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 houses, so my damp bedding is on drying racks and taking up much of the floor space. We are having a birthday party at the house tonight for our resident Polish missionary, Yadjia (misspelled, I'm sure), and I have vacuumed the public areas in preparation for her visit. Esther and Haeok are leaving now to do some grocery shopping, and they will come back and cook up a lot of food, which will include some crabs that I saw in the kitchen. Soon, the smells of Korean cuisine will fill the house, so I'm hoping my bedding dries soon enough for me to put it back on my bed and keep it from absorbing all the cooking smells.

 
Don't you like this picture? There is such a contrast between the laughing faces of Pastor DeVries and Tain and the serious face of the Korean man sitting next to them on the subway. This was taken last Sunday afternoon on the way to a dinner at Viccollo restaurant in Myeongdong. The event was a dinner in honor of a poet who is a North Korean refugee. She was there to share some poems, and she had some others with her, including a violinist who had set two of her poems to music, her publisher who was using crowdfunding to get her book into print, and a representative from a foundation that has a mission of getting the stories of various people and causes out to the public via documentaries. Tain and I came along to support the fifth speaker of the evening, a man who told a story of someone who found a treasure in a field and sold all he had to buy that field. Pastor Steve was speaking of Jesus Christ, the man who bought the field of all humanity, giving up all he had so that he could redeem the treasure of souls in places as dark and outwardly godless as North Korea. What a message to end the evening! 

This week marked the end of another seven week Bible college class. Pastor Steve spent our last four classes finishing our study of the doctrine of eschatology, not focusing so much on all the events of the Great Tribulation, but on the certainty that Christ is coming for His Bride, that there will be a Rapture of the Church before the outpouring of God's wrath upon the earth, that there will still be a great harvest of souls during the tribulation period, and that there will be a literal 1,000 year millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth. In addition to teaching eschatology, there has been a review of the basics of biblical hermeneutics with a smattering of church history too. I am so glad that he returned to teach this, because I would have been in waters over my head if I had had to teach this. God gives him great wisdom and discernment for the students in his class.

I had some trouble sleeping early in the week, perhaps related to my sickness the week before. I was waking up at 3:30 and 4:00 in the morning, so I decided that I would use the extra day time to do something I had been promising to do for a while now. I walked to the subway and caught the first train at 5:30 and traveled over an hour back to Asin, the place I had gone in October during the beginning of the foliage season. I walked into the 7-11 store a little before 7 AM and startled my friend YiSak (Isaac) who had been working his usual 10 PM - 9 AM graveyard shift. He and I had prepared last Sunday to sing Woot Horne's song, "Praise Him" at tomorrow's Sunday service, and he apologized for not practicing yet this week. I wasn't worried about that. I just wanted to say hello and visit him, since he says he gets bored easily on these overnight shifts. I ate some breakfast there, read a little of The Days of Peleg, watched the truck and taxi drivers stop in to eat noodles for breakfast, and then caught the subway back to Seoul and Bible class. I made some more ginger crinkles for the Bible college students and extra for the Yeomyung School students. During the afternoon, I tagged along as Tain, Petros, and Dawn investigated possible locations for the church winter retreat and the summer East Asia Conference. It was in one of these locations that I found Jesus winking at me.


In the next place, I found some reminders that the next day would be Thanksgiving, and this time it was a pumpkin winking at me.




That evening, I led singing, and we finished with Knowing You, Jesus. After hearing a message on the White Throne Judgment, we were all glad that we knew Jesus!

Back at Yeomyung School after a two week absence was a delight. I led a song and then distributed cookies before Pastor Steve, who had not been there for over a month, spoke about the significance of the skins that God gave to Adam and Eve, of how innocent blood was shed in their place to cover their sin and their bodies. Please pray for these young people, since some of them are having a hard time with this creation story that flies in the face of evolutionary theory which some of them think of as science. It was Thanksgiving Day in Korea 14 hours before it was Thanksgiving Day in America, and I started the festivities with this breakfast at Bliss and Bless Cafe near the school:


This is toast with Nutella, bananas, a little powdered sugar, and a drizzle of caramel on top. My fork was smiling at me. I wrote postcards to GGCA classes while Dawn Skyped with her parents, and we both enjoyed watching the employees decorate a tall, artificial Christmas tree with Christmas music playing in the background. Tain sent a Kakao message asking if we wanted to meet him for lunch in Sinchon, either Mexican or Thai food for Thanksgiving dinner. We caught the subway train and got another message saying he was running late, so we took our time below ground, Dawn shopping for Christmas gifts for her niece and me listening to a jazz combo and singer. Rob Smith would have wanted to jump in with these guys.


I am always amazed by the varieties of free cultural experiences that I find in the subway stations. There were chairs set up for an audience, a donation box, and shopping going on in shops nearby. Once we had our fill of subterranean art and commerce, we headed above ground and eventually met up with Tain and William and headed to the local On The Border Mexican restaurant. Thanksgiving dinner was not turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, but chicken quesadillas with rice and refried beans. Guacamole substituted for squash, and chunky salsa for cranberry sauce.


We took the subway to the area near the Gyeongbokgung Palace, 





and walked off some of our meal, heading for BeansBins where dessert awaited. No, not pumpkin or pecan pie, but waffles, one topped with scoops of mango and strawberry ice cream, the other topped with whipped cream and segments of pink grapefruit. From here we all went our separate ways; I went to my home to work on editing another chapter of Tain's Master's degree thesis. That evening, I FaceTimed with my parents and got to see my Grammy Manzo, who was celebrating her 96th Thanksgiving, and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle David who had survived the winter snowstorm and driven from New Hampshire to spend the holiday. I told them all about my fabulous feast and then went to sleep, and slept very well.

Friday began and ended with rain. It included a trip to Burger to Burger which was not busy because of the wet weather. I took this picture of the husband and wife team who runs this little oasis of hamburger excellence. They wouldn't look at the camera.


Yadjia just called. She asked if I would be attending her party, and when she hear that I was, she asked if I would sing a song for the guests. Can you guess which one? Unbeknownst to her, I had been practicing the song she requested since last Sunday. It is the song Praise Him. Isn't it funny how the Holy Spirit works? I told her how I was planning to sing this in church tomorrow and she said she would have missed it, because she would be teaching Sunday school. Oh, God knows. God knows. In our ignorance, foolishness, and pride we think He doesn't, but God knows. Even the small things, like a song. There is nothing hidden from Him, and nothing is so insignificant that it escapes His notice. And that's something I am thankful for. It is something that I would like to have be more a part of my life, this great care that He has for each of us. I'm counting on that care as I set out next Wednesday for several weeks of travel through the Philippines, Thailand, and China. Watch over me, Lord! Take care of all those I love! Amen.

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