God Bless You All and Happy Easter!

Today is Easter Sunday and it is 7:22 PM here in Korea as I begin writing this blog entry. For those of you who have been faithfully reading about my time here, you may remember the hard time I had at Christmas in Thailand when I went to McDonald's for lunch and missed being with my family. Well, today I can say that celebrating Easter here with my Korean church family was truly a blessing, and though I wish I were eating ham with my Maine or Mayland relatives about eight hours from now, the potluck lunch at the church was abundant and delicious too.

Easter eggs for lunch!

Today's service included communion, worship led by the young people and me, me singing a special Easter song (Kari Jobe's Forever) that I originally was invited to to sing at EuroCon with Tina Reaves and Ruthie  Posrednikov, and a message from Pastor DeVries from 1 Corinthians 15 about the Resurrection. We had visitors from America, Dawn's mom and aunt, and an older Korean man that we met outside a restaurant in the HomePlus store on Friday afternoon. We sang, "Christ the Lord is risen today, a-a-a-a-a-le-e-lu-u-ia," Celebrate the Lord of Love, and Forever (the other one) for worship songs. When service ended, the men moved chairs aside and hauled tables from the Bible college into the sanctuary, while the ladies brought food in from the kitchen and set up the plates and chopsticks so that we all could eat. There's nothing like a good church potluck with everyone bringing homemade foods to share with one another.

After lunch, we had our young people's meeting and discussed how our week had gone, especially our new project of all reading the verse of the day from the Bible app on our phones before heading off to school and work. We decided that we would each take a morning to post the verse for each other to read in our Kakao chat group where we could comment on it and share prayer requests too. I asked the students if they ever felt awkward or challenged at school as Christians. Most said that they are in the minority in their classes, perhaps 20-25% of their class being believers of one kind or another, and one young man said his science teacher had asked the class to choose whether they were going to be Christians or be scientists. He said he that he replied he would be a Christian. We discussed how what we truly believe makes a difference in our lives and the lives of others, and that the enemy of our souls doesn't want us to stand up for our beliefs and live by them.

One of the young people in our fellowship was a student from the Yeomyung school where we minister on Thursday mornings. She has been coming for two weeks now and she sang on the worship team this morning. We're hoping that if some of the other students from that school will visit our church if they do not already have a church family. Our Thursday morning Bible class has grown a little. We miss the seniors who graduated in December, but we have new students who signed up to take the class along with the returning students who seem more engaged and joyful than they were last year. I've been teaching them to sing in rounds, and we did the Camp Life campfire song, "I'm gonna sing! sing! sing! I'm gonna shout! shout! shout!" with them and finally got them to really shout and get into it. It's still one of the best hours of my week.

Since returning from EuroCon, we have been studying Preparation for Team Life in Grace Mission Institute, our church's Bible college. Wow! I was not a missions major in Bible college, so I did not take this class back then. It is chock full of practical, biblical counsel for team relationships, whether they be marriages, families, churches, small groups, mission teams, or whatever group has been joined together for a common purpose. The number of students in Bible college has grown this semester, and we are jammed into our classroom, shoulder to shoulder, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.

People are genuinely excited about this class, and God is blessing us all.

Our church received a spring facelift over these past two weeks. Along with some students doing community service from the Uijeongbu International Christian School, Dawn, Pastor Sejun, Pastor DeVries, and I did a lot of painting: two classrooms, a kitchen, the sanctuary, and all the hallways in the church including the doors. We also cleaned floors, painted bookcases, hanged up banners, de-cluttered a few spaces, and rearranged furniture. All just in time for Easter. I found great free praise and worship presentation software on the Internet called VideoPsalm, so I downloaded it and converted our PowerPoint slides into this alternative to EasyWorship. VideoPsalm is available for free to groups that support and/or do missions work, and it's not hard to figure out. It's perfect for our little bilingual church. (http://myvideopsalm.weebly.com/)

On the Wednesday we did some of the painting, we had a cookout on the roof of the church. Delicious pork belly barbeque with a view of the neighborhood.

Chef Petros cooks our dinner.

It has been just William and I at the apartment in Uijeongbu, because Tain is still traveling. Right now he is in Thailand, but he has been to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna, Paris, Helsinki, and probably other places that I cannot recall at the moment, visiting and ministering wherever he goes, usually around good food that we see pictures of on Facebook. We look forward to his return to Korea sometime this month. He is exploring an amazing opportunity and seeking God's guidance for his future, so keep him lifted up in your prayers.

Tom Staalesen leaves Korea on Thursday to travel to Japan where he will join other volunteers who will be renovating a house of prayer beside the sea. You may remember this picture I took of it back in a prior blog entry.

We have been praying for God to open doors for a missionary work in Japan, and for Tom to find a way to stay in Japan and attend art school. Our God holds the keys and can unlock doors that no man can open and provide for every need. Pray for Tom's great faith adventure.

I will be traveling on April 18 to China to explore the possibility of an international school there that Chinese students would be able to attend. I've been doing some school planning work from here to prepare for my journey. You can pray for the work I'm doing and my travel. You can also pray for God's timing for my return to America to visit for a few weeks. I look forward to being in Maine and Maryland and visiting GGCA and the churches where I have friends and supporters.

It seems the days are flying by now. Magnolia and cherry blossoms have just begun to come into full bloom in answer to Dawn's prayers that her mom and aunt would be able to see them.

Yellow dust from the Gobi Desert is in the air, causing the haziness that comes every year around this time. When I check the weather on my phone some days, it says "Dust."

See the dust in the atmosphere? It's heading from China to Korea and Japan.
The days are warmer and we are getting more rain, including a big old thunderstorm the other night. I finally found a pizza shop that sells American style pizza and enjoyed a pepperoni pie the other day without corn or anything else mixed into the sauce.

Pizza School pepperoni pizza

I still want to go visit Pastor Scott Robinson and Diane in Jinju before I head home, and I want to make a trip to Anmyeondo, a beautiful island

off the west coast, to visit my friend Minmok who is working there as a policeman now. He was my first Korean friend in Korea, and he has a special place in my heart. I would love to see him become a believer and experience the joy we have as Christians.

Okay, I've been writing for about 75 minutes now, so I will stop, add in some pictures, and post this. Thanks to all the people who send in support money. The money I received March 31 covered the annual life insurance premium I needed to pay, so that if I die over here, you can box me up and FedEx me home. God is faithful to provide for every need. Reading Hudson Taylor's autobiography has built up my faith in that area. God bless you all, and happy Easter!


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