General Lee, the youngest of eight
children of a farmer, had a traditional Buddhist upbringing, and became a
Christian while a young military cadet. On his retirement he turned down
lucrative offers of jobs in the private sector in order to devote himself to
Earlier this year at Warsaw he
spoke (pdf file) of what it means to be a Christian in the military.
What is the main principle? It is love.
It is to look on your soldiers as your own beloved sons. God is love. We
learn love from Him….
Whenever I attended the church, after
praying to God, I usually asked and checked myself if I loved the brothers
and sisters sitting around me as I love my own children. It was the same
when I met newcomers to my unit. I tried to feel warm love burning in my
heart toward them. The main cause that my officers and men could
successfully accomplish their missions is attributable to the fact that
they’re united in love.
also spoken of how a campaign to introduce biblical values to the South
Korean military led to dramatic reductions in the numbers of safety
accidents, of absent-without-leave cases and of the incidence of suicide
among enlisted soldiers.
In South Korea today all young men are
obliged to do a tour of duty in the military, with some 350,000 being called
up each year. These conscripts have become the object of an intense
evangelism initiative known as Vision 2020.
Every year around 30,000 of the
conscripts are already Christians, and the aim is that 220,000 more of them
should be baptised and discipled. On their discharge, these men will return
to their homes, join local churches and spread the word among their
families. The target is that by 2020 some 75% of the population will be
believers, up from around 30% at present.
Evangelising the country through the
military? Only in Korea, you might think.
Yet if you know the Koreans at all well,
then you will also know something else. That if any country can do it, then
it is Korea.
September 17th, 2002