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My love for Korea

Seoraksan (Mount Sorak) -South Korea

Please prayerfully reflect on the thoughts in the video below. Christ talks about faith in adversity and the workings of God’s kingdom.

For reasons I don’t fully understand the Holy Spirit has been poking me quite strongly, that I need to share a few thoughts with you about the love I have for Korea.

I was blessed that my Lord led me to go there twice. The first time was as a missionary from 1995 to 1996. I taught ESL with a team of other dedicated teachers. The second time was in 2000 as an Assistant Professor of ESL at Kwandong University in Kangnung.

I would like to give particular acknowledgment to my dear friends and fellow warriors in the faith, Sharon Greer and Cathy Dodds. They both taught me so much about what it means to be an effective teacher. Yet, the greatest lesson they instilled in me is to have an enduring faith in the most trying circumstances.

In Korea the number for emergency services is 119. Cathy wrote 119 on the calendar in the teacher’s room. For many weeks no teachers came to replace the ones who returned home. We were all pulling extra teaching hours in addition to assisting in church outreach ministry. We were burnt out.  What message did God have for us?

I gave a sermon entitled Is it worth it? Is all the work we are doing for our Lord having an impact? Is God’s message getting out of love and acceptance for the whosoever?

Both Cathy and Sharon were encouraging to me during this difficult time for all of us. Through their never say die faith they helped me get through that rough time. If Christ died because He thought you and I were worth it, then the service we give for our Lord is worth it.

I’ll never forget when Sharon said something like this. “Kevin, we are called by our Lord to be faithful. We are planting seeds. We may never know all the lives we have touched until we are in Heaven. This is not our concern. Just love your Lord, Kevin. Share the message He has put on your heart. He’ll take care of the rest.” I know these aren’t the exact words, but they are the words I took into my spirit.

I was still feeling the jet lag from an 18 hour flight. Cathy looked so exhausted. She went out with me in the city of Kangnung to show me where to buy a Western-style mattress. I was sleeping on a thin Korean mattress called a yo. My back pain from it was excruciating. Many Koreans far prefer the comfort of a thicker mattress.

I breathed a prayer of thanks falling into the mattress Cathy helped me to find. Thanks, Cathy, for your caring heart.

Sharon was my first writing mentor. She is a gifted writer and published book author.

My wife, Karen, says I left part of my heart in Korea.  My thoughts go back to images of the breath-taking beauty of Seoraksan (Mount Sorak). My student,Minsun, says with a glowing smile, “Teacher, you very babowoh.” This is the phonetic pronunciation for being crazy in a fun way.Thank God for those elderly church women with such caring hearts and an inspiring faith.

A group of us got together to sing karaoke at a norebong. This is a singing room.You are graded on your ability to follow along with the song. It was a wonderful time that kept us all laughing uproariously.

A Korean Christmas stands out in my mind as being one of the happiest times of my life. Enya plays in the background. We sing Christmas carols celebrating Christ’s birth. Debbie makes some delicious cookie dough with sprinkles on it. Sharon, Cathy, Cindy, David, Michael, Daniel and Joel join in on this festive ocassion. David plays Santa Claus so well we all laugh at his characterization of him.

I still have a picture with Sharon and Cathy in it from that joyful Korean Christmas. I smile every time I see it.

The church ladies cried when I needed to return home after six months. A serious attack of gastroenteritis occurred requiring me to go to the hospital.  This illness results when a bacterial or parasitical infection causes inflammation of the stomach lining and small intestine. The condition resulted in the necessity of me returning home to Canada for ongoing treatment. I  sat at a table to give my farewell sermon because I was too weak to stand. An American teacher named Ralph said to keep the faith. He said God was putting me on the sidelines of ministry for His time.

The title of my sermon was Flames or Flowers. My text was James 3:6. “A whole forest can be set ablaze by a tiny spark of fire, and the tongue is as dangerous as any fire, with vast potentialities for evil. It can poison the whole body, it can make the whole of life a blazing hell” (J. B. Phillips New Testament). My main point was that our words can hurt or heal.

Please pray God will give me an opportunity to be a visiting missionary in South Korea if it is His will. I want to show Karen the Korea I left part of my heart in.

The memory I hold dear to my heart is as I got on the airplane. I opened up my farewell card from Sharon and Cathy. This Scripture was written inside.”But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33 KJV). Tears flowed. I prayed that I would return to this beautiful country. Seek God’s kingdom and all these things will be added to you. That’s a promise for you and for me.

That says it all.