LCMS President Dr. Matthew C. Harrison celebrated Pentecost Sunday, June 12, by preaching in Seoul, South Korea, a joyful kickoff to a busy week that includes meeting with church partners in that country and later in Japan, where recovery continues from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“Today, my friends, Jesus is in your midst,” Harrison said in his sermon at Center Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Lutheran Church in Korea, an LCMS partner church. (Hear the sermon and see videos and pictures from the trip posted on several sites, including the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog, on Harrison’s Mercy Journeys blog, and also on the LCMS World Relief and Human Care Facebook page.
Harrison met with Dr. Hyun-Sub Um, president of the Lutheran Church in Korea, a church body of about 50 small but active and rapidly growing congregations, the LCMS president said in a video interview. The church leaders visited the Luther Tower in Seoul, a 28-story structure built and dedicated last year by the Korean Lutherans to promote Christ to the world. Harrison and the group, which includes LCMS leaders also on the trip, posed before a statue of Martin Luther translating the Bible, which stands before the high-rise building.
Later in the week, Harrison will meet with leaders of the Japan Lutheran Church (JLC), the LCMS partner church in Japan, and visit the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief center in Sendai, an area hit hard by the 9.0-magnitude quake, tsunami and nuclear power-plant accident. Japanese Lutheran partners, including the JLC and the West Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, opened the center to provide food and water supplies to survivors.
Soon after the disaster, the LCMS provided an initial $200,000 in emergency funds, made possible by LCMS donors, to the JLC and the West Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church for response to the March catastrophe. Three months later, more that 24,000 are dead or missing, according to a New York Times report, and tens of thousands remain housed in temporary shelters or have evacuated because of the nuclear crisis.
Others traveling with Harrison are Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of disaster response with WR-HC; Darin Storkson, Asia director for WR-HC; Dr. David C. Birner, associate executive director with LCMS World Mission; Rev. John Mehl, regional director for Asia for World Mission; Dr. Naomichi Masaki, associate professor of systematic theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Al Dowbnia, communications director, WR-HC.
Posted June 14, 2011