Korea was influenced about the same time as Australia – mid-February. However, a cult religious group in the city of Daegue did not obey health directives & cause over a 100 cases in the first week & many more in the next month. They had been to Israel & stopped over in China on the way home to Korea. Then had large gatherings in their hall.
Those activities caused the closure of the ecclesia that meets in Daegue, as all religious meetings were banned.
A few weeks later the spread of the virus to Seoul caused a ‘lock-down’ in Seoul, which stopped people gathering for religious & social activities. So the Seoul ecclesia were forced to stop meeting in their Hall. Korea is not a third world country, & Seoul were already using Skype 2 times each month for exhortations & studies by former members who now live in NSW & Canada. So they held meetings from mid-March until the end of April when some of the restrictions were lifted.
Some of the seoul Ecclesia have taken to still ‘Zooming’ into the meeting each Sunday, & the members of Daegue Ecclesia also connect with the Seoul meetings by Zoom 2 or 3 times each week – Memorial Meetings, studies & readings.
Many of the Ecclesia resorted to ‘working from home’, unless their work commitments required them being onsite. By the end of May some of those working from home returned back to the normal office environment, similar to us in Australia – some for 5 days per week, others only went into the office 2 or 3 days per week. A couple of people did lose regular employment during these time.
Last week end, August 14 to 16, they were programmed to have their annual Bible Camp. Due to the virus, there were no plans as large gatherings were restricted, & accommodation at hotels & resorts was limited. So, along comes Zoom. Bro Steven Mansfield of the Golden Grove Ecclesia in S Australia decided that if he could not go to Korea literally, then he would still do his talks which he had prepared. So the brethren & sisters of Korea & a few Australians joined together to listen to Bro Steven, interpret his words & discuss the Truth after the studies. A very warm & refreshing time for all involved.
What can we do or plan for our Brethren & sisters in South Korea?
If & when this virus shifts & international travel is returned, I would encourage us to consider a trip to Korea. Just as a holiday & a visit to brethren & sisters in isolation. The culture in Korea is that to be acceptable a ‘church’ should be big – measured in 1000’s – ours have 2 ecclesias smaller than 15.
So a visit means the world to them – that feeling of family, being connected to brothers & sisters world wide. You do not have to be a speaker – just join with them, do the readings together, eat together.
While visiting you can enjoy self-contained accommodation in their hall, with easy access to food, shopping & cheap transport. Due to the fact Korea is not a third-world country you can shop & travel without upsetting the locals. They expect that, that is what they do when they travel.
What an unusual year we have had – but depending on the country we look at, the problems have ranged from small to horrific. Can we add this Corona-Virus to the signs we look to? – “there will be times of trouble such as never was”. This has caused world wide repercussions. I trust our Lord will soon come!!
Please give this due thought, & each day remember our brothers & sisters of Korea in your prayers!