What began for Steve as a brief visit to Hanover Chapel, Llanover, Wales, 5 years ago [read “A Modern Don Quixote” ] culminated in visits to China, Mongolia and North Korea.It became evident that the Holy Spirit had placed ‘stepping-stones’ along the route. An invitation to a prayer meeting in Cambridge, MA, resulted in Steve meeting a professor from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] who had links with Yan Bien University of Science and Technology [YUST] in Yanji City, Jilin Province, China. Steve was then invited to present a lecture at the university. His subject was “Building Bridges in the Midst of Disaster”. YUST was established by Dr.James Kim, along with his dedicated faculty, 15 years ago and is situated in a city near the North Korea border. The faculty is Christians who are committed to providing an excellent education for the students, and at the same time sharing in a personal way, their love for Christ. President Kim had studied at Clifton Theological College, Bristol, England, which was next door to where Steve lived when he was a medical student at Bristol University. Kim had worked at the Mueller Homes, ….orphanages set up by Mueller, who ‘lived by faith’. Adopting the same principles of prayer and faith, Dr.Kim has been instrumental in building a magnificent university on the site of the former city graveyard in Yanji. The insignia of the university is an adaptation of that of Clifton theological College. The lectures Steve gave to the students and the School of Nursing were well received, but he was overjoyed to present a 10 minute account of the Thomas story to a faculty gathering. They were especially blessed by the film of Huw Priday singing in Korean, along with the Treorchy Male Choir. They realized that the Holy Spirit had placed a passion for North Korea in the hearts of believers in Wales!
“If only Huw could sing at our 15 Anniversary in September”, was the request of a number of the faculty, and little did Steve know that President Kim and his staff knew much more about the Thomas mission! The next day found Steve overwhelmed with emotion as V.P. Jin Ho Zong showed him the documentary “Continuing Passion” [see video section of the Home Page].
YUST had been invited at the highest levels of the North Korean Government to build Pyongyang University of Science and Technology [PUST], and had been given 1 million sq.metres of land on the South bank of the Taedong River, near to Suk Island, where Thomas was martyred. As the foundation of the university was being laid the remains of the Robert Jermain Thomas Memorial Church were uncovered!
The seed of the Gospel and the love for Christ which Thomas had set in the ground was now 150 years later producing more fruit……God’s presence through time….in the hearts of many believers! The passionate commitment to building Christ’s Kingdom by Dr. and Mrs. Kim, and the YUST faculty, has resulted in Emmaus Road Ministries seeking to support their vision in any way possible. It was with much thankfulness and excitement that Steve was able to take Huw Priday to Yanji in September. They have also been invited to the opening ceremony of PUST, in North Korea, next April. Please pray that this will prove a reality.