A well-attended media meeting marked the start of John and Lisa’s first trip to Korea. In the weeks prior to their visit, I had contacted every photojournalist, videographer, and journalist I knew, and with growing interest, we eventually saw five television channels, six newspapers, and a few magazines represented at the early morning press meeting.
There were a total of 38 journalists pressed into the small meeting room. With a promise to each TV channel of an “exclusive greeting to their viewers,” and to the newspapers of “a still photo session” and thirty minutes of questions and answers, they came to get images, reports, and the story. Even the journalists themselves said they had seen nothing like it before.
The meeting became a powerful time of ministry into the lives of people across Korea and to Korean ministries worldwide. I felt sorry to close the Q&A session, which had already run over by 30 minutes. Each question addressed relevant social problems such as the youth, families, church challenges, and ministry to China and North Korea. Within hours, each of the stations had their exclusive greeting and news item on air or live online; within days, several papers had published images and reports.
In the days that followed, I had calls from other journalists asking, Why were we not invited? Can you hold another meeting? When are they coming back again? We were only able to provide these journalists with a generic report and images prepared in advance, yet they too were delighted with what they were given. The newspaper with the nation’s third largest distribution (David Yongghi Cho’s Kukmin Daily, which reaches 600,000 subscribers) devoted two-thirds of the front page of its Christian supplement to the visit.
The Christian media was abuzz with John and Lisa’s answers to topical questions. Some quoted from Messenger International’s TV program, which airs on three channels and in five languages (three more Korea-based stations will start airing The Messenger soon). Others quoted from their books, one of which, Under Cover, has seen over 280,000 copies in print in the Korean language alone!
Seoul acts as a hug for many large Christian denominations, while South Korea, as a whole, provides the world’s second largest number of Christian missionaries (surpassed only by the United States). As of 2009, there were 20,000 Korean missionaries working overseas! As Messenger International works closely with missionary-sending Korean churches, we are touching lives and impacting laborers through every available means. Our goal is to spur them on toward an “extraordinary” life in Christ both here in Korea and in many parts of the world.
Several of the television stations and media organizations with which we work were founded with the sole purpose of strengthening Koreans who work as missionaries to the nations. By carefully synergizing our efforts with these key ministries and the media, we are maximizing our reach and multiplying our impact around the world.