The seven-member worship arts team which spent nine days in Korea found music to be only a part of the picture of their ministry. While working alongside a pastor in the small town of Cheonbook, the team visited home-bound church members and built relationships with their host families that had life-changing results. A music performance in Seoul before 6,000 people “was just a small bonus that God added,” according to Dan Shuholm, Director of Bands and Worship Arts.
The team, consisting of Shuholm and students Megan Brannen, Ben King, Justine Sowers, Josh Clarke, Joel Cruz, and Caleb Paden, planned ahead of time to encourage the Shinhung church in Cheonbook through music and service. The group prepared about eleven songs for use on the trip, half of them in Korean. While music and especially music in Korean proved to be a valuable tool in communicating with the people, there was more to do.
“The music was a means to a more important end—to be used by the Lord in any way possible—not just perform some songs,” Shuholm reflected. “As we progressed through the week, it was clear to us that God had an agenda that far exceeded our expectations for the trip.”
“Music was not the focus of the trip once we got there,” said King. “We partnered with Pastor Bang for a week and visited many homes. We saw members of the church in places you really would not want to go. Yet their faith was unwavering. It was both challenging and convicting to me to be a part of the church and see how they lived out their worship.”
Clarke noted the trip’s highlight for him was living in a host home. He and King lived with a non-English-speaking husband and wife for all eight nights of their stay in Cheonbook. Clarke said they overcame the language barrier with “lots of hand gestures, lots of smiling, and lots of laughing.”
During their trip, the team attended small group meetings, a Wednesday night communion service, youth meetings, children’s meetings, and worship services. Shuholm was given the opportunity to preach several times through an interpreter. In addition, each morning started at 4:30 a.m. with a gathering at the church to pray. Team members were each assigned a day to present a devotional for the prayer time, also through an interpreter.
Shuholm pointed out, “It is a hallmark of the Korean evangelical community that they pray together to start their days. They meet for prayer every morning, 365 days a year.”
On Friday night, May 15, the team performed at a service in Seoul at the Yonsei Baptist Church. With a capacity for 10,000, it is the largest church building in Seoul and has 30,000 attenders each weekend. A crowd of 6000 heard the team perform two songs, one in English and one in Korean.
The team’s reflection, according to Shuholm, was that they enjoyed Friday night and worshipping with the large group, but it was not the pinnacle experience of the trip.
“The interactions with the people were the primary impact points for our trip,” said Shuholm. “The small occasions in Cheonbook were the significant moments.”
The worship arts team trip to Korea is only one of many opportunities for students who are interested in missions. Over Spring Break this year, eighty-four students traveled on mission trips to Peru, Italy, Mexico, Utah and Los Angeles. In previous years, students have gone to these destinations and more. Mission trips are an ongoing part of the ministry opportunities available to students and staff at Corban.