Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I've known for years that I was called to be a missionary.

I fought against my call for a long time. When I couldn't stand because my body was being ravaged by dysentery, thousands of miles away from my loving family when I was an exchange student in Russia, I calmly, politely, and firmly told God to remove my name from the list of future missionaries.

I've come up with dozens of lists explaining why I'm not "missionary material."

I don't end every sentence with, "praise the Lord!"
I'm awkward.
I'm painfully bad at foreign language.
I don't look good in any hat, let alone a pith helmet.
I'm obedient primarily when it's convenient.
I don't pray long wingbag prayers.
I like talking to drunk athiests more than sober Christians.
I'm not comfortable "converting people" from a religion that gives them joy and inner peace.
My theology wavers back and forth depending on the week.
I sin every day and I have since I became a Christian.

Usually the lists are much longer, more detailed, and more painful.

God continues the call. Every fact I throw at God gets a quick response ... "So?"

God calls us to mission as a body, as a people, as God's people. We are called to go to the ends of the earth. I wonder some days, how close I've come to "the ends of the earth." How much further do I have to go before I find the end!?!?

Some days I'm glad to be called to missionary service. Some days I'm terrified. Most days I can rejoice in the call.

You call all of us in separate directions. You place a vision in our hearts and throw the wind behind us. You don't guarantee "success" (whatever that means), a safe voyage, or a long, healthy life. You promise your faithfullness, and I pray that we may each feel that promise in our lives this day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

School Pictures

This is Wesley Mission Language School. It looks a little like a Frat

Just look at how excited we are to learn!

In celebration of Swine Flu Awareness Month we do hourly temperature checks and anti-bacterial hand washes.

All my older kids refuse to have their photgraph taken, so enjoy these pictures of my little kids. Aren't they adorable?

This is my classroom. It's a good learning environment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

“Anyone can count the seeds in a melon. It takes vision to count the melons in a seed.” –Unknown*

Anyone can count the seeds in a melon. It takes vision to count the melons in a seed. That's what I do - it's my job. I count melons in seeds. I teach with the hope that some day in the distant future my work here will produce missionaries.

Because I had people who counted the melons in the seeds in my life.

When I was young I had terrible speech problems. From my recollection I had difficulty saying my S,Sh,Ch,R,L,&G sounds. Susan Anderson was my speech therapist for years. She worked diligently with a very stubborn little boy who didn't really have much desire to learn, and she worked until his speech was clear and distinct. I slur my Ss when I'm really sleepy; but that is the only remnant of a debilitating speech impairment. I doubt Susan Anderson would have believed it if she had been told that I would end up sharing my faith in Jesus Christ in Russian. I can wrap my tongue around harsh Russian trilled Rs with the same efficiancy as a soft Korean mock R sound. Susan Anderson could count melons.

Anytime I have an "opportunity student" (read: problem student) I just pray, "He's the one, isn't he? He's the one who will lead the mission revolution one day." I spend my time counting melons in seeds.

This quote is taken from Chris Kindle's Facebook wall.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One of my Kindergarten classes.

The kids lined up for "gym class."

Mothers out for a walk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Things have been going really well with my host family. I get up a little earlier than I used to, so I can join in on the breakfasting. In most Korean homes, breakfast is the biggest meal of the day.

Eat like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch, and a Pauper for dinner. So, if I sleep through breakfast I don't get much food! My family consumes significantly more bread and milk and less (much, much less) Kimchi than Korean Standard. This makes me happy. My parents keep a really clean house and I have to make my bed EVERY DAY! To a young adult this is kin to a torture chamber.

Also, I finally have an internet hookup for my laptop. I've been using the office computer in my house for the last week. My room finally feels complete - I'm just waiting for my parents to wake up so I can Skype (free video call) them so they can see my new digs. I will post pictures here in the next few days. I don't want to alienate my family by making them feel like they are on display at the zoo.

My classes are all going well. My Kindergarten kids are learning English words for games they know. So we play Rock, Paper, Scissors and Hide & Seek every day. It's so much fun. My youngest Kindergarten students are only 2&3 American Years* and they already know so much English. At the after school program, my kids are doing pretty well. I've only had one "opportunity student" (read: behavior problem!) this quarter. The biggest problem I have is that when my opportunity student makes a joke, it's usually genuinely funny ... so I'm trapped between wanting to laugh and trying to keep control of my class.

*When speaking Korean it is extremely important to know if someone is older or younger than you. Instead of basing this on months and days they base it entirely on birth year. When a baby is born he or she is considered 1 year old at birth. This keeps things pretty simple. Also, (this is my understanding - and I could be wrong) everyone's age increases at the new year. So, theoretically, if you had a baby at Christmas it would be 2 years old in Korea before it would be 2 weeks old in America. Isn't that crazy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My host family

I'm all moved in with my host family. I had to move out of my apartment and had two options: I could live with a host family or live in one of the classrooms at the school. So, I'm with my host family.

I was an exchange student in High School, so I'm pretty excited to re-live my younger days and live this out again.

My family has three members. A dad, a mom, and a sister. I hate trying to describe Korean people. My host dad is short. He has short, black, straight hair. He wears glasses. He keeps an abacus on his desk. I still can't pick him out of a crowd. My mom has a unique look, she's very pretty. They are in their 40s I've been told. My little sister is 8. She's shy. I don't know their names. No one has told me yet. I just call them mom and dad. My Korean is getting a little better everyday.

My new house is really quite fantastic. It's a three story school with an emphasis on creative arts. We live on half of the second floor. The outside is purple and beige and there is a sculpture in front of the school. The first floor is creative arts. There are about a dozen pianos on one end of the building and a huge art workshop on the other. The third floor is for English classes.

Our apartment is very big by Korean standards. The living room is large and the kitchen has everything an American kitchen would have. They even have a toaster!
My bedroom obviously belonged to the little girl before I moved in. Even the bathroom is Pretty Pretty Princess themed. I have a large bed, a reading nook, a TV, a dresser, a spot to hang up clothes, and my own bathroom - so I could basically just survive in my room forever. I also kind of have my own kitchen. There's a kitchen on the third floor that the staff uses; but since I work the same hours the school operates, I'll never see anyone in there. My fridge vacuum seals!

We never close the door to our apartment, so it feels like the whole school is just an extension of the apartment - like our house is so big that we choose to just live in one section of it. It's pretty great. There are big paintings everywhere and the staircase is old pine (it creaks and moans as you go up it- so there is NO sneaking in late!)

My family is really cool. We have some communication issues. (My host father teaches English grammar, but a lot of English teachers here just know grammar rules and really couldn't hold down a conversation. I think if there was an emergency I could write down what I want to say and he could diagram it and figure out what I want pretty quickly.) But they have really bent over backwards to make me feel welcome.

And I'm working like a trooper to make it work. I ate chicken wings with chopsticks last night! I'm pretty good with chopsticks, but holding up a heavy piece of chicken while trying to tear meat away from the bones was a bit much for me.

All in all I think this will be a really good experience.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pictures from the Philippines

This is a picture of the church and the strip joint next to it. I love the United Methodist Church.

It was Mission and Evangelism Sunday when I visited.

This is the youth group on the way to the park. I love and miss these guys.

I think all of these pictures are fun.

I love the cat in this picture. I'm so glad to have these kids praying for me.