by Jon Konnerup
January 2, 2011, marked the golden anniversary of the Bul Kwang Dong Bible Baptist Church and Pastor Daniel Kim in Seoul, South Korea, whose impact has been felt not only in the lives of people on the Korean peninsula, but also throughout many parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
It was my privilege to participate in this wonderful occasion alongside pastors from South Korea, Japan, and missionaries from around the world. There were two packed services Sunday morning, and over 2,200 adults in a rented hall on Monday night. It was amazing to meet many of the people whose lives were changed by this ministry through salvation in Jesus Christ, and now God is using them to influence others.
An added blessing was to be with Jack and Shirley Baskin, who from the beginning worked with Pastor Kim and his wife to start this church. Together they would walk through the neighborhood praying because there were no gospel-preaching churches. Baskin recalls:
Early one morning we spent time in a coal storage bin praying for a place to start a church. We went for the usual walk and came to a kindergarten. We went in and met the owner, a well-educated lady. We explained to her our desire and goals and she said, “You can use this building at no charge, and I would like to become a Christian.” Needless to say, we were assured our prayers had been answered so we printed flyers and distributed them during the very cold last week of December 1960. The following Sunday a total of 165 adults and children came! We soon outgrew our space so I asked Dr. Donnelson if we could borrow money with which to purchase land and build a building. He responded by saying, “All our loan funds are depleted.” When I told our people they said, “We will meet outside if necessary to worship the true God.” Just the next week I received a letter from Dr. Donnelson that read, “We have received some unexpected, additional funds which I am sending to you.” This amount of money was used to purchase the land and build the first unit of Bible Baptist Church. This money from the Fellowship loan fund was paid back, and Bible Baptist has given multiplied thousands of dollars to our Fellowship, colleges, and missionaries.
From the outset, Dr. Kim and I were more like co-pastors. I believe the key to building a work for God is a dedicated, self-sacrificing, and faithful man of God. Dr. Kim was and is that man. He has the name Daniel Kim not because he chose an American name, but it was given him because of his similarity to God’s man, Daniel. He suffered much yet remained faithful. He was diligent to know the Word of God. His life was filled by times of prayer. He was willing to give up all to serve the Lord. Dr. F. C. Lasater also came alongside Dr. Kim, and for many years they served as a team, building and strengthening many works throughout Korea.
The Baskins gave their lives and left their home and family with five children to do a work to which God had called them. Their dedication and their efforts through this ministry have made a difference in many lives.
Pastor Kim was studying to be an ambassador for his country, but God gave him a higher calling — to be an ambassador for the most high, only true and living God. Pastor and Mrs. Kim have been serving and leading these past 50 years. Because of their love for missions, this church has given over $3.4 million to spread the gospel around the world.
This is happening all over the globe because of the initial efforts of the churches of the BBFI who determined to evangelize the world, make disciples, and plant churches. Only Heaven will reveal the total impact of these global efforts. May the Lord continue to use all of us — together — for His glory!