by Kwon JohngHaeng, Director of Stewardship Ministries for the Northern Asia-Pacific Division
During the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Seventh-day Adventist church in South Korea took hold of an opportunity many years in the making. The Daegwallyeong Seventh-day Adventist Church was established 70 years ago in Pyeongchang. What the local founders could not imagine was that the 2018 Olympic games would be held just across the street from their church. The church location is just behind the Olympic Plaza, where medals were given out to athletes each evening during the games. Diagonal to the church is the main stadium where the Olympic torch burned. Right in front of the church, are bus stops for buses going in all directions.
During the Olympics, many visitors and athletes passed by the front of the church. Members were able to pitch a tent in the church yard and invite passersby into the tent where they could find shelter from the winds and extreme temperatures. Those who entered the tent were served hot red ginseng drinks and given hot hand-warming packs. As they left, they were given Steps to Christ and other Adventist literature.
The Daegwallyeong Church, which is now pastored by Im JongHyuk, was established 70 years ago. In recent years, a neighbor has repeatedly asked the church to sell the church land to him, but the church has chosen not to sell. Now, that decision is being seen as a wonderful providence of God.
Throughout the games, tens of thousands of athletes and tourists from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people passed by the church and saw the name, Seventh-day Adventist, on the church sign. This denominational name was adopted on October 1, 1860, about 158 years ago by founders in the United States. At that time, Seventh-day Adventist church cofounder, Ellen White, wrote: “The name Seventh-day Adventist carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind” (1T, 224).