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The Yalu River

You may not have heard of this river. It is the boundary between Korea and China. The river flows southwest into the Yellow Sea. The river really marks the location of happenings.

Here is a description of the area in 1907:

Another center visited in 1907 was Shan Chun, along the railway north of Pyongyang. Surely not much could be expected from such a young mission center, for the missionaries had only been established there eight years. Yet when we were there, in town and country there were 15,348 believers—and no one is counted unless he attends church and contributes to its support. They had just completed a church seating 1,500. A year before their churches seated 800, but the membership was 870, so they must build. During the year that Central Church hived off five country churches; but when it was completed, its membership had increased to 1,445. And no street radiating from that church had a heathen family left; all had become Christian. Since they say in our Christian lands, “the nearer the kirk, the farther from grace,” how do you account for that Korean church having no unsaved families near it? I can only account for it by the fact that they honor God the Holy Spirit, and thereby live such a powerful type of Christianity that all around them get convicted of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.

In 1916, I heard Mr. Foote, a missionary from the east coast of Korea; say that he had recently spent a Sunday at that center. That Sunday evening he worshiped in the enlarged First Church, where the church was packed with an audience of 2,500, and he was told that the other church that evening had an audience of 500. The town has a population of only 3,000; therefore all must have been out to church. Our highly favored Christian lands do not so appreciate the privilege of assembling themselves together. The Master is going to say some straight things on this subject some time.

To get an idea of how the work from that center spread throughout the country, I asked Mr. Blair to draw me a sketch map of one of his counties. He had but a few minutes before the train drew in. It was a sketch of Noag Ch’en County which he drew. It bordered on the sea, east of the Yalu River. About the center of the map he put down a church with 350 believers; less than a mile north there was another church with 250; northeast, five miles, another church with 400; east, less than two miles, another church with 750; and so on, there being fourteen self-supporting centers in the county. Mr. Whittemore, who was standing beside me, said: “That county does not equal one I work to the north of it. There are over 5,000 Christians in the county, connected with thirty-five self-supporting stations.” I heard of one place where 400 one year had increased to 3,000 by the next. Every forty-five minutes, day and night, since the work began in 1884, a convert has been added to the Church. Whole villages have become Christian.

Jonathon Goforth in When the Spirit’s fire swept Korea. Japan had annexed Korea in 1910 and controlled Korea until WWII ended in August 1945.

Russia declared war against Japan as soon as the A-bomb was dropped, crossed the Yalu River in August 1945 and made North Korea Communist down to 38 degrees North latitude.

Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950. They advanced to Pohang by Sept. 8th, which is on one end of The Pusan Perimeter. The Inchon invasion by UN forces on Sept. 26th turned the war around so that the South Korean Army entered North Korea in the East by Oct. 1st and the American 8th Army entered North Korea in the west by October 8th.

There was then a race to the Yalu River by the 8th Army and the Tenth Corps.

In October and November more than 300,000 Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River many of them without weapons. They began a major offensive on November 26th and the day of December 24th they surrounded UN forces. These forces were evacuated from Hungnam by sea.

The next two years of war were a stalemate. A truce was signed in June of 1953 but there has not been a peace treaty signed yet. The two nations are still at war. For the last sixty-two years, what was Christian North Korea has been a land of spiritual darkness.

Many of the Christians fled south under Communism.

One of the results of this is that of the 20 largest churches in the world, 10 of them are in Seoul, Korea.

Of missionary sending countries, South Korea is number 2 behind the U.S.


Anonymous said…
I may be mistaken, but 3 years ago I heard Steve Schlissel of Messiah's Congregation in NYC state that South Korea has been outsending the U.S. for a while now, in missions. I suppose it would be difficult to determine that exactly, although I would not be surprised.


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