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Koreans put down roots with The Salvation Army

North Shore Korean Corps plant officers

20 Aug | 2014

Captains Steven and Grace Lim, leaders of the Salvation Army North Shore Korean Corps Plant, say that when their corps was first established in February 2013 it was as a place of worship and fellowship where Korean immigrants could hear the gospel and help each other with the challenge of integrating into a new country. ‘Planting’ is an important concept to the couple, who see most immigrants as trees that have been uprooted from their own countries and need help to take root again.

The corps (church) plant started as afternoon services in the Glenfield Salvation Army. Grace says that it was a challenge to start a Salvation Army Korean church from scratch as there are over 100 Korean churches in Auckland. The couple began by visiting their non-Christian friends, advertising and writing columns in the Korean newspaper.

This year, the plant moved into its own building next door to Glenfield Corps. ‘Having our own place is very exciting, and has given the congregation its own space and identity,’ says Steven.

The Salvation Army in Korea is largely identified as a charity, so the Lims had quite a job getting the message across that it is also a church. That was Steven and Grace’s early view of The Salvation Army as well, until a friend spoke to them about this and they visited Wellington City Corps. When Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, corps officer of Wellington City at the time, spoke to the Lims about The Salvation Army, they both felt the Holy Spirit calling them to join. They believe their journey of integration into The Salvation Army and the New Zealand culture enables them to help the people of their corps do the same.

‘Though we come from different nations, we worship the same God,’ says Steven. ‘And it is the covering of God’s love that is vital to cover over miscommunication that sometimes happens between cultures,’ he adds.

Grace and Steven feel that God has given them a vision (from the Bible passage about the woman at the well) to bring God’s living and new water to the Korean community on the North Shore. Many immigrants are tired and weary but God has opened his Kingdom so they may find rest in his presence.

The Lims believe that their role within The Salvation Army is as a bridge to help people assimilate and to help those whose lives have been uprooted take root in God. They welcome the prayers of the wider Salvation Army for God’s work through the North Shore Korean Corps Plant.