[Photo courtesy of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division]
Seoul, South Korea | Richard A. Sabuin, NSD Education Director

T he opening of a new dormitory building at a Seventh-day Adventist university is always a cause for celebration, but the inauguration of the “Peniel” dormitory at church-owned Sahmyook University in Seoul, Republic of Korea, demonstrated that not even a global pandemic could halt the advance of the school’s mission.

Along with providing quality education in a number of undergraduate areas—as well as through four graduate programs—Sahmyook is also a place where hundreds of non-Adventist students are exposed to the Christian gospel and the Adventist message, often for the first time. Only one in six of those accepted each year come from an Adventist background, an intentional decision by school officials to make the school a “mission field” as well as a place of learning. [1]

The new dormitory stands on the same location of an older, smaller one that was demolished to provide space for the new building. This new five-story women’s dormitory can accommodate 290 students, with different room types: single, double and triple occupants. With this new addition, Sahmyook University can provide lodging for 1,553 students.

Dr. Kim Il Mok, president of Sahmyook University, said: “We want to restore the image of God through these facilities.” He was referring to all the dormitory buildings: Zion, Eden, Salem, and the newest one Peniel. It was named Peniel as a remembrance of Jacob’s victory as he struggled with the Angel of the Lord by the ford of Jabbok, where He saw God and was preserved (Genesis 32:30). The dormitory is a sign of God’s glory shown to the campus. It is an acknowledgement that without God, mission cannot be accomplished.

This was also emphasized by Pastor Hwang Chun Kwang, president of the Korean Union Conference (KUC), in his inauguration speech, quoting Psalms 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” This is true not only for building a physical structure, but also in accomplishing God’s mission, Pastor Hwang said.

Dr. Kim Si Young, Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) president, reminisced about the years when he was studying at Sahmyook University. “We did not have a great building as this, and yet students enjoyed their study and dormitory life.” He added, “Our dormitory facilities are built to protect young people from worldly influence.”

In line with what he stated, the university president explained that Peniel dormitory is intended to be a residential college center at the university. “Residential college” is a combination of living and learning, which provides effective holistic education and various educational programs, so that students can experience creative and self-leading studies for becoming persons who are mission-minded, vision-oriented, and passionate about Christ. This is planned to promote the driving-motto of the university, namely MVP, which stands for Mission, Vision, and Passion.

Attending the ceremony were conference presidents, KUC officers, NSD officers and Education director, some former presidents of the university, government representatives, the architects, and other key individuals.

The ribbon was cut, and the dormitory is ready. This school year, Sahmyook University has enrolled 5,517 undergraduate students and 458 graduate students.

[1] See “Fishing for Souls,” Adventist World, March 2009, accessed online at https://web.archive.org/web/20110721213043/http://www.adventistworld.org/article.php?id=502