Woman seeks ministry to Korean-American kids

NEIGHBORS

October 18, 2001|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLARKSVILLE resident Sue Wagner is on a mission. She wants to teach the Gospel to the Korean-American children of Howard County.

Wagner says that many of them are latchkey kids who go home to an empty house. Often, their parents work and are not available to take them to activities. So they watch television and play computer games, she says. Many struggle in English classes, although they may do well in math and science.

She envisions a Christian after-school program, in which children can go to a church and study, be tutored and receive spiritual guidance. She had hoped that her program could be part of Covenant Baptist Church, to be housed on the 120 acres the church purchased in 1993 on Centennial Lane in Ellicott City. But that dream did not materialize.

"I was not a Christian at the time I was introduced to my future husband, John," said Wagner, who moved to the United States from Korea in 1979. "I was a spiritually wandering ... 23-year-old woman."

After arriving in the United States, Wagner began attending church with her husband. "Because I was raised by the Confucius ideas, which emphasizes women should submit themselves to the customs of husbands' families, I never thought of objecting to attending church," she said. But she was not spiritually fulfilled and felt Christianity could offer more.

In May 1996, she read a book, Prison to Praise by Merlin R. Carothers, that changed her way of thinking. "I, too, wanted to have a personal relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ, just like the author," Wagner said.

Two months later, she attended a service of Covenant Baptist Church at River Hill High School. At the service, the Rev. D. Walter Collett inspired her with his fiery sermon, she said. She also learned about land owned by the church and plans to develop it into a Christian academy and church.

Collett passed away in 1997, leaving his congregation without a leader for more than a year. The congregation dwindled, and leaders of Covenant Baptist voted to sell the land to the Soccer Association of Columbia for a large soccer complex. The sale agreement left the church with 8 acres of leased land.

Wagner was upset by the sale. She fears not enough land is left for a school. "My heart is broken," she said. "We as Christians want children to hear the Gospel."

In the meantime, Wagner is trying to help the children she cares about. She has purchased books with her money and is offering tutoring to several children in her home.

Errors, then honors

It was a comedy of errors this month at Boy Scout Troop 737's Court of Honor. First, no one had a key to the building, so the event started a half-hour late. Then, advancement coordinator Renee Brown was delayed, and a communication breakdown left the group without the planned entertainment, Venture Crew.

But everything ran smoothly once the group jumped those hurdles. Johnny Miller and Aaron Llanso opened the Court of Honor, with new Senior Patrol leader Jason Wright as master of ceremonies.

Laurie McFee was Troop 737's unsung hero. The events of Sept. 11 were reflected upon. A moment of silence was shared in memory of Colleen and Erin Marlatt, who died during a tornado at University of Maryland, College Park on Sept. 24. Colleen and Erin were members of Troop 737's Scouting family - their father is the chief of their sponsor, 5th District Volunteer Fire Department.

Merit badges were awarded, and several Scouts achieved new ranks. David Borys and Trevor Plumley achieved Life rank, while JR Brown and Eugene Gardner achieved Star rank.

Fall production

The River Hill High School Drama Department's fall production of Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25-27 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

Tickets are $6 in advance; $7 at the door.

Information: Pam Land, pland@mail.howard.k12.md.us.

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