word OF LIFE KOREA BY MIKE NICHOLES ('84) 30th anniversary
I f you had told me I would live in Asia, learn another language, eat fermented cabbage daily, and co-found a mission - I would have said, “you’ve got the wrong guy”. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?
We returned to the United States praying that the Lord would send ‘someone else.’ Through the remainder of that summer, my brother and I could not get Korea off our minds. Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know,” continued to reverberate in my heart. The Preparation Years By the fall of 1986, my brother and I had a strong compelling to return to Korea, even though it seemed “impossible”. After all, Korea has been called ‘The Impossible Country’. Author Daniel Tudor states that “Korea imposes unattainable targets on people.” Yet, we know ‘Nothing is impossible with God’. Nothing is impossible with god" After arriving in Seoul on September 5, 1988, the reality of mammoth challenges began to materialize. It was going to take more than just grit and determination to learn the language, gain mission visas, and establish a foundation with which to begin ‘Word of Life Korea’. After completing two years of language study, we needed help to begin our first public evangelistic outreach. A Korean graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute Australia returned to Korea and volunteered to organize our first evangelistic outreach called a “Ping-Pong Marathon”. This was a humble, yet exciting, start.
The Power of One Every journey has a beginning, so let me take you back to the summer of 1986 when my brother, Steve ('81), and I took amissions trip to the Philippine Islands. While we were serving at Word of Life in the Philippines, two campers in my cabin were Korean. Regardless of what we did that week, the Korean teens were the most eager and enthusiastic. When their Dad came to pick them up, I bragged on the kids, and their Dad stated to me, “Please pray about starting a youth ministry in South Korea”. He was so bold as to ask me to stop over in Korea on the way back to the United States to speak at a Korean youth conference. Don’t ever underestimate the power of one conversation. Steve and I scheduled an extended layover in Korea to investigate the church situation, visit other missions, and begin asking the question: “What is the greatest need in South Korea?” From Seoul to the countryside, Korean pastors echoed the words – “We need help with our youth.” My brother and I believed Word of Life was strategically positioned to help meet this need with young people; however, we were not the men to answer that call for help. Surely God would send trained Koreans to aid this nation. Furthermore, the Korean language is one of the most difficult for westerners to learn; the culture is significantly different, and new endeavors in the culture organized by young men in their 20’s was unthinkable.
Mike and Steve Nicholes (back in the day)
Mike and Steve Nicholes
Mike Nicholes is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute and Tennessee Temple University. He also received a Master’s Degree from Cornerstone University. Mike has been married to Alicia for 18 years and serves as the leader of the Word of Life Advancement Family Ministry & Conference in Northeast Asia.
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