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Korean churches give $107K for Haiti relief

DALLAS (BP)–The 850-plus churches in the Southern Baptist Convention that worship in a Korean context raised $107,356.04 in special offerings this spring for Haiti relief.

Checks were presented May 9 to the SBC’s North American Mission Board for $24,567.51 and March 24 for $82,788.53 to the SBC’s International Mission Board.

Chongoh Aum, executive director of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America, and the council’s president, Singki Baik, pastor of Atlanta New Way Korean Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., commended NAMB’s “swift response to the calamity and massive relief efforts” when they presented their check to Harry Lewis, vice president for NAMB’s partnerships missions and mobilization group.

It wasn’t just the plight of people in Haiti after a devastating earthquake that moved the Korean churches to action.

They also wanted to show their solidarity with the Southern Baptist Convention, Aum explained. “We are Southern Baptists, remember,” he said. “I think we must have to help SBC work.”

The Korean council’s Haiti relief fund was started by the council’s Brotherhood, which sent a single plea letter to each Korean Southern Baptist church in the United States.

“Though the fundraising period was supposed to last for a week at first, with the strong support of Korean churches and pastors, it was prolonged to a month, which ended up in collecting more than $107,000,” Aum said. “This is first time for special offering” to be given by Korean Baptists that is in addition to their contributions to missions through the Cooperative Program as well as each church’s local association and their giving through the various seasonal missions offerings.

“I feel so proud of delivering a donation and am so grateful to the pastors and Korean churches that voluntarily and wholeheartedly backed up our plan,” said the president, whose name also can be translated Shin-Gi Paek.

Sang Meen “John” Kim, pastor of Korean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga., led the fundraising effort.

“Through this experience, we came to realize the manpower of 865 Korean churches,” Kim said. “After the earthquake broke out, a lot of [Korean Southern Baptist] churches raised funds and sent them individually. When we found out the severity of the calamity, however, we thought the relief should be done at the council level, and sent out a single notice.

“It was totally by God’s grace that pastors and churches were unanimous for the fundraising, and that not only big churches but also small and not very well-off ones donated even beyond their capacity,” Kim continued. “There was an old pastor of a small church who sent $10,000, which was a lot for the church, and he felt sorry for not being able to send more.”

Korean Southern Baptist churches also contributed 132,000 “Buckets of Hope” for Haiti relief, Aum said. In addition, the council’s mission board has been sending a medical team each week — one doctor, two nurses and other volunteers as well as construction teams to rebuild collapsed churches and houses.

A nine-person medical team from Hanuri Baptist Church in Carrollton, Texas, ministered in Haiti May 5-9, Aum said. “They give us $3,000 to help with that,” he added.

“From such experiences I realized that Korean churches have a fantastic range of possibilities to do great things, not only domestically but also globally,” Kim said. “What they need for this is motivation.”

It is God’s Holy Spirit and the work of the Southern Baptist Convention that provides the motivation, Aum said.

“We are working together with SBC,” Aum said. “We are a part of SBC.”
Karen L. Willoughby, managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message, routinely covers news of Koreans in the SBC for Baptist Press.