Thursday, December 31, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
My bed, my Christmas lights, my teddy bear (named Dorothy after one of my favorite theologians wife- right, I DO get nerdier by the year), and my humidifer since the cold+my heater= very very very dry air.
Here is my little work space. I got this very pretty lamp (but not before walking for over an hour around this HUGE shopping center looking for the best deal!). I really love my apartment. I feel so confortable here and I really feel like it is home. Hence, the title. Home for Christmas.
(sorry for all the post titles being corny Christmas phrases, but I just can't help myself!)
Here are Sunyoung and I at lunch on Christmas day before we went to church. We went to an area of Seoul that I have never been to before (which is bound to happen in an urban area of 20 million people!). We had pork cutlets (seems like a popular dish here in Korea) and then headed to a church service for all the English churches in Seoul. Very cool.
So let me share something with you about my friend Sunyoung. She LOVES the color purple. She always wears purple and whenever we go anywhere she points out everything in the stores that is purple. So our church has a purple Christmas tree in the coffee shop and Sunyoung and I had to take advantage of such an awesome thing as a purple tree. So here she is posing with her tree.
Sunyoung introduced me to one of her English students named Joy. Joy is just beginning to learn English, so she took the opportunity to practice on me. She was very sweet though and I enjoyed getting to practice a little Korean while we talked.
Joy and I in my church's coffee shop
Thursday, December 24, 2009
That's right folks, 별이 (Pyeo-lee) is my Korean name. In honor of the blog template change, and it being Christmas Eve, I though this might be a cool time to tell you my readers about my Korean name. I've had it for a few months now but have only really started to identify with it (or honestly remember how to say it) for the last few weeks. I like the name though. I asked some Korean friends to give a Korean name since all my students get English names (most of my students go by Sally, Harry, or some other generic name). I told my friends that I wanted the name to start with a "b" sound so it would be similar to Becka. There aren't many names that start with the "ㅂ" (which is the b or p sound). So they gave me the name which means "star" in Korean. 별이. Sounds about right.
Anyways, I'm thinking of all of you, my friends and family as I work till 9:15pm on Christmas Eve. May this be a good holiday for you, may you enjoy the company of your loved ones, and may you remember the goodness of the Lord in coming to dwell among us.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sally and me
Erin picking a white elephant gift
Maggie excited about her white elephant gift, note the plastic flower attached.
The spread of food for our party- everything from chinese and korean food to fried chicken and pizza. THe fried chicken, which LOOKED like KFC stuff, actually came with kimchi. I kid you not.
THe center piece of the meal was this turkey which I heard cost over $100.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Toward the end of college, I found that if I tried to dye my hair certain shades of auburn, it would turn orange from long exposure to sun. That was when I began the tradition of winter darks. Every winter I get to dye my hair a dark auburn (the color I prefer) and in the summer I deal with the lighter shades, knowing that light auburn is better than orange. So tonight I bought a box of hair dye and continued my tradition. The dye is Korean, the instructions were all in Korean, and it was actually a little different than at home (it doesn't smell nearly as bad!). Here are some photos:
and the After photo will have to come tomorrow. Wish me luck!
so I walked into my classroom where 9 very energetic and loud children were waiting for me. One girl saw my hair and quickly told me, "teacher... black hair, not beautiful... yellow hair, beautiful." Thanks kid. Thanks. :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Often times, people describe their relationship with the Lord as a "walk". Well, my walk has become more of a hike these past few months. When I am just walking with the Lord, there may be a small incline somedays, but its no more than a few steps uphill before I get to enjoy the few downhill steps.
Usually, the Lord teaches me things slowly (or maybe I am just slow in learning them!). Usually I learn one lesson, or am confronted by one sin, maybe once every other week or so. But these past few months, and especially weeks, have been FULL of the Lord's dealing with me. I feel like every day is another steep step. The Lord has been working through so many things in my life that I am overwhelmed when I try to take inventory. It's like turning around and looking at how high up you have climbed. Last night I was tired of climbing. I prayed that the hike would be over soon. I wanted to reach the top of the hill to enjoy the view already. But God didn't stop the hike, instead He renewed my stregnth for the next few steps. I guess part of this hike is learning to depend on Him for the strength to do the hike in the first place. I can only imagine what the view will be like when I reach the top of this hill. I don't know when that will be, but I will let you know when I get there.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
So last night after all the girls left my apartment, I realized something. And it gave me great joy. My friends say that I was created to be a wife. I think the qualities that bring them to make that kind of statement (besides my incredibly attractive body! haha) are my love for hospitality and my deep desire to love people. I agree that these are qualities that would serve fairly well in a marriage, but it hit me last night: they serve VERY well in singleness. In fact, they almost are better gifts for singleness. In many ways, my personaility does well as a single serving the Lord. Instead of focusing my love on my husband and children, I am free to love and serve many people. Instead of cooking dinner each night for one family, I am free to cook for many people.
I took a friend to the doctor this morning, and was filled with joy once again as I got to serve her. I was praying on my way home, worshiping God for giving me the joy that I had begged Him for. And I realized that if I marry, God will call me to love and serve a man (which will be to my joy). But until then, my love and service is devoted to God. It is Him that I concern myself with, that I love, that I serve each day. But then I wondered, how does it actually play out. I don't get to cook God dinner. I don't get to take care of Him when He is sick. But Jesus said that whoever we feel and care for, for the least of people, we do for Him. So when I cook for the hungry, when I care for the sick, when I love God's people, I am really loving God.
Now I know this is boardline annoying (like how I went on "dates" with Jesus when I was in college). But just stay with me here for a moment. So I got to see how I would get to love and serve in a wifely way as a single devoted to God. But what about the role of a husband in my life? You see, a husband is called to love and care for his wife. And really, the moments when I MOST desire a husband is when I can't take care of myself. When I'm sick, or my car breaks down. These are the moments when I truly cry out to the Lord begging for a man. How does this work if I am single? Well, the moment the thought went through my head, the Lord laughed (gently) at me and asked if I really didn't think He was bigger and greater than any man. If I trusted a man to take care of me, could I not trust the Lord? He would provide.
So I am learning to find joy in my current place in life. It's a process and some moments are more joyfilled than others. But the Lord has heard my prayer and it teaching me each day to look to Him and to trust Him to be my place of joy.
When I was in high school I made a commitment to wait until marriage for sex. My dad gave me a ring and we had a small party where the elders in my life exhorted me to stay pure. Why did I do it? Well, honestly, part of it was just a trend for young Christian girls my age. But there was definitely a part of me that had thought through things. I knew that I wanted to get married, I assumed I would. The question was, would I do it God’s way, or my way? Would I go through life making my own decisions about love and marriage or would I trust God to pick out my guy for me. And even to my sixteen year old mind, I knew that God would choose better than I would. I realized today as I reflected on that decision that I viewed God as some yenta who would marry me off if I gave Him the chance. It made so much sense to me then. Give my heart to God and He would give it to a winner, saving me the pain of the losers.
So why did I spend my morning feeling like I had slammed into a brick wall at full speed? As I sat in worship, I realized that I was struggling with disappointment. Carolyn Custis James comments in her book that women need theology to deal with the disappointment that we face in life. I had easily accepted this concept when I read the book, but somehow thought I was above disappointment with God. Aren't I holier than that? It was humbling today to realize that I’m not. Indeed, I am very disappointed. You see, when I made that promise to God when I was 15, it was about something much bigger than my virginity. It was when I gave God my heart. I handed it to Him and gave Him permission to take it where He pleased. I assumed that meant marriage, but it doesn’t necessarily.
I am 26 years old now. While that may seem young to many of you, it feels like each day brings me closer to being single for the rest of my life (I may tend toward the overdramatic). I understand that is not how God works. But I also know that God does keep some of His saints single. Especially those called into full time service for Him. I want to be married and I want to be a mom. But when I gave God my heart, at age 15, I told Him that I trusted Him more than myself to make those decisions for me. For all the girl friends who have told me they are bewildered about my singleness, that I would be a blessing to a man, that I was made to be a wife, I am left speechless. There have been so many possibilities but none have come through. So what does that mean for me? Do I take back my heart from the Lord? Do I try to find a husband on my own? No, I have always put myself out there, I’m not hiding in a shell, but in His providence, no one has come. I have to believe that there is no other reason than God’s provision. I have asked friends what I can do to change. I have gone to singles events, gone to online dating sites, even gone to seminary (a good place they say to find a pastor for a husband!) and there is silence.
Do I trust the Lord enough to have my heart, even if that means it must be single? I agree with my friends when they tell me that I was created to be a wife. I love serving people. I love hospitality. I would LOVE to marry a pastor and get to minister as a pastor’s wife. But the truth is, God is bigger than my plans for myself. He knows my desires and I don’t have to worry that He has forgotten me. He has me in the palm of His hand.
Lord, may I truly believe in Your goodness. May I continue to trust you, even when your path for me looks nothing like the map I drew out for you.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
First, I think moving is a time that cements the people in the church together and the people realize that all the weight of the church cannot fall on only the pastor. It is a time for people to take responsibility for their church community.
Second, its a time of paring down what the church owns. Often a move (even a personal move to another house) means you take time to do inventory on what you have, what you need, and what you don't need. I think when we are honest with ourselves, there is a lot more of what we don't need. Churches should share their belongings with other churches. Older churches should come alongside church plants and help them with sunday school supplies or other things that usually just take up storage.
And finally, and most importantly, moving reminds a church that we are not settled here permanently. We are pilgrims moving around in a land that isn't our home. Moving to a new location should remind a church that she is not just her building. Heck, she is nothing of her building. God is not building His kingdom in the brick walls that surround us but in restoring relationships. When the Village Church (in NYC) had to move from our nice church building into a public school auditorium, I think some people had a hard time seeing the blessing in the move. THe new auditorium was cold, nothing was sacred about the building, and there was awkward space for the postworship fellowship time. But I was so blessed to see our church move, to go into a place where we weren't necessarily comfortable, knowing that God was leading us and He was going to have us worship Him where He called us to worship Him.
So my brothers and sisters at Jubilee, let us take comfort and count it our joy that we must move. For moving is a manifold blessing in our lives.
There was some stuff that happened this week that brought up a bunch of fears. Fears of being vulnerable. Fears of rejection. Fears of more pain and hurt. I'm not sure how much more I can go through and there are parts of me that run away from any situation that may have the potential to bring pain. Even if that same situation may have the same potential to bring joy. But I have my girls to keep me grounded in the Gospel at all times. I shared this with Michelle who lovingly reminded me that there is no fear in the Gospel, and that God does not call us to live in fear, but in freedom. So I am praying that the Lord may teach me to walk in His freedom. Especially in terms of marriage. That is my desire, may His will be done!
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
In this video, Harry repeats something he told me in class ("me is smart") and I try to get some footage of one of my favorite students Yoonwha. He is my little monkey boy and as much as he is a total distraction in class, I adore him. Sadly, he is camera shy, so he hid under the table. You can hear Sulley in the background saying, "Yoonwha, you on movie". So cute!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
This is one of the first Starbucks I've seen that has its sign in Korean. Most are in English.
Rosanna and I weren't sure, but these looked like bugs they were serving as street food. So I took a picture and asked a friend. Sure enough- they were silk worms. No thanks!
So Rosanna and I went for the chicken skewers instead.
This street vendor guy was really nice and friendly so we stood and watched his presentation of making this candy. And then of course, we bought some!
Maggie and I at TGIFridays
We went to TGIF because it was the most American thing we could think of, but even TGIF had its own Koreanization of the menu. We all laughed when we saw the Kimchi Pilaf on the menu. We were all American (about 10 of us) except one Austrailian who was silly enough to actually order the kinchi pilaf. Then we all REALLY laughed.