First Reformed Church in Rock Rapids will be hosting a special old-fashioned missionary fun night Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m., with special guests Amy and Seung Kim who have been serving as missionaries in South Asia since 2002. The evening will also feature special music by pianist Ethanie Pulscher and an old-fashioned “Human Ford” skit. The evening will conclude with old-fashioned root beer floats served in the fellowship hall. All are welcome to attend.
Amy and Seung met through an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators (which they are still partnered with today) and got married in 2001. They’ve been serving as full-time missionaries in South Asia since 2002.
“Before we were married, I was in Thailand for two years, 1999 and 2000, and Amy was in India and Nepal. We were both doing language surveying. Then we got married in 2001 and then we went back overseas together as a married couple in 2002 and we’ve been in South Asia ever since,” explained Seung.
The daughter of Roger and Carol Oliver, Amy grew up in Rock Rapids and attended First Reformed Church. Seung was born in South Korea and moved with his family to Chicago in 1978.
The couple explained they spend about two and a half years in South Asia and then about six months back in the United States before it’s back to South Asia again. They both said that seeing family and friends are the big things they look forward to when they return to the U.S., but they also enjoy some of the simple things that many of us take for granted, including steady electricity, grocery stores, hot showers, good roads and the general ease of life.
However, they also really enjoy sharing their life experiences with others, and returning to the U.S. gives them plenty of opportunities to do so, one of which is the upcoming old-fashioned missionary fun night.
“I’m really looking forward to the experience of being back in my home church. It’s always special,” said Amy.
“It’s a really good opportunity for us,” added Seung.
Today Amy and Seung remain partners with Wycliffe Bible Translators, although the work they’ve done has changed over the years. “When we first went (to South Asia) we were the first people to live where we are full-time, so our first task was to understand what minority languages were there, if they already had a writing system, that type of thing,” explained Amy.
Ultimately, their goal was to find out if the locals of the area needed Bible translation, which is the first step in the process of providing Bibles written in native and minority languages. The process, known as language surveying, was not easy, but Amy and Seung worked diligently for many years.
“Seung did language surveying for about seven years, and I did it for nearly 10 years. After that Seung switched to being involved full-time in Bible translation, and I more recently switched to what we call ‘oral Bible storying’,” explained Amy.
Each of them felt God calling them to work as missionaries, and while their early paths had some similarities, there were also some differences. Amy points back to learning about the great commission and feeling Jesus’ call to “go and make disciples” while Seung believes God began preparing him for life as a missionary starting with his family’s move to Chicago back in 1978.
“That experience was part of the mission call for me, because as an immigrant I had to learn a second language and a second culture,” said Seung. “So I had kind of practiced and had already done the cross-cultural living. I wasn’t traumatized by it. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. God had prepared me, in a sense, to live overseas.”
Seung attended a few different missions conferences and went on a short-term mission trip to Kenya while he was in college, and the experience confirmed to him he was meant to be a full-time missionary. “It was a group of ordinary people doing ordinary things, just living among other people and sharing the gospel when they could. I enjoyed the different culture and the unique things about living in Kenya and I came to the conclusion that, as an ordinary person, I could also do what God had called me to do. So instead of staying in the States, I felt like there were many needs overseas so I kept pursuing that life, little by little, and I ended up with Wycliffe and meeting Amy through that.”
For Amy, she felt compelled to follow the message of the great commission, unless for some reason God told her specifically not to go. “Growing up I had heard about all the people around the world who still haven’t really heard the gospel message, and I just felt that the great commission is very clear. Jesus told believers to go and make disciples, so I felt that the command was there and that it was clear. So I guess you could say that my decision to become a missionary came out of sheer obedience.”
The two both said they feel like ordinary people just doing the work God has called them to do.