자료를 살펴보니, 제가 다녔던 중학교에 선교사님이 사역하셨던 병원이 있고, 사택이 있었다는 것도 알게 되었습니다. 또한, 제가 다닌 중학교는 110년 전 미국 남장로교회 분들이 헌금하여 설립한 학교라는 사실도 알게 되었습니다. 이름도 들어본 적 없는 나라를 위해 오랜 세월을 후원해 주신 것입니다. 30여 년이 지난 지금에야 선교사님 이야기를 알고 부끄러운 마음이 가득했습니다. 그분들이 평생 헌신해서 지은 학교를 모르고 다녔던 것입니다. 사실 학교 어디에도 자신들을 기념하기 위한 흔적은 없었습니다. 건물 이름도 한국식으로 명명해 놓아서 외국인이 세웠다는 것조차 몰랐습니다. 하지만 지금도 똑똑히 기억하는 것은 학교의 교훈(school motto)입니다. [신애] ‘하나님을 사랑하고 이웃을 사랑하라’라는 것입니다. 그리고 매주 채플 시간마다 예배드리고 연말에 고아원에 봉사 다니던 기억, 해마다 찬송가 경연대회를 준비하던 추억들도 떠오릅니다. 무엇보다 제 삶에 가장 소중하고 잊지 못할 선생님들이 생각납니다.
그리고 깨달았습니다! 린튼 선교사님과 미국 남장로교회에서 남긴 기념비는 학교도, 역사관도 아니라 바로 이 학교를 통해 배출된 학생들이라는 것을! 저희 자녀들과 다음 세대들에게 어떠한 믿음의 유산을 남길 수 있을까 다시 한번 고민해 봅니다. 평생을 수고해도 넉넉한 물질의 유산은 상속하지 못할 것 같습니다. 하지만, 5대째 섬기는 린튼 가문처럼 대대손손 하나님을 사랑하고 예수만 섬기는 자녀들이 되기를 기도합니다. 무엇보다 제가 먼저 그러한 자가 되기를 소원합니다.
Busy, I’m Busy!
Rev. Paul S. Jeong
I was drawn to a video clip on You Quiz not too long ago. It was about “David Linton, 5th generation of the family that received Korea’s Merit of Independence Movement”. I tuned in because I was curious about how a foreigner could receive the Merit of Independence Movement. What I discovered was that he was a descendent of a missionary who came to Korea 130 years ago. I haven’t heard many positive things about church on TV and internet. But I was intrigued to see this popular entertainment program talking about the lineage of a missionary family. Missionary Eugene Bell, who came to Korea from United States in 1895, has descendants still living in Korea, currently in 5th generation. His descendants built schools and hospitals, planted churches in region of Honam. They refused Japanese shrine worship and supported Korea’s independence movement. After the liberation, they even built a public restroom where the shrine once stood. His descendants even changed their last name to “In”. As I was reading comments left by many people watching this program that said, “They loved Korea more than the Koreans”, my heart felt warm for the first time in a long time. What’s even more amazing when watching this program is that the 3rd generation missionary of Linton family was In Hugh(Hugh Linton). Missionary In Hugh was doing medical missions work for farmers and fishermen in Soon Chun region, where I used to live as a child, all his life until he passed away from a car accident. My memory is a bit faint, but I remember hearing as a child about a missionary who was in a car accident. Because there weren’t any ambulances in the area, he had to be transported to City of Kwangjoo by taxi where he died in route. I learned through this program that the missionary was In Hugh (Hugh Linton).
I did some more research and learned that a hospital where he worked and the family residence were at my junior high school. I also learned that my junior high school was built 110 years ago with offerings from Southern Presbyterian Churches in US. For a long time, the Southern Presbyterian Churches in US had sponsored a country that they have never heard of before. I have now learned the story about Linton family, 30 years later. My heart felt ashamed. Even though I attended this school, I did not know that it was built on life-long sacrifices of missionaries. When I think about it, there’s nowhere in any part of the school that celebrated these missionaries for the work they have done. Even the building name is in Korean obscuring the fact that it was built by a foreigner. However, what is clear and I still remember is the school motto. I remember the lesson of “Shin-Ae”, to love God and to love our neighbors. I have memories of weekly worship at chapel time, volunteering at orphanages at the end of year, and preparing for annual praise/hymn contest. Most of all, I reminisce my junior high school teachers who were most precious in my life and I could never forget.
Then I realized that the monument missionary Linton and Southern Presbyterian Churches in US left behind are not the school, nor historical museum, but they are the students who learned through this school to “love God and to love our neighbors”. I wonder about what kind of inheritance of faith we will leave our children and the next generation. I don’t think we can pass on adequate inheritance even with lifetime of trying. However, like 5 generations of Linton family, I pray for each generation to love God and to serve only Jesus. Most of all, I desire to be that person first.