Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Charlie Brown Christmas

In keeping with tradition I watched Charlie Brown Christmas last week. It is for me as I'm sure it is for many a nostalgic emblem of childhood. Typically when I watch this movie I feel a sense of comfort when Linus gives his famed speech about the incarnation. My heart smiles and there is a peace that accompanies his voice when telling the story of the birth of Christ. This year however, things were a little different. I found myself relating much more to Charlie Brown. I'd recognized earlier in the season that I wasn't really excited about Christmas this year. I couldn't decide if it was because it was another holiday spent away from family or if the cause was something deeper. At church the sermons have been going through the advent season and we've been looking at Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. I expected with the talk of Christmas, the decorations, the cooler weather and the carols I would quickly be swept up in the Christmas spirit, but to my dismay it never came. When I watched Charlie Brown I realized that I needed to be reminded, just like he did, that Christ is Christmas. I was still unsure about the cause of my lack of enthusiasm. For Charlie it was that Christmas was commercialized and the focus was on gifts but after some contemplation I discovered that I had not replaced the meaning of Christmas with anything, I just failed to appreciate it. My lack of zeal was because I was looking inward. I was attempting to make the "things of Christmas" be Christmas. I wanted it to be an emotional experience. It's bothersome to me that even during all of the choir rehearsals when I repeatedly sang the chorus, "Jesus is the reason for the season" I still didn't allow that truth to sink in. But I'm humbled and grateful that the Lord found a way to draw my heart back, to gently remind me of the sacrificial love He showed me by becoming man and allowing me to have an intimate relationship with my Creator.

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."
~Isaiah 9:6-7

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busan Beach

Notice that NO ONE is wearing a swimsuit.

Umbrellas a plenty.

It was like you were in a cave when sitting under the umbrellas.

Once again, everyone is fully clothed.

Heidi is in the middle.

Me and Heidi in our room before heading to the beach.

Teddy and Samantha at a burger place we found near the beach.

All three girls in a Taxi on our way back to the hotel after singing our hearts out at Korean Karaoke!

Last week I had Thursday and Friday off of work so me and three friends went to the beach at Busan which is a city on the southeastern coast of Korea. We took the slow train from Seoul to Busan and it took a little over 4 hours. It was a nice ride and I got to see a lot of the country. When we got to the hotel we checked in on the 3rd floor and then went to our room on the 10th floor. We decided to venture out and find some food. We wandered around a little and had dinner then went to the beach in the evening. It was funny because it was so crowded. There were people everywhere and it was pretty late. At one point we were in the bathroom at a hotel and I came out of the stall and said to my friend Samantha, "Hey look, there is hand sanitizer!" Then I proceeded to stick my hand under the dispenser and press the button. To my surprise a green liquid squirted into my hand. Just as I began to smell it's minty odor Samantha said, "Um, Kristin, I think that's mouthwash." We both busted out laughing because it was indeed mouthwash and there were little cups beside the dispenser that I hadn't noticed until it was too late. So I washed my hands and we were on our way. When we went back to the hotel we hit the button for the 10th floor to go straight to our rooms. We were perplexed when we were the only ones in the elevator and we still stopped on the 3rd floor. We quickly noticed that no matter if we were going up or down, the elevator would always stop on the 3rd floor so it became the running joke that we should think of reasons to stop on the 3rd floor when leaving or returning to the hotel.

The next day we went to Haeundae Beach. It's the most popular beach in Busan and today was no different. Once we got there all we could see was a sea of blue, white and orange umbrellas. Koreans typically don't like their skin to be exposed to the sun and so they had umbrellas as far as the eye could see in both directions that you could rent for about $5. They also offered yellow tubes to rent for $3 to float on in the ocean. I came prepared with my own tube, so I inflated it and we were on our way. At this point in the trip Teddy, his wife Samantha and I were the only ones there, Heidi joined us late that evening. Teddy opted to read and so Samantha and I went for a swim. We couldn't see the coastline until we got past all the rows of umbrellas. When we finally saw the water we were quite shocked at what we found. There were lifeguards in the water and they had sectioned off the places where people were allowed to swim. You were only allowed to swim between where the lifeguards stood and you couldn't go out very deep. There was never a point that I couldn't stand flat-footed. It was kind of silly. I never did figure out why there were restrictions on where we could swim, but I just figured because the surf was rough they wanted to be able to keep everyone in a sectioned area so it would be easier to watch them. Well being the expert swimmer that I am I wanted to go out deep past the breaking point of the waves and just float on the raft, well I learned very quickly that this was not permitted. Let's just say the lifeguards had whistles and weren't afraid to use them.

The next day we decided to go to a less crowded beach. It also had the sea of umbrellas and familiar yellow tubes. The three girls braved the freezing cold water and set out to relax on our tubes. This beach was in a cove and had a bridge going across the two sides of the cove that the beach looked out over. Because of this the waves were much more mild and there were no lifeguards telling us where to swim. However there were men on jet skis and boats that prevented us from swimming out too far. So we lazily let the current drift us down the coast and then we would swim back. During one of our treks back up the beach after floating down some boys greeted us in English. They wanted to practice their English and we were obliged to chat with them. One boy asked my name and I asked his. Then I asked how old he was and he said 18 which is American age 16 and I told him that I'm Korean age 28. We chatted with them for a little while why they showed off by wrestling around and splashing each other. It was pretty funny.

The next couple days were pretty uneventful. Teddy and Samantha left Sunday morning but Heidi and I wanted to hang out at the beach a little longer so we planned on leaving Sunday evening. After hanging at the beach and going to see a movie we made our way to the train station. Heidi is off the rest of this week so she agreed to come hang out with me in Daejeon on Monday. We go to the ticket kiosks and attempt to purchase tickets on the train. As we were checking prices for the fast train verses the slow train we discovered that the fast train was completely sold out for the rest of the night and that the slow train offered standing room only. Because I had to work on Monday and it was now around 9pm on Sunday, we had no choice but to take the 11pm train to Daejeon for standing room only. It ended up being a 3 and a half hour train ride. We decided to go straight to the dining car when we got on because they often have stools you can sit on. Well not surprisingly everyone without a seat had the same idea. So we ended up sitting on the floor for the entire ride while people were constantly walking passed us, tripping over us, and crowding around us. To make matters worse there were karaoke rooms behind us that people rented so that they could have a seat and they sang loudly in their typical Korean vibrato. By the time we got home around 3am we were ready to crash.

Overall the trip was amazing. And I for one would love to visit Busan again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When a Stranger Buys you Ice Cream

This is over the storm drain. LOL. Daejeon is my city.
A pretty picnic spot in the park.

Giant pink flower.

This is my street!

Since visiting the States last month I've been a little low on cash; so in an attempt to save some money I haven't been going to Seoul. Usually this idea depresses me because Seoul was my first love of Korea. There are so many things I miss about living there and my attitude always seems to improve when visiting. In addition to me not going to Seoul this weekend the monsoon decided to live up to it's name. This seemed to be the perfect Saturday to sit around the apartment and watch tv and maybe get some cleaning done. However, when I woke up this morning I had the urge to just get out. So I opted to see a movie alone. I checked the times online, got ready, grabbed my rain boots and umbrella and headed to out to face the dreary day. In Korean movie theaters you choose your seat when buying a ticket. It's funny that they are assigned and Koreans seem to be pretty adamant about sitting in the seat they have chosen. Well I wanted to be able to spread out a little and not sit beside anyone so I choose a seat on a row that no one else was sitting on. It was the 5th row so I figured I would be good because the back of the theater usually fills up first. As the movie started a couple came in and sat down right next to me. I debated moving over one seat to continue in my efforts to spread out, but I decided I didn't want to offend the man so I stayed put. Well it's a good thing I did because not 5 minutes later another couple came and sat down on the other side of me. It really kind of annoyed me and for a few minutes I wished I was back in America where people would always leave an empty seat between themselves and you; especially on a row that is completely vacant. After finishing the movie I decided to take a walk in an attempt to improve my attitude. Well it was around 6:00 and I began to get hungry. I headed towards McDonald's which was not a first choice but I wanted something quick and inexpensive. While I was eating I saw multiple families come in and purchase an ice cream cone. Sometimes it was regular and sometimes it was dipped in chocolate. I decided I would join in as well and opted for a chocolate cone. When I got to the counter and ordered I tried to pay with my debit card but the woman kindly informed me that I needed to spend at least $1 in order to pay by card and the cone only cost 70 cents. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I had zero cash on me and since my change had accumulated lately I emptied it out of my wallet so as to make it lighter. So I told the lady I didn't have any cash on me and that I wouldn't be taking that chocolate cone after all. As I was walking away the woman that was in line in front of me was standing nearby waiting for her order. She had observed the situation and told me she would buy me the cone. I smiled and declined and told her it was fine. She insisted and said, I've been in the same situation. I graciously bowed and thanked her for her generosity and instantly my spirits were lifted. Not because I now had the chocolate cone, but because of the kindness of a stranger. The act was simple, but the timing was impeccable. I was discouraged about not going to Seoul and annoyed at the couples invading my elbow room, but here she was the mother of three taking a moment to do something nice for a foreign stranger. So my encouragement to you is this, when the opportunity arises, buy a stranger an ice cream cone.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Class of Comedians

So I thought for this post I'd share a couple funny stories that have happened in class.

One day I was teaching my youngest class of 1st graders. It's a class of just 2 boys, but they are very difficult to manage. They are often out of their seats and it is difficult to get them to stay focused, even for the Korean teachers. Well one of the boys, Lee, came up to me holding a small tube of something. He told me to hold out my hand. I should have known better but I thought he was trying to be friendly. I was wrong. The kid put blue paint in my hand. Then he proceeded to tell me it was lotion and that I should rub it all over my hands. I was a little mad at first, but then when he tried to get me to rub it all over I died laughing. I thought he was pretty clever to come up with that trick. Luckly it washed right off. I scolded him and we went on with the lesson.

In a class of 4th graders we had finished the textbook and were reviewing. We learned about writing stories and so I wanted us to write one together with each student writing a line at a time. I let them choose the characters and setting as well. This is the story they came up with:

"At 12:00am Wonder Woman killed a crazy man. George Bush walked down the empty street and screamed. Then he drank some soju [a korean liquor]. Then he fell asleep on the street. Cat Woman ran over George Bush in her car. Suddenly the crazy man got up. There was a party going on nearby and the crazy man and Wonder Woman broke it up. then Wonder Woman turned on the crazy man and killed him again."

I helped them with the grammar some, but the plot is entirely them. It is important to note that being crazy is pretty offensive in Korea. They were very proud of their story. LOL.

Shortly after I returned from the States I was teaching my favorite class of 3 girls who are middle school aged. The most talkative girl, Wendy, noticed I was chewing gum and she asked me for a piece. I gave her and the other girls a piece of Big Red gum. I only had one piece left so they split it into thirds. After about a minute of chewing Wendy looked at me with a surprised look and said, "Teacher, Fire Gum!!"

That's about it for now, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Expect Nothing Less

I realized recently that I haven't blogged in a while. I guess I've just gotten busy with life but over the past couple weeks I've been learning a lot.

The Lord is teaching me multiple lessons at once which is cool and slightly overwhelming. Just to name a few I'm learning about freedom. I recall a few years ago praying to understand freedom. I was a little nervous as I asked to know what it really meant to be free from sin and to no longer be a slave. Well I feel like I'm finally starting to get just the smallest piece of it. He is showing me through my sin that I don't have to be ashamed to talk Him when I fail. That I can humbly approach Him with my mess and He will respond. I'm also learning that freedom is hard to live. Even though I know I am a new creation, the old tries to creep up and convince me otherwise.

I've also been learning about God's faithfulness to His people. Just before I left Korea last time my church was looking for a new building. They were selling the one we were meeting in and we couldn't afford the entire 10 story building. Also before I left our pastor started preaching through Exodus. When I returned to Korea in March and went to church I was surprised to find that we were still in the old building and still in Exodus. I quickly learned though that we had found a new building and that we would be ready to move-in in a matter of weeks. The last couple of weeks in our old building were spent studying about how God was preparing the Tabernacle for the Israelites and how he had very specific plans for each item that was to be represented in the Tabernacle. It was a cool comparison for us as a congregation to learn about God preparing things for the Israelites and watch Him prepare things for us as well. Now, the most amazing part about all of this was that it worked out that our last lesson in Exodus coincided with our first week in the new building. We all could very much relate to God's glory filling the Tabernacle and His presence among His people. There was exuberant rejoicing the entire day. It was completly God's timing that this all worked out. At one point we made an offer on another building and we were so certain this was what God had for us, but it fell through. I'm thankful for the vivid picture of how the Lord does exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine. Our current building is perfect for our church family. I feel such a sense of being home everytime I worship there, not only because I am surrounded by loving believers, but because I am in a building that the Lord choose just for us. It's cool that He will do things to make us feel special even though we are just one of his numerous children.

I'm also learning about prayer. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on prayer before. But the past couple weeks I've had some intense prayer sessions. The best part is that my most passionate prayers are not for myself. I love that God is turning me from myself to other people that I can intercede for. I think this is only the beginning of something God wants to teach me about intercession. I had a girl I barely know from church email me about going into the city weekly and praying for the women in the red light districts. She told me that my name was on her heart and she discussed it with a mutual friend and it seemed to resonate with her as well. My first reaction was one of bewilderment. I didn't really think I had a dynamic prayer life or that I had a particular gifting that would attract me to this ministry. But through other occassions when I would pray for friends and family, I realized this maybe an area that the Lord wants to strengthen. I'm not saying that prayer is a spiritual gift that some people have and others don't. We are commanded to pray and it offers direct communication and intimacy with all three parts of the Trinity. I guess mine is just an average prayer life that the Lord does respond to, but one that contains aspects that need attention.

One other thing that I'm learning is to be still. Be quick to pray, slow to react. Spend time listening before and after I talk to the Father.

Because of all that I'm learning the Lord has provided incredible godly sisters to surround me. There have been times that I've hesitated to be vulnerable and share with them, but the Lord always creates an opportunity that is safe and welcoming that allows me to pour my heart out to them. It is a beautiful picture of community and I can't express how grateful I am for these dear friends.

Pray that I would comprehensively understand the lessons I'm learning in order that I will grow and be more effective for His Kingdom. Also pray that the prices would come down for a flight I'm hoping to book in the next couple days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An Unlikely Opportunity

This post is going to make some people a little uncomfortable, but I hope you get something out of it in spite of that.

On Friday night a friend of mine invited me out to bar hop with one of his coworkers. At first I declined saying that I needed to be careful with money and wanted to steer clear of temptation. But not long after hanging up the phone, I just gave into the fact that it was a Friday night and I didn't have anywhere to be the next morning. So I called him back and agreed to go. While I was getting ready to leave I made the decision before hand that I would be cautious and ever mindful of what I was drinking and how much I was drinking. I wanted set up mental boundaries that quite often work for me when faced with a difficult situation that I am aware of before hand.

We went to one place and it was relatively empty, but the music was good, then we went to a second place that had the reputation of being very foreigner friendly so we sat down ordered some drinks and just chatted and ate peanuts. It was rather warm in there which is usual because Koreans hate to be cold, so if it is even slightly cool outside it will usually be warm inside. I had a shirt on that was racer back, which means the shoulders are bare, and a sweater. I shed the sweater and was more comfortable, but we still moved our group over to a table near a window. As I sat there talking to my friends the guy at the table next to me leaned over and asked if the tattoo on my right shoulder was a Bible verse. I confirmed that it was and quoted it for him when he asked what it read. For the next 20 minutes this man, whom I assume was an American in his late 20's early 30's, tried his best to convince me that Christianity is just brain washing and that God is evil, and that he can't possibly love people when there is so much suffering in the world. He asked me so many questions about why I believe what I believe and I did my best to answer. He asked me if God loved people why there were so many people starving. The only answer I could think to give him was because of me. He looked at me very puzzled so I proceeded to elaborate upon my statement. I told him that I was the reason people are starving. Because if I loved them, I would feed them. His response was a mere roll of the eyes. He then asked me about the Crusades and the Catholic Church's recent outbreak of child molestation cases. I tried to explain that these things break the heart of God and that even though it may seem like they are in the name of God, that he despises it and will bring justice. He told me that the only reason I am a Christian was because of where I was raised, had I been born in the Middle East I would be Muslim. I told him he was probably right and that I was exceedingly grateful for that fact. He asked me to explain cancer to which I couldn't give a reason, but that with all of my being I believe and speak and live the truth that God is love. I told him that I do screw up and that my mistakes have negative consequences on many more people besides myself. And that being a Christian doesn't mean I claim to understand the reasons behind everything God does and allows. I wish I could say that the conversation ended with him understanding Jesus better. But I think this conversation taught me so much more than it taught him.

After reflecting on the conversation of that night I have realized that there is unparalleled value to the education I received from a biblically-centered college. During my years at TFC I learned not only the truths about God's Word, but an effective manner in which to present those truths. I was put into positions in my classes that taught me to think about my answers to questions like, "If God is love, why is there suffering?" or "Where is the proof that God exists?". I even participated in a panel that put 3 believers against 3 people pretending to be unbelievers in a mock philosophical debate. I am eternally grateful for the experiences and understandings I gleaned from my classes, relationships and studies at Toccoa Falls College. I also realized after some pondering that had I drank, "one too many" I would have been completely ineffective for Christ, and perhaps worsened this man's view of Christianity, if that was even possible. Instead, I cautiously choose to accept the invitation, and strictly monitored my alcohol intake and because of this I was able to have this difficult conversation with a clear mind.

Please don't take this experience to mean that I am now an avid promoter of bar evangelization, but do understand that I am an avid promoter of moderation and thoughtful behavior. I am thankful for the unexpected conversation that was had because I chose to go out with the contingency of sobriety. I look forward to more opportunities the Lord gives me to speak His truth to a lost world.

Please pray for Casey that the Word of God would not return void, but that a seed would be planted in His mind. I could tell he had been burned by Christians before and was frustrated. Pray that the Spirit would move powerfully in this man's heart and that he would have no other explanation than Jesus.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Lesson on the Lord

I'm so excited to blog about this... Every Tuesday and Thursday evenings for about an hour I tutor one of my coworkers in English. She is the same co worker that the Lord allowed me to speak to a little about my relationship with Him a couple weeks ago. I had been reading my Bible in Isaiah while waiting for her to get off the phone with a parent. She finished her conversation and told me she would be back in a minute. When she returned she laid down the textbook we had been using in our lessons, took a seat and said to me, "before we start, I'd like to listen to you tell me about your relationship with God." I was floored. A huge smile appeared on my face and I was so overcome with excitement I didn't even know where to begin. I quickly composed myself and told her my testimony. Then I told her about how the Lord brought me to Korea and how certain I am that I am supposed to be here. She listened so intently. I showed her the Scripture the Lord gave me regarding Korea and explained what it meant to me. I then told her about a Skype Bible Study I do with my sister and friend on Thursday mornings and showed her 1 John and told her a little about what we had been talking about in our study and why it is important to study the Bible. She was so interested so I continued and told her about how I can't imagine my life without Jesus, and the hope and joy I have because of His sacrifice and love. I told her that I want to share Him with other people and explain to them that we are all sinners and that Christ was perfect and that He died for our sins, but then he rose from the dead and is alive. And that when we believe in Him we become Christians and are able to have a relationship with God. We covered so much in our conversation. We talked about love and I showed her 1 Corinthians 13, and we talked about Jesus's teachings and we looked at the Sermon on the Mount. Then I asked her some questions about where she was in her life. And she told me some stories about going to church a little as a child, and how she's met people who live for Jesus, and that she wants to be that way. She said she does have a Bible, but isn't consistent in reading it, and I just encouraged her to pray that God would give her the desire to. Sometime later I looked at the clock and we had been talking for the entire hour. It was so awesome. As we were packing up I told her that I would be praying for her, and she seemed so appreciative of that. Then she said to me, "when I look in your eyes, I see God." I nearly burst into tears. I couldn't believe that the sin that had been plaguing me for so long was now over and that when someone saw me, they saw Jesus. I felt so humbled in that moment. I was so thankful the Lord would use me. Beautiful is the only word I know to describe our conversation. She is searching and I see the Spirit stirring in her. I'm excited for more conversations and I told her that I am very open to questions and conversations.

Her name is Anny (pronounced Annie) she is 29 years old and single. She very soft spoken and calm. I can tell she really wants the Lord. Pray that she would be consistent in her pursuit of Truth and that the Lord would use any means necessary to capture her heart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kids are kids

I've been able to go to Seoul every weekend since I've been here. Every Saturday I visit Myeong Jin which is the orphanage I volunteer at. This past weekend we were dying Easter eggs and the kids were decorating them. During the fun one of the youngest boys, Tae Han started pitching a fit. After a little observation I realized he was upset because someone had the crayon he wanted to use. I laughed a little and said to a friend, I love that kids are kids no matter where you go. Any 4 year old would have a tantrum if they wanted something and couldn't have it immediately. I think this is one reason I love working with children. While the language may be different, the behaviors are roughly the same.

I want to also tell you a little about my school in this post. For the most part things are very similar to my experience teaching last year. One thing that is different though is that I have a couple classes that last 50 minutes but most of them last 25. Which means I have a lot of classes to teach in one day. I don't mind it because it makes the day go by quicker, but it's slightly frustating because I feel like I don't have enough time to really concentrate on the lesson and I've been struggling to learn all of the kids names. But it works out somehow.

Slightly ammusing stories... they aren't quite funny status.

I've always known my handwriting isn't the greatest, but to the average native English speaker there is no trouble reading it. However, when I write in a thick tipped marker on the white board and there are students learning to read English, there is all kinds of confusion. I wrote the number 50 on the board and my students were confused asking me, "Teacher, what is so?" I was like, "huh?" Then I realized my 5 was actually an S. Also, my "h" looks more like an "n" and one poor girl didn't even recognize my "r". I took a handwriting class in college when I was an Early Childhood Education Major, but evidently it didn't stick. One other bit of confusion happened when I was explaining emoticons. I was asking the students if they text messaged, all of them of course do. Then I asked them if they ever used the smiley faces, and again, yes. I then drew a smiley on the board and told them this was an emoticon when used in texting, or on the computer. I wanted to give them examples of other emoticons and so I drew what I thought was an angry face. Almost immediately one of the boys shouted, "Handicapped!" I lost it, I didn't know why he thought my drawing looked handicapped, but the other students joined in and said "yes, handicapped." After I composed my self, I tried to explain to them it was an angry face, but they wouldn't have it. I think they were encouraging me to stick to teaching, because drawing is not my strong suit.

Anyway, please pray that I would keep studying Korean consistantly and diligently. I bought a beginner's textbook and workbook, and so I'm trying to learn on my own, with help from my co-teachers when needed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who's Getting the Glory?

So, I've been here a week and a couple days. It's Friday and I'm excited about the weekend. I've been reading a Psalm and a chapter in Isaiah every morning and I've also been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I've been longing to go deeper with the Lord and really make my time with Him intimate. As I've been reading Crazy Love I've been convicted about many things including, who gets the glory? This morning I listened to my preacher from home's sermon from last Sunday. It was about being made in God's image and the theme of, glorifying God because I'm made in His image, stood out to me. On my walk to work I was listening to my ipod and joyfully singing along in my head to different songs of worship. When I arrived at work, I was in a good mood and ready to start the day. I had a brief conversation with the woman that works at the front desk, but who is also a teacher. Her name is Susan, she is Korean and married to the director of the school. She's very sweet and asked me if I had plans to go to Seoul this weekend. I smiled and told her yes, that I am going to the orphanage and to church. She said, "Oh, you are such a good person." I casually said, "Aww, thank you," and walked into the teachers room to begin preparing for class. After a minute it struck me. I had just robbed God of His glory. It seemed so easy to take credit for the "good works" I do, but it's not me that should be recognized for them. Isn't my whole purpose to be pointing people to the Savior? Shouldn't I be focusing all of the attention on Him? It broke my heart when I realized this because I had been praying earlier this week for opportunities to minister and have conversations about Him. And like He always does, He gave me just the opportunity I was looking for, and not only did I not seize the chance to dote on Him, but I actually accepted the praise that was rightfully His.

I am remorseful that I acted selfishly. I am thankful that the Lord uses my failures to teach me. I am grateful that He will give me other opportunities.

I hope this updated spurs you to think about ways you could be glorifying Him instead of keeping the focus on your self. We are nothing apart from God and we should be demonstrating, in actions and words, that He is the only one that is good, and that the good others see in us is because of His great love for us.

Pray that I would be more focused on glorifying Him and that He would grant me more occasions to share Him with others.

Also, I'm in a wedding in June and am taking my summer vacation time then, I will only get 2 paychecks between now and then. Pray that I will be able to save money so I can book a flight. It gets expensive going to back and forth to Seoul every weekend, but I know I'm called to this ministry. I need to limit the unnecessary expenses. I really struggle in this area, but know that with God all things are possible.

Sorry there are no funny stories in this one, but this is my heart this week.


Ok so today after work I needed to get some things from the store, so in order to familiarize myself with the area better I opted to walk. First I walked around the block that my school is on. After I was all the way around, I ran into one of my co-teachers as she was walking to the subway. I started walking with her and we chatted about life and experiences and just general stuff, well then we started talking a little deeper about relationships and things of that nature. As we're talking there is a PERFECT "set up" for me to talk about the Lord and my relationship with Him. At first I hesitated, but then I was like, "Kristin, what the heck are you doing? You asked not 5 hours ago for a chance to talk about the Lord and here it is." I'm certain that was the Holy Spirit. So I told her about how I'm a Christian, which she already knew, but also that I couldn't survive this life without God, she really seemed to get me. I continued talking, and she just listened. Shortly after that we had to part ways, but the joy I felt and the overwhelming love actually brought me to tears right there on the sidewalk as she walked one direction and I walked another. I prayed that the Lord would plant a seed and that we would have more conversations about Him. Seriously guys, He is good and incredibly worthy of all the glory.
4/1 This theme of Glory keeps coming up in my life. During my Skype Bible study with my sister and friend it came up when we were talking about 1 John and Matthew 5:16. Then again today as I was reading Francis Chan's newest book "Forgotten God". I guess I know what to be praying about.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Round Two

Greetings from Korea! I'm finally here! It feels as the same as when I left. Granted I've only been gone 8 months, but a lot can change in a short time.

I arrived in Korea at 5am local time and then had to wait until 6am to take the first bus from the airport to my new city, Daejeon. While I was waiting for the bus I met a girl named Brenna. While we chatted I learned she is from New Orleans and is also going to be teaching in Daejeon. This is her first time teaching and I was excited to give her a few pointers. We had a good conversation for the first hour on the bus, but the last two were spent napping. After arriving in my new home I met my director, Mr. Lee, and he took me to my apartment. I'm once again on the third floor and the building seems very similar to my last apartment. My new home is smaller than my last, but still bigger than I expected. I have more appliances than I did at my last place which is nice. I'm most excited about the air conditioner. It was a hot summer last year without one, and I'm thankful for this electronic blessing.

It's colder than expected and it was fun that my first day back it snowed. I spent most of Wednesday unpacking and sleeping. I hung out with a friend from college, that is also teaching in this city, for dinner, and he showed me around the area a little; then I went to bed. This morning I woke up and went to the store for some food and other essentials. I went to school at 1pm and met my co-teachers and observed some of my classes. Today was a light day so I finished around 6:30 and headed home for some Korean dinner.

I'm headed to Seoul this weekend for church and to visit with some friends and to go back to the orphanage I love so dearly. Every time I think about it I get so giddy as if I'm seeing a friend I haven't seen in a while. I can actually feel the excitement welling up.

Don't really have any funny stories yet, but I'm sure there will be some in the near future.

Pray that I get acquainted with my surroundings quickly and that I will settle in well with my students and school.