The Works of God; East Asia Needs You
Come and see the works of God;
He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men (Psalm 66:5).
Since my last blog entry, much has happened here in South Korea. The President of the country has had to step down, the temperature has gone down, but our spirits have gone up. Pastor DeVries arrived from America the weekend before the American Thanksgiving holiday and started a series of messages on "The Missionary Mindset."
The seasons changed from autumn to winter.
The next morning, Tain and Jack took at taxi to the airport to head to Shanghai and then Dali in China. I spent the day walking around Busan with Seongho. Like the other cities in Korea, Busan is a mixture of the past and present with urban grittiness alongside natural beauty and manmade objects and places of interest like these ones:
Seongho, as some of you may remember, was one of the first Koreans I made friends on my first trip to Korea back in July of 2013, and God used him to call me to move to this country. He is very dear to me and I pray for him often that God will draw him to Himself. He is looking for a job right now, which is a daunting task. Many college graduates (and there are many college graduates) are unable to find employment in their fields of study. Seongho has a degree in chemical engineering. Please pray with me that God will reveal Himself to Seongho in this time of his life when he is looking for answers for his life.
East Asia needs you. You should make a trip here (this summer we have a conference, so you should plan ahead) and perhaps you will sing as David did:
Four days later I was on a plan to China to visit a school there as it finished its first trimester. I was able to go on a fieldtrip to a peach orchard with the staff, students, and their family members.
Thanksgiving was celebrated during my time in China with friends who made some traditional treats.
A great man from Baltimore happened to pass through the area while I was there.
I had some profitable meetings with teachers from the school and then headed back to Korea to resume ministry to the church where we had a mini-mester free Bible college class on the book of Acts.
We also continued our outside Bible study at Yeomyung School.
I spent time with the staff of KONIS and was invited to be part of their Christmas gala.
|Ebenezer Scrooge scolds Bob Cratchit|
|The Angel of Christmas past warns Ebenezer Scrooge.|
|The principal and staff of KONIS|
Pastor Steve returned to America and Christmas came.
We had a wonderful Christmas Day with our usual morning service followed by a special potluck feast, Christmas music, and a Christmas skit starring our young people. You can follow this link to our church Facebook page to see everything as recorded by Tain Palanun who was visiting from Thailand: Grace Mission Church, Seoul, Korea.
The photo at the beginning of this blog was taken in Busan. South Korea a few days ago. On Christmas Day, after all the festivities at the church were over, Tain Palanun and I met Tain's friend Jack at the train station in Seoul and took the high speed KTX train to Busan to visit friends. We arrived Sunday evening and stayed at a guesthouse in the Chinatown area. The next day, despite the all-day downpour, we met up with our old friends and with nothing else better to do on a rainy day, we found places to sit and eat delicious foods and drink warm beverages.
|Seongho meets Tain, Jack, and I at the guesthouse|
|Cooking up Korean fried chicken at GIANT CHICKEN - so yummy!|
|Tain uploading his latest food photos at the Korean barbecue restaurant|
The statue above is supposed to represent one of the lady divers who troll the ocean floor for seafood, but neither Seongho nor I have ever seen one dressed in a bikini. We did spot one in a wetsuit as we walked along the shore.
After eating at Giant Chicken the day before, I encountered some giant chickens at the beach.
This sculpture from the U.N. Memorial Cemetery expresses so much of what people are experiencing in their lives, looking up and asking, "Why?" and "How?" There are many places like this throughout South Korea, places of great solemnity, quietness, and beauty where people go to remember the sacrifices made by others in the past.
I remember visiting memorials to missionaries and pastors who laid down their lives to bring the gospel to the Korean peninsula before the nation was divided back in the middle of the last century. Despite the notion that South Korea is a Christian country, which I sometimes hear from Koreans who wonder why an American is here serving as a missionary, the number of non-Christians in Korea outnumbers the ones who identify themselves as Christian. In fact, those who do not practice any religion outnumber the Christians and Buddhists in Korea, so there is a need for mission work here. The cities in Korea are large. Seoul's population is larger than New York City's and Busan's is similar to that of Los Angeles. Incheon and Daegu have populations comparable to Chicago and Houston. And all these large cities are in one country that is about the size of the state of Indiana. That's a lot of people densely packed into a small area.
And here we are at Grace Mission Church, about fifty faithful souls altogether if everyone is healthy and able to come out to church on a Sunday morning. Korea needs missionaries as does Japan and other countries in East Asia. Here are some statistics about East Asia.