Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stuck in the car in traffic... a great opportunity to bust out the camera!

for silly boards...

and random signs...

why not a bulldozer?

my pops

and my sister busting butt in capoeira!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I love my grandma

Why I love California

The back of my dad's car was a perfect little cave to sit in while I watched the sun set over the ocean...

And it sure was a beautiful view!

Monday, November 15, 2010


This weekend was blast from the past. Growing up in the Jews for Jesus community meant that I got to go to an annual family camp called Ingathering. Each year for 4 days, a bunch of Jews for Jesus people go out to the gorgeous Santa Cruz mountains and have a time of worship, fellowship, and in good ol' Jewish style, noshing (that means eating). I haven't been since high school so when my dad invited me to join him for the camp this weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. It was definitly a trip. I got to reconnect with some people I hadn't seen in over 10 years, and I got to meet new people who richly blessed me with sharing part of their life stories. I've begun to see how the Lord has changed me over the past year. Coming out of that depression, spending half a year in my own solitude, it left me much more comfortable with spending time alone. I find myself more willing to listen to people, less needing to react to comments that I don't agree with. Don't get me wrong, I am still quite argumentative in general. But as I heard people talk, battles I would run to fight in the past, I can see the Lord filling me with grace to sit through it and listen. And I am learning to hear beyond the small points I don't agree with. And I find myself really blessed by what people share with me.
Anyways, it was fun. I heard stories from grandparents. I encouraged some college students. I even got to play with some babies. It was a sweet welcome home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some goodbye photos from Korea

My amazing friend Betsy. We went out with James, Jonathan, and Chris for some beer as a celebration of my finishing my job and Jonathan starting his.

My last night in Korea, out with a bunch of friends. Here we have Jeff and Joanna- two of my favorites!

My "husband" Chris with a pretty mirror I gave him. This photo makes me giggle...
At my goodbye party, everyone playing a game... but not me... :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Top Ten reverse culture shocks

I've been in the states for almost 24 hours now. I've cried on and off for the past 48 hours. I feel like this huge welt of sadness is sitting under a very thin verneer of "ok"ness. So whenever people ask me "How are you doing" or "How was Korea?" they scratch a hole and I can feel tears well up in my eyes.
Anyways, the last 24 hours have been a shock to the system, so thought I would share with you some of the fun reverse culture shock I've been experiencing.

In the last 24 hours, these have been my biggest shocks:
10. How open and spacious the skyline is.
9. How empty the streets are
8. On one block I passed a young black woman, a latino couple, and an old asian man.
7. People keep making eye contact with me
6. I’ve had to stop myself from saying “annyeonghikaseyo” and “kamsahamnida”
5. Everyone around me is speaking English or Spanish
4. I can buy all the most awesome food all the time!!!
3. I don’t know how to pack a purse for the day. What am I supposed to carry in my wallet? I don’t need my tmoney card or my ARC? I do need my American driver’s license? Weird.
2. I don’t know how to dress. It’s sunny, but it’s cold. It’s not snowing… and it’s not a monsoon…. What am I supposed to wear?
1. Why does no one reek of kimchi???

Leaving Korea (a long debrief)

Yesterday marked another big transition in my life. I moved away from Korea. Those of you faithful readers can attest to my consistent mixed feelings toward the country. Those confusing feelings were only heightened as I left. When I first arrived in Korea, I was grateful to be in a country full of strangers. I relished my time away from any semblance of reality. I just wanted to be alone and Korea was the perfect place for that. And God used that place to heal me from some major pains and to draw me close to Him. By January, I was feeling a little more ready to face the world. And it was at that time that God led me to Covenant Church. My first Sunday there was like a breath of sweet fresh air. I knew that I had found my “home” in Korea. Sure enough, things moved quickly from there. I found myself delving deep into relationships with people there. And even thought I had spent the last 6 months avoiding all relationships, I loved it.
The church was growing. When I first came, there were maybe 30 of us. Then 40. Then 50. By summer, we were filling out the sanctuary with almost 70 people each week. My social butterflyness was welcomed and the church made me the official welcomer. I joined a small group and was eventually asked to be colead it with the leader Chris, who would become one of my closest brothers. The pastor’s wife approached me and asked if I would want to start an accountability group with her and a few other women. Of course. After about a month, she handed the leadership of the group over to me. This group would eventually give birth to a bigger idea of how women in the church could be discipled. In that group I got to know deeply a woman named Betsy. She is a few years younger than me, but full of wisdom and compassion. She and her husband James moved to Korea in February to teach and my friendship with them is one of the sweetest parts of my life in Korea. My roots were running deep in the community there. Every newcomer was welcomed by me, and I found the Lord using my social skills to help build a community at Covenant.
I had found a church that let me serve to my full capacity. So many churches would say that they wanted people like me, people jumped at the bit to serve. But logistically, there were too many hoops to jump through and too much bureaucracy to overcome. Many pastors, especially of church plants, hold the reigns of their church tightly. They struggle with micromanagement and have a hard time letting people run along in ministry. But Pastor Jae had no such issue. Covenant was too small for hoops, and Jae was too lax to squash people’s desires in ministry. Anyone who wanted to serve in Covenant, as long as their vision fit in Covenant’s mission to be a gospel centered church in the city, were given blessing to move ahead. So when I realized the need for a class to help women understand how to read the Old Testament, I was given an immediate green light. This was once again, my dream come true. We ended up meeting for 6 Sundays, covering various topics under the heading of Biblical Theology for Women: How to read the Old Testament. I saw the Old Testament come to life for women who had avoided it in fear of the confusion it could lead to. I saw Jesus’ story of redemption grow deeper in the hearts of the women. And I saw the guys get jealous. It was a dream come true.
My heart was planted deep in the soil of Covenant. And when the time came to say goodbye, it hit me like a truck. As Jae brought me up to the front of the church in my last Sunday service, he said, “All of you know her, there isn’t anyone in this room who hasn’t been served by her. She has made relationships here as if she would be here for 10 years, not 10 months.” And then it was time to say goodbye. It felt like I was a plant being uprooted. Each person I had to say goodbye to was a root that was being pulled out. Some of the roots were shallow and didn’t hurt that bad. But some of them were deep, deeper than I had imagined.
My last day in Korea, my last day with Covenant, was one full of tears. It started off dry, but as soon as I hit communion, the tears started. And they didn’t stop. The height of the tears came when it was time to say goodbye to those closest to me. Jonathan, Chris, Betsy. I couldn’t do it. I told Jonathan, through tear soaked sobs that I didn’t know how to end our friendship. He told me that it wasn’t over. But his words didn’t comfort me. I was just sad.
I left Korea surprised. I didn’t go to Korea to make friends. I actually thought I would be able to go through the whole year without friends. I knew I would make some shallow friends, but I didn’t expect or even want the depth that I found in Korea.
So leaving, crying. Not sure how to stop it, of even if I wanted to stop it. My heart swells with gratitude when I think about Korea. I love that the Lord is in control. I love that I can trust Him. I love that I know I am resting in the palm of His great and powerful hand. That no harm comes to me, only mercy. So when I cry, they are not tears of sadness, but tears of fullness.