Soul Food: Grace Dance
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.” (Psalm 21:13)
As the president of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), I recently travelled to Maputo, Mozambique, Africa to attend a three-day Mission Partnership Consultation. The African Bishops, conference leaders, the GBGM board of directors and missionaries sent from The United Methodist Church in Africa met, talked, shared, and responded to the works of the Holy Spirit with a moving heart.
It was an indescribable joy and spiritual blessing to participate in this mega-discourse on the kin(g)dom of God and God’s work in the field of Africa. We focused on the call to mission, which is the fire that makes us apostles sent from the heart of God to the heart of the world. The Church is indeed the hope of the nations! How many souls, organizations, and human problems are faced with the Gospel and touched by mission work that brings healing and restoration?! Yes, The United Methodist Church is a tremendous witness and gift from God!
I remember a participate saying, “Africa is crying out loud for US churches. The United Methodist Church is God's living instrument – impacting the life of millions. So, raise your missionary commission and calling higher! Let’s humbly pray for our partner, The United Methodist Church. We are deeply rooted like palm trees on the seashore, so don't worry about us! Stand strong in the work of the Holy Spirit and lead the vision and history of the church with courage.”
I thank the Lord for this tremendous reality, in which I gain strength from the Africans’ continuous encouragement and courage. The GBGM board meeting was a valuable meeting in which I visited the mission fields and sites of Mozambique and listened to and encouraged their dedication and impacts.
As Jesus walked, he encountered people. When he met people, he drew them near to him. When He talked with them, they felt his power. When he touched them, he brought healing and salvation. The Lord also comes right into our time of history - with its many scars (like wars and disasters) - and calls our church from the scene of wounds and pain. The level of conflicts and need is unfathomable! The ecosystem cries and warns us of the growing environmental crisis. In all this, The United Methodist Church must meet the Lord Jesus again in the field of missions. We must experience and respond to all that the Holy Spirit is doing and directing. The scale, pace, and intensity of mission activity around the globe demands radical departures from the status quo so we can re-venture within God’s redemption plan and also achieve sustainability. Let us continue to support our connectional church, especially as it pivots to navigate significant cultural shifts. Let’s embrace the call to re-think the growth, efficiency, and justice needed to radically transform our global neighborhoods.
I had a life-changing experience in Africa. In gratitude, I share this poetry with you:
Because a blessed life
dance before the Lord,
Ride the mysterious wind
of the Holy Spirit,
dance with gratitude.
While drawing eternity,
a delightful bounty-ness,
and seeking humble mind,
I continue to dance
while being content
with only Divine.
From Maputo, Mozambique,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).