VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/1/23)—On August 9, 2023, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) received a youth delegation from the Korean Baptist Churches of the Republic of Korea (KBCROK). Led by the Rev. Dr. David Hojin Yu and his daughter, Ms. Sharon Yu, the group visited the Leadership and Mission Building (LAMB), ABHMS’ home in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, as part of an itinerary that included other American Baptist agencies headquartered in the greater Philadelphia area and destinations of interest in New York and New Jersey.
The Rev. Michele Turek, national coordinator for Asian Ministries on the ABHMS Intercultural Ministries team, organized the visit. She characterized KBCROK as a younger denomination eager to learn about American Baptists Churches USA (ABCUSA) and how the Baptist organizations associated with it, including ABHMS, function.
Turek stated that the delegation was seeking to discover what programming ABCUSA offers at the denominational level, which, she noted, could open doors to meaningful collaboration with other American Baptist entities such as ABHMS and International Ministries. She further observed that the delegates during their travels were gaining opportunities to develop leadership skills and build character, objectives well-aligned with ABHMS’ own missional priorities.
ABHMS’ hospitality was readily apparent from the outset of the visit, with ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray delivering a warm welcome: “I am very excited that you are here. We know that God cares about your whole person [and] your ability to travel, study, learn and grow is a part of being a healthy Christian. The freedom and the ability to meet other young people throughout the world is part of being a healthy Christian. The ability to access the Holy Bible, and educational resources is part of being a healthy Christian. ABHMS wants to be a partner with you as you become the person God created you to be.”
When Turek addressed ABHMS’ invited guests, she encouraged them to deeply consider three things: how they envision “innovative ministry,” ways in which they see their culture in their faith and areas of healing in their communities. She also underscored the value of collaboration to successful ministry.
For many immigrant churches in the United States that identify with American Baptists, the connection between their adopted home in the U.S. and their original homelands is often meaningful. “These congregations have more than one cultural ‘home,’” said Turek, commenting further that ABHMS recognizes this dynamic and delights in receiving international delegations such as the one from KBCROK. “Showing mutual care and respect helps ABHMS to build stronger partnerships with these immigrant churches,” she added.
Rev. Yu described the delegation’s trip as a valuable learning experience about young people’s spiritual needs. “We really need to know our young people’s hearts and minds,” he said. “This trip helped me with that.”
The collective appreciation of the group for the time with ABHMS was reflected in the parting comment of one of its members: “When we go back home to Korea, we will share with our denomination what programs could be developed. Thank you for sharing about the work you do with young people. Thank you for having us at the Home Mission Societies.”
To learn more about Intercultural Ministries, and ABHMS in general, visit abhms.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.