Lent: Day 36

Lenten Devotionals“I always thank God for you.” – 1 Corinthians 1:4

Thanksgiving is the usual theme for November, but gratitude is appropriate for any season. Today, I’m thankful for a group of women who were precursors to the United Methodist Women – the foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As the society discussed missionary plans for Japan and China, an elderly woman told them to not overlook the little kingdom nestled between the two Asian giants on the Korean peninsula. Three years later, a missionary by the name of Mary Scranton opened the doors of Korea’s first school for women in a house located in Seoul.

I heard of Ewah University for many years. My husband, Curtis, and I visited friends in Seoul in 2001 and one of the things I wanted to see was Ewah University. I was completely impressed. It is the world’s largest university for women and the seeds were planted in Ohio in 1883. Mary Scranton took the challenge and dangerous mission to open a school for girls in a country where formal education for girls was taboo and the role of women was limited to obedience to the families of their husbands.

On the campus was the statue of Helen Kim, who was the first Korean president of the university. That’s the name I remember. She was a student there and then became president for 22 years. It included the years of the Second World War and the Japanese occupation. The Japanese wouldn’t allow any foreign money to come into the country, so she had to fund raise without the United States’ money. She was a great woman. I am grateful for her and for the vision of the women in Ohio.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the vision, courage, determination and faith of these women of Ewah University. May we be inspired and keep their stories alive. Let us try to continue to walk in their footsteps of faith. Amen.

Leanne Rolfe
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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