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COVID-19 and Paju International Church
April 19, 2020

 As the Lunar New Year holidays passed in January 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis began to become increasingly serious, the Korean Union Conference and other institutes in Korea started coming up with emergency countermeasures. The Paju International Church in Korea also took the initiative to think about how to deal with this situation.

When the beginning of the school semester was delayed, the Paju International Church stopped all offline worship services and did not hold any official meetings from Friday vespers on February 28, in line with the nation’s recommendation.

Our church launched online worship service. Friday evening worship service was broadcast in real time for an hour from 7:30 p.m., Sabbath School lesson was from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Sabbath, and the divine worship service was from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Since this was our first time conducting an online worship service, the media team had to deal with a lot of trouble to broadcast live. Also, we had do to a lot of preparation in the first week of broadcasting because we had to purchase the necessary equipment in a hurry. However, the media team members did well despite their busy schedules and finished the first broadcast without any major disruptions. After a month or so, the broadcast was going well, and the number of subscribers exceeded 100, resulting in the YouTube address of our church.

As a result of broadcasting sermons for a month, we gained some confidence and know-how in the field of real-time broadcasting, but with the prolonged coronavirus situation, we had to find ways to interact among the church members and between the members and the preachers.

First of all, we asked the members take a video of how each household was doing at home and send them to the pastoral staff. The pastoral staff then edited the videos, put subtitles on them, and played them during the real-time service. The church members were very pleased to see other members whom they had not seen for nearly two months, even if it was just on the screen.

In addition, the Tuesday evening prayer meeting, which had been suspended due to the coronavirus incident, was resumed through a video conference program called Zoom, and the Bible study class during the weekday was resumed through the same program. We are grateful that we can share our spiritual fellowship and pray together through such a program at such a difficult time.

Our church has plans to move to Paju soon. When the COVID-19 situation comes to an end, we are planning to preach the gospel to new residents there in a new way. The most important mission strategy is the strategy of H2O, which is an acronym for Healthy, Happy, and Outstanding. It is a strategy to pursue healthy life, happy family, and high intellectual education. Here is a brief introduction:

Healthy: We are planning to provide a baking class and cooking class. We will also have sports clubs, including basketball club and badminton club, and gym night. We are also preparing a dry sauna for elderly members.

Happy: We will run a parenting and family workshop and counseling. Bible studies will take place on Thursdays at 10 a.m. in Korean and Sabbath afternoons in English. The Pathfinder club will meet on Sabbaths.

Outstanding (which is linked with Education): We will offer languages classes (English, Chinese, Japanese) for adults. In addition, there will be English classes for the children as well as a children reading coach.

We will also provide various facilities, including a book café, healing room, gymnasium, auditorium, and classrooms to the residents.

There is a mission that God wants our church to be prepared for during this coronavirus situation. We expect to overcome this difficult time soon and achieve a great revival in the new mission field with God’s help.