Our Vision || 우리의 비전
BEYOND BORDERS, BEYOND RACE
Rebuilding Communities in the Diaspora and the Homeland
About 7 million Koreans live abroad in 180 countries, with 5,500 Korean churches often at the center of immigrant life. These statistics of the Korean diaspora suggest that Korean diaspora churches have been given a wonderful opportunity to spread the good news about Jesus among the nations. Therefore, the Ezemiah Foundation calls on 2nd and 3rd generation Korean Christians to direct the strength of the Korean diaspora toward spreading the Gospel beyond national borders and ethnic groups rather than staying complacent within our “Korean bubbles.” Our vision is to prepare the diaspora youth - from immigrant church Korean-Americans to missionary kids in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe - to become 1) community servant-leaders abroad like Daniel and Esther, who led lives that proclaimed the kingdom of God in diaspora communities and in their new home countries, and 2) God’s servants in Korea like Ezra and Nehemiah, who rebuilt communities socially, politically, and spiritually in their parents’ homelands.
We especially seek rebuilding in Korea - after the model of Ezra and Nehemiah - in two ways:
- 1) to serve rural churches and schools as they meet the English educational needs of children from broken families sent to live with their grandparents in the countryside as well as those from multicultural families, including those born in Korea to biracial couples and those who migrated to Korea from southeast Asia in order to start new lives with their mothers and Korean stepfathers. As many Korean diaspora youth understand the difficulties of being a third-culture-kid, we hope that we can share in the identity struggles of these children being raised in Korean rural areas.
- 2) to serve the next generation of Korean youth as they prepare for an era in which North and South Korea are reunited, especially preparing for Korean diaspora and Korean homeland youth to join together to rebuild the churches and schools of North Korea in future generations. While we are not sure when reunification will be a political reality, we will prepare to meet the needs of that day by investing in the youth of the global Korean diaspora - so that they may grow as conscious people, aware of their calling and place in God’s Story, rather than people blindly pursuing a version of the prosperity Gospel in the “American dream.”
In this process of serving rural churches and the next generation of Koreans with the hope of a North-South reconciliation, we pray that diaspora youth themselves may also grow in their love of and capacity to serve communities in their immigrant homelands - in the US, Canada, Sweden, Colombia, Kenya, and all over the world - thereby producing “Daniels and Esthers” serving abroad as well as “Ezras and Nehemiahs” serving in Korea.
FROM OUR PRESIDENT || 인사말
In 2006, I received God’s calling to launch the Ezemiah Movement.
While serving a Korean church in the States, I saw the infinite possibilities of the second generation Korean-Americans along with the dreams of the future generation Koreans in rural areas. Since then, I have hoped to join these two groups in friendship and bind them together with the Gospel, preparing them as future leaders in its mission. The Lord has brought together faithful servants from all over the world to join us in the movement. I believe the work we put in today for these children will bear fruit as they grow up to follow in the footsteps of leaders like Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah for the global Kingdom of God. I also believe that they, together with the future generation of North Korea, will work to rebuild North Korean churches and society.
Today, Ezemiahs of another kind are growing in Korea.
They are the children of multicultural families, many of whose mothers come from southeast Asia. Along with children born to Korean fathers and first-generation immigrant mothers, there are about 15,000 youth who have left their original homeland to come live with their mothers and Korean stepfathers in Korea. Although these youth are sometimes portrayed as potential “troubled youth” in the Korean media, we believe that these biracial and multicultural children have the potential to contribute to the building up of both Korea and the homelands of their mothers. Our dream is to see these children grow up into leaders who will bridge Korea and their native countries for the prosperity of both these nations and for the sake of the Gospel.
As the Ezemiah Movement met its tenth year, there was a small but significant change: change in the content that we teach at the Vacation Bible Schools. For the first ten years, Ezemiah used the VBS material published in the States and used by many American churches. However, we found that this content was not necessarily a good fit for our Korean audience and that and the message was increasingly simplistic and repetitive. Therefore we tried out making our own VBS from scratch on our tenth anniversary, and we have been trying again every year since! We found that we not only were capable of creating and using our own content grounded firmly in the Bible and more geared to our ESL audience, but that a new generation of young leaders in South Korea and the United States was stepping up who enjoyed making this material! We have also found that in partnership with 생터 사역원 Life Place Bible Ministries, this material is in high demand among Korean churches in Seoul as well - and have now translated the material into Korean as well! We pray that this process of making and teaching our own VBS programs will not only bless children in Korean rural churches but also children and youth across the 6,000 Korean churches in 180 countries.
We are hopeful and prayerful as we see that the Ezemiah Movement is moving beyond borders - to the Philippines, Myanmar, England, and Jordan - through small pockets of youth and Sunday School teachers who are interested in using this material. We are seeing that missionary kids and their families in these areas have also responded to this call to use their unique third-culture background to serve the lands that they grew up in. Therefore I personally have great hope that God will be using the Ezemiah Movement to efficiently facilitate the next generation of people called to spread the Gospel.
I invite you to join us! We are praying and waiting for the next generation of youth in the global Korean Diaspora church to respond to God’s holy call on their lives - beyond borders, beyond race!
President of the Ezemiah Foundation
Rev. Soon Keun Lee
What We Do || 우리가 하는 일
Prepare VBS & Recruit (September-March)
Throughout most of the year, the Ezemiah leadership and production team creates the content of the VBS while also recruiting and praying for the applicants. Because we are scattered throughout the US, Korea, and sometimes Australia and Europe during these months, sometimes our conference calls require some creative Kakaotalk and Skype maneuvering!
Prepare the Churches (April-May)
In the spring and usually in May, we host a one-day seminar at All Love Church (our home base in Seoul) for the rural churches participating in Ezemiah that summer. Pastors and teachers take the bus and train from all over South Korea to learn about what the upcoming VBS content will be and how to best prepare for it (stage setup, materials for stations, costumes, music). This day is also a great opportunity for newer churches to learn from older churches (some have participated since 2007!) and for churches with less resources to partner with more resources. For example, passing on the already-constructed stage and leftover materials from a “Round One church” to the “Round Two church” has been a key way that churches have supported one another.
Train the Ezemiah leaders (June)
The student leaders fly into Seoul the first week of June in order to fully absorb the VBS content and prepare simple English manuals with which to teach the Ezemiahs at the conference. It’s also some good times hanging out with friends that we haven’t seen in a few months to a year!
Train the Ezemiahs (June-July)
Then during the Ezemiah Conference in July, we all finally gather at a location near Seoul (in the past: Yangpyung and Soowon) in order to learn the VBS content. It is also a time to gather as youth in the Korean diaspora and pray for the nation, the health of the diaspora churches, and for North Korea. During the conference, we also meet the people who will become our team members on site. Each team member is assigned to a station and role in the opening and Bible Story skits (Crafts Station Leader, Games Station Leader, Snacks Stations Leader, Bible Story (Play) Roles, Etc), and the memorization, practice, and feedback begin! Though there is a lot of content to be learned and possibly courage needed for overcoming stage fright, we find that after the initial awkwardness people enjoy being silly and doing the sing-along or skits “for kids” - because - let’s face it - sometimes we are just adults who miss being a kid!
Go and Teach (last week of July through first week of August)
Each team does the whole VBS program in two different locations all over rural South Korea. (Oh yeah, the humidity, mosquitoes and possibly bucket showers!) Each team collaborates with a local church, which hosts the VBS for the kids in the area. This is a time where many of us experience God’s love and power. You will be mostly preparing and teaching the VBS throughout the day, but in the afternoons and evenings there are many opportunities to experience local Korean hospitality in terms of food, accomodation, fruit, possibly some sightseeing. Did we mention food? You will be very well-fed (or at least often-fed), thanks to Korea rural hospitality.
Debrief (2-4 days)
All the teams gather at the place of debrief (in the past: Seoul and Jeonju) and take time to process the crazy past two-three weeks. We share amazing, funny, and maybe heartbreaking stories. We also take some space and time to reflect quietly. We also collectively gather feedback in order to improve the VBS content - which is edited, translated, and reused in Korea the next summer by hundreds of Korean churches through Life Place Bible Ministries!
Want to Join Ezemiah?
Have questions? Contact us at email@example.com or fill out the form on the contact page.