By Jennifer Deibel
The Arizona Korean Baptist Association is praising God for His provision during the annual meeting of The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America (CKSBCA). The annual meeting took place in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13-14 in Phoenix.
“The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America tries to meet at the same time and place as the SBC annual convention, because we belong to the SBC and are a partner of the SBC,” said Pastor Brian Chun Kuk Oh, senior pastor of Arizona New Light Baptist Church in Phoenix. When the annual SBC meeting was held in Phoenix in 2011, the CKSBCA held their meetings in Texas, due to logistical concerns regarding transportation, meals and worship planning.
Rather than catered meals and rented cars, local Korean churches provide for the needs of those attending the annual meetings for the Council. In the past, Arizona’s Korean Baptist Association has not been able to provide these services.
“Some local Korean Baptist Associations are very weak and cannot support our annual conference,” Oh explained. “However, this year, the Arizona Korean Baptist Association prayed and made the decision to host our annual conference during the SBC [annual meeting].”
Despite the fact there are currently only seven Korean Southern Baptist churches in Arizona — four in Phoenix and one each in Tucson, Sierra Vista and Flagstaff — the Arizona Korean Baptist Association made the commitment to provide all the logistical support for the CKSBCA. New Light Korean Baptist Church provided five meals, serving more than 800 people at each meal. The church also provided a worship team as well as childcare. Other Korean churches from around the state provided transportation, local tours and more.
While other Korean Baptist Associations around the country are larger — there are 80 Korean churches in the Dallas area and 50 in Washington state — the Arizona KBA prayed about the monumental task and agreed it was something they needed to do.
The importance of unity within the CKSBCA and the general SBC as a whole outweighed any doubts about the association’s ability to provide the needed services. So they planned, prepared, and raised a total of $8,000 to help pay for the meals and other services provided.
“Even though our association is weak,” Oh shared, “we discovered, through prayer and cooperation, that God is almighty and awesome for His people to build a healthy relationship with the Lord and others.”