Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Retreat to a Mountain

Last week was tough. I seemed to be frustrated with my students in every class, I was getting annoyed with my friends. I had issues with what my preacher said in his semon. I just wasn't happy. Something was off. I decided to take a moment and figure out why things were the way they were. I quickly realized it was my relationship with the Lord that was off and it's like a domino effect. I recalled praying a month or so ago that I would hunger for the Lord, that I would starve without him. And at that moment I was able to really pinpoint my issue. I was starving. My spiritual body was shutting down. I was past the hunger pains and really getting sick. Once I knew what the problem was I was bound and determined to fix it. But I knew consistant quiet times, though they are the meals that sustain life, would not be enough. I needed a feast, I needed to retreat and and get alone with the Lord. Sometimes it's shaming to share my shortcomings in my relationship with God, but I know that He responds and derseves the recognition and credit for bringing me back to life. My plan was to go to the orphanage Saturday morning and then spend the rest of the day alone. I wanted to get into nature because I always feel closer to the Lord and I can see him better almost. So through some circumstances beyond my control I wasn't able to go Saturday, plus it rained so it wouldn't have worked out anyway. Sunday however, I was adament about making this happen. So I woke up and headed out to the mountain. I love hiking and it was my first chance to go since I've been here and the leaves are changing and so I was so excited to get to be a part of it. I climbed a pretty good ways up a mountain called Bukhansan that's on the North side of the city, found a rock and sat down. I love journaling my prayers because it keeps me focused and I get to look back and see where I've come and what the Lord has done. I've been journaling on a regular basis for about 7 years now and it has proved beneficial. As I was praying the Lord and I were talking different things going on in my life and then when I moved on to a particular personal topic I looked up and saw a pinecone. Now normally this wouldn't mean much but I had told a friend the day before how I miss pinecones, we don't get them much in the city. And so when I saw it I knew it was the Lord telling me He loves me. I began to cry and just allowed him to remind me that He is the lover of my soul and needless to say I've been refilled.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Amazing Race or LOST?

Here is a story of my newest adventure... Christian and I have some college friends that live in a city called Daejeon and this past weekend we had a long weekend so we decided to pay them a visit. We planned to leave Friday morning and get there around 12:30 in the afternoon. So we head to a station called Yongsan. Christian and I frequent Yongsan because it's where the movie theater is. Anyway we get there and go to the ticket counter and we're like, hey we want to go to Daejeon and they are like, you are at the wrong station, you have to go to Seoul Station. Thankfully we were on the same subway line as Seoul Station so we just had to hop back on the subway and go a few more stops. We get to Seoul Station and get our tickets and we are set to leave at 10:35. We head towards McDonalds for some quality breakfast and wait about 20 minutes for the train. When it arrives we make our way to the correct car and hop on. We take our seats and are on our way. It is supposed to take 2 hours to get there and so we proceed to nap and read the newspaper and enjoy the general splendor of the countryside. About 2 hours and 15 minutes later a woman approached us and told us we are in her seat. I checked my ticket and we were in fact in the right seat, however her ticket was right as well. So in that moment Christian and I realized that we had missed our stop. Being the train rookies that we were we naturally assumed that our stop was the last stop, we were in fact wrong. So we get up and try not to panic and decide that we will just get off at the next one and go back. We didn't know how many stops back it was so Christian decided to ask a young man if he spoke English. He said he spoke a little and we told him our situation and he said he would help us. At the next stop, Christian, new helper friend and I get off the train and proceed to the ticket counter. He spends about 5 minutes talking to the ticket man and he allows us to go back the other way without having to pay, which was nice. So we start back towards the tracks and he runs up to us and says, no no, the train doesn't leave for another hour. So here we are in some random tiny town in South Korea with nothing to do and no where to go. Now it's around 1pm and the McDonalds is wearing off, so we decide to venture out and find something to eat knowing full well we aren't gonna find anything remotely American. Also, if you know me at all you know that I over pack. So, here I am trekking through Korea with all kinds of bright pink and green baggage, looking quite adorable might I add, but still uncomfortable from the weight of my luggage on my arm. After a nice walk, but no luck on food we headed back to the train station. Eventually we got back on the train went 2 stops back and successfully made it to Daejeon. :-)

Please be praying for me. Lately I've been arrogant. I've acted and thought that because I have majored in Cross-Cultural Studies and have been trained to respect and appreciate other cultures I have somehow earned the right to a holier than thou attitude. I've allowed my knowledge to be used to judge others that may not know how to properly behave towards a host culture. Instead of getting annoyed with or looking down on people that don't have the same education I have regarding the matter, I need to be gentle and patient and realize I've been blessed by the Lord with the wisdom I have and that I still have much to learn myself. I've been overseas for three months, I'm far from being an expert and I need to respond with kindness and understanding when other people are simply acting the only way they know how to act. And if I humble myself and get out of the way perhaps, if the Lord wills, I may be able to teach them something and more importantly be able to learn something from those that I so pridefully considered out of touch with the ways of living cross-culturally. Humility is a hard thing to ask for, but so amazing when it is received.