My Good and Faithful Shepherd

I saw this mural on the wall outside the building where the Baby Box, better known in the U.S. as the Drop Box, since that is the title of the documentary film that was released in March about this organization in Korea that takes in unwanted babies. I got to visit some of the little lambs pictured here last Tuesday after Bible college. Along with some other students and church members, we caravanned across Seoul to the building where Pastor Lee lives and cares for a number of children with physical and mental disabilities in this building shown below.

As you may have noticed, the Good Shepherd is pictured at both locations. I wish that I can post some photographs of the children here, but that is unwise, I think, without permission. I will say that I was exhausted from playing with some of the little boys that afternoon. One guy in particular decided that I was going to play the role of his adversary, and he slew me over and over again with his balloon sword. He enlisted Dawn Doorenbos and Tom Staalesen as he is allies, and it got very serious for a while as stuffed dolls of Pororo the Little Penguin and his friends became weaponized and part of the battle.

Near the end, I was outnumbered five to one, and I was rolling, crab walking, crawling, and scuttling any way that I could to escape from three children and their two adult helpers. Our people had cleaned the floors of the room where the children played, and I think that with all my time on the floor, I cleaned up anything they may have missed with my body. Uncle Dan came out to play and had his glasses stolen at least five times by the children. What fun we had!

We rode in our cars to the building that houses the actual baby box and saw some infants that had been left there as well as a wall filled with pictures of the many children that Pastor Lee and his wife have adopted themselves. We had brought diapers and money to support this ministry with us, and we learned that one of the greatest needs of this ministry is for other churches to open up their own baby boxes in other parts of Seoul and Korea. Perhaps some of my orphan-minded friends should come visit Pastor Lee and see his ministry firsthand and get a vision for opening a Greater Grace baby box here in Uijeongbu or near our church in Seoul. We had our group's picture taken next to the baby box by the pastor who was overseeing the orphanage that day.

I slept like a log that night.

What else happened last week? Oh, yes! I went and met with the wonderful staff of Kids of the Nations International School again for a Bible study on Monday. It had been a while since we'd been together, and I filled them in on my times in Budapest and China and then shared from 2 Corinthians 4:11, about how the Cross in our lives reveals Jesus Christ in our mortal bodies. This passage spoke to us all in various ways, and I was invited to dinner by the school's owner and one of the teachers and her husband. Over dinner, I shared my testimony of God's call and His faithfulness to me, and it encouraged the teacher and her husband, young newlyweds, who are answering God's call to go to Chicago in the fall despite not knowing what God will have them do, where they will live, and so forth. The owner said that instead of starting a school in China, our ministry ought to start a school in Korea first. He said, "Take a small bite before you take a big one," Korea being the small bite and China the big one. He said there is a great need for what he called a "mission school" in Korea, which in my way of thinking is a "discipleship school," one which has an emphasis on training students to live Spirit-filled Christian lives as much as academic excellence. He was very interested in hearing about GGCA in Baltimore and how we do evangelism as part of our school program. He may show up on their doorstep someday asking for a tour! He thinks there is an interest here among some Christians for a real Christian school. Now, wouldn't that be fun and amazing!

Thursday, we were back at Yeomyung School with students there, teaching them the chorus and first verse to 10,000 Reasons, the Bless the Lord, O my soul song, and I learned that Yeomyung means something like the lyric. "it's a new day dawning." What a great name for this school. Pastor DeVries suggested that this song become the school's anthem. Leave it to him to come up with a suggestion like that. He's a funny guy, always pointing out situations that we encounter as "blog worthy." Pastor Steve and Petros led Tom, Dawn, and I up to one of the central squares in Seoul after class to meet Pastor Josef Marian who was in town for a day on business. We went to the the Salvation Army Bookstore together and then out to lunch at a place where we all managed to squeeze around a couple of tables shoved together to eat ramyun and kimbap. I tried cheese kimbap, which had strips of American cheese rolled up in it alongside the rice, radish, and other usual ingredients. The cheese was a tasty addition to this traditional, easy to grab and go meal.

Friday morning, I taught our last Bible college class for this semester. Preparation for Team Life class has come to a close, and now we just have to live it out day to day. Midway through class, Pastor Steve and Dawn departed for the airport to join the others for the mission trip to Japan. They were excited to return for more evangelization, edification of Japanese believers, and a reunion with Tain who is finally on his way back to Korea after leaving here in February. I sent him a can of coconut milk and abalone sauce so he could could Thai food there. Friday night I Skyped with GGCA 8th graders and high school students for 15 minutes about being a missionary. My basic thought was faith really works and it's amazing what saying "Yes" to God can do in our lives, so give God a chance to show Himself faithful to you.

Sunday morning, I was on the subway by 8 AM on my way to church for worship rehearsal. The young people and I were in charge of the worship service that morning, and we practiced for an hour, grabbed a drink of water, and led the congregation in song. These students are a delight to work with, and they do such a great job. People are edified by their ministry. I made the announcements, introduced our guest from The Philippines, Bob Hotchkiss, and then gave the main message after his introduction, speaking on the light of spiritual wisdom and discernment that God is faithful to give us when we simply ask and wait for it.

Two weeks from today I will be on an airplane flying to Detroit and on to Portland, Maine. Time is flying by. The Lord has been a Good and Faithful Shepherd to me these past 10 months. I still think it's crazy that I am living here without a paying job and not starving to death or having to sleep under a bridge or on a park bench somewhere. How is this possible? Why is God so good to me when I'm not so good at all? Grace. It's the only explanation. That and amazing love that defies all human reason. John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. John 10:11 - The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.


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