“My dear brother, Carl: The task that is laid out before you today is too much for you; it’s too much for any one man to fulfill.”
The Rev. Carl Hanson heard these words as he sat before the International Lutheran Church (ILC) in Seoul, South Korea.
What is the task? God placed Hanson in Seoul to serve ILC as pastor.
The Rev. Charles Ferry, regional director for the Asia region of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), preached these words during Hanson’s installation service on Aug. 18, 2019.
Ferry encouraged Hanson: “Jesus will not leave you; He will not fail you. You are His agent, His spokesman, the one with beautiful feet sent here to bring the Good News, to publish peace and salvation. Your job is not easy, but it will bear fruit, for that is His promise.”
Hanson is no stranger to challenging situations. His international service with the LCMS began in 1986, when he went to Taiwan as an Overseas Volunteer Youth Missionary (OVYM). Hanson served there until 1991, whereupon he returned to the United States to attend Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
After Hanson graduated from seminary in 1997, he returned to Taiwan and served in a variety of roles, including as a chaplain at Concordia Middle School in Chiayi City, Taiwan.
In 2004, he began to serve in administrative roles such as area facilitator for East Asia, and he and his family moved to Hong Kong on 2005.
In 2014, he became director of operations for the Asia region. In total, Hanson has already served in the Asia region for over 27 years.
This summer, a unique opportunity arose to serve ILC, and Pastor Hanson gladly accepted the call to serve.
The ILC provides a number of unique opportunities for sharing the Gospel. The congregation was founded in the early 1960s as a “Lutheran Service Center,” a place for LCMS service members to gather for worship and fellowship during deployments to South Korea.
The church building sits almost directly across the road from the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. However, for over a decade, the U.S. military has been moving soldiers and airmen out of Seoul to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. Camp Humphreys will host the majority of U.S. military forces in South Korea.
The transition of military personnel from Seoul changed the dynamic of the ILC as fewer congregational members serve in the military. Many ILC members come from a business background or are English teachers in Korea, and a number of Koreans also attend.
Hanson shared his excitement about serving one particular ministry.
“I enjoy supporting other people in their ministry,” he said. “But I’m really looking forward to being able to focus on this congregation and their mission involvement.”
In particular, Hanson hopes to work with the congregation to learn about and support mission work throughout Asia. The Lutheran Church of Korea also supports mission projects in other Asian countries such as Cambodia.
Ferry addressed members of the ICL as he closed his sermon:
“My dear friends of the ILC community: You have been given a wonderful gift. You have been sent a pastor, who is an incredibly talented servant leader accompanied by a family rich in zeal, in kindness, and in love for the lost. I cannot wait to see what the Lord will do through this combination in the coming days, months, and years.”