Peter Phillips – Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Victoria
On behalf of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, I congratulate Dr Myong Duk Yang and the Busanjin Presbyterian Church on the publication of this record of the missionary service of Miss Belle Menzies in Korea, and for releasing it to coincide with her receiving the Korean Government Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs ‘Award for Persons of Distinguished Service to National Independence’ for her contribution to education in Korea and to Korean independence.
The publication of this history and the honour bestowed by the Korean Government on Belle Menzies, together with Margaret Davies and Daisy Hocking, fellow missionaries, is a great encouragement to the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU). For love for the people of Korea and especially the women, the PWMU sent her to Korea in 1891 to serve in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The PWMU rejoices in the faithfulness of God and the fruitfulness of the labours of Miss Menzies and those who served with her in telling the gospel, in caring for orphans and in the education and training of women, and in helping shape Korea as an independent nation.
We are thankful to be reminded that Miss Menzies believed that ‘to elevate a nation, wives and mothers must be educated’, and that in October 1895 she opened the Busanjin Ilsin Girls’ School, the first girls’ school in Busan, with herself as its first Principal. Her zeal for education then extended to patriotism and agitation for Korean freedom from Japanese colonial rule and the imposition of worship at Shinto shrines upon Koreans – and in March 11, 1919, she, together with the then principal of the school, Margaret Davies and educational missionary Daisy Hocking, a teacher at the school and many of its students, were arrested and imprisoned for waving Korean national flags and shouting ‘Long live Korean independence!’ on the main road of Jwacheon-dong.
We give thanks to God for faithful service of Belle Menzies to the people of Korea and the well-deserved honour bestowed on her and her fellow missionaries by the Government of Korea, and for the faithful recording of Belle’s service, so that generations yet to come might be inspired to follow her example in loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that God’s Word and Spirit may continue to shape Korean society; that the Korean church may remain faithful to the Word of God, and that Korea may be united in peace and freedom. As the Lord sent Belle Menzies and her co-workers to Korea with the gospel, so may He send Koreans to other peoples to bless them with the unchanging good news of his love in Christ Jesus.