Korea Says
Time: Will the Korean Hostages Go Free?
Time: Korean Hostages Freed — at a Cost


costly commitment

eugene cho who has been following the south korean hostage situation very closely and raising questions as to the lack of response from the press and evangelical world has been noted in an article by christianity today posted august 13 responding to the hostage crisis. it was a mere few sentences that have nothing to do with all that eugene’s been in an uproar about. they were just using his good name.

i admit the article disturbed me. it actually kinda pissed me off. not only did it come across – to me at least – that the article just used eugene cho’s name citing that he “served on the staff of the 25,000-member Onnuri Presbyterian Church in Seoul” but the article reflects a certain problem that i see in christianity. in light of events, it almost sounds from the article that christians or missions sending agencies like the saemmul church that sent the hostages are now fearful, almost regretful – once bitten twice shy. it almost even sounds as if all the attempts to go out in the name of Christ that appeared to have failed are laughable and foolish. it sounds as if christians don’t know what they’re doing or probably that God doesn’t. at least to me these things make us collectively sound foolish, naive, ignorant even though in reality many have considered the cost and moved forward not just in obedience but love.

sure many situations that we find ourselves in are unexpected and not very favorable. that’s usually a given in missionswork. it is a costly commitment. the cost of the journey, the time, the preparation, and leaving behind possessionas, a professional life, family and friends all have some numerical value attached. the loss of life however is a cost that may be too unbearable for many to accept, christian or otherwise. a single life is priceless. but what about a single life given for others? isn’t that what the very foundation of the christian faith built upon? isn’t it the christian life?

i think we play our christianity too safe.
i think christians are too positive about life here on this side of heaven.
what do we offer the world? cheap versions of music, film, art, and literature that on a spiritual level are like products made in china but then again anything that has the label “christian” must be ok. we provide preaching that feed our self-loving hearts with ways to “improve our lives”. we build up churches like mega-cinema-plexes rather than people.

are you tired of cheap imitations? are you weary of the world yet? the world is not a nice place. life is negative. how can we be positive when there are wars (beyond just iraq) and people dying here, there and everywhere? we don’t get along be it a matter of race, religion or otherwise. our best efforts can be easily frustrated. our legacy may stop with us. in our churches we have squabbles over the smallest things when even our best worship are mere shadows of heavenly things (hebrews). it’s all hebel, says the writer of ecclesiastes. we’re dreaming the wrong dreams for our lives. christians ought to be the most disillusioned people in the world – that is to have no illusions about it. it’s a messed up place. we’re not ok.

all his life he had done all the right things. but something wasn’t quite right. he knew who to go to scratch this itch of a question he had – what must he do to find favor with God? how can he inherit eternal life? he approached Jesus with the utmost respect, calling him the “good teacher” but the teacher was not impressed. Jesus went straight for his heart and asked this young, rich kind-of-a-big-deal to give away everything he had, give it to the poor and then, “come follow him”. he turned around and walked away.
Jesus still holds his hand out today and asks us the same question.

what makes us think we’re safe?

Luke 21:16-17
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me

John 12:25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

outgoing links
follow eugene cho’s following the south korean hostage crisis
read eugene cho’s post on costly commitment
read the christianity today article: costly commitment.

christianity today poll:
Are Missions to Dangerous Places Irresponsible? (screenshot taken 10:58am 08-14-07)
Christianity Today Poll


Update On South Korean Hostages: Two Female Korean Hostages Freed

Two Freed South Korean Hostages 2 south korean female hostages freed
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
Just an quick update on the South Korean hostages being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan – two women have been released to the international red cross as a “gesture of goodwill” from the Taliban today. These were the two women who were reported in ill health.
This is the 25th day of captivity. Please continue praying.

Taliban spokesman said this,

“During these negotiations, there will no threats to the other Korean hostages. We are waiting for the result of these negotiations. After the negotiations, the Taliban leadership will make a decision about these 19 Korean hostages.”

Updated Links:
Eugene Cho, prayer for hostages in afghanistan, daily updated
CNN, Two female Korean hostages freed

There is some response from the evangelical world,
From Baptist Press, news with a “Christian Perspective”:

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, issued a call days ago to prayer for the hostages.
“I call on all Southern Baptists to join in earnest prayer for the release of these mission workers,” Page said. “We all know that there is risk in speaking for the Lord. We are all aware that there is risk when one travels in foreign countries. Though they went against their government’s advice in traveling to Afghanistan, I know they went with a sense of calling from the Lord.”


petition to free the hostages has a petition going on to free the south korean hostages. the goal is to reach 70,000 signatures.
as of this post they have 68,874.

from their site,

The Taliban are guided by the Afghan Pashtunwali code, a principle that requires “hospitality to all, especially guests and strangers” – and this kidnapping is a clear violation of the code, offending the weary people of Afghanistan on whom they depend. So it’s time for the global community to stand with Afghanis and South Koreans, demand that the Taliban to honour their code and release the rest of the hostages. Sign the petition NOW —


To the Taliban leaders,
Please honour the code of the Pashtun people, respect aid workers as guests in Afghanistan and release all hostages unharmed.

sign the petition here


michelle malkin on the south korean hostages

South Korean Hostages
conservative columnist michelle malkin provides updated coverage on the south korean hostage situation.
you can find a great deal of traffic and discussion on her blog.
the question still remains…does anyone care yet?
now the US has been asked to help from the hostages, the families, and the south korean government.
so what’s the deal?
as michelle points out, all eyes are on the US.
read the article from UPI linked from michelle’s blog.

Updated News
New York Times/Reuters Article, Afghans Recover Body of Slain Korean Hostage
CNN article, Families losing hope for hostages


South Korean Hostages? Who? Wha?

South Korean Hostages Picture Found on BBC
i’ve been closely following through eugene cho’s blog the events surrounding the south korean hostages taken by taliban militants. i’m troubled by the 12+day situation but lifting up prayers nonetheless. however what is more maddening is that the coverage of this tragic news is practically silent amongst u.s. media and by evangelicals overall. the hostages are missionaries in central afghanistan as aid workers, a brave group of 23 souls. is this not newsworthy? so far 2 hostages have been brutally killed. e.cho’s blog is one of the few resources tracking the situation in the blogosphere and helping us all realize the severity of it all. i hope this post will also bring some greater awareness to the situation that will result in prayers rising up like incense and action that will bring these people home.

as for me i will continue to read, pray, prepare messages, conduct meetings from the comfort of my air conditioned office in philadelphia. i’m not saying that what i have to do here is unimportant. i’m very grateful that e.cho and others have helped me see outside of this box but sometimes reading news like this makes me feel like some of the things we do pastorally is just frivolousness and sitting here behind a screen, well i’m just helpless to do something…helpful. i’m not as engaged as i’d like to be.

some informative links
bbc international news

some links to help us process
next gener.asian church
daniel so

controversy. i guess we need other viewpoints. article on camcorder missions? i don’t know even how to begin thinking about this one.
i think i’m just mad now. but i do think that this will spark a greater discussion about missionwork.
the question raised by time, “is it worth the risk?”
next gener.asian church has a discussion going on about it.

read this post from the silence in the Godblogosphere is deafening expressing the outrageousness of the current cares and silence from the Christian community.

south korean prayer

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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