April 12, 2024

tavernatzanakis

General For All

Faith Without Borders: The Global Mission of a Korean American Preacher and Missionary

Dong Suk-Kee, also known as D.D. Bell in America, was a remarkable Korean American missionary and Gospel preacher who dedicated his life to spreading the message of Christ worldwide. Born on May 5, 1881, in Korea, Dong was a man of great faith and determination whose efforts to build a global community of believers have left an indelible mark on the history of Christianity.

Dong’s journey began when he entered the Department of Law at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied Methodism. After completing his studies, he received a Bachelor of Divinity from Garrett School in 1913 and returned to Korea as a Methodist pastor. For the next fourteen years, Dong preached for the Methodist Church in Korea, spreading the message of Christ to all who would listen.

In 1914, Dong was named the sixth minister of the Naeli Gyohae Church. The church grew rapidly during his time as pastor, thanks to his tireless evangelistic efforts. Dong also oversaw the remodeling of the church’s sanctuary and parsonage and helped to expand the playground of the Yanghwa Hagdang, a modern elementary school system run by the church. He was deeply committed to Christian education, and through his work, the school added Yanghwa Yuchiwon, one of the first preschools in Korea.

In 1930, Dong founded the Church of Christ in Korea, which would become his life’s work. His commitment to spreading the Gospel led him to baptize 31 people in a nearby village in May 1931, and by 1940, he had helped establish seven churches in northern Korea and five in the southern region. His dedication to his mission was unyielding, and even after liberation, he continued to work tirelessly to plant new churches in Seoul and Busan.

Dong’s efforts to spread the message of Christ were wider than in Korea, however. He came to the United States in 1927 and continued his education, studying at Cincinnati Bible College from September to December 1928. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Cincinnati Bible College in June 1929 and a Master of Arts in June 1930. His M.A. thesis, entitled The Early History of the Restoration Movement in the United States, would become an essential contribution to religious studies.

When the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 prevented Dong from returning to Korea, he shifted his focus to evangelizing Korean military officers who were being trained at the Army Infantry School in Port Banning, Georgia. He also sent missionaries to Korea after the armistice and raised money for missionary expenses. His commitment to spreading the message of Christ never wavered, and he continued to serve the Church of Christ in Korea until his death on December 26, 1971, at the age of 90.

Dong’s contributions to the history of Christianity are immeasurable. His work to establish the Church of Christ in Korea paved the way for the growth of Christianity in the region, and his commitment to spreading the Gospel to all who would listen inspires believers worldwide. In recognition of his efforts, Dong was posthumously awarded the Presidential Award by the Korean government in 1996 for his active participation in the March 1st Movement in 1919.

In conclusion, Dong Suk-Kee, also known as D.D. Bell in America, was a remarkable Korean American missionary and preacher who dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel and establishing churches worldwide. His tireless efforts and unwavering faith inspired countless individuals to embrace Christianity and live a life of service to others. 

Even today, his legacy inspires and guides those who seek to follow in his footsteps. The recognition he received posthumously from the Korean government for his role in the March 1st Movement is a testament to his enduring impact on Korean society and beyond.