On February 9th, thousands of athletes representing 95 countries walked into PyeongChang Stadium in South Korea for the opening ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. The whole world watched with special curiosity and hope to see athletes from both North and South Korea—after half a century of tension and war—enter as one, unified team.
Rev. Im Jung, a Korean-American and The Upper Room director of international relations in Asia, calls us to pray for her homeland, that “the Olympic games will truly become a tool for peace.”
While the spotlight is on Korea, Jung celebrates and gives thanks that this year marks the 80th anniversary of the Korean edition of The Upper Room daily devotional guide. The magazine is an important instrument of hope and peace on the Korean peninsula, as it is for people around the world. “It has helped Korean Christians become hopeful in the midst of hopelessness, and peacemakers in situations where there is no peace,” Jung says.
The Korean edition began in 1938, just three years after the first English issue was printed. Along with Hindustani and Spanish, Korean was one of the first non-English language editions of The Upper Room.
“Most people do not realize our history goes back that far, before there was a North and a South,” Jung explains. “During the Japanese colonization of Korea and the war, there were barely any Christian resources in Korea.” Though printing stopped during the Korean War, “The Upper Room daily devotional has offered healing and restoration to Korean people for eight decades.” The Korean edition, once solely supported by donations, has now grown to include four self-sustaining editions.
Today, Korean readers regularly write for the magazine, sharing their stories with the rest of the world. South Korean churches frequently organize and fund distribution of the daily devotional to prisons, hospitals, schools, and family and friends who have little access to spiritual resources in their own language. The little booklet is a cherished lifeline, connecting believers to God and our global community of prayer each day.
The 80-year history of the Korean edition is a reminder that gifts to the international editions of The Upper Room plant seeds of faith and equip millions of Christians to be instruments of hope and peace in their parts of the world. Support from donors like you gives a boost to ministry partners who need help to cover the costs of translating, printing, and distributing the resource.
In the past few months, our international team has been in conversation with church leaders expressing interest in a combined total of eight new language editions. As our conversations turn into real, viable plans, your gifts will make a huge difference.
When you make a donation to The Upper Room, you invite people in over 100 countries to spend a few minutes with God, whose love and grace will transform and heal the world. Thank you.
To give to The Upper Room, visit upperroom.org/gift
To learn more about the international editions of The Upper Room, click here.
Marti Williams-Martin is the director of interpretation for The Upper Room.