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Adventist Mission

The Pancake Church

“I’m so sad,” said Bo Hwa with tears on her face. “Sabbath is so, so sad. I don’t want to go to church! There’s no one my age. It’s lonely.”

It all started one Sabbath morning, with a girl crying in her bedroom.

“What’s wrong, Bo Hwa? Why are you crying?” Mrs. Shin asked.

“I’m so sad,” said Bo Hwa with tears on her face. “Sabbath is so, so sad. I don’t want to go to church! There’s no one my age. It’s lonely.”

Mrs. Shin had noticed for some time that her 15-year-old daughter, Bo Hwa, wasn’t happy. During the week, Bo Hwa was at school with many friends, but on Sabbaths she was the only teen in church.

The Pancake Plan

They prayed together, and soon Mrs. Shin had a plan. Every weekday morning, she got up very early and made 2,000 hotteoks [HOE-tocks]—a popular sweet-filled Korean pancake. Then she took her pancakes and set up a little shop right across from the local high school. All day long Mrs. Shin sold pancakes to the hungry students. But she did much more than that—she became their friend.

“How’s it going?” she asked them. For many of her young customers, this was the first time someone was interested in them. The young people began trusting Mrs. Shin and telling her their problems. Many came from families with big problems. Some of the students were even living by themselves.

Helping Others

As Mrs. Shin became their friend, she decided to invite them to do something nice for others. “What are you doing on Saturday afternoon?” she asked her daily customers.

“Nothing,” the students usually replied.

“Would you like to come with me to visit some old people and cheer them up?” she asked.

“Sure!” they answered.

Mrs. Shin knew about some old people living nearby who didn’t have any family taking care of them. Every Sabbath afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Shin, Bo Hwa, and many of their new friends visited these people and cheered them up. Afterward, Mrs. Shin invited the students to her home for a feast. The students loved the food and felt at home. They could tell that Mr. and Mrs. Shin and Bo Hwa really cared about them, and Bo Hwa was excited to have so many new friends!

The Shin family taught the students about God. They taught them to sing Christian songs, studied the Bible with them, and showed them how to pray. During the week, besides selling pancakes, Mrs. Shin visited the students in their homes. Sometimes the Shins invited some of the young people who were having a really hard time to come and live with them.

After a while, the Shins’ little house was too small. They prayed, and soon God provided an opportunity for them to move into a larger home, so they could take care of even more children and young people.

Pancake Church Plant

After a while, many of the students who were coming to the Shins’ house accepted Jesus and wanted to be baptized. There were so many of them that there were enough to make a whole new church—of young people!

But now they needed a church building. They prayed about it. One day, Mr. Shin saw an old house for sale. He prayed, “Lord, please give us this place, and we’ll turn it into a home for Your honor and glory.”

God answered that prayer and US$5,000 was raised to buy the house. The group worked together making the building into a nice place for worship. But they needed a pastor for their new church.

Although he was already 45-years-old, Mr. Shin told the young people that he was willing to study at a university if they were. He was accepted at Sahmyook University, a large Adventist university near Seoul, Korea, where he studied theology. Mr. Shin, Bo Hwa, and three of the “adopted” children completed university studies—all paid for by the money Mrs. Shin earned by selling her pancakes!

Since this youth church began, more than 400 people have been baptized. They’ve presented 39 evangelistic programs and have gone on mission trips to Cambodia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help this youth church to have a bigger place to worship and to train young people for mission.