December 19 2017
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
This popular Christmas carol is based on the 1863 poem "Christmas Bells" by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The song tells of the narrator's despair, upon hearing Christmas bells, that "hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men." The carol concludes with the bells carrying renewed hope for peace among men. Many regard Longfellow as America's
greatest poet. The first Longfellow came to
the U.S. from Yorkshire, England, in 1676. Henry was born to a prominent New
England Lawyer in 1807. He became a respected scholar and was a college
professor at the age of 19.
had many tragedies in his life. His first wife Mary had a
miscarriage six months into her pregnancy and died a few weeks later while they
were en route to Europe.
was seven years before he recovered from his loss to remarry. Together
they had five children, but again tragedy happened.
July 11, 1861, his wife Fanny had clipped some long curls from the head of her
7-year-old daughter, Edith. Wanting to save them in an envelope, she placed the
curls inside, then melted a bar of sealing wax with a candle to seal the
the thin fabric of her clothing caught fire, and Fanny quickly ran to
Longfellow’s nearby study for help. He immediately tried to extinguish the
flames with a small rug, and when that failed, he threw his arms around Fanny
to smother the flames, sustaining serious burns on his own face, arms, and
hands. Tragically, his heroic act did not suffice to save his wife. Fanny died
the next morning from injuries. Longfellow himself was injured to the point
where he was unable to attend the funeral.
of Longfellow taken or made after the fire usually show him with a full beard,
since he was no longer able to shave properly due to the burns and scarring.
coming of the holiday season in the Longfellow house became a time of grieving
for his wife while trying to provide a happy time for the children left at
home. It was during Christmas 1862 that he wrote in his journal, “A ‘merry
Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.”
had also suffered another disappointment when his oldest son, Charles Appleton
“Charley” Longfellow, 17 at the time, quietly left their Cambridge, Mass., home and enlisted in the Union Army much against the wishes of his father. The
Christmas of 1863 was silent in his journal.
Later, Charlie was injured. He was hit in the shoulder, and the ricocheting bullet
took out portions of several vertebrae. It was reported that he missed being
paralyzed by less than one inch. Longfellow traveled to where his injured
son was hospitalized and brought him home to Cambridge to recover.
then, on December 25, 1864, he wrote the words of this poem. Perhaps it was the
re-election of Abraham Lincoln, the possible end of the terrible war, or a
deep, renewed hope that stirred in his soul which brought us this timeless
heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and
sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” His original words
spoke of “each black accursed mouth the cannon thundered in the South” and it
was “as if an earthquake rent the hearth-stones of a continent, and made
forlorn the households born of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
music to this American poem were written by an Englishman named John Baptiste
published, this combination of British music and American lyrics quickly made
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day one of the most popular carols in both
Europe and the United States.”
December 13 2017
More than 100 years ago, One Mission Society missionaries discipled,
trained, and sent out two young Korean students, Kim Sang-jun and Jung Bin,
from the OMS-established Tokyo Bible Institute in Japan back to Korea to share
the Gospel with the Korean people.
From the beginning, OMS has been intentional about training
the sons and daughters of a nation to reach their own people. This dedication has
helped in the phenomenal growth of the OMS-founded Korea Evangelical Holiness
Church (KEHC), which today has more than 3,000 churches and nearly 1 million
the division of North and South Korea, there were also about 3,000 churches in
the north, with 132 of them being OMS related. And then the Korean War came,
and those churches were laid waste while most Christians fled south to safety. Those
that didn’t were most likely martyred.
evangelism in North Korea (NK) is impossible. For the last 16 years, Open
Door’s World Watch List has ranked it number one for persecuted Christians. Over
70,000 Christians live in prison camps as a result of their faith, suffering
forced labor, starvation, and sexual abuse.
than 20 million North Koreans live in darkness, having NEVER heard the Gospel.
North Korea is indeed a dark place, but OMS, along
with our South Korea partners, is piercing the darkness of NK with the light of
Christ. Here’s how:
1. We are equipping North Korean defectors.
Koreans have been a divided people for decades, but a
gradual reunification process is taking place through the arrival of North
Korean defectors in
South Korea. These refugees face numerous obstacles to
integration into South Korean society, but they also provide valuable insight
into the issues Koreans will face after reunification.
Our ministry partner, Sarangnaru, reaches out to North Korean refugees
and helps them integrate into South Korean society by providing group homes for
teens and young adults and after-school tutoring for elementary children and
their parents, among other ministries. In this way, North Korean defectors and
their families are evangelized, discipled, and prepared to make a valuable
contribution to reunification.
2.We are equipping North Korean transients.
Risking their lives for a better future, an estimated 100,000 to 300,000
have crossed the border into neighboring nations. With discretion and care, we
are evangelizing, discipling, and training North Koreans who travel to nearby
nations to return to share the Gospel within their family groups and, when
feasible, help plant underground house churches.
This holiday season, we are taking the light of Jesus into the darkest place
in the world, North Korea. Will you join us in this initiative?
A small gift of $34 will evangelize, train, and disciple one North
Korean to reach his or her nation for Christ.
us give light to North Korea by giving online here.
December 7 2017
of us have never had to flee starvation and oppression in our homeland. Currently,
South Korea hosts about 30,000 defectors who have escaped North Korea in the
last 20 years or so since the famine of the 1990s. Most of them had never heard
of Christ while in North Korea, but during the process of passing through China
and other countries, many have now heard the Gospel. Some have become
Christians and even have been trained as pastors to reach out to their own
people, as well as to those around the world.
in English for a United Korea (AIE4UK) started with a vision to help pastors
and young people who came from North Korea to be able to communicate with the church
around the world. It also helps prepare people domestically and internationally
for unification, raises up workers who can fill the basic need for English
education, and helps Christians from North Korea share their testimonies and
the Gospel in English to bring spiritual awakening and revival to the Western,
From July 17 - 19, 2017, we held our fourth year of camp at Seoul Theological
University with the theme “A New Thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Susan Truitt, OMS
missionary and English professor at Seoul Theological University, directed the
camp, and a team of eight native English speakers sent out from OMS served as
year, 10 North Korean defectors participated in AIE4UK, so they were matched one
on one with the native English speakers from the United States. About half of
them were pastors serving in ministry in South Korea, and the other half were
young people preparing for their future. One activity they did together was
going to the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery to learn about some of the
early missionaries who came to Korea over 100 years ago and be challenged by
their lives of obedience and service. In the evenings we heard the testimonies
of some of those who had come from North Korea. It was a tearful time to hear
of how God has been faithful through all of the terrible suffering they had
We believe that God has sent North Korean defectors to South Korea not only for
the unification of the Korean people but also so that through their living
testimonies of how God has guided and preserved their lives in the midst of
danger, they can be used as instruments to awaken Western, English-speaking
churches. We believe that if Christian North Korean defectors can share their
testimonies and the power of the Gospel in English without having to depend on
interpretation, God will use them in valuable ways.
For over 20 years, One Mission Society (OMS) in Korea has held Adventures in
English camps every summer with volunteer native English speakers. These
volunteers, devoted to God’s kingdom, raise their own money to participate.
Through AIE4UK, jointly sponsored by OMS Korea, the Prayer Network for North
Korea and the Nations (PN4N), and Sarangnaru, we hope that North Korean
defectors may be raised up in a wonderful way to serve as missionaries in cooperation
with OMS. The next AIE4UK is being planned for August 8-10, 2018.
Susan Truitt, OMS Korea field director