The Christmas season can be hard for anyone when they are used to spending the holiday with their family. I remember being in Thailand for Christmas a couple of years ago with my good friends Tain and Zinan.
This year I received a package with some Christmas gifts sent at great expense by my parents. A few Christmas cards arrived at my home and at the church. I attended a Christmas program performed by adorable Korean children at the English language preschool where I do ministry.
A while ago, I prayed and asked God to give me a greater burden for people here in Korea. And I am wondering if this mild taste of depression is God's way of helping me to identify with some of the people in Korea. Too many people take their own lives in this country. They want to escape the guilt, the shame, and the fear of not being good enough. There is so much pressure to look good, get good grades, get into a good school, get a good career, get good stuff, and even be a good Christian. I find myself having to cast down projections about being a good enough person to lead the church here.
I'm writing this blog entry on the last day of 2017. I have a stuffy head, runny nose, cold (which I think made my preaching sound interesting this morning), and I'm still feeling a little blue. But I find that I look at the Korean people I see on the bus, the subway, in the supermarket, in the restaurant, and in our church and little differently now. I am more concerned about them than I once was. I want to love them more, by God's grace and with God's help. God forbid that I should overlook an obvious need for love in the people around me, like that of the Kpop singer who sang to millions of people about his loneliness.
Pray for me. I am very much loved here, but pray for me as the leader of our church. Pray for both North and South Korea and this part of the world. Pray for our church to have an impact on this world.