And that I never give up.
It makes me incredibly sad to hear of my friends, once full of fire and urgency to spread the gospel, now work at dead end jobs with only slight rememberancecs of the passion they once had for the lost. I feel like when I started towards this grand goal of reaching the lost around the world, there was a multitude of people who were just as passionate as me all around. Now, I look to my left and right and see only a couple who have battled through the path that leads to their goal. I know that some of these people were probably ones who God was trying to lead away from this ministry. But not all of them. Not even most of them. There are so many people who would be missionaries and pastors right now if someone had just told them to hang in there. If someone would have stood beside them and helped them through everything that was coming at them.
This is my heart.
I have only a few years on earth, and if I work non stop until the day that I fall over from exhaustion, I will not accomplish as much as if I grab the hands of two other people and take them with me to work. And if those two people grab two more, then even more of the harvest will come in.
Jesus, please reignite the passion for the expansion of your glory in the hearts of those you have chosen to do your work. Lord of the Harvest, bring forth workers!!
Well, lots of things have happened over the last few months, some worth noting, most not. I will try to catch up on all the important things as best I can without writing a novella.
The children's church as ICA is growing! We have been getting more and more children coming to join us. For a while, we were having new people every week. It is awesome to see God working in their lives. Three of them were baptized in June. God has been leading the church to move to a better location. The place where the church is currently located was once in a good area, but now the area is run down and hard to find. So we found a new building right in the middle of the international community. We are within walking distance of five Embassies. We are going to have to improvize something for ICA Kids until we can sell the old building. But maybe that will be sooner than later.
I have some very exciting news! I have been praying about where God was leading me after Korea, or if I was even supposed to continue with the work here. God has been blessing ICA Kids with growing numbers and growing interest in knowing God's Word. I could stay in Korea for a long time, if that were what God had in mind for me. But this past couple of weeks, it became clear that God was leading me in a new, exciting direction.
I have shared before my burden for people who are called by God to be missionaries but something keeps them from fulfilling it. That is why I led a small group of CBC grads here to take care of one of the biggest obstacles, student debt. I prayed that through Daughters of the Nations, more people would join in the effort to go to the harvest fields. Before I left Springfield, I had a meeting with Paul York and was sharing all of these dreams and burdens with him, and he told me about a man who was working on something like this. He gave me his email and told me contact him. I didn't contact him because I was leaving for Korea and didn't know what a missionary would say if a 24 year old kid contacted them to get involved in a ground breaking project for AGWM.
I am very close with the pastors of ICA Seoul, Dwayne and Gayle Turner. I broke my toe, and had to cancel my summer vacation plans, and instead spent the week with them in Seoul. Last Monday, a visitor arrived from the US. I was planning on spending the day with a group of English Teachers, but did not go. Instead I met the visitor, Alex McGregor, and over conversation realized that THIS WAS THE GUY that I had been told to contact almost a year and a half ago! I told him that I had talked to Bro. York about him, and he told me that Paul York had called him and told him that he should put me on his team. So we talked about what things they were working on, and the more I heard, the more my heart soared because it was exactly the same thing that God had spoken to me about two years ago.
So in March, 2010, I will be moving back to Western Maryland as a Missionary Associate intinerating. When my budget is raised, I will be working out of Springfield. I get to concentrate on getting people "From the Call to the Field." That is the name of the project.
I can't put into words the feeling I have inside that this is what everything else in my training has been leading up to. God has opened this door to me, and I know that He is going to continue to see me through the rest of the process.
I will miss Korea! I have started buying my "before I leave" items, like a Korean Bible. It leaves me slightly melancholy, but mostly excited to see what God is going to do!
Things are going great right now. I have a three day weekend coming up, and I think I am going to relax for a bit. I need some relaxing time!! I am also thinking about having a VBS during the summer vacation time, but that is still in the works, nothing solid yet. I am very excited because three of the kids from ICA Kids want to get baptized this summer!! That is amazing!!
School has been moving along with all the speed and ferocity of a lioness on the trail of an impala. It seems that every time I stop to take a breath, another week has passed. Many things have been happening, and there are OH SO MANY stories to be told.
The new kids in my class are really entertaining. I have one boy named Alex who came to be two months ago with a security handkerchief that he would furiously wipe his brow with anytime he was unaware of the answer to a question I was asking him. He was since stopped his need for this attachment, but has acquired some other, sometimes odd habits. In a series of notes from his mother that lead to me showing my American temper and stubbornness, which on this occasion were more than warranted, this little boy accused first me, and then my Korean teacher of letting another kid get a gun from his back pack and shoot him and the other kids. I was furious at this accusation, being a product of America's school shooting generation, I would never allow a kid to have a gun, let alone play real-life cowboy and Indian during study time. So I told my director, in a reasonably loud voice, that this child was not allowed to do anything but breathe until he admitted that he had lied.
Which he never has.
Finally, it was discovered that the accused child had made a gun with his finger during lunch time, and the other kid told him mom that he could feel real bullets coming out of the finger and hitting him.
So his mom refuses to make him apologize for the incident, and he cries all of the time because he thinks I don't like him. If he were ten, and this happened, I probably wouldn't like him, but because he is three, I have not held it against him. I have been trying to give the poor guy more attention because it must stink to have a mom like that. I think that him mother did him a great injustice by telling the school that her son was hallucinating. I know I wouldn't want that on my school record.
The church is in the middle of relocating to another building that is in better shape and in a better location. It seems that at this point, the kid's church will be held at a separate building a block away from where the adult church service is held. So parents will drop off the kids and go on to church. I think that this will be something to get used to, definitely, but I am know that God is giving wisdom to those who are involved in the planning. And perhaps we can even start having praise and worship in ICA Kids!! That would be great.
I get to go to a Children's Pastor's Convention in two weeks. I am so excited!! It is in Seoul, and is for Pastors of English children's congregations. It will be great to meet the other pastors in the area. They have a fellowship that connects once a week, but it is on Monday mornings while I am at work. Oh well. This will be a great day of workshops and ideas. Two weeks!!
Tomorrow and Tuesday I have no work because it is Children's Day in Korea. It is a national holiday where parents are strongly recommeded to spend time with their children. So any "fun" place is going to be CROWDED! I am staying home and enjoying some quietness and rest.
And probably a good book.
My heart is heavy yet soaring.
It is dark and yet hopeful.
It is bound by circumstances to pain, and yet it is free from unnecessary burdens.
It reminds me of the songs, written from a verse in the Bible
I am pressed but not crushed,
Persecuted, not abandoned,
Struck down, but not destroyed,
I am blessed beyond the curse
for his promises endure
that his joy is going to be my strength.
I have been blessed with a new classroom full of adorable three and four year olds. I instantly fell in love with them, and could not imagine teaching anyone but this great group of kids. It seems that God continually blesses me in this area.
ICA Kids is going great. We have started studying "A Case for Christ for Kids." It is a great study, and I am sure some of you have read the adult version. It is an incredible introduction to apologetic discussion. The church is getting a website started up, you can check it out at http://ica-seoul.com.
On a much lower note, one of my dear close friends from Bible College has chosen to walk away from God. She has joined the Mormon church, and my heart is broken beyond what I can put into words. Please join me in interceeding for her soul. Satan is a liar and a thief. There is one way to Heaven, and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Nothing else will do. Nothing.
Blessings today, in the midst of whatever you are facing. Know that God is strong, and can take your burden upon his back. God can do anything. Remember that.
Whew. I am so glad that it is Friday. This has been a week full of last minute Christmas concert prep. It is amazing how easily four year olds forget entire songs when you make them wear something shiny for the first time. Their costumes are adorable, but for some reason, they had to relearn how to sing while wearing miscellaneously colored Christmas costumes. Then, when they were used to the costumes and we conquered the next obsticle when we went to practice at the recital hall. They again forgot their words because there were so many things to look at. It is a pretty big hall, I have to admit. So I will have to see on Monday how they do with costumes AND the recital hall. The big combo...I hope it is okay. Today we talked about singing no matter what was going on around us. I walked around making funny faces and sticking out my tongue at them while they were singing. After they passed that test, I made them sing while I threw blocks at their toes. (Yeah. I know. But one of the other teachers said that he did it before and it worked.) So now they should be able to sing pretty well. I think that they are pretty good considering their age and that they are singing in a language they just started learning a few months ago. So here is the line up:
Cherry: Welcome to our Christmas Concert.
Joan: I hope you like all of our songs.
Song: I'll be home for Christmas (random, but I needed an easy space filler)
Fiona: Christmas is the day that Baby Jesus was born.
Alice: Baby Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor.
Song: Who do you call Wonderful Counselor?
Iris: Mary knew that God was strong.
Sunny: Jospeh knew that God could do anything.
Song: My God is so big.
Jay: Wisemen brought baby Jesus presents.
Joshua: The Wisemen wanted to meet baby Jesus.
Song: With a Star that Bright.
Danny: Shepards came to see baby Jesus.
Jeffrey: Everyone there knew Jesus was special.
Song: Mary, did you know?
Yes. I will try to get video footage. I will definately have a TON of pictures!! They are adorable! And my Kid's Church kids are going to be singing for the Christmas Eve service on Wednesday! They are an amazing group of kids, and there will be lots of pictures of them as well. But I don't think I will have pictures posted from that until I get home.
I coming home soon!!!!
Tonight was the Christmas Play at church. I posted pictures so that you can see!! Enjoy! There are also a couple pictures of my kids from Children's Church.
Today was the last day of our all school Christmas concert practices held in the school's gym. Soo...now is the time for the race to the finish line, also known as the Concert. I know that my kids are young and that no one is expecting them to be Einsteins, but I really want people to be impressed by them. They have worked very hard, despite being reluctant to part with their recreational time in order to sing. I just keep focusing on the fact that I will be on a plane in twelve days. I have five more days of regular classes, two more all school practices in the auditorium where the concert will be held, one Christmas Concert, two more days of Children's church, two more Saturday classes, and one Christmas Eve perfomance of Away in a Manger from my kids at church. There are also a couple Christmas parties and other fun things thrown in during that time.
And all the while I am delightfully watching the Korean Won rise in value. It has been a rough couple of months for those of us who desire to send money home. But it looks like that will all be in the past soon, unless something else negatively affects the economy. The Won has risen from 1,500 Won per dollar to 1,350 won per dollar in just four days. In case you were wondering, the lower the won amount figures out to be is better for exchanging to dollars. If it keeps going down, I am going to exchange my won early next week in order to get a fair amount of US money from my hard earned Won.
Tomorrow is the Christmas Dessert Theatre at church. I am quite excited to be attending the event as a photographer. The casting took place at the same time that I picked up my additional Saturday class, so I felt that it would be irresponisble to take on too many things at once. So now I get to watch....YAY!! One of my Kid's church peeps, Bryan (Mink Soo), is going to be in it, so I get to be there as the proud gloating Bible instructor. I am so proud of how much of a desire my kids have developed to study the Bible. It makes the heart happy.
God has continued to bless the Children's church with growth both in numbers and in depth. I am so excited to see what God has for us in 2009. Yes, my involvement in the church was a deciding factor on whether I would stay for another year. I am very excited to see what is ahead. Beyond the disgustingly cold weather, obviously.
On the positivie side, the eel restaurant has not been as busy as it was in the summer, so my nose has not been nearly as offended as it was a couple months ago. Grilled eel has to be neck in neck with rotting flesh for the award of most rancid smell.
Oh the stories there are to tell.
So there is a street corner that I cautiously cross now. I know. It is petty and silly, but I don't like it. There was a lady who wanted me to teach her English and I said no. The problem is that she owns the store that is on the corner of the place where I cross the street to get to my apartment. It is not a problem or anything, because it really isn't a big deal to jaywalk across a six lane road. Ten lanes stresses me a bit, but six is no problem. But today I decided to get over it because I knew she probably wasn't really upset with my anyway. So I am crossing the street, feeling all self fulfilled, when I see these two faces peering from behind the traffic light control boxes. And I honestly thought to myself...
"Is that the lady waiting to yell at me for not wanting to give her lessons?"
Yes. I know. Very mature. But the people did approach me, and they were not the owners. Of course. Silly me. They were reporters from a local magazine who were writing an article about foreigners living in Bundang (my town). So they took my name and asked me some general questions about what I liked and so on. Then they took my picture. Wow. So...let's review. Brandy is crossing the street like a big chicken. Korean reporters interview her for a magazine. She gets her picture taken. Oh yeah. One other small detail. (This will go back to the previously discussed maturity issue)
I think I might have made them think that I drink. I don't. I don't approve of it. I think it is a waste of time and money. If it is for entertainment, buy a coke and see a movie. At least your liver will last longer. But when they asked me what inconveniences I experience, all I could think of was "It is hard to get a taxi late at night." Which, to my defense, it is very hard. If you see a late movie or stay at a friend's apartment until late, it is almost impossible to get a taxi home because they are all going to Seoul. The unfortunate part is that foreigners, especially Americans and Canadians, have a horrible reputation in Korea for being big drinkers. So when I said that it was my only complaint, I think he assumed that I meant I have a hard time getting home after a long night of partying.
I am so not a party-er. I have never partied. I think it is...yes...a waste of time. And definitely not how I personally would spend an evening. So...if my director asks me why the parents of my students think I am an alcoholic, I will know why. So sad. That was definitely not a good intercultural communication.
Wanna Teach In Korea?
Then it is your lucky day! My school has an opening. So not only would you have the chance to live in another country, experience crazy cultural things, and have so much fun, you would also be able to see my shining face everyday!
(Okay, honestly, in the morning, there is not much shining, but that is besides the point.)
You need to have a tremendous love for children, love Jesus, and also have a bachelor's degree in anything from an accredited college. And you have to be from an English speaking country. Yes, the US is an English speaking country, just in case you are asking yourself.
Here are the stats:
29 hours of work a week (yes, really)
2.2 Million Won (right now, the economy stinks, so it is about 1,500 US
Rent and airfare are paid
You would be teaching preschool age kids everyday for four hours and elementary kids three times a week for three hours.
You don't have to be at work until 9:30.
This is a conversation/spoken English school, so a lot of what you do is spend time talking and playing with the kids so that they can learn now to use English, not just read or write it.
There are a couple English speaking churches, as well as a myriad of Korean churches if you prefer something more "of the people."
Transportation is readily available via subway, bus, train, and taxi.
It is very simple to send money from a Korean bank account to a US bank account.
There are many western restaurants in Korea. In Jeongja, where the school is located, you can easily go to McDonalds, Quiznos, KFC, Subway, and a ton of other places that serve food you will recognize. There is also Chinese, Thai, Mexican (yummy Mexican, FYI), Japanese, and German food available if you are willing to spend a half hour or so on a bus.
The apartments are not very big. Koreans are used to shoving many many people into a pretty small space. But for the most part, it encourages you to get out, spend time with other people, and see the beautiful side of Korea.
I have been in Korea for almost nine months now, and I think it is a great place. Of course, there are culture shock days, like when ajumas (grandmothers) shove you out of their way because you were in their walking path, but mostly, it is a very nice place. My school is excellent. I have talked to a lot of other teachers about their schools, and mine always ends up looking the best.
If you are interested, please let me know. This position is currently by referral only. If you know of someone who would be great, let me know. This is so much safer than going through a recruiting agency. This way you know exactly what you are getting and there are three CBC aluma working here to clear things up if you have any more questions.
Blessings from the God of endless possibilities!
Please send me a message if you are interested!
With Turkey day fast approaching, whispers of Christmas are in the air. It snowed for the first time this week, and all of my students (and I) were glued up against the window watching the feathery white flakes fall to the ground. There are few things in Korea that remind me of home, because it is such a big, busy city. But snow always reminds me of being a kid, making snowmen and sledding. It does not feel like the holidays here. There are no big Christmas sales, no Christmas commercials, no Christmas "stuff." And I will be the first to say that Christmas is not about the "stuff," but when you are so far from home, "stuff" is comforting. Today I found some comfort.
I know that holiday purists will be upset with me for what I am about to say, but I am not ashamed. Today I found a Christmas tree, and tons of decorations, and they were CHEAP!!!
So my halls have been decked. Now, it feels like Christmas. Not only that, the warm feelings that come from the memories of childhood and family are precious when you are so far away. I also started writing Christmas cards. I don't have very many addresses, so...if you want to send me your address, I would love you send you a Korean Christmas card!! The English on them is sometimes a little silly, but they are shiny and pretty. You can send it to me on the "dear brandy" page.
So...I have posted pictures of Jen and me being festive. Enjoy! As promised, I will be taking pictures of children's church tomorrow!
Nothing new to report since yesterday, besides that my class went on a field trip and that I added more pictures to the "Pictures" section. I have also realized that I have no pictures of kids church, so I will try to get some Sunday. We went to the transportation museum today, and one the way back, Danny, one of my kids, was showing me how to drive a race car. Thought I would share it. It is probably in the top ten cutest things I have ever seen.
Things have been so hectic recently! In class I am trying very hard to get my kids to say the words that are in the song and not ones that they made up and like to say. No. Harry ruya is not how you say hallelujah. Good times. I also can not believe now fast this month is going! It is almost the end of November! Crazy!
With that said, I can inform you that I am quite happy with my Christmas shopping so far. I found some pretty neat stuff. And I have resisted the urge to buy myself "presents" when I find something really unique. I will go back later, after Christmas, and indulge myself.
Today I explained to my kids that even though Jesus was the king of the whole world, he was born in a barn. This did not make them happy. They thought it was unfair. They kept saying "Why, teacher?" But now they know that baby Jesus is God's son and so on. It breaks my heart a little. I have invested so much of myself into these little minds, and it is my deepest prayer that I could give them not only a new vocabulary and discipline, but also a Savior. I kept having to choke back tears as they kept asking me questions about Jesus and the other people who came to visit Him. One little guy, who is going to be Joseph for our concert, is always very concerned about what Joseph is doing in all of the situations. Is Joseph a Shepard? Why not? Etc. It is pretty fun.
This week at church I am starting a Christmas unit during Kid's Church. I am praying a lot about it, because so many of the kids have been super curious about Jesus and what Christianity is all about. Please pray with me as I present this story to them. I want it to sink in and be real to them.
And...one more video for the road....this is what I see when I sit down during gym time. Yeah. It is better to just get up and play. It takes less energy to chase them around.
It has been a crazy day!
I suppose I should have seen it coming, though. I woke up an hour early this morning after going to be an hour late. When does that happen? Then I walk outside to go to work and am greeting literally at the door by a huge bulldozer who just happened to be tearing up the sidewalk I was planning on walking on. So I had to walk on the road. With the cars. I get to work and my director is asking me about Africa because we are studying interculturalism this month. So I launch into a monologue about how it is the best place on earth to live, despite the many wars and crimes on humanity.
My class is remarkably well, minus the fact that two of my girls randomly decided that today they were going to burst into tears for no reason at all about every twenty minutes just to make Brandy Teacher crazy. I stay after work to organize my room (clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere) because parents are already looking at the school to send their kids in March. And I don't want the new parents to see my mad organizational skills. I call it the pile method. Make a pile here, make a pile there.
So I get some BBQ with Amber and Jen after work. Jen is so sick that she had to leave dinner and go to the doctor. The meal was yummy. Just so ya know. But anyway, after we were done I go to meet up with Jen and she tells me that the crazy doctor wants her to get a $300 (yes. American dollars) test to see if she has an inner ear infection. They kept making her go back and talk to the doctor because she didn't want to get it done (understandably). He was trying to guilt her into it!! I can't believe the doctors here sometimes!! All they did was look in her ears and throat. No temperature check, no feeling the lymph nods, nothing! So after that fiasco, I decide to look in this camera store by the doctor's office. They speak-a no Englishee.
Sooo...after a very long, lively game of charades, I think (hope, really) that I am going to pick up my tripod on Saturday. I think. Maybe. We will see. I hope.
Then! On the way home from the camera debacle, I spot a huge group of people standing around this BBQ restaurant. Like maybe a hundred or so. So I stop to see what is going on. After all, I don't have cable. It was a fire! So I heard the approaching sirens and witnessed Korea's finest firemen jump off the red fire engine and run towards the now extinguished trash can fire. They proceeded to hose everything down just in case. I was trying to be discreet enough to take pictures. Then I saw a pretty big hole in the hose that was producing quite a fountain. So I had to take a picture of that as well.
And then….to top it all off….the side walk was still not there when I walked home, so I walked on the road again…with the cars.
I will never be at a loss for good stories after living in Korea.
Fireman hosing everything down
Oppsie! Hole in the hose!
Who needs sidewalks?
The Christmas concert is only a month and a half away. We started practicing last week in kindergarten. It is not as impressive to show you the final video if you did now know what we started with. So...enjoy listening to our first two songs. It may be cute, but hopefully by Christmas it will sound great!!
If we are ever going to reach the world, we need to refocus. In missions, we need to learn to:
and go get a cup of coffee.
Confused? Check out this video!
I just made a few changes to some of the pages. You will find a way to leave comments on this site under the "Dear Brandy" section. You will also find some new, highly addictive fun on the "just because" page. And there is also a cartoon located on the "need a laugh?" page. Enjoy! Let me know if you like it.
And I added a translator, so you can translate anything you want into Korean!! I thought that was fun. Blessings.
What a week! It has been full of days of observing great strides in progress in my class and receiving praise for my accomplishments mixed with my own fears that one day they are all going to come to class and forget everything that I have taught them. This combination can only breed exhaustion, so here I sit, exhausted. I would have never guess ten years ago that I would discover my deepest passion is teaching. I have always liked teaching, but it was not until this year that I experienced feeling like I was getting to put all of my talents, intelligence, and energy into something. And teaching English to three and four year olds require all of those things.
Our Christmas concert is in two months, more or less, and I have that time to teach my children the how, when, where, why, and who of Christmas. They already have a fuzzy image of Santa and snow, but they really have no idea about why we really celebrate. So today I set about explaining the incarnation that commenced the eternal reign of Christ on the forever throne of David to preschoolers. Yeah. Talk about having too much education for your own good. I was trying to think this through before hand, and I kept having to throw our words that were too big. But finally I narrowed it down.
1. The person who made the trees and birds and you and me is named God. (jaws drop, whispers of "God?" circulate)
2. God loves us so much. (Smiles)
3. God lives in a place called Heaven. (Teacher, in USA? No. Not USA, the sky)
4. God sent his son, Jesus to come save us. (??)
5. Jesus came to live here with us. (Ohh...Jesus)
6. Jesus was born as a baby. (Question mark faces)
7. Jesus was born on Christmas day. (Smiles)
Yeah. So they have no idea what I was trying to tell them. But if I tell them these seven things everyday, maybe in two months, they will understand a little bit of it. Luckily, because we pray for snack everyday, I can tell them that God is who we are talking to when we pray, and they seem to understand that.
If you have never explained the story of Christ to someone who has never heard it before, you really are missing out on something. It is amazing to see them process it and realize that maybe Jesus is kind of a big deal. So I taught my kids this song today called "Wonderful Counselor." It is a gospel sounding kids song about Christmas. It basically tells the story in three minutes. We also learned "My God is so big" which we are going to do on Christmas as well. More details to come. They are so cute singing "Glory, Hallelujah to the new born king" in the playroom.
And yes, there will be lots of pictures. There was an unfortunate incident involving my camera and a five year old, but I am going to take it to a camera doctor this weekend. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.
I have this annoying habit of getting lost on new websites. I normally begin by reading a recommended article, and then all of the "See also" articles, and on and on I go until I have spent over and hour researching some random subject. This is actually helpful if I am ever in a position to discuss current events, but occasionally, I find something that makes me feel like stopping what I am doing and pray that God's mercy and grace intervenes in the situation. Tonight I found myself fixated on BBC News with Google as my fact checker. (Yes, I am a nerd. This has been previously discussed.) As I was reading sense less odd pieces of news regarding mainly a freak accident with a cell phone and train toilet, I found a link that caught my eye.
This is when I discovered Dignitas of Switzerland.
I had never heard of this before, so I read on. I quickly learn that it is something altogether disgraceful. The people who lived in the same building as this "clinic" were complaining because of all of the body bags that are moved out everyday. Dignitas is an assisted suicide clinic that is situated in a studio apartment. As I was reading the stories of families who took part in this monstrosity, my heart was heavy. Suicide is always wrong. There is always a better way. Assisted suicide in even worse because it is more than one person agreeing that ones life is no longer worth living. I understand the feeling of wanting to die gracefully, because it was only a couple of years ago that I was in the painful process of dying. At the same time, everyday that we can make a difference in someone else's life, or grow closer to our Creator is worth any amount of suffering we may have to endure.
So being full of indignation about this issue, I found a webpage that was titled "How to Contact Dignitas." This is when the tears came. The hopelessness that finds its home in the soul that was created to fellowship with the Almighty has overtaken so many people around us to the point of despair. Here are some snipets of the comments I read...I will be tasteful. I have kept the grammar and spelling mistakes as I found them.
"Many thanks for contact details for Dignitas - was searching for them and dfound your “blog”. Very helpful, as we are oldish, and trying to plan our future."
"Ending ones life should be a personnal decision without any government interference."
"One day, I hope, we can evolve and mature enough to leave behind all the pitiful nonsense of religion and get to grips with the fact that life is what we experience now, between the womb and the tomb. We owe it to one another to make it a positive experience. Projections of an “afterlife” are just excuses for not dealing with things."
"Even if there was a God, which there isn’t, it is so arrogant to claim to speak for him and to know his alleged purpose.
Please leave God out of human affairs and confine him to his kennel in the sky."
Pray, my friends. We are only given so many days to live and commune with the Spirit of God. We are only given a few days to reach the lost. We are only given a few days to change the world. Let us be conscious of what is around us and may it break our hearts for those who God loves just as much as He loves you.
Today my class went on a field trip to pick up leaves. It was so much fun! We had a leaf battle between the two classes and jumped in a "leaf mountain" as the kids called it. I love watching the simple joy of childhood wonder on the face of a four year old.
I love the fall. The weather is amazing. My only complaint is that it is dark when I finish teaching on M-W-F. But it is a fair trade for days that do not make your skin feel like it is melting.
This week at school is a very quick one. Today I went on a field trip, tomorrow, I carve a pumpkin, Thursday I have a birthday party and my run-through for the Halloween activity, and Friday is an all day party. Sooo...not much work being done on my end. Just get the camera ready and have a good time.
I added some new pictures and also a forum under the "dear brandy" section. I am not sure if I am going to keep it. It is a new feature and I thought I would try it out. If no one uses it, I will probably delete it, or else I would simply be talking to myself. And someone very wise told me not to get caught talking to myself in front of other people ;)
Today I had an entire conversation in Korean with a lady at the gym. It was not very complex, but I communicated!! I was so excited!! She actually knew what I was saying!! Score!
God's faithfulness is astounding. Amidst whatever is going on in the world, God is faithful. Praise God.
This footprint is on the outside of my apartment window, six floors from the ground. Go figure!
Tonight I find myself wondering about why it is that a notable number of Christians (yes, I am generalizing, so if it does not apply, my apologies), find it so hard to have self confidence. It is easy to spot co-dependent relationships in the church. I always feel like I have to be on guard around Christians because, due to their lack of confidence, any "realness" I may display is considered an instant weakness and express train to backsliding.
(I am not speaking of a specific situation in my life, this thought was simply spurred on by a conversation I had this evening.)
When I spend time with my friends from home, who some people would consider "worldly," I feel more at ease. If I say something like "it is so hard to deal with X situation and Y situation," they instantly come back with an "I understand, let me tell you what is going on with me!" But say something like that while hanging out with a group of Christians, not only is it awkward to discuss personal things, the fact alone that it is being discussed means that you obviously are not "in a right place." And no doubt your lack of spirituality will come up in a conversation while you are absent.
My question is...isn't this backwards?
The Bible has a great deal to say about confidence. It is proclaimed with great confidence that "I KNOW who I have believed in and am PERSUADED that he IS ABLE to keep that which I committed to him against that day."
We are told that we can CONFIDENTLY approach the throne of grace.
What about...for I am CONVINCED that neither death nor life....will ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
Today at Pastor's house, our group was talking about the high number of suicides that occur in Korea. There is a boat that goes up and down the Han River to pick up the dead bodies of those who jump in daily. It is sad. The cure for their hopelessness is only found in Christ. But when those who possess the hope in themselves do not have the confidence to tell them, then the plan of God for the evangelism of the world is lost.
It ceases to be effective.
The example we give everyday, with the things we do or do not do, will make obvious our level of confidence. If we lead with a bold example of what is wrong and right, our confidence in our Savior will shine. If we are teetering on not wanting to surrender things to God because we are not sure of Him, then, our lack of confidence is also obvious.
Not only to other Christians, to everyone who watches. And we are watched.
Oh that the words of the Holy Scripture would burn in my mind, that I would be even more confident in my Savior. That I would be confident in His redeeming power. That I would be confident that His sacrifice offers hope to everyone. That I would be able to say that I KNOW WHO I HAVE BELIEVED IN, and (because I know Him) am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day. How much change would I see if I had that confidence...
...and you did too?
I just bought my plane ticket!! The details are printing out as I type. Of course, I am officially won-less (broke) until after Christmas, but it will be worth it!
Now...back to making the lists...
It is 12:15 am on Friday morning, and I can't sleep because I am so excited. I just found out today that I will be going home for Christmas. I didn't think that I would get to go home until the end of February, so this is a bit sooner than I had thought!! I only have two months to get ready! Which sounds bizarre, but I need to make lists, plan, and have things worked out. People to see who I won't see for another year, places to go that I can't go for another year. I need to hit the ground running and at the same time enjoy down time with my family. I need to make lists. Here is a list of lists that I need to make:
1. Fast Food to be eaten.
2. Clothes to buy.
3. Home cooked meals to devour.
4. School supplies to purchase.
5. Teacher stores to visit.
6. People to see.
7. People to hang out with.
8. Supplies to bring back to Korea (non school).
That is a good start!
I still have two months of classes to teach before this endeavor, but I think that the time will probably fly by. Soo....to those of you who are situated in Maryland....
SEE YA SOON!!!
Today was my third day at the Korean gym. It is a unique experience, let me tell you. There are the typical machines with a few exceptions. Let me introduce you. First of all, there is the horse. It is a mechanical bull-like machine on which you sit and ride. That is all. Second, there is the "blubber machine." It reminds me of Three Stooges episodes where they would put the belt around their waist and let the machine shake you to death. Last, but not least, is the twist and shout machine, where you sit or stand, depending on your preference, and hold onto a bar while, well, twisting. You twist and twist until you are a pretzel.
It is all very interesting.
Other than that, life is grand. I have been challenging myself lately to be excellent at everything that I do. To not settle for good enough, or almost. I know that if I apply myself (yes, Amanda, apply myself), that I can do most things quite well. I love teaching more and more everyday. I feel very much like it is my niche. I recently started teaching a US History class to my 7 year olds, and they love it! I designed a whole curriculum to make the stories of history out to be like the scenes in a movie. It is called "Behind the Scenes: The Making of the United States of America." My kids think it is the coolest thing ever. Yea. Good times.
At church I have a young guy with an unsatisfiable appetite for the Bible. He has never heard the stories before, and he wants to know all of them...NOW! It is so easy to teach when they are dying to know how things turn out. I told his the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den, and he was so sad when he realized that Daniel had to die because he prayed to God regardless of the King's law. But wait.....God saves him?? What?? Wow!! How did he do that? The lions didn't touch him? How? Wow. God really protects us, doesn't he?
Yeah. I am blessed.
Here are a couple videos of when I was trying to get home from Insadong today. There was a ton of traffic, so we decided to take advantage of the camera. Enjoy a little silliness.