I flew to South Korea to complete a singular task in 2007. I needed to clear up some confusion about my role. I’ve since been to Korea many times. In 1997 I was in Korea for the first time to be commissioned with my international committee to lead YWAM’s Student Mobilization Centre.
For my second trip I brought four Internship teams for ten days of training on their way to China, India, and Mongolia; a total of 45 people including my family. YWAM’s founder, Loren Cunningham, was the keynote speaker at a student missions conference we attended. There were over 2000 YWAMers and students squeezed into a hall designed for just 900. Loren called our large group from the USA to the platform and introduced me with an announcement “if you want to start a campus ministry, see John Henry.” That is when the confusion started.
YWAM Korea had already set goals to plant ministries on every college campus, worldwide. There were 8600 universities in 1998. You see, I was not in any way an authority over the amazing pioneer work of YWAM South Korea. My role with the Centre was to create and facilitate missional internships for students and develop leaders for YWAM Campus Ministry through training programs. The problem was that YWAM did not yet have an international ministry leader for campus ministries.
I prayed and I knew I needed to do something. After I hosted SunGun Hong, the founder of Korea’s Campus Ministries, to teach in our first School of University Ministries in Delhi, India in 2004, we agreed to write letters to YWAM’s Global Leadership Team to establish the YWAM Campus Ministries International (CMI) network, with Jangbin Hong as the new International Director.
When CMI was approved I returned to Seoul with a singular task. I brought a gift and a message. When I was on the platform to speak at the first joint gathering of YWAM Campus Ministries International and the Student Mobilization Centre, I presented a baseball cap from the University of Wisconsin to Jangbin. I spoke to those assembled saying, “This hat represents authority. I honor Jangbin as the leader of YWAM’s Campus Ministries. Thank you, Jangbin, for leading all of us.” The confusion was gone.
“And what’s this talk about me bullying you with my letters? “His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he’s a weakling and mumbles when he talks.” Such talk won’t survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We’re the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person.”
2 Corinthians 10:9-11 MSG