Thursday, July 8, 2010


This is my second summer in Korea. Last summer, I fell in love with our students. I fell in love with Asian culture. I left my heart here in Korea and have been longing to be back ever since. I’ve spent the entire last year preparing for this summer—learning the language as best I could, hanging out with Koreans (maybe even stalking them in the grocery store from time to time thinking about what I would try to say to them in Korean if I ever got close enough), trying to make my own versions of Korean food, and praying all the time for our students and their families.

Last summer changed my heart so dramatically that I just couldn’t wait to see what God had in store for this next summer. When I got here, I was so thrilled and excited to be back! Ooh! to taste that first bite of real Korean kimchee and rice or to hug some of those students who at points in the past year I could only know by who they were in my memory.

I finally made it back to Korea and things were just the same… until… they weren’t. My team was bigger, we were spilt up to go into two different schools, spicy foods weren’t so spicy, foreign customs and ways—like squatty potties, no shoes in the house, and little old ladies pushing me out the way on the subway… didn’t seem so unusual. And what about the stories that blew me away last summer or brought me to sobbing tears? I’ve heard them again, and they still hurt, but it’s a familiar sting—a sting that I have clung to over the past year in my praying, or along with my other memories of Korea.

So what’s happened? Maybe some would say the adventure is no longer adventurous… or maybe that the newness has worn off. While this has been a struggle at times, God is faithful, and He has reminded me of the real adventure—sharing His truth and Gospel with those who don’t know… sharing the love that I have been so freely given; this love that all should know.

In my journal a week or so ago I wrote
Today during class, while students were talking amongst themselves, I walked up to S and just stood by her and scratched her back. I started to think about her story. She came to this country with just her grandparents, who have since then died, and is now here all alone. I was reminded of times with my own mother and grandmother just sitting and scratching my back or brushing my hair, and the love that I know is there. I began to wonder, when was the last time someone rubbed her back, or just held her? When was the last time she has felt this sort of love? As I was thinking these things, she reached out and grabbed my hand. I couldn’t help but cling to this moment so much. I felt so unworthy, yet privileged to be able to show her this love. What had I earned to be able to have this moment? Certainly nothing I could do could grant me this privilege.

God has shown me His grace once again. He’s taught me still to rest in Him and wait on Him. He IS faithful. Sometimes my experiences and moments where God has taught me this summer don’t seem as dramatic as last summer, but they certainly are just as significant. And I’ve been reminded of what is the most important… not having the best stories or eating the craziest foods (which are some my favorite things to do!), but showing those who have been through worse than I can imagine—those who may never know the earthly love that I so take for granted—that it doesn’t really matter. We all feel pain and hurt. And we all have a desire and longing for filling of our deepest desire of goodness. That desire that only He can truly satisfy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ok... Now that I've gotten all my inspirational thoughts out in that last blog, I can give a basic update for those interested.

Before leaving to come to Korea, we had a week of orientation... a.k.a. bucket bathing, washing clothes by hand, intense security training, killing our own dinner, and then of course eating as much unhealthy southern food as possible before all heading out to Asia to live off of rice and veggies all summer.
But in all seriousness, this week really went great! I felt so prepared to fully serve God as I headed out.

Then the travel began. I arrived the place I was staying around midnight and was up and at 'em the next morning for our first day of school! The first few days were full of busy-ness and shuffling around, but we were all settled soon enough.

However, the next Monday I was headed to Cheonan. We split our team of team up so 7 could serve in Seoul and 3 (me and two other girls) could serve in Cheonan. The school we are at now has the same name as the other school, it's just in a different location a little further outside the big city of Seoul. (So instead of being in Seoul: population 25 million, I'm in the not-quite-as-big city of Cheonan: population 100,000!)

The campus we are at couldn't be better! It is located right outside of the city of Cheonan on a very small seminary campus. The weather is a little cooler than Seoul, and there are mountains and city buildings all in one view.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about being here at first just because it was the unkown. I knew the students, teachers, and the rest of my team in Seoul, and I had no idea of what to expect when leaving that little comfort zone. However, as soon as we arrived here the three of us all felt a peace and experienced confirmation from God that this is indeed where he wants us to be!

This is our second week in Cheonan now. We've already traveled back to Seoul twice (which there and back are about 3 and 4 hours commutes respectively)! We'll do this mostly on weekends, but we hope to be able to stay some weekends here as well. I mean, who wouldn't want to be on a tiny campus full of seminary students where you are literally the talk of the school?! heehee.. just joking... but all three of us have really fallen in love with God's life and work for us here in Cheonan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Yesterday I sat on the steps of the school, listening to the boys play "Hosanna" on the occarinas while looking off at th mountains in the distance. We all knew the song... as long as no one sang the words. So they played and I hummed, without any sort of linguistic or cultural barrier standing in our way.

As I sit in the cool weather, I stare off into the distance, admiring the beaty of the misty mountains and the city buildings still further off. I think about where I am. It's amazing to be back here in this place; for the rest of my physical body to finally join my heart again, where I left if-- with these students, halfway around the world, so far away from the country and culture I call home.

The word Korea no longer sounds foreign to my ears. No matter how many times I say it...
Of courseI still get plenty of stares because I'm white or because I look lost (or because I really am lost and I'm speaking such broken Korean that all I can do is make people laugh); and everyone may assume that the only thing I ever want to eat is hamburgers or pizza; and people will think I'm dirty because I forget to take my shoes off in the house. It seems I am constantly reminded that I am a foreigner, that I really don't belong.

But for this time and season, God has drawn my heart and called me to be here. Although I may still be foreign to Korea, Korea is no longer foreign to me.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Sometimes when I think about those suffering in different places around the world I feel as if there is so little that I can actually do. I know I shouldn't feel bad, that I should do all that I can and trust God to use a willing and obedient heart... but I often feel helpless.

Then I open my eyes and see helplessness all around me; even in those who don't see it in themselves. Yet so often the only thing standing in my way from following Him is me. Is there really a better place for me to be? A more effective place for God to use me than where I am? In the center of His will, step by step, following His lead in complete and full surrender and submission; no matter when; no matter where.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A great start....

.... to a great day.

As I sit here eating oatmeal (which was half plain/half sweet cause all the sugar was stuck at the bottom making the last few bites overpoweringly sweet!), looking around my packed-up-almost-empty-room, I am able to finally slow down for a few minutes.

With this past month of school, and now finals week upon me, it's been some of the busiest most cram packed full days of my life! But now there's only one left (which I definitely won't be trying to study for til at least the morning of ;) as any true college student would with all this free time til then), and all I really have to do is wait around til it's time for my plane ride home in 3 days. And in the quiet of waiting, a wonderful song come across my Pandora list.

What a great reminder of all that my life here on earth really is.

In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus

When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus

Monday, April 26, 2010


Tonight I had the chance to talk with a friend from school who recently graduated and is now attending Southeastern Seminary. I kind of jumped into a conversation she was already having with some Korean girls about introducing them to Asian guys at her seminary (always an interesting topic of course!)

The conversation soon turned to talk about Christian lifestyle. We progressed from one issue to another on the topic as the evening continued on. One thing we discussed is how as servants of Christ, we do not desire what most people chase after in this life. This led to materialism, to giving to those who are less fortunate, to the fact that sometimes that means sacrifice and not necessarily what we can seem to afford. Now this topic is really something that makes my heart stir. I was reminded once again of how as Americans (or just people who are a part of cultures where it is more common to live a "comfortable" life), we either (A). tend to see ourselves as blessed; or (B). don't realize our need for God.

These are both thoughts that I've wrestled with in the past to reconcile in my own mind.
First of all... A. We tend to see ourselves as very blessed.
Of course, I would agree with the statement that we are blessed people. But what exactly is it that constitutes us as blessed? The fact that we are comfortable? rich? happy? or even American? If any of these are the case, then what about everyone else? Are they just not blessed? Are they not any of these things because God loves them any less than He loves me? Did he strategically place me in one of the richest cultures in the world because I'm significantly more special than they?
I somehow doubt these things.

Then... B. We don't realize our need for God.
Life in places like America is a lot easier than many other places in the world. This even applies to how much easier it is to forget about God. I think that because we are taught that it's all about making sure that we are safe and sound, happy and secure, we can ensure the false reality that we don't actually need God. As if because we really can make it all on our own. It's like we aren't ever really faced with a situation where we need to depend on God because we are so self-dependent.

What a trap we've set for ourselves in being deceived into thinking this is the way things should be. However, I found my solutions to these dilemmas reading my Bible while at a kids camp in Korea (hiding by myself in a room away from the kids... skipping my leader Bible study... but that's another story for another day... )in James 2:8

"... has God not chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith?"

This opened my eyes to who is truly blessed.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hangukmal jusayo! 한국말 주세요! Give me Korean!

So... ever since spring break, it seems that school has been busier than ever! It didn't seem that I could finish anything that I had begun, all the while having a continuous flow of additional projects, tests, and due dates piling on and demanding more and more of my time.

With all of these pressing deadlines to meet, Korean study became less important as it got pushed further to the side with every passing week. And just when it began to feel as if my learning was gradually coming to a halt, I returned to class! (after 2 missed weeks plus one cancelled week)
I learned a new sentence... 지난주에 레이쳘이 바쁘습니다 그래서 안왔습니다.
(Last week Rachel was busy so she didn't come.)

Even though at the beginning of this class I felt as discouraged as ever about my Korean, my mood somehow lifted by the end of the class. I started class feeling already defeated, as if there was no way I could catch up and understand so quickly. But it turned out that things weren't so difficult this week, and I was really enjoying learning more.

Then came this weekend... Fort Caswell. Fort Caswell is a state-wide international student conference that takes place at the beach in North Carolina every spring. I met a guy there who speaks Korean... an American guy. He began learning Korean four years ago because his girlfriend is from Korea, and although he's only been to Korea one time, only for 10 days, his Korean seemed pretty great to me.

Anyways.. he pretty much spoke to me in Korean the majority of the time I was around him and even forced me to speak it back to him...

"한국말 주세요!" "Give me Korean!" he would say. So I tried. I got a lot wrong, but I really feel as if I'm beginning to understand a lot more of what I hear spoken. I also started to feel more comfortable with just speaking what was on my mind using the little Korean I know, which I think will be the key to me learning more and communicating this summer!