Sunday, May 30, 2010

Retreat Photos- finally!




























































































































Norae-bonging on the bus

For those of you who haven't experienced Noraebong, its basically Korean Karaeoke. It's really popular here. So popular in fact that they have it in some places that I would consider non-traditional karaeoke locations. Prime example: our charter bus. Recently, our church went on a church retreat. It was only supposed to take 1.5 hours to get there, but with the holiday traffic, it ended up taking over 5 hours to get there. No worries. We were all on a bus together, being crazy, playing games, and of course... singing Noraebong. The front of the bus was mostly older people, or at least less crazy people, and the back of the bus was the party. But once Noraebong started, EVERYONE got involved. Here are some videos (NOT taken with the permission of those singing!).

Here are the boys (Chris, Jonathan, and James). These boys have become dear friends to me, and this song only made my heart grow fonder for them.

video

Here is our pastor. Pastor Jae is Korean, but studied at RTS in Mississippi for a handful of years. His family is awesome and I appreciate how much effort they all pour into our church. Especially when that means singing Noraebong.

video

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday today. To celebrate the most amazing day in the whole entire world (that's sarcasm folks!) I thought I'd post a little blast from the past.


much affected

Much affected. I am much affected by the theology that I cling to. I think some people tend to be more practical in their lives, but I am truly a theoretical person. My theory though, dictates my life. So when I find myself in a church such as Covenant, where together we are striving to believe the Gospel, I am much affected. Over the past month or two, many of our sermons, our small group discussions, and even our casual conversations have centered on the idea of God’s love and mercy toward us. But our talk is not fluffy. No, instead we have reflected upon God’s mercy when He takes away things that we turn into idols. Or how He is faithful to keep us away from things we want that we will ultimately put our trust in. He knows that nothing can satisfy us, nor redeem us, aside from Him. And so in His goodness, He takes things away from us to show us how truly sinful we are. When things are not as I want them, and the “If only” statements begin, I know that my heart is not settled on Him. It is when I hear these words proceeding from my mouth (or even silently in my heart) that I must realize that my head theology has not infiltrated my heart.
I had such a moment recently. I began to see bitterness in my heart. It was ugly. Really ugly. My job is not really the best job. I have learned to survive, but working at a private academy means I don’t get nearly as much vacation as my friends who work at public schools. It seems like every time I turn around, they have a day off, an afternoon off, a day with no classes. At my job, we not only have little vacation, but our time at work is always busy, always hectic, and usually stressful. I realized a few weeks ago that I was beginning to be bitter. When my public school friends would talk about all their great plans for their days off, I would feel my heart harden like a rock. I shrugged off the feelings at first, as if they were normal to feel. Of course I am going to be jealous of my friends.
But it started getting worse. A few days ago, I finally admitted that I was struggling with jealousy and bitterness. And that it wasn’t ok. And then His goodness was poured out. I realized that my situation was a gift. If I am truly content in the Lord, no situation can take that. For He never changes, and His mercies never fail. So no amount of stress at work, no lack of vacation days, nothing nothing nothing can take away my joy in Him. It isn’t wrong to want more vacation days, to want a less stressful job. But my heart had been filled with bitterness. I knew that somehow I had been placing my joy in my circumstances. Because when my circumstances had changed, my joy had faltered.
So I praise God for my job. I praise Him that He gave me a job that shows me exactly where my sin is. I praise Him that He won’t let me stay in a place of selfishness and bitterness. I praise Him because in Him I am satisfied. And when I forget that, He is the One who reminds me. Truly He is good to those who fear Him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Noticias

Once again, approach my blog apolgizing for my silence over the last few weeks. My blogging life thrives most when few real events occur in my real life. Most of my blog posts are just reflections on the mundane issues that life raises.
But every once in a while, I come to you with news. Today is such a day. A few weeks ago something happened. As many of you know, I came to Korea for the money. It may sound horrible, but its true. I came here to make money as quickly as possible to pay off the loans I took out for seminary. I hoped that I would be able to pay it all off in a year or two. My time here has shown me that I do not want to live here any longer than I need to. The culture is not a good fit for a loud and slightly crazy girl like me. If you have read any of my blog over the last 8 months you probably understand. About a month ago, I started to think about staying here an extra year. As much as I don't love living here, I don't mind it. And if I can get a job that is less demanding, I might actually slightly enjoy my life here. So I began to apply for jobs here. In the midst of applying for jobs, a miracle happened. The door opened for me to return to Chile.
That's right folks, over three years later, I am finally going back to the country that I love. When I originally left, I thought I would be gone for 6 months to a year. But after Israel and India, I started seminary. I always knew/hoped that I would end up back in Chile. But the door always remained closed.
It was a conversation with my mom that did it. She brought up some things, encouraging me to leave Korea, and basically opening the door for me to do so. I ended the conversation telling her that I needed to think about it. I went to bed, laid in the dark, and tried to stop the running stream of spanish that was flying through my mind. I couldnt get my mind to calm down. I tossed and turned for hours, trying to calm the madness. I cried. I prayed. And finally I fell asleep. I knew when I woke up that it was happening. It wasnt a dream. And it wasn't a lie. God was actually opening the door. He has given me a patience that I could never boast in my own strength. And now He is bringing me back.
I waited a few weeks to share this incredible news with you, my blog readers because I wanted first to give it some time. It's fairly far away. I won't be going till January. But I am not anxious. This move is so different from anything I have done before. The last decade has been filled with small time restrained commitments. I went to Cal Poly, knowing that it was only four years. I went to Chile, commiting to 2 years. I went to seminary, another 2 year commitment. And then Korea, a nice 1-2 year commitment.
Now I am looking at Chile. And there is no number attached. I have learned to not make plans in concrete. But I also have gotten most of my travel bug out of me. I am going to Chile to establish a life there. To plant roots. To have long term dreams (most of them pipe dreams). Really, Im going to live.
There is something very different about this move to Chile. There is a lack of adventure in this move. Not that there is no adventure at all. But that it is the same level of adventure as anything in life brings. But the truth is, this seems so... not risky. I know the culture, I know the language (kinda), I know and love people down there. So it seems almost too easy to move there. I know there is loss in every decision you make. Opening one down means closing others. But for so long, this is the door I have waited for. And I can honestly say that not a minute of the last three years has been wasted. The Lord has been good to me. He has used this poor sinner's life in incredible ways. And I am grateful for the desires He has given me, and that He in turn is the fulfiller of my desires.
So there you go. I have so much else to share with you all. But for now, that will have to do. I am going back. I will be in the States for most of November and December, so if you want a personal visit (I LOVE coffee dates!) then let me know. I'm going to take those two months to visit people and places I love. In some sad way, I feel like it's a goodbye tour. As I said, every open door means some closed doors. But in the end, it is not sorrow that fills my heart, but joy.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Feliz Dia de la Mama!

This post obviously is dedicated to my mom (who wanted me to post again soon anyways!).

Dearest mommmy, happy day to you. Thank you for your constant support in my life. For the way you have taught me to dream big and not to let people push me down. As I get older, I meet people who are surprised by my drive and passion. Their mothers never taught them to move through life in such a way. So I thank you. You have given me so much. And I love you so much. Maybe even as much as the whole wide world.

Love, Mookie