By Dan Wooding: Assist News/Baptist Press

Korean PresidentHe has been encouraged to have a time of prayer with President Bush and Laura Bush at their summit.

“Some say it is a new day in South Korea. After a landslide election in November, Myung-Bak Lee was sworn into office on February 19.”

So wrote Ann Lovell, a media worker based in Seoul with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in a story for Baptist Press. She continued, “This has been good news for many of South Korea’s Christian leaders since Lee also is a member of the 70,000 member Somang Presbyterian Church in Seoul. One of the president’s chief advocates is Billy Kim, president of South Korea’s Far East Broadcasting Company and pastor of Suwon Central Baptist Church from 1960-2004. Kim, a former Baptist World Alliance president regarded as one of the world’s most influential Christian leaders, first earned international attention when he served as an interpreter for the 1973 Billy Graham crusade.

“Kim and Lee’s friendship dates back many years. Kim, who attended Lee’s inauguration, described Lee as a man of strong faith and a faithful member of Somang Presbyterian Church. Lee has served as an elder—and has helped direct traffic to ease parking congestion before and after the Seoul mega-church’s services.”

Lovell went on to say, “Continuing his close relationship with Lee, Kim met with Lee on March 29 in the Blue House, the residence of South Korea’s president. Kim spent more than an hour and a half with the president and his wife Kim Yoon. They prayed together and discussed both the tensions with North Korea and the upcoming summit meeting with President Bush, which was held April 18-19 in Washington. Kim encouraged Lee and his wife to have a time of prayer with President Bush and Laura Bush at their summit.”

She said that Kim said he also believes that Lee’s election is good news for South Korean mission efforts. “South Korea is second only to the United States as a missionary-sending country,” she said. “While the focus of mission efforts may shift toward more local initiatives in the short term, Kim said he believes the commitment of church leaders to missions and evangelism will only continue to escalate, and local church leaders will be able to count on the support of a president who understands the importance of taking the Gospel to the uttermost part of the earth.”

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