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April 2007

March 2007

Out of Country

152-5209_img.JPGJust a note to let you know that I will be offline, unavailable and out of country for the next four days.  It is Spring Break and we have packed our bags and are off on an excursion.  We are climbing aboard the KTX Bullet Train and heading south to Busan, South Korea.  We plan to sightsee in Busan for two days and then board a ferry and cross the ocean over to Japan.  We will be spending two days and nights sightseeing around Fukuoka, Japan.  We are excited and a little nervous as we don't know any Japanese except "ahso," "kamakazee," and "samauri."  Yipes.

Stay tuned for pictures and play by play later in the week

BBQ Gone Bad–Image Header

I suspect that you have noticed that I have been fooling around with my blog layout.  I like this presentation option because it accentuates the  beauty of the roasting squid.

 In a previous comment Chris asked two questions about the cooked squid picture at the top of my blog--here are my answers:

  1. No, I haven't added these morsels to my personal menu.  The "BBQ gone bad" that sits sizzling at the top of my blog is a common sight and a very popular "snack food" at the rest stops along the freeways in South Korea.   I do plan on trying one of these before my time here in S. Korea is over.  I am not there yet--even though they look good, their odor is pungent.

  2. Symbolism--on a more serious note, yes, I suppose there is an aspect of symbolism in the fact that I have this "other worldly" picture serving as the visual cue to my "ramblings." Living and working here in South Korea is wonderful and it is wacky. In many ways my experience here is much like the way I see the roasting squid:

  • I took the picture and I still look at it in disbelief--and in that same sense of incredulity I find myself here in South Korea.  I never imagined that I would be living, working and ministering in such an inconceivably different kind of place--the culture, the people, the languge, the customs, the city life, the immense numbers of people, the different foods and the unique working conditions.

  • The roasting squid is unique and my time here in S. Korea is unique and I am thankful for the blessing of being in this place.  However, the squid is also roasting over the fire and honestly I feel that I am experiencing a bit of the fire here in S. Korea.  God has me out of my comfort zone, away from the distractions of "home" and in a place where His "consuming fire" can begin to engulf my heart and life.  As I am living the "adventure" of South Korea with my family I feel that my heart is spending time in the wilderness with God.  It is a journey where I am facing myself, my fears, my doubts and I am learning about truly entrusting my life completely unto Jesus Christ.  It is an unexpected journey that is turning out to be the grandest "adventure" of all.

Just as the fire transforms those slimy squid into traveling snacks for weary travelers maybe God's fire in my life is preparing me to be broken bread--sustenance, strength and help to hungry souls as they journey with and into Jesus. 


This afternoon I went for a walk around the campus and ended up sitting in the sun and talking for nearly an hour with a student named Sasha.  He is ethnically Korean but he was born and raised in Russia—(Sakhalinskaya) an area Northeast of China.  Sasha’s grandparents were shipped out of Korea by the Japanese to go to a Japanese occupied portion of Russia and to work as hard laborers in coal mines, rock quarries and the like.  When Japan’s efforts in WW 2 began to wane the Japanese pulled out of that area of Russia and they left all of the Korean “slaves” in Russia to fend for themselves. It is from this group of “displaced” Koreans that Sasha’s life and heritage come.

Sasha is an amazing young man—he does not speak Korean but is fluent in both Russian and English, he is incredibly intelligent and amazingly gifted in music (plays guitar and bass).  One evening last week I showed up at his dormitory with my guitar in hand and we sat, played and talked of music, life, and God.  I let him use my guitar.  He is a great player yet his guitar is warped and barely holds its tune. My guitar is so nice it makes even me sound good.  He loved playing my guitar. 

Sasha is a senior this year and has been at TCIS for the past four years, living as a boarding student and only seeing his parents every summer break.  Sasha’s family owns and runs a small store in their rural Russian town.  Sasha ended up attending TCIS because his parents had heard from some of their friends about a good International School in South Korea and they wanted him to have an education that would challenge him both academically and creatively and expand his horizons beyond the rather limiting Russian environment.

Sasha and his family are not Christians.  Sasha’s faith in Christ is coming slowly and painfully—like all new life does.  Sasha is a seeker and he is being sought by God.  The most recent days have found Sasha dealing with some rather serious waves of depression.  Living without parents during the formative high school years has taken its toll on his young life. Sasha’s Korean ethnicity and Russian cultural background have left him in the awkward place of being a foreigner in a place that he should be calling home. 

As we leaned against a fence and the spring sun warmed our backs, Sasha shared with me his concern of returning back to Russia.  He said the Russian people are so angry—they have nothing to look forward to and nothing to live for.  Sasha said that here in South Korea people have money and they have God and it seems to him that those are two things that help people to be happy.  He said in Russia people are poor and they are Godless—full of hate and anger and hopelessness.

I asked Sasha about the church in Russia and he laughed.  He stated that all they have in Russia is the Orthodox Church and people only feel angry and frustrated when they think about the church—much the same way they feel about the mention of democracy or capitalism.

No wonder Sasha’s faith in Christ is coming so slowly.

As we strolled along the sidewalk and walked up the stairs back into the main building I was feeling the weight of Sasha’s words.  My mind went to John 1:14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” 

I shared this scripture with Sasha and told him that the Word was God’s son, Jesus Christ, sent to us in human flesh.  I reminded him that Jesus Christ was the One who said “blessed are the poor”—He was the One who touched the lepers, healed the blind, and He is the One who forgives the sinner and brings joy to hearts of the broken hearted. 

I explained that God and His joy are not found in the Orthodox Church or in Capitalism, or in money or in any other concept or ideology—God can only really be seen in Jesus Christ.  I told Sasha that what I need and what he needs and what the people in Russia and in South Korea need is Jesus.

As the bell rang and I headed toward my office and Sasha headed down the hall to his next class I heard him say, “Yes, that is what we need—see ya later Mr. Roberts.”

Please pray for Sasha.


The title of this blog--Ryan's Ramblings--is what it is.  This is a blog of my thoughts, observations, comments and questions regarding anything that my mind is dwelling upon. 

I maintain another blog where I am detailing the adventures of my famly as we are living and working in South Korea.  That blog is for friends, family and anyone that might be remotely interested in our lives and activities.  It is a place that I would readily welcome an interested visitor--to sit back, relax, take a look through our photo albums, sip a cup of tea and listen to our stories.

This blog is not that type of place.  This is a blog that is not searchable via Google or Yahoo, it can only be accessed by users who know the exact web address.  This is a blog that I will share with only a select group of people.  This is a group of people that I feel that I can trust with my writings, my thoughts and my reflections--who will not be too taken back at any of my opinions, obscure thinking or strong feelings--and who will be honest enough to engage with me at certain times and on certain issues. 

The act of writing is a very formational process for me.  I want to use this space to give shape and definition to some of my thoughts and feelings and I want to share this process with others--formation is an interactive process--please join in with me. 

 As a disclaimer, I must say that I am a Christian--a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Due to the fact that Jesus Christ is at the center of my life there is a high likelihood that many of my postings here will have some connection or correlation with my journey with Jesus.  This is a place that I will share some of my thoughts of God, my questions, my doubts, my wrestlings, my joys, and my sorrows.  This is a place where I may tangle up my theology and fall flat on my face and it also might be the place where I sort out an issue and see through a challenge.

 I don't promise entertainment, insight, or interest...this is just a place where I can roam, wander, ....ramble. 

Webster says rambling is to 

1.  "to move aimlessly from place to place." 

2.  "to explore idly." 

3. "to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering fashion."

.......Ryan's Ramblings.