It is not a holiday’ was what I first heard from the sabbatical guide. And it did not take too long to realize that it was right. I travelled to 4 countries and over 25 cities during the three months of my sabbatical. I’m not complaining about it at all, it was a great time to think and learn again about my life and ministry, and I believe it was a great time for my family as well.
While I travelled around the countries and cities, I inevitably visited many churches - like an occupational disease. From beautiful and colossal Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg to a tiny church on the top of the mountain Matterhorn in Switzerland and to many churches in South Korea.
What grasped my mind in Switzerland was not just the beautiful scenery, but the churches in the towns. I could see a church or churches even in tiny little villages. And I found out the reason: 60% of the population were Christians. This means at least half of the people in the village are coming to church. But it was more than 70% a few years ago. Sadly, the population of Christians has been rapidly declining in Switzerland recently. I did not have the chance to discuss it with local ministers or even local Christians, but a similar thing has been happening in South Korea.
The number of Christians in the population used be growing but now it’s declining. Most of the pastors and Christians are worrying about it in South Korea, and I had a chance to discuss it with them a few times while I was there. Furthermore, I preached almost every Sunday and sometimes on Wednesdays and Fridays. I thought that it would be great if I had the chance to share my experiences of ministry in this country, and God gave me much more than I had hoped for. And it reminded me about my calling and what he has done in my ministry and my life.
It was a wonderful time of refreshing and it gave me some questions about my ministry to think about. And now it is the time to find out the answer.