Sleepless in Seoul

It is nearly 3 AM and I cannot sleep. I don't know if this is an after effect of my travel through eight time zones and back in one week, the intestinal sickness I have been experiencing since my return to Europe, or my discovery earlier this evening that I had not written a blog post since the end of January. Maybe it is a combination of the three. In any case, I am awake and writing, thinking of what has happened to me since my last posting.
I took this photograph at the end of January outside a restaurant in Dongducheon which is several stops north of where I live in Nokyang. My doctor friend, Charlie Kim, invited me to meet him at the subway stop and travel north to eat some delicious beef rib soup, but our journey began as a comedy of errors due to misunderstandings. 

At Nokyang, Charlie got off the train and I got on and traveled one stop north. After discovering our error, he got on the train again and said he'd meet me in the fifth car, so when the train arrived, I entered the fifth car but didn't see him. I got off to see if he was standing on the platform and the train doors swished shut behind me. He and the train left without me, so I had to wait for the next train to come before finally meeting him at our ultimate destination. 

A simple journey took much longer than necessary due to communication errors. Fortunately, we had all of Saturday afternoon at our disposal, so we were able to eat our lunch and then meet his friend for coffee and hot chocolate afterward. 

Charlie and the other doctors at the hospital where I do the English Bible Study class on Wednesdays are great people. When I told them I couldn't come to the Bible study this week due to illness, they insisted that I come to their hospital and be examined and treated free of charge. I was dehydrated, so they gave me two IVs to perk me up, and I was able to feel better and rest that evening.

The next day was Pastor DeVries' birthday, and I was able to contact him via Skype at the close of our morning service and have the body of Christ sing Happy Birthday to him. I hoped he would enjoy seeing all of their smiling faces. One face was left out because she was preparing lunch, so I added her photo later with additional birthday wishes.
Helen smiles "Happy Birthday" during the afternoon rap session.
The first week of February began with middle and high school graduations. Although the school year ends December 31st, graduations take place in February, and our faithful Pastor Sejun attended every one of them where a Grace Mission Church family was being honored, giving the tradition bouquet of flowers to the graduates. I was able to attend only two in one day due to my teaching schedule at the Bible college.
At the end of the graduation week, the Lunar New Year holiday began, and two of the little ones came to church dressed in traditional clothes. So adorable!
After church that Sunday, I headed down into heart of Seoul into the Gangnam area made famous in the viral video "Gangnam Style." I wanted to spend the three-day holiday in a part of the city that I had not explored before. I checked into an Air B&B guestroom and went out each day to seek places I had heard of or read about on the Internet. I did a lot of walking, visited two jimjilbangs, found a Maine lobster shack, and realized that Seoul is an incredible city. 
Coffee shop near my guesthouse

One of Seoul's many bridges over the Han River

Subway station sculpture

Ayuh. Maine lobster shack in Seoul

Beautiful walking and biking paths alongside the Han River

Man-made islands in the Han River with unique buildings
 February brought snow to us several times, not the lasting kind, but the lovely to look as it falls kind. Every time it snowed, I had to go outside to stand in it and feel the flakes kiss my cheeks and hear the soft sigh that maybe I only imagine the snow makes as it falls. We celebrated birthdays at the church...
Sunny's birthday lunch after morning Bible college class
...and we celebrated the end of another semester of Bible college with a special lunch in a beef rib soup restaurant. 
So delicious!
I was able to reconnect with a young man named YiSak (Isaac) one day after not hearing from him for a while. It was at the Dobongsan subway station on a windy, cold day, but I was very happy to hear his voice on the phone.
Hello, YiSak! What? You're in the army now?
Before I left for the European Conference in Budapest, some of the ladies in the church took me to a store to rent a suit of traditional Korean men's clothing to wear in the missions march. Here is what we picked out.
I wish I could have made the clothing look as nice as it was.

My nephew Colby was in Budapest along with his brother Noah, and his father and mother.
I left Korea at 12:20 AM, February 29 to fly to Budapest through Istanbul. I arrived 8:20 AM the same day in Budapest and was reunited with my friends Zinan and Nathan as roommates for the week.
Visiting Budapest allowed me to visit with people who had read my blog, some of whom I did not recall ever meeting before. Thank you, everyone, for coming up and introducing yourselves. Here is a picture of one woman who told me that she is praying for Korea,
Thank you for your prayers!
If anyone is interested and available, we have a conference here in Korea each summer called EACON (East Asia Conference) and you are welcome to join us this year in August to meet the Korean church and believers from churches in Thailand, China, the Philippines, and Japan. I also encourage you to consider East Asia, Korea especially, as a mission field. We may be far away from where you are living, but we are close to God's heart. Please pray for God to call people to be team members here in Korea.

It is now 4:10 AM. I should try and see if I can fall asleep now. I have to teach class in a little over five hours. I truly love teaching. Teaching God's word is a blessing to me, although it is not my field of expertise yet. I am still learning, and there is so much to learn. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. God answers prayer and provides for every need by His grace. 

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