One of the great joys I have had since I began teaching at Talbot in 1987 are my Korean students. Hundreds of Korean students have gone through my classes over the years. I have been encouraged and inspired by their passion for the gospel, their commitment to the Bible as the Word of God, their hard work, their willingness to sacrifice, their devotion to prayer, their dedication to building the local church, and their zeal for the global mission of the church. I have enjoyed visiting many of their churches both here and in Korea.

Scottish missionaries were among the first to take the gospel to Korea in the late 1800s. Many more missionaries came from Great Britain and the United States during that era and many Koreans began turning to Christ. Today up to one-third of the population are Christians.

My first trip to Korea took place in October 1998, with Dr. Sung Lee and my wife, Barbara. We visited many alumni at various churches and in university and seminary settings. I had the opportunity to travel there again in September 2017, where I was able to see firsthand the ministries of so many of our grads. A sobering part of the trip was a day-long journey to the DMZ, which separates North and South Korea. It was a reminder of the heartache many Koreans face being separated from family and friends, the constant fear over the possibility of attack from the north, and the intense desire to see reunification and for the spread of the gospel.

Dr. Ben Shin’s feature profiles a few of our Korean alumni. I only wish we could include dozens more.

As you will read in the news column, I have made the decision to step down from my role as dean and return to the classroom. This follows a full decade that I have served in this role. I truly look forward to spending more time with students and teaching the classes that I love. I will also enjoy having time to complete my commentary on Colossians for the Word Biblical Commentary series and, hopefully, take a few trips to Turkey to visit the site of Colossae as Turkish archaeologists begin excavation.

It is my pleasure to pass the baton to Dr. Timothy Pickavance. Tim has been on the Talbot faculty for 14 years and has served as a department chair for much of that time. He possesses that great blend of being a scholar and a superb teacher and having deep involvement with the local church — a mix of passions that we value highly at Talbot.