In leery South Korea, American missionary couple works for reunification of North and South

Source: Religion News Service

TAEBAEK, South Korea (RNS) — This could have been the quietest place in all of South Korea. But as American missionary Elizabeth Torrey leads a group of high school students up a rocky mountain road, their chatter and footsteps in the melting snow sharply pierce the silence. The town of Taebaek, three hours southeast of Seoul, slowly disappears in the distance, taking any trace of civilization with it.

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They come up here to a mountain plateau to pray for Korean reunification. In making such prayers, they’re as far removed from the mindsets of most young South Koreans as this remote location suggests. But the Torrey family of missionaries is convinced God is leading them to educate the “unification generation.”

“This land, this undivided land, is your inheritance,” Elizabeth Torrey tells her students during the prayer session. “And your prayers of your heart matter to see that happen.”

It’s apt to be an uphill climb. Most young adults in this country reject the idea of reuniting with North Korea, which has been a separate country since long before they were born. Seventy-one percent of South Koreans in their 20s oppose reunification, according to a survey released last year by the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-sponsored think tank. That’s higher than across the nation as a whole: 58 percent still want reunification, though that number is down from 69 percent four years ago.

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