Thirty Years God’s Mission—Encounter and Obedience

A Letter from Choon and Yen Hee Lim, serving in East Asia

August 2020

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Dear Friends in Mission,

I, Choon, will leave for the U.S. on September 3, 2020. Yen Hee left on August 10. We transferred our work to the new Regional Liaison Team, Reverend Martin Han, Reverend Jieun Kim Han, and Reverend Unzu Lee on July 31, 2020. Please pray for them as they continue to carry on God’s mission in East Asia.

As we prepared for our retirement, Yen Hee and I published a book called 30 Years God’s Mission: Encounter and Obedience, written in Korean, Chinese, and English. As our last Mission Connections letter, we are sharing the epilogue of our book with you.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for your faithful prayers and support of our 30 years of mission work. We have served with the Islands Medical Mission (Salvation Ship) in South Korea for six years; with the Aboriginal Campus Ministry in Hualien, Taiwan for 15 years; and in the position of Regional Liaison for East Asia, based in Seoul, South Korea with a focus on China and North Korea, for nine years.

Concluding Word: Our Thirty Years in God’s Mission—Encounter and Obedience

After Michelangelo completed his painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he wrote the words “Ancora Imparo” in a corner of a sketchbook. The words mean, ‘I am still learning.’ The famous sculptor and painter had said at the age of 87, ‘Now I am 70. My most important work will be done 10 years from now.’ He was 87 years old when he finished the Sistine Chapel.

I am 70 years old now. The next ten years will be the most important season of my life. How will I live during the 2020s, the decade that has just begun? I have thought about what I will do, how I will spend this new decade. I have decided that it will be a decade of “Emmanuel living” (Matthew 1:23), a life lived with the God who is with me.

I intend to live out of a sense of freedom. I used to work in response to the pressures and plans of others. From now on, I resolve to learn God’s plans for me through conversation with him and do them.

In retirement I hope for three things—spirituality, wisdom, and good health. Of these three, spirituality is number one. Spirituality has authority over all other things. I have come to realize through personal experience that God gives wisdom and health through the spiritual life. Therefore, every day I devote my life to spirituality and to prayer.

God gave me a great gift at the beginning of my 30 years of mission service. It was during the six years I served the residents of the islands off South Korea’s coast in the Island Medical Ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Korea. It was a time of spiritual formation. When Yen Hee and I went with the medical team to the islands to treat the people, we would stay overnight. I always received a request from the church on the island we were visiting to lead the daily dawn prayer meeting. These prayer services always began at 4 AM on the island churches. The attendees would go from the prayer service directly to work. After work would they have their morning meal. The spiritual formation I am referring to is the discipline of daily prayer at dawn that I learned in the island ministry and determined to practice the rest of my life. Even when I went to Taiwan as a missionary or when I returned periodically to the United States, I got up every morning, not at 4 AM but about 5 AM, to have a time of devotion and reflect on what I would be doing in the coming day. I shared with God all that I was planning to do that day and asked that God would use me. The foundation of my spiritual life was the example of early morning prayer set by my grandfather who was an elder and by the prayers of my grandmother. I believe that their example made me the kind of person I became.

The following three things have been the basis for my life of faith during my thirty years as a missionary.

Only God: Like a sunflower which is always turned toward the sun, I have strived to live with my eyes fixed on God.

Never give up: Like a roly-poly, one who is tripped up and falls, but who always gets up again, keep on heading for the goal whatever the circumstance or situation.

Slow but sure: Like a tortoise who beat the hare in the old fable, however busy you may be, do your work slowly but surely.

Looking back on my life of 70 years, during which I have experienced the tribulation of the Korean War, the pain of being separated from my family in North Korea, the difficulties of life in the United States, and hardships in my life as a missionary, I have looked only to God, trusting him, bearing and enduring all things. All these things have made me what I am today. Now I retire at age 70; it is time “re-tire,” to put a new “tire” on my life. I believe—and wait in expectation—for God to open the door for the new thing, the new “tire,” he will bring into my life.

I close this book with a saying which I learned from my days as a missionary in Taiwan. It is in Chinese and English.

榮神益人

Glorify God and be a useful and beneficial person to others. Amen.

Choon and Yen Hee


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