A Missionary in Korea Writes Her Instructor
My dear Judge,*
. . . We’ve learned a lot about new people and new customs but mostly we have come to realize why we went to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. At the time we thought we knew, but it takes really living a thing to appreciate its preciousness. Now we know what the word “missionary” means. I had wanted it so long and it surely hasn’t disappointed me.
Korea is a fascinating place to live in. The business people dress in Western clothes and are very much interested in modern things. They are an alert and very clever people; they love to talk and ask questions. To us they are always polite. It surprises them that we come to them speaking their own language. When we preach they listen carefully and sincerely. Even if they do not want literature they hear us out. Therefore, in Seoul there is hardly a person who doesn’t recognize Jehovah’s witnesses.
The clergy in exasperation warn their flocks not to listen to us but you know the result of that. The question most frequently asked is, “How are your beliefs different from the other religions?” To answer that we simply take a subject such as the trinity and knock the foundation out from under it. And once you have shown them one lie you can hardly slow them up enough to study things carefully. All of a sudden they want to know everything at once; they want to study two or three nights a week, or even every day.
They come to the meetings, and once they begin associating with the congregation, it is no time before they dedicate themselves. Although they do come in quickly with little more than basic knowledge they are solid, because the truth becomes their whole life. They love to preach as well as talk the truth among themselves. You cannot help loving them.
After a year and a half it has been thrilling to watch our congregation, one of eight in Seoul, grow and split and now be ready to split again. Besides, we’ve had a share in helping some of our studies mature and be baptized. Now we are grandmothers. Some of the ones we’ve studied with have watched their own good-will interest be immersed. That really gives you a lump in your throat.
The good-will potential here is unbelievable. We have more than we can ever do. I had a nice experience just three weeks ago. Calling at one home I met a young student of about fourteen. He wanted the book “Let God Be True”, but was unable to contribute for it and so I said I would come again and gave him an invitation to the public lecture at the circuit assembly starting that week. After I left the house I wrote down the place and promptly forgot about it. Then at the assembly what should I see but this eager little face peeking up at me. At first I didn’t even recognize him (all students dress alike in regular uniforms), but then it dawned on me. He said I must hurry back to his house because his parents had to see me.
The next night he was back again to see the new movie “The Happiness of the New World Society.” He practically had tears in his eyes as he saw the New World scenes. Later I learned his mother and father were there also. The next Tuesday another missionary and I went to visit them. They welcomed us into their homes with open arms and hearts. They had been Methodists for years but felt that two hours of praying, singing and listening to their moksa’s (minister’s) preaching could not be all that God required of true religion. The father said he wanted a personal knowledge of the Bible. After our study last week they said they felt as if God sent us. Their hearts are satisfied now except that they see the need for more knowledge.
On paper it is a little hard to transmit the glow in their eyes and the joy on their faces, but I felt it was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had. Here you have many unusual experiences, because you meet many high-ranking people, etc., who take their stand. But of them all, this little close family has been the dearest.
There is no life on earth like this. Our missionary family is close and loads of fun. Our house is wonderful for Korea. Although temporary disappointments come, they pass. Korea feels like home.
I hope you and your wife are well and happy. But how could anyone be otherwise—what could be better than serving Jehovah?
My love to you both,
[signed] Elaine Schiedt
Because he taught the law course at school.