Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did I mention ...

Oh, and I also had a root canal last week. I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. The dentist took one look and sent me to get x-rays. Within 15 minutes my face was numbed up and surgery was underway. All in all it took about 45 minutes. It was a relatively pleasant experience. I had a computer screen infront of me that showed a TV show of my choice and that could be used to show me picture of my teeth.

The best part, (as if I wasn't already gushing at the pain free experience) was the cost. $34. I had a root canal for $34. Isn't that amazing? I'm already recommending to my friends that they fly to Korea and visit me to get dental work done!

Apology and General Update

Ok, I know it has been FOREVER since I've posted. And I apologize for that.

Everything is going well.

I've been too afraid to write this, for fear of jinxing myself ... but, here goes:

I haven't had any major problems in any of my classes this quarter.

I've had a few little mishaps and a couple of ill behaved children, but all in all my classes are MUCH better this quarter than last quarter.

Perhaps next quarter's classes will be even better.

I've made a great group of English speaking friends one town over. It's been really comforting to spend time with other Americans, to just hang out and enjoy the evenings. We play billiards, cards, or any silly game we can think of. It's funny how enjoyable it is to spend time with other people who enjoy the same sports, politics, and movies/TV as you.

My Korean is starting to fall into place. I'm starting to string sentences together. I'm understanding more and more. Sadly, my speaking skills are very limited. Because few Koreans know a non-native Korean speaker, most people aren't very good at understanding Korean with a thick American accent! I had the same problem in Russia and I'll get over it. Sometimes it's easier to just speak in English and gestures ... but I know that ultimately it will be better if I use the Korean that I know.

My homestay family situation is working out well. I'm really happy with them and I've been told that they're happy with me, too.

In the last month or so I've met a number of American who went to Christian colleges. It's always good to have other people who understand your background.

The Korean teachers that I work with tell me that I look much happier ... which in turn makes me feel even happier.

I'm trying to discern the next steps in my life. I'm still in the application process with the General Board of Global Ministries to be a career missionary, but I honestly have no time line. I'm just praying that something will open up eventually and enjoying the time I have now.

I think that I will try and do a missionary internship over the summer; visiting one or two of our United Methodist missionaries. Perhaps next school year I will look into an English teaching position at a Seminary or Methodist University here in Korea or I will look into an English teaching job in the middle east.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Drop me an e-mail at

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some photos.

Heidi and I went to the same college. Here we are touring Gyeongbeok Palace. We intentionally take a day here and there to forget all of our cultural sensitivity training and we become AMERICAN TOURISTS!!! We talk loudly, we take pictures of everything, and we complain! It's a lot of fun and a great stress reliever.

Autin Kurth and I went to an Italian restaurant in Cheonon for dinner one night. Here I am smiling over the "appetizers." They gave us a plate of pickles, an empty bowl(for what? the pickle bones?) and an empty bread bowl with a napkin in it. Just like the old country.

This is a picture of the subway in Seoul. One odd feature of riding the subway is that no one touches anyone else, ever. No elbows brush against each other, no one bumps into anyone else. It's the weirdest sensation to have so many people in such a small place and to never be brushed up against. (I'm really bad at this, considering I'm 3X the size of a normal Korean.)

This is my homestay mom. She won't let me take pictures of her. This is the best I could do. She's obviously trying to run from my camera. She's very pretty, and one day I will get a good picture. I also can't get a picture of her daughter or husband. Maybe we will go and get Christmas photos taken together.

This is where I live. My homestay family and I live on the second floor of the creative arts school they run. It has a piano conservatory, an art room, and English classrooms. It's really beautiful. My bedroom window is directly above the main door. My bathroom window is to the small window to the left of my bedroom window.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I had to fight back tears when I entered the sanctuary. It's been 4 long months since I've seen a pipe organ.

Chusok is the Korean thanksgiving. It's a time of family, friends, and culture. The English sermon, one of a handful I've heard these many weeks, naturally surrounded the holiday: naturally focused on family, friends, and culture.

These are touchy subjects for me. While a four month absence from my family is routine like crest on my toothbrush every morning, (I haven't been with my family for more than a month stretch at a time since I turned 18.) and I've played the leaving behind friends game too often to count; this has been a difficult transition.

So as I worshipped at the first protestant church in Korea, my heart was heavy and my eyes were damp.

Still no word from my friends in the Philippines. We read from Job in worship. We sang Jesu, Jesu .

"Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have from you.

Loving puts us on our knees,
serving as though we are slaves;
this is the way we should live with you.

Kneel at the feet of our friends,
silently washing their feet;
this is the way we should live with you."

I'm still processing a friend's suicide. It happened months ago now; but it still stings when I hear his name. I've never felt such a void when it comes to people in whom to confide. I don't have anyone here to really help me process and deal with things.

The sermon was about the brevity of Christ's earthly ministry. I'm reminded of
John Piper's quote, "Don't waste your life on the American dream of retirement, live dangerously for the One who died for you in his thirties." I was overwhelmed to worship in the church Henry Appenzeller died to plant. So many missionaries sacrificed so much to get us where we are now.

We shared in communion. Breaking bread together is becoming a growing part of my personal theology. Hearing the words from the United Methodist liturgy was refreshing.

"We have failed to love others with our full hearts."

We finished by singing Here I Am, Lord. I haven't made it through the chorus of that song since my senior year in high school when I got very sick in Russia. When my body had been ravaged by dysentery and I honestly didn't know if I would wake up in the morning, When I really thought I might die in Russia.

I knew I was all in.

The chorus is the cry of my heart, but when I try to sing it the words can't wrestle their way out.

If you lead Lord, I will follow. The words twist with tremendous weight and pain; but the pain explodes into the deepest sense of joy I've ever imagined.

I imagine I'll die doing this - probably not here in Korea, but somewhere - that I'll die following Jesus. With tremendous weight and pain; but the pain will explode into the deepest sense of joy I'll ever experience.

I always end up mouthing the words, my throat caught with bitter joy my vision blurred by the tears or reality.

Here I am Lord, send me.