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South Korea


September and October were busy months for Emmaus Road Ministries and Priday Productions, as Huw, Stella & Stephen set off in various directions for ministry. {see http://www.priday.com}

Stella’s commission was to come alongside numerous churches and individuals who have been working in Christian ministry in Wales for many years; to support, encourage, and also inform them of her research into the life of Robert Jermain Thomas,…the subject of her recent book “Chosen for Chosun{Korea}”

 Although Thomas was martyred at the age of 27 in Pyongyang, N.Korea, his contribution to building Christ’s Kingdom in China & Korea was crucial, and his “life-study” challenging to many.

 Huw & Steve flew to Seoul, S.Korea on September 12 for what proved to be an intense & challenging 3 weeks of mission. The theme of their presentation…..”God’s presence through time”……a multi-media production detailing the role Wales played in bringing the Gospel to Korea; its role in the Great Pyongyang Revival of 1907 and the contribution both countries are presently making in Christian mission.



 The Christian Church has flourished in S.Korea during this last century. Despite intense persecution……forced Shintuism during the Japanese occupation from 1905-1945 and the Communist insurgency from 1945 to the Korean war of 1951-3…….Korean Christianity is vibrant & strong.

 In the history of the Christian Church “persecution has often lead to proclamation” & this is certainly true for the Korean peninsula.

 There is known to be a flourishing underground Church in North Korea, & S.Korea sends as many missionaries into the World as the Western Church.

 God’s timing & the providential “stepping-stones” that were placed in our path enabled us to achieve the appointed tasks.


The “mood” of many Christians in S.Korea was somber following the execution of 2 pastors & the hostage-taking of Korean aid workers in Afghanistan during the previous months. Evangelical Christians had been berated by others in the Church, & elsewhere, for bringing disrepute to S.Korea. The account of Thomas’ life, & evidence of God’s faithfulness through time, proved an encouragement to many.

 It has been said ….“There is no place for ‘triumphalism’ when the Church is at a low ebb”….reminding fellow-believers of the work of the Holy Spirit in the past, during the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 & the Pyongyang Revival of 1907, proved timely!


With the assistance of Kuday Lee of Llanelly {Nations Ministry} Huw Priday mastered a number of hymns in Korean. “Dyma Gariad”….the ‘love-song’ of the Welsh Revival….was well received. At Sarang Church, Seoul {a Church of 37,000} they have made it the ‘theme-song’ for the next several months!

Paul Griffiths, & Emyr Jones of Priday Productions, worked extremely hard, under the pressure of time, to master the multi-media presentation which was punctuated by Huw singing hymns which were relevant to the text.

 Dr. David Ryo, Professor of Homiletics at Chongshin Seminary, proved to be an amazing host, coach & interpreter. Nothing was too much trouble for him, as he organized our itinery.


 During the first weekend we ministered to persons who had recently fled North Korea. One lady found it difficult to accept how the Holy Spirit had placed a passion for her homeland in the hearts of many in the West, who are fasting and praying for her country; that 2 Welshmen had been sent to remind others of the need for prayer & reconciliation as understandably many in S.Korea carry resentment to the North.

 Every day was filled with ministry to one group or another…to a Reformed Presbyterian Ministers’ conference at Samyang Church…..a mid-week ‘Praise service’ at Sarang Church…..Chongshin Seminary……National Prayer Breakfast in the Congress…..a Centennial Celebration of the Pyongyang Revival of 1907…..a World Conference of the Grace Mission International Church……3 Sunday services at Sarang Church…..and Evening service at the inner-city Samyang Church {where we were blessed by the hospitality of old friends, Chongwon & Myunga Shu



 The National holiday of Chosook came during the time we were in S.Korea. During this 4 day period, when people go to their families, the Holy Spirit opened the door for ministry to the elderly lepers at Ae-Yang-Won, near Kwangju, S.Korea. They became our family……and indeed by their dedicated prayer & worship…..ministered to us!

It was in this place that the saintly Rev. Yang-Won Sohn had bravely served the ‘outcast lepers’. He had been brutally handled during his 4 years of imprisonment by the Japanese from 1941-45…..suffering deprivation & torture!  He and his dear wife, Yang-Soon Jung, had later adopted the murderer {a fellow class-mate} of their 2 sons, who were beaten & then shot during the Communist upheaval throughout Korea in 1948. This former young Communist later became a leader in the Church…..a fact which, in an act of retribution by other Communists… brought about the execution of Rev. Sohn in 1950.

 At the leprosarium we were revived in our mission! Early one morning,…. walking uphill to the church, where the 4.30a.m. prayer meeting was being held……we were holding on to each other like schoolboys. Praying & praising God but …with our eyes shut…..& we fell into a 4ft. ditch at the side of the road! “The blind leading the blind”. But the worship at the predawn service was well worth the ‘trip’!


 Returning to Seoul  we presented our programme at a mid-week service at Sarang Church, which was accompanied by a prolonged time of prayer & praise.

 Our final service was at Yoido Full Gospel Church, ….which under the direction of the Holy Spirit & the leadership of Rev.David Yongi Cho, & the present pastor Dr.Young Hoon Lee,… has grown to almost 2 million members!

 The congregation of thousands punctuated our message and Huw’s singing with….”AMEN!”…as well as spontaneous expressions of praise.


 The weekend before our return to Wales on October 2 took us to China & the City of Yanji, near to the China-North Korea border. Ministering to a congregation in a converted crematorium, at Yanbien University of Science & Technology{YUST}, we encouraged our fellow Christians to continue their work of building their centre of educational excellence, which is accompanied by inter-personal witness to their love for Christ.

President James Kim and the faculty were requested by Premier Kim, Jong-Il to build a similar facility in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang University of Science & Technology {PUST} is now nearing completion & is being built on the site where the Robert Jermain Thomas Memorial Church had once stood. This church had been built & dedicated to Thomas’ memory in 1932, but had been destroyed by the Communists when they came to power.

 As we shared the account of Thomas, …& being reminded of God’s passion for Korea throughout time, …proved a great encouragement to the faculty. There had been many financial, political & organizational delays in completing the PUST project, especially following the nuclear bomb-test undertaken by North Korea in 2006.
 God is building His Kingdom!
 He has the last say in the affairs of men!


 Huw & I have been invited to the proposed opening of PUST in April, 2008. It is our prayer that we can witness to many of our love for Korea, both North & South; that ‘bridges of love’ will continue to be built from Wales to Korea.

It seemed to us that the Holy Spirit kept a great blessing for us until the last weekend of our mission. We worshipped, & Huw sang, to a congregation of 3,500…..mainly young people….in the largest church in China, in Yanji City. We long for such praise & prayer to return to many more churches in Wales.

This service was an apt epilogue to our time in China & S.Korea, as we then made our mammoth 2 day journey home from the China/N,Korea border to Incheon, S.Korea & then to London & Wales via Hong Kong.
Blessed, but exhausted, we were met by our loved-ones. Huw…to a 10 day rest before flying off to the USA with Elizabeth & Jess…..& Steve.. to celebrate with Stella, their 40th Wedding Anniversary in Ireland!

 Please “Watch this space!” concerning China & Korea. We believe that the story of  “Wales & Korea…..God’s presence through time”…in each of these countries is still being written!

Dr.Steve Price.

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