Showing posts from November, 2014

Praise Him

When I woke up this morning, I realized that when I glanced up at my window, I could see the sky. I could see the sky because all of the leaves on the tree outside my window had fallen, leaving bare branches for some noisy birds to perch upon and announce the start of another day in their screechy voices. Fall has fallen and winter is on its way, but we haven't had many days of bitter cold yet. I'm still able to get by with a jacket over a light sweater on most days, sometimes wishing I could discard the jacket around midday, since the temperature has risen.

I am writing on a Saturday afternoon here in Seoul, having just eaten a spicy lunch of kimchi soup, kimchi, soy sauce marinated chicken, and spicy bean sprouts. I gave the little fishies in my soup to Jin to eat, since he was the one who asked for them to be in the stew in the first place. Now I am sitting on my bed, surrounded by drying bedding that I washed this morning. We have no dryer in this house, like many other hou…

Sometimes Being a Missionary Means...

Sometimes being a missionary means baking cookies. Making the cookie dough and having all kinds of young people (and a mom) making the dough into balls, rolling them in sugar, and putting them on a makeshift baking sheet.
The cookies come out of the oven and fill up the plate, batch after batch.

And then you share them with your helpers. (None of these young ladies is the aforementioned mom.)

Today, Tain Palanun planned to have a dinner party for the young people in the church at his home in Uijeongbu, but he woke up with a migraine headache. Minhee, the young lady in the University of Pennsylvania sweatshirt above, decided we could meet at the church instead and eat pizza. I said I'd bake some cookies, and brought a couple of eggs from my home so that we could make a double batch of ginger crinkles. (Yes, my mom read my blog and immediately sent the recipe to me.) I am a decent baker, and cookies are one of my better baked goods. I introduced my Korean friends to the wonderful flavo…

Thanksgiving Sunday

I took this photograph yesterday near the DMZ (de-militarized zone). You can see the South Korean flags wedged into the fence topped with razor wire. Beyond the fence there are some harvested fields, a bridge, and some mountains. When I looked across the border into North Korea from the vantage point of an observatory further down the road, all I could see were mostly mountains and a few buildings. According to a video shown at the observatory, the mountains are largely deforested, probably because all the trees have been cut down for fuel. The town across the river from the observatory seldom has any motor vehicles on its unpaved roads, and farming is usually done by hand without the aid of a tractor. 

From across the river, North Korea looks beautiful. 

There are no high rise apartment complexes obstructing the view of the mountains, so the vistas are lovely. But life there is neither lovely nor beautiful for its people, who live under Stalin-style communism, complete with malnutritio…

Food for Thought or Thinking of Food? You Decide.

Today was the BIG college entrance exam day here in Korea, when third year high school students, a.k.a. "seniors," take one of the most important tests of their lives, the test they have been studying for all year. This test generates a lot of media activity, which I witnessed this afternoon when I passed a high school around 4 PM on my way to the Anguk subway station. Reporters from television stations were on the scene doing remote reports on the students exiting the school gates after their hours of testing, some of them being greeted by parents and significant others bearing flowers and other gifts. I have been told that the country goes out of its way to accommodate the test takers, having workers come in later so that test takers have no problems traveling to the test sites and even re-routing flights so that the sounds of the aircraft engines do not disturb the students. 

Middle and high school (grades 7-9 and 10-12) are pretty serious in Korea. Students are expected t…

Hello. It's Me Again. Living By Faith

Hello. It's me again. This is what I looked like last Thursday on a crisp autumn day here in Seoul. This photo was one I took after stepping off the cable car that I took with Dawn and Petros to the top of Namsan, which is near the YeoMyung school where I have been teaching the weekly English language Bible class for the past two weeks. I was enjoying the fact that I had finished the class and was on my way up to see the famous N Tower and the other sights to behold at the top of the mountain. Another reason for the smile on my face was that I was finished teaching for the day; there was no service to preach at and no Bible college classes that day to teach. I was going to see some beautiful fall foliage, breathe some fresh air, walk back down the mountain, eat lunch with the YeoMyung students, and then attend an English class with some of them, where maybe I would have to teach them a song. 

Ever since Pastor DeVries left for America, my life has been wake up, teach, study, teach,…