SarahBarry University Bible Fellowship
SARAH, MOTHER OF NATIONS
Genesis 17:15, 16 "God also said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.'"
When God blessed Abram to be called Abraham, he also blessed Sarai to be called Sarah. The name "Sarai" means "my princess" while Sarah" means "the mother of nations." God did not want her to live just as a woman loved by her husband and her friends. God had a great plan for her that she become a spiritual mother who would embrace the whole world and raise spiritual kings of people. This was truly a big vision for Sarai. God's blessing was one-sided grace upon her with meaning and purpose. When Sarai accepted God's will, she would not only have a son but also become the mother of nations.
Our precious Sarah, Mother Barry, was born on January 22, 1930 into a devout Christian home. Her father was an elder of the church. He owned a huge cotton plantation and was rich enough to have his own private airplane in the 1930's! Her parents also had a private family museum. As the only daughter of the family, she grew up as a "Mississippi princess." She was loved so much by many people around her. She lived a happy life.
But she could not meet a prince for the past 90 years until now and has lived alone. Some weeks ago, a young woman came and asked her for help to find a marriage partner. Mother Barry said, "It can be a bit difficult, because I have not found my own." In fact, after she met Jesus she married Jesus and gave her marriage to God.
In college she majored in Chemistry. Yet as the president of the Student Christian Association, she was more involved in Christian activities. She also was a reporter for the school newspaper. She was very active. During her sophomore year, she was invited to Romans group Bible study. Through Romans 1:17, she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior. During college, the Korean war broke out. She heard the news and came to have compassion for Korean people. She prayed and decided to go to Korea as a missionary.
In 1955, at age 25, she arrived in Korea. Right after the war, Korea was totally devastated and it was the poorest country in the world. However, she loved Korea and Korean people so much. She fell in love with Korea. She ate Kimchi and slept on the floor. A Mississippi princess slept on the floor in a tiny room! In 1961, together with Dr. Samuel Lee, she became a co-founder of UBF. She diligently taught the Bible and numerous disciples of Jesus were raised. She returned to the US in 1977 and served North America and world missions. She served as UBF General Director from 2002 to 2006.
Some years ago, in England, I saw one old woman walking on the street with a grocery bag in her hand. She was my neighbor, an ordinary grandmother. Yet strangely, when I saw her, with my spiritual eyes, at the same time I saw Mother Barry. She and Mother Barry were in their 80's. Yet one person was just an ordinary woman and the other was an extraordinary woman. Their fruits of lives were hugely different. I asked myself. “What made the difference?” The answer was the grace of God and one's obedience to his call.
In verse 16, we read "I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations." God repeatedly says "I will bless her", "I will bless her." So when I think about Mother Barry's life, I just give thanks to God. God decided to choose her and bless her! By faith, she humbly and simply obeyed the call of God. God's blessing has been poured upon her, and thousands of children of God through her, including all of us. Through her influence and prayer, as a mother of nations, the gospel in our UBF ministry spread from Korea to Germany, USA, Latin America, CIS, Africa, Middle East, next gens and beyond. Still today, through discipleship ministry, the number of her grandchildren, and great grandchildren continues to increase. It will never end. She is truly a mother of many nations!
In 2006, Mother Barry visited Korea. One day, she attended Chongro UBF Sunday Worship Service. I was the messenger. At the end of the service, I asked her to come forward to say a few words. At that time I remember what I said to the people. "Here in our country, M.B. stands for our newly elected, popular president. Yet I must tell you that here in this room we have a more popular, precious M.B. Her name is Mother Barry!" It was true. The then president M.B. is now in jail, and our M.B. is still influential, and passionate to pray and teach the Bible.
Humanly, her life must have had many ups and downs. Yet as she confesses, she has been truly blessed and happy with Jesus, and has lived a life that has meaning, joy and purpose. Her life is full of God's grace which is one sided. We are also those who received God's one sided grace. That is why we are here today to witness her 90th birthday as believers, and as brothers and sisters in the Lord. When I look in her eyes, I can see her tender and pure soul. It seems that living in her is not a 90 year old woman but a 19 year old girl, a Mississippi princess. She has lived the most beautiful life. She is M.B. - Most Beautiful! I praise God and pray that we also may follow the footsteps of Mother Barry and live most beautiful lives in Jesus. Amen!
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