Prayer for peace at memorial
“C'etait genial.” It was awesome. These were Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s own words as he said goodbye in South Korea. He was heading home after having been in the Far East for ten days. His visit left lasting impressions, but he also took many impressions home with him.
Incheon is the name of the airport, the largest one in South Korea, from which the Chief Apostle returned home to Europe. On his way in he had landed at Tokyo International Airport, Asia’s second largest airport. The small congregation in Japan was excited to have the Chief Apostle visit them and prepared a special welcome for him.
On the evening of his arrival, Chief Apostle Schneider was welcomed with traditional music played on a koto, a Japanese stringed instrument, and was given a taste of some of the country’s culinary delights such as Shabu-shabu and Sushi.
Start in Japan
The divine service on 22 May took place at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tama Center. The sermon was based on Jeremiah 29: 11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil.” The core thought in the service was: “The Holy Spirit comforts us by revealing divine thoughts and teaching us His will.”
Chief Apostle Schneider visited the Tama church later that day and got first-hand information on the New Apostolic Church in Japan. The beginnings go back to August 1968 and the sealing of two Japanese families.
Special memorial in South Korea
A particular highlight was his visit to Korea, a divided country, where the Chief Apostle visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land that is four kilometres wide and roughly 250 kilometres long. It was established at the end of the Korean War in 1953 to serve as a buffer zone between the two Koreas.
Imjingak Memorial Park is located just outside of the city of Paju in South Korea, close to the DMZ. Its many statues and monuments—such as the Peace Bell and Freedom Bridge—are a symbol of hope for reunification. Together with the Apostles, the Chief Apostle rang the peace bell and spoke a prayer for the people on both sides of the demarcation line. He prayed for the living and the dead, for those on both sides of the border, for their well-being, and especially for their salvation.
Apostles’ conference with an open debate
On Saturday the Apostles from South-East Asia and Australia met in Daejeon, South Korea, for a conference to deliberate on the Church’s understanding of ministry, the topic that is currently being developed. The Chief Apostle took lots of time to answer questions, something he had already done at the conference at Pentecost.
The divine service on 29 May in Daejeon took place in a hotel. The Chief Apostle based his sermon on Jeremiah 17: 10: “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind.” He said that the Lord is watching us and knows how we mean it. “Let us never try to hide from him.”
Meeting with district leaders from China
The Chief Apostle also had the rare opportunity to meet with district leaders from China. The Church there is not active as a formal institution, District Apostle Urs Hebeisen says, but there are congregations in the country who follow the New Apostolic doctrine and who are led by Chinese Apostles.
Visits by the Chief Apostle are always special, District Apostle Hebeisen ends his report, and for many brothers and sisters a rare opportunity. It is an awesome experience and many happy memories linger. Yet one thing is always the most important, the strength that such a visit imparts: it strengthens faith, motivates us to carry on and not give up, and creates the resolve and desire in us to do better.