The Korean Frontier tells the story of how the United Pentecostal Church of Korea began. It preserves the historical record of establishing a new field and gives readers insight into the triumphs and difficulties of global evangelism. Moreover, the author’s purpose is to praise God for what He has done, to encourage and bless those who are faithful to global missions through prayer and financial giving, and to inspire faith in people’s hearts to receive from God the miracle of salvation, healing, and answers to prayer.
Excerpt from The Korean Frontier
After two days in the Caribbean Sea, disaster struck. We were sitting on the deck when suddenly we heard frantic jabberings in Chinese and saw the sailors scurrying around in a frenzy. The captain and first mate rushed by us. Alarms began to sound. The dentist ran to find us, since he was the only one who knew English well enough to communicate an important message.
“The ship is on fire!” he cried out. Cotton in the cargo hold had somehow caught on fire. We were in a real “Chinese fire drill.” With teeth chattering, we assembled in front of the lifeboats and watched the sailors as they struggled to lower them. The cables and pulleys were so rusty, however, that their efforts were in vain. The captain assured us that he would radio other ships in the area, which could evacuate us in time.
This plan did not work either. In several hours the wind began to blow furiously, and soon we were in a full-fledged storm. No ship could get near us. The sailors set about to contain the fire. They covered the ventilation stacks from the cargo hold with tarpaulins to smother the fire. They converted our drinking water to steam and pumped it into the hold. To lessen the heat under the drums of petroleum stored on the deck, they hosed the deck constantly with sea water.
In the meantime, we gathered our belongings from our room, which was below the deck but directly above the cargo hold and next to the engine room. We moved to a higher, cooler room above the deck—a tiny room in the crew’s quarters with two single bunk beds. The clothes in our old room were so hot we could hardly handle them, and the paint on the steel floor had already begun to blister. For two days we sailed towards Panama, knowing that any moment could be our last. Cuba was closer, but the free Chinese crew did not want to risk landing in a Communist country. As we looked out of the porthole into the raging sea, my wife cried out, “O sea, you have claimed many lives, but you are not going to claim us! God has called us to Korea.”
Miracle on the Ship
We finally made it to Panama in time. Two days later, as we sat in a restaurant with the dentist, an American firefighter from the Canal Zone briefed us. He explained, “If there had been only five percent more heat, your ship would have exploded.”
At this, the dentist jumped up and began to pound on the table, crying, “It is because you missionaries were on the ship. Your God protected you, and because of that all of us are alive!”
The purpose of sailing instead of going by air was to bring a five-year supply of household effects with us. Now we were concerned that they had all been destroyed by the fire. When we arrived in Korea and presented our documents to claim our goods, we found that they were not on our ship but would arrive two weeks later on a sister ship. God takes care of every detail!
Resources and Links
The Korean Frontier: A Story of Pentecostal Revival by Elton D. Bernard