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Praying for Peace in Korea

September 14, 2017 by

I think often of our friends in Korea, and pray for their peace and safety. Many of them, in response to both the fear of war and the longing for peace in Korea, are trying to build community with friends. Some are building intentional Christian communities. They feel that this is the best way to work toward a peaceful co-existence with North Korea. I hope that as a global community we respect and nurture these efforts.

In August my wife and I visited South Korea to attend a memorial for Johann Christoph Arnold, the author of Why Forgive? Several Christian communities hosted the events and it was encouraging to see people in Korea trying to build communities as tensions between North Korea and the United States escalate.

Chungyon in Korea
Author (right) with David Suh, who is speaking about his forgiveness story.

At the memorial we met a retired professor and pastor, David Gwangsun Suh (President of the World Alliance of YMCA), who experienced the Korean War as a young person and lost his father in the war. After much struggle he forgave North Korea – the “enemy” of his father – and then dedicated his life to building peace in Korea and reaching out to North Koreans. Now eighty-six years old, Gwangsun Suh says that the answer to the tensions in Korea is nonviolence and peaceful dialogue. “Love your enemies. The best way to take revenge on your enemies is the work of helping, reconciling, and loving them.”

During our trip we visited an observatory at the border between North and South Korea. It was located right on the fence line overlooking the so-called T-bone Hill (site of a 1952 battle) with the mountains of North Korea beyond. The day was rainy and the nature around us beautiful. The atmosphere was heavy and quiet. At the foot of the observatory there was a stone pillar remembering the American lieutenant who lost eight soldiers during this battle of the Korean War. He had carved the names of his men on the pillar, which was later brought to this spot from within the DMZ.

Just as those etched names remain, the pain of violence and death lasts for a long time – and I pray we will never allow such a conflict to happen again.

T-bone Hill observatory
The border between North and South Korea. (Photo: Christopher John SSF/flickr)

I would like to invite those who read this article to pray for peace in Korea and the world. Like Johann Christoph Arnold wrote in Why Forgive?, a small ripple for peace can reach around the world. My wife and I with our three children will pray every day for Korea. Will you join this prayer?


Chungyon Won lives with his wife and three children at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in Kent, UK. Comments

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  • Lovely article which should only spur on more people to pray for Korean reunification and ultimately peace.

    Son hyeong-min