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August 2007

Daejeon Sunset

Below is a short devotional thought that came across my email today.  Most days I just peruse them2007_0824aug20070010_3 and delete them.  This one caught my touched a sensitive spot in my heart. 

I want to trust.  I want to love.

Love and the Pain of Leaving

By Henri Nouwen

Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain.   The greatest pain comes  from leaving.   
When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies ... the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.

Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will
never experience the joy of loving.  And love is stronger
than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than
despair.  We have to trust that the risk of loving is always
worth taking.

....and live everyday.

2007_0816aug20070023_3 "Shall We Dance Together?  I want to enjoy things and have fun and live every day."

Some of the gift bags, shirts and signs here in South Korea have some very humorous quips and quotes on them.  Here is a picture of a gift bag that I received for my birthday a couple of days ago.  I think the message on the bag is cute and.....profound.2007_0816aug20070011

Here is a funny picture of Mrs. Jung, our high school secretary--she was trying to hold the cake up and stay out of the picture--funny lady and a real sweetheart.  The other picture on this post is a small group of people in the high school office that helped me celebrate my birthday.  From left to right is Ron (my principal), Sheila and Tom (our pastor and his wife), Mike (Student Life Minister) and Mrs. Jung (high school secretary).   It was my privilege to "...enjoy things and have fun...." with these precious people.

2007_0816aug20070008 As I read the world headlines, and think about how quickly 41 years of life have passed by I am reminded that I am but "a vapor," here for a time and then gone from this earth.  What am I doing with my time?  My minutes?  I pray that I am being careful to " every day."

I want to savor the moments and " every day" for Jesus.  In life there are days of dancing but the news headlines and our own lives tell us that there are also days of sorrow and lament.  Even in those days I pray that I may live every day holding tightly to Jesus.  For now, I will laugh with those who laugh and also weep with those who weep--for there is a time for both.

But will all pass away to something so much greater and we will hear Jesus say.............  "Shall We Dance Together?"

Fishing Around

2007_0805july20070065 Welcome to my new blog home!

I have been wanting to move my blog from Wordpress to Typepad for some time now because I am more familiar with Typepad and thus can make entries more quickly and creatively. 

I was fishing around in the Typepad site and found a newly added feature where I could export my entire Wordpress blog into a Typepad account with little or no problem.  This was what I was waiting for, so here I am, all set up in a new blog home.

This Typepad site is much easier for me to use than the Wordpress site, so now I have no excuses.....

I guess I had better get to blogging.

(The picture above is a fish in a tank at a restaurant that we ate at a couple of weeks ago.  He seems to be getting a big head over the fact that he is the only fish in the place that isn't getting eaten.)

Vision Up!–Korea Nazarene University

159-5980_imgcroppedshrunk.jpgOn Saturday I experienced a real privilege and treat. I was one of three speakers at the "Vision Up!" teen leadership conference at Korea Nazarene University. 500+ Korean teens and youth leaders were present at the event and I was able to share my testimony and the Word of God with them and challenge them to live their lives for Jesus Christ.

Here is how it happened and what happened.....

Last June, George Zickefoose and I went to Korea Nazarene University (KNU) to visit an NNU student that was attending a conference at the university. George had previously met the president of KNU and while we were visiting the university George introduced me to Dr. Im, the president of KNU. In the course of meeting the KNU president, my good friend George introduced me as not only an administrator at the Taejon Christian International School but also as an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. We had a nice visit with Dr. Im and I was very impressed with the campus of Korea Nazarene University in Cheonan, South Korea.

This summer while I was in the USA I received an email from Dr. Im, the KNU president, asking me if I would be available to participate in a leadership conference in August. I had very few details about the event but was thankful for the opportunity and said, yes, I would be willing to participate.

This past week I received a fax from Korea Nazarene University. It was written in Korean and when translated it stated that I was one of three main speakers at the "Vision Up" youth leadership conference and I had a one hour slot to speak to the audience. Yipes.

Saturday, my family and I, and my good friend George (thanks again for going with me George) all boarded the KTX bullet train for Cheonan, South Korea. After a quick taxi ride from the train station to the university we found ourselves sitting in President Im's office. In the office I met Dr. Patch, the former president of KNU, Dr. Hong the chaplain of KNU, and the district superintendent of the local Nazarene churches. We all talked through the day's schedule, prayed and headed for the university chapel.

The place was FILLED with students and youth leaders. The visiting worship band from the Seoul Onnuri Church was wonderful. The place was electric with worship and excitement. Again, it was a real privilege for me to be able to speak up for Christ in that context and place. Dr. Im served as my interpreter and it was amazing to watch him convey my words to the Korean listeners. Dr. Im was a real joy to be around. He took wonderful care of me and my family throughout the day and he had some fun with the difference in our heights. During my introduction he made me stand two steps below him so that he could be taller than me. :) The students all got a real kick out of that.

What an adventure and privilege it was for me to share at the "Vision Up" teen conference. A wise man once told me that God doesn't want or need our ability--He wants our availability. (Thanks Mr. Thompson.)

I pray that I will always be available for God......

Illusion in 3-D

illusion:  perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature—Merriam Webster On-line Dictionary

I am still thinking along the lines of illusion—what is my illusion of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

This morning, Sister Mary Cora, from a nearby Catholic Church, visited our campus and shared about a ministry that they have to migrant workers living in the city and surrounding area of Daejeon, South Korea.  The migrant workers are people from Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand.  Theses workers live and work on the outskirts of the city and they labor primarily in the agricultural sector.  Sister Mary Cora stated that the work of the migrant laborers falls under the “3-D” classification.  

“3-D” stand for the 3-D’s of: 

Dangerous, Difficult and Dirty.

In other words they do the work that no one else wants to do.  The migrant workers here in South Korea are very poor and very lonely people.  Many of them are living in the country illegally as their visas have long since expired. They don’t want to leave South Korea because the combination of work, friends and familiarity has turned this foreign country into what they call home.

As I consider Sister Mary Cora’s description of the Daejeon migrant workers and their “3-D” classification I find myself thinking about Jesus and about being a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I can’t help but think that the Daejeon migrant workers are the types of people that top Jesus’ list as the “least of these” in Matthew 25 and the “blessed” in Matthew 5. 

I see the “3-D’s” of Dangerous, Difficult and Dirty as accurate descriptors of Jesus’ call to His disciples in Matthew 10.  His words are jarring as He calls them to go out into a world as aliens and strangers and do the work that no one else wants to do—invite the lost and lonely to come home.

I am still thinking along the lines of illusion……