Horace Underwood

Horace Underwood, Horace Grant Underwood was born in London and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1872. After graduating in Arts from New York University, he joined the Dutch Reformed Theological Seminary in New Brunswick. He was ordained in 1884 and hoped to go to India to serve as a missionary.

Birth: 19-07-1859
Death: 12-10-1916
Native Place: London
Country: England
Place of Vision: Korea

However, God spoke to him about the need for Gospel in Korea. After convincing the Presbyterian Board of Missions, Underwood set out to Korea filled with eager hope to preach the message of the Cross.

Also known as the Hermit Kingdom, Korea alienated itself from the rest of the world and had little tolerance towards the outsiders. Underwood understood that Koreans revered learning and books were precious to them.

Horace Underwood ministry in Korea

So, he started passing on the Christian books to few learned people covertly. Sometimes he would sit under a tree on a well-frequented street, take out a book, and start reading. When people approached with questions, Underwood would explain to them the book, its truths, and what it meant. Gradually he saw the light dawning in dark Korea.

In 1887, he founded Korea’s first organized church for the believers. Thereafter he conducted a series of missionary journeys across Korea preaching the gospel and establishing churches. Underwood believed that “the Bible in the hands of the people can do the best preaching.” The existing translation was not entirely Korean and had too many Chinese characters.

He diligently worked with a team of translators to finally publish an accurate translation of the New Testament in 1906 and the Old Testament in 1911. He also published Korean Dictionary, Hymnbook, and several Christian literary works. As thousands of Koreans accepted Christ, Underwood established the Seoul YMCA (Seoul Young Men’s Christian Association) in 1900 and trained young men for future ministry.

Along with several educational institutions he established charitable homes for the upliftment of society. Underwood who was referred to as “Pul Tongari,” meaning “a bundle of fire” burned passionately for Christ enlightening many until his last breath.

Beloved, are you burning bright for God among your friends?

Take away from the article

“Lord, help me rekindle the spirit of Godly service. Amen!”

Word of Prayer

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