EPA & GNJ Mission Pilgrimage renews & inspires

July 2, 2024 | | GNJ News

EPA & GNJ have just returned from a pilgrimage lead by Rev. Hun Ju Lee, District Superintendent of the North District. This cross-cultural encounter traced the missionary journey and ministry impact of Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, a missionary sent out from First UMC Lancaster to preach the gospel to the people of Korea.

Appenzeller and his wife arrived on Korean shores on Easter Sunday, April , 1885 at Jemulpo Port. There he founded the Nari Methodist Church, which grew from a small thatched-roof cottage to become the first modern church building constructed in Incheon.

Appenzeller’s impact didn’t end there, and neither did the pilgrimage. Travelers moved across the country visiting both missionary and cultural sites, including the Chong Dong Methodist Church, Yangwhajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery, and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The combination of cultural exchange with missionary focus made an impression. The Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Nicinski reflected, “The Korea Pilgrimage trip truly represents a transformative experience.  Enmeshed with history and culture, the pilgrimage illuminated the resilience of a nation and those who risked so much to journey there as missionaries to carry the Gospel to this picturesque nation.  Our visit to the missionary cemetery and the Appenzeller Museum left me with awe and respect.”

Katelyn Spielman shared that visiting the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery was one of her top ten moments of the trip. That moment led her to “beginning to flesh out ideas for my participation in mission work.”

As she reflected on the trip, gratitude rose to the surface. She said “This journey will forever hold a special place in my heart. I was fully immersed in the experiences, unburdened by distractions, and truly present in each moment. South Korea has enriched my life in ways I never imagined, and I am grateful for the memories, the friendships, and the growth I experienced.”

D.S. Hun Ju Lee dreamed that this pilgrimage would lead to both “a personal and communal transformation.” That dream is already bearing fruit. The Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Nicinski, shared enthusiastically, “The pilgrimage has reinvigorated me to return to my charge with enthusiasm for mission, dedication to ministry, and a new respect for the people and culture I learned so much about over these past 10 days. I would recommend this trip to fellow clergy.”

Welcome home pilgrims! We pray that the seeds of all that you experienced will continue to take root in your spirits and blossom in beautiful ways in your life and ministry.