Rev. Choon Lim, World Mission's regional liaison for East Asia and his wife Yen Hee Lim have had the longtime dream of connecting past and present mission workers in Korea by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) into reality by publishing "Korean-English Dictionary of Presbyterian Missionaries in Korea 1884-2020," on March 27 in Korean.
This book chronicles who came to Korea and what they did as Presbyterian missionaries in Korea over the past 136 years according to Presbyterian Mission. Beginning with Dr. Horace Newton Allen and Frances Ann Allen, who arrived in 1884 as Korea's first Protestant missionaries, it highlights about 1,000 missionaries through the decades including Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, who are serving today.
The couple has served PC(USA) as mission co-workers since 1991, and Choon has been in the role of a relational bridge connecting global partners in South Korea, North Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Taiwan with the PC(USA).
Since they began their third mission appointment in 2012, serving in Seoul, Korea, this historical compilation has been in Lims' heart and mind. As there was no such official guidebook in Korea, many Korean Presbyterians have asked the Lims about the life and work of missionaries in their country wanting to learn more about their Christian ancestors.
Choon reflected on Presbyterian Mission that they couldn't stop crying while gathering information about the former missionaries. "Those who came to Korea in the early years sacrificed their lives to spread the gospels' Good News to the Korean people, as the living conditions in Korea at that time were very poor," He said. "They had to face all kinds of diseases and had to learn the difficult Korean language," Yen Hee said.
The book has two main sections of lists of missionaries' names alphabetically, along with brief biographical information and the other list of the missionaries according to the year they arrived in Korea
"The timing of the publication of the book, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a reminder of the importance of staying connected," the Lims said.
"Remembering how you became a Christian is essential in the Christian faith and in life. Often, they said, finding your Christian roots can give you strong faith to persevere during the difficult times of life," they added.
Choon Lim founded the Korean Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, Ind., which began in the Lims' home and celebrated its 40 years of foundation recently. Choon became a deacon, elder, pastor, and a mission co-worker of PC(USA) to Korea and Taiwan. After serving World Mission for 30 years, he will retire at the end of 2020.