Saturday, June 03, 2017

Remembering North Korea by Rose McCormick Brandon

Dr. Robert Hardie
The first signs of revival in Korea appeared in 1903 when medical missionary, Dr. Robert Hardie, gave a series of talks on prayer at a conference. Hardie shared these messages in many churches. Within a year,ten thousand turned to Christ. In 1906, several from the Methodist and Presbyterian Missions at Ping Yang (Pyongyang) began noon-hour prayer meetings asking God for an out-pouring of His Spirit. When believers in the area gathered for the universal week of prayer in January 1907 they expected a first century blast of blessing. Instead, their meetings seemed dull and weak and their prayers earth-bound.
On the last day of prayer week, a highly-respected Christian stood and tearfully confessed before a congregation of 1500 that he had stolen from an estate he'd managed. "God can't bless because of me," he said and publicly promised to make restitution. This man's shocking admission set off a flood of confessions. One after another confessed their sins. The meeting lasted until two o-clock in the morning. In the months following this mass confession thousands came to Christ. Missionary to China, Jonathan Goforth, visited the revival and concluded that hidden sin had hindered God but uncovered sin glorified Him.
       By mid-1907, 30,000 converts attended the Pyongyang church. To accommodate this number people went to church in shifts. Churches sprang up all over Korea. Confession of sin remained a primary factor in this revival. Many repented of racial bias, including Dr. Hardie, who confessed his prejudice against Koreans. Koreans repented of hatred toward the Japanese, their occupiers. Love from Christ filled their hearts and erased their biases. People recognized them as His disciples because of their love (John 13:34,35).
       One man learned about Jesus in the city and returned to his village with a New Testament which he read to his neighbours. When converts numbered fifty they decided it was time to form a church but had no idea how to do it. Thinking it must have something to do with water baptism they each went home, took a bath, returned and declared they were now a church.
       Korean Christians eagerly shared the gospel. Even school children were known to stop passers-by in the street and tearfully plead with them to follow Jesus. Those who suffered imprisonment for the faith used the time to read their Bibles – one man read it through seven times. Others memorized large portions of scripture. It wasn’t uncommon for prisoners to commit whole books of the Bible to memory. Pyongyang became known as “Jerusalem of the East.”
Rose McCormick Brandon
Today, Pyongyang is often in the news. In the same land where many experienced this amazing outpouring of God's Spirit, Christians are cut off from the world by Communism and divided from their countrymen. They need our prayers. We won't know until Korea's iron curtain is lifted how many believers have survived, how they survived and what God is doing amongst them now. What we do know is those revival fires can't have gone completely out. Sparks remain.
O Lord, remember your people in North Korea. Pour out your Spirit upon them as before. Keep them strong and may your words resonate continually in their minds and hearts.
Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website at: Contact her at: Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children at


Peter Black said...

Thank you. This is a wonderful and challenging account, Rose. What a tremendous move of God! And Pyongyang - "Jerusalem of the East," eh! Thank you for the strong appeal for us to remember North Korea and its people. God *can* do it again, but we must pray, and really pray.~~+~~

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Yes, prayer is the only answer to North Korea.

fudge4ever said...

It is so encouraging to hear the history of Korea, Rose. What a beautiful, dynamic story. You are right, I believe there are still sparks there. We must pray that God will fan these into life. Prayer is the only answer, yes. Thank you for sharing.
Pam Mytroen

Glynis said...

It's good to hear of the wave that once hit Korea. Just shows the power of Christ to forgive and bless when people (and one day a nation) falls to their knees. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess..."
A great story from our past, Rose. Thanks. Gives hope to a land - and world - that sometimes seems so hopeless!

ramona said...

Thank you Rose. As a child attending boarding school in The Central African Republic my hero's and heroines were the stories of missionaries that had gone before my parents to serve all around the world. I will never forget how a family friend and missionary took seriously God's call to lay down his life for his friends. During the Congo Rebellion Uncle George died in order others would live.

External evidence does not always mean extinction, rather God working under ground.

I think my summer time reading will have to include some biographies!

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