Our day today started with a plan change. We were technically going to have a day-off but it was decided to put it off until tomorrow. This really didn’t affect the Team’s demeanor at all as everything was just taken in stride. We had breakfast, got ready and waited for our hosts DaeHun and Pastor “O”.
After loading up on the bus we started our journey to learning more about South Korean history and the significant events that have lead to shaping it’s existence to this present day. Our first stop was the Honam Theological University & Seminary. It is here where 22 Presbyterian Missionaries are buried. Pastor “O” mainly concentrated on three of these missionaries. A German Nurse, Elizabeth Shepping, who studied in America and came to South Korea, was likened to Mother Theresa in India. We were told when she passed away she received one of the biggest funeral processions in the nation. Residents from all around Gwangju city, turned out to honour this Lady. Other notable missionaries were Clement C Owen a Doctor and a Pastor Eugene Bell both from the US. Owen concentrated his efforts on medical needs of the poor. He established a medical clinic center for those that were not able to afford medical services and several schools. It was very sobering to know these people gladly laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel. We were blown away by their obedience to give their lives for the gospel in this nation.
Our next stop was lunch along the riverside in a small town called Damyang. Lunch was delicious. They haven’t had to clean dishes after us a lot in the restaurants we’ve been too, as we’ve cleaned most of them ourselves. Lunch was had, and we went two minutes down the road to the Bamboo Forest in Damyang. This took almost an hour and a half. We were hoping to perform there but their stage area was under construction so we enjoyed the forest instead.
We visited the Gwangju Uprising Memorial and were immersed in the recent history and significance of this event that celebrates the freedom of democracy in this beautiful nation. We spent time at the burial site and watched a half hour video, as well as a walk through that depicted and recorded in detail the events of that time and what happened. Men, women and children lost their lives giving birth to the democratization of a nation. A stark reality and wake up call to us not just as American’s or Korean’s but as Christians as well. Very sobering to say the least and very, very close to home. We appreciated the fact that we heard this story from Dr. Lee in Montrose before we came, because it certainly prepared us for this time.
We headed home after a long day, and ordered dinner in. Megan, Geoff, Jamie and Rachel went into town to get breakfast supplies. Mark, Tamara and Kaiser paid us a visit and we talked about our schedule for the remaining two weeks. A long day but another good day.