Living With The Threat Of War

07 May

Last week or so i happened to mention in one discussion that living with the possible war threat tends to drive one’s imagination away and basically keep a person sober in thought. One person responded that they knew people living in South Korea and that wasn’t their thinking at all. It turns out the person they knew and who responds to me also, is a newbie English teacher who lives at almost the furthest point south in South Korea. To get any further he would have to move to Jeju-do.

Now I do not tell the people on certain websites everything I know simply because of Jesus’ instructions not to cast pearls so my comments are usually annotated or edited and do not present the full picture. Of course, those people jumped on me and they will  jump on me again when they read these words as I only paraphrased what took place and did not painstakingly publish word for word our conversation.

I mentioned the newbie because he is like all newbies who come to this country. They think they know everything or that they grasp the mentality of all Koreans by talking to just 5-6. it happens routinely that westerners will condemn 50,000,000 Koreans because 5 treated them in a negative manner. It seems to be the ongoing fad as this has happened every month since I have been in this country. Westerners usually only stay about 1-2 years and then based upon their limited experience and exposure to Korea and Koreans return to their homelands and begin to trash  this land and its people.

The condemn innocent people of crimes they never committed and disparage the country because they are different and do things differently than western countries. Now to be fair, not all westerners do that but there is enough of them that do everyone here bears the brunt of their retaliation. You would not want to read the articles and discussion forums for English teachers because they are so one-sided against the Korean people and distort what really takes place. In fact, in my tenure here I do not recall even one westerner, in an article or discussion forum conversation, take responsibility for the problems they face in this country. it is always the Koreans fault.

This does not mean it hasn’t happened, it just means those people have never publicly written about it. But I am going too far afield and away from the topic of this post.  Below are three pictures of some of the defenses South Korea has, and I am only going to publish 3 even though I have many more and I am not even going to say where these defenses are, I am just going to use them to show that the threat of war, the threat of invasion in South Korea is very real.

gyoha misc 4 012 gyoha misc 030 gyoha misc 032

Now I do not know if these are holdovers from the Korean war or not but during the last rendition of the annual war games held by the American and Korean military I saw activity around similar areas of the country and saw where they had upgraded certain similar defense positions.  There is a war demarcation line as such in this country. Those who live south of Seoul, do not really think of the war, the threat of invasion or North Korea that much. They reminded of it once in a while if there is a news story or some military practice is going on in their area but those are rare in that part of the country.

While there are some military bases south of Seoul, the military’s activities are not usually seen. When I was living an hour south of Seoul some years ago, we saw some army  group come down to the river and practice some sort of defense tactic and that happened once a year. Last summer I saw my first military convoy south of Seoul and I lived south of Seoul for 10 years.

So in reality, those who live south of the capital are not exposed to the threat as much as those who live north of it. They live life fairly normally and if I want to get away from the tension of living north of Seoul then I take a trip to the southern part of the country where the atmosphere is much different. I it is much different because when you live north of Seoul, you see the threat of war on a daily basis.

Military convoys are common and I have seen so many that I am no longer impressed by them but wish they would get out-of-the-way and stop blocking traffic. When I worked in one school near Dongducheon, where the American Camp Casey is, I drove past 3-4 Koran military bases each day as I went to and from my school and endured way too many convoys.

One day as I was teaching, the Korean military was exercising some of their big guns, situated a few miles away from that town, and the vibrations of those firing weapons was so great that the windows of the school shook. You could always hear small arms fire as the Korean troops took target practice. But this isn’t all when you live north of Seoul.

There are other defenses in place that give you a reminder of what is just across the border that you drive under, there are checkpoints in different areas, and as I said the other day in the story of 4 buildings, there is the barbed wire fence and guard towers stretching for hundreds of miles. Now that brings me to today. As I was out for a morning drive, I went down my usual roads because normally there is no traffic, no people etc. but when I got to one particular turn off that leads me past certain defenses and military bases, I noticed that the soldiers were out in full gear and painted faces.

They were standing in normally unmanned small defensive positions with their guns just chatting so I though maybe a convoy was coming through but as I drove on, I noticed other normally unmanned positions and guard towers now fully manned and armed and this went on for 15 miles or more. There is a vast difference living North of Seoul than if one lived south of the capital.

It is more psychological than anything as we who live in the first strike area do think differently than those who are relatively safe and sound in the south. Even though we go about our daily activities, the war or threat thereof is not far from the back of our minds. We are reminded of it all the time. Though the South Koreans and westerners in the northern part of the country  are lucky that we do not have an ISIS or Boko Harem group wreaking havoc on our people, we do know and realize how fragile the peace really is in this country.

It is a realization that escapes newbies and most westerners as they know that they can leave at any time and not be truly affected by any armed action if war breaks out. But I have been associated with this country off and on for over 50 years and I have students and friends who would suffer and that is a thought I do not like to think about. I also cannot see myself living safe and free in the west while they suffer as some sadistic need to enslave another nation. one despot feels, ravages the country.

When I first saw the occupied defensive positions I thought that the military was placed on alert or that Kim Jong Un had been deposed but as I studied the behavior of the Koreans around me it seems that it is just another training exercise that comes along to remind everyone that war is not that far away.

For the true Christian, we need to prepare our spiritual defenses for we never know when the enemy will tempt or attack us.Spiritual warfare is real and we need to have our spiritual defenses manned and primed to go when the need arises. We do not have the luxury of spending time with our imaginations and day dreaming because we are in a war that is not at peace or holding because of some tenuous cease-fire agreement.

The people I talk to at that website are unbelievers and deconverted believers thus they do not grasp the reality of what a believer faces. Those people, though used by the enemy can be a threat to our spiritual lives if we let down our guard. We must be careful and follow God’s instructions on how to protect ourselves on a daily basis because spiritual war will never go away until Jesus finally comes.

Throughout history our denominations and churches have let us down because they do not train their members correctly, most often they are more concerned with winning souls instead of thinking how to preserve those won souls for eternity. We lose far too many people to evil.  That website is not the first where I have encountered the deconverted and the number is just too great to not say anything.

We need to teach our people better, prepare them for war better and stop compromising with the world. Recently I went through the book Spiritual Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham and on one page (and I am doing this from memory) the authors said– The church has long followed the lead of the secular world (or close to that). They are correct and that is the place where the church or denominations have failed. They have let the secular world lead them instead of leading the secular world to the right way to go.

That is why we have lost so many people who should be headed to heaven and eternity with God. We allow false teaching to deceive and cause our members to doubt God and the Bible. We need to get back to the truth. We need to get back to God, stand with him so we can win this spiritual war.



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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Bible, church, faith, General Life, history, leadership, theology


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