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Faith as the Evidence of Things Not Seen

A Letter from Unzu Lee, serving as Regional Liaison for East Asia

Fall 2023

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Dear companions in God’s mission,

It is summer in Korea. With the blazing sun giving off a lot of energy for many hours a day and the sky sending down plentiful rain, Korea looks very green and luscious. At the same time, many Koreans also have had to reckon with the destructive power of natural forces as massive flooding has had dire consequences for some people. How about you? I pray and hope that you are all staying safe.

Summer months are inundated with days with serious historical significance for Koreans. Korea was liberated from Japanese colonialism on August 15, 1945; and with that came division by the two allies (Soviet Union and the United States); the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950; and the Armistice Treaty was signed on July 27, 1953. PC(USA) knows this as we as a communion observe June 25-August 15 as the “Season of Prayer and Reflection in the Korean Peninsula.

This summer has been especially busy because, as I have shared in my previous letters in reference to the Korea Peace Appeal campaign, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Treaty. Among the many events that happened, Koreans who want the war to end gathered in many cities on Saturday, July 22. I too participated in one such gathering in Seoul. When Rev. Haekjip Nah of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea declared that the peace march was ready to begin, about 2,000 of us who had gathered at the Seoul Plaza started marching down the streets waving banners and chanting “No to War; Yes to Peace” until we arrived at the site for our rally. Nature did what it wanted to do, and a heavy rain poured down on us at one point, but the ‘show’ went on without a hitch. That’s how earnest everyone was. The KPA campaign leadership team that organized the event will be traveling to the U.S. to deliver the signatures collected from around the globe to the UN when it meets for its annual assembly in September. If you have yet to add your signature, please go to:

I do not know what you are hearing from the U.S. news about the Korean situation, but, being caught in the conflict between the U.S. and China, Korea is experiencing an unprecedented threat of war this year. Large-scale ROK-U.S. military exercises are going on right now as North Korea continues to launch missile tests. Two U.S. submarines armed with nuclear weapons are now each docked in Busan and Jeju port, respectively. As has been said, the world will not get better on its own. We have to work for peace.

“Frontiers” is the name of a group of people of the Christian faith who work for peace. They have been working with the people suffering in conflict zones such as East Timor and Myanmar for nearly 20 years. Some of them live on the island of Jeju to continue to non-violently protest the construction of the naval base and be a witness for peace. Their principal form of protest is prayer.

Just like the prophets of the Bible who spoke in the past tense of what they believed would be achieved by God in the future, Frontiers profess that “Peace is already here!” In late April, I was with the Frontiers when they held a press conference to share the news about their ‘Peace Sailing Project,’ a project they launched to spread the hope of turning the sea of conflict into a sea where all things can live together peacefully.

On June 1, 2023, Jonah’s Whale, their yacht run by a five-member crew left Jeju Island for the “Peace Sailing Project.” Through their voyage, they are connecting the people who live on the islands of Korea, Japan/Okinawa and Taiwan. With technology, those of us on land who support their voyage are staying in touch with them as they sail, dock, meet with islanders, worship with people of faith, repair the yacht, and take off to the next destination. To help you get a little taste of their journey, let me share one post from their Facebook page “Inter-Island Solidarity for Peace.”

June 30 – July 3 in Tanegashima
It took a full day to sail from Kagoshima to arrive around 7:30 am in Tanegashima.
Next to Tanegashima on Mageshima a US military base is currently under construction. Mageshima was inhabited by deer, with no people, but now it is a US military island where no one else can enter. People in Tanegashima have organized an anti-base movement. They were very glad that we visited and we encouraged each other to not give up on our difficult paths, and shared about the methods of our anti-base movements. Before we left, Miyake-san and Kimito-san who gave us food and a place to stay drove us and showed us around. Maki-san also joined. On our way to Yakushima we passed Mageshima and we used picket signs and banners from Tanegashima to show our opposition to the base. The pickets said “Don’t make Mageshima a military base! Leave it as an island of safety!”

Miyake-san read a letter to us when we left:
“…I would like to say a few words from friends who wish for peace in our hometowns and the world. [You] suddenly appeared and encouraged us with passion and smiles. We are very grateful that there are like-minded people across the sea, and that they have come to see us… Now is the time to aim for peace together… Please do your best. I don’t think I can ride a yacht, but I will stick to my determination to never let a war happen. Bon Voyage!” ”
( groups/691041570975396)

As I write these words, they are visiting with people in Taiwan. On September 1, they will set sail toward Gangjung, the point of their departure on Jeju Island. They will be trekking 1,100 km (683.5 miles), and if everything goes well, they are expected to arrive at Gangjung on September 10. Please pray with me for their safe sail.



Please read this important message from Director of World Mission Rev. Mienda Uriarte

Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Matthew 25: 34-36

Dear friends,

Great things are happening in World Mission! As you know from the letters you’ve been receiving, our mission co-workers are at the forefront of showing us what Matthew 25 looks like in the U.S. and in the wider world. They are addressing issues related to eradicating systemic poverty, building congregational vitality and dismantling structural racism. Together with our partners, mission co-workers are engaged in life-transforming ministries in 80 countries around the world. Here are just a few examples:

As an education consultant in the Democratic Republic of Congo, José Jones assists the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) education department in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategic plans to strengthen the church’s primary and secondary education programs for more than 350 schools.

Based in Manila, Rev. Cathy Chang works closely with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and other partners in ministry to engage programs and networks across Asia that advocate for people vulnerable to forced migration and human trafficking.

Nadia Ayoub works alongside our Greek partners as they faithfully hold to the biblical call to welcome the stranger. Nadia serves with Perichoresis, a ministry of the Evangelical Church of Greece that provides housing and support to refugees; most of whom have come to Greece from Arabic-speaking countries.

Joseph Russ strengthens and supports a network of partners working in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to address migration issues in the Northern Triangle. Based on the needs people on the ground identify, Joseph empowers U.S. congregations to engage in advocacy related to Central America and immigration reform.

Revs. Drs. Noah Park and Esther Shin serve as professors at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC). ETSC graduates work toward revitalizing congregational ministries in Egypt and work with refugee and peace ministries in various countries in the Middle East.

Please consider giving an extra gift this year to support our mission co-workers as they walk alongside our partners and help shape a more life-giving, equitable and hopeful world!


Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Director of World Mission
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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