Asia

Hostages' Pastor: 'Remorse Is the Face of the Church'

Interview with Park Eun-jo: 'I don't want this to be a stumbling block for missions.'

The 19 South Koreans freed by the Taliban returned to Seoul Sunday as the church that sent the group fields critical remarks for sending members to such a volatile country.

The return ends a 43-day ordeal in which two hostages were killed, including Bae Hyung-kyu, an associate pastor at Saemmul Church.

Before they left Afghanistan, the hostages apologized at a press conference for the trouble they had caused South Korea.

"I've had sleepless nights, thinking of what we have caused the country. I am deeply sorry," Yu Kyeong-sik said at a press conference.

"Remorse is the face of the church," said Park Eun-jo, senior pastor of Saemmul Church. The Presbyterian congregation that sponsored the trip, in the Seoul suburb of Bundang, has a weekly attendance of about 5,000 people.

"Koreans, particularly those who are not receptive to Christianity, are very emotional and critical about this incident," he told Christianity Today. "Because of the hostage situation, people withheld their opinions, but since ...

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