Answering the Call to Missions
Elsbeth ’78 and Lewis ’78 Codington
Lewis and Elsbeth entered Covenant as freshmen in the fall of 1974, and they met each other a year later in the fall of 1975. After getting married in December of 1978, they worked at Covenant for several years in the early 80s while Lewis worked as the personnel director and Elsbeth taught as an adjunct instructor, teaching Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Precalculus.
Their journey towards missions began in 1989 when they watched the Berlin Wall fall and Europe and Central Asia were released from the grip of Communism. Lewis and Elsbeth both had the strong conviction to do something to bring the Gospel to that part of the world which had been prevented from hearing the Good News. With help from their church in Knoxville, TN, led by an extremely mission-minded former missionary to Japan, Dr. Don Hoke, they made their commitment to go overseas as missionaries in April 1990.
They joined CLC (Christian Literature Centers) International in the fall of 1990 and MTW (Mission to the World—the missions branch of the PCA) in early 1991.
As missionaries, the Codington family moved around quite a bit. They spent three years in France, ten years in England, and moved back to Tennessee in 2005 after Elsbeth was diagnosed with serious breast cancer. Lewis continued his work with CLC International from a stateside base during that time.
In 2010, God opened the door for them to serve in Yunnan, South China. They reached out to university students by offering to practice English using the Bible as a textbook. After a while, Codingtons felt moved by God to reach out to North Koreans after reading many books about the plight of the isolated Communist country. Having grown up in South Korea as a missionary kid, Lewis had a unique understanding of the country.
Unable to enter North Korea, they moved to Seoul, South Korea, where more than 32,000 defectors from North Korea live. For the last several years, they have been reaching out to and loving on North Korean young people in Seoul, as English teachers as well as mentors and surrogate parents. Lewis is currently working on updating the last 40 years of CLC’s 80 year history, as well as continuing to serve on CLC International’s leadership team. They are also excited that David, the last of their nine children to go to Covenant, will be graduating this year on Elsbeth’s 65th birthday.
If you are interested in reading more, Lewis has recently self-published a compilation of stories from their life and work called Meditations of a Traveler.