Did I Discern Correctly?

YAV Arrival

YAVs arrive at Incheon airport where Kurt speaks only Korean until arrival at Daejeon

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus the Christ. Fall weather has come upon us here in Korean, which means the rainy season, changma, is over. This year was unfortunately more dry than usual so farmers in both South and North Korea took a hit to their crops. They could use your thoughts and prayers as the harvest time will come without as much produce as hoped.

As for our Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) site, this change in seasons also means the arrival of a new set of YAVs. This year we have received more than we had hoped, and it is the first time the Korea YAV site has ever worked with five YAVs. This means we have added two brand new volunteer placements as we have created relationships with two new children’s centers. Will, Linda, Alexis, Alyson, and Emily have finished their two-week on-site orientation with us, and they are now into their regular schedule of Korean language class in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon. Please pray for them as they continue trying to adapt to life in a new land with a new language.

One concern that seems to be a theme for this group of YAVs in particular revolves around discernment. They all participated in the week that we call the Discernment Event back in April where prospective YAVs interview several YAV sites, then rank them, then the site coordinators rank the YAVs, and we sort out placements with the rankings. We always emphasize that even though they probably received a placement at the end of the week, their work of discerning God’s will for them would continue. Some of them, when receiving Korea as their placement, were not sure it was want God truly wanted and considered asking for a different site. Eventually they signed their placement letters and prepared to move to Korea. Their discerning continued.

Buddy Dinner

Hannam Buddies introduce YAVs to the City of Daejeon, including former exchange YAV, Seongeun Choi

They all five arrived in Korea, and we read from the Book of Genesis together: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you….’” (Gen 12:1). Then the questions came, “What if we misunderstood God? Is this REALLY where I am meant to be?” They lamented that Abram seemed to have received an easily discernable voice telling him to do this specific thing so that there was little room for debate. For us, however, this tends to be where the rubber meets the road in terms of discerning what we believe to be God’s call. We have done all this work to try to have a sense of what we think God is calling us to do, or perhaps more properly, who God is calling us to be as members of our global community, but what if in the end we are still betrayed by our human imperfection and have discerned incorrectly?

We try to bring them some comfort in what might seem like an uncomfortable truth, that most likely as humans, we will likely never be able to discern God’s will with 100% accuracy, especially with decisions where there are several good options to discern between! I am reminded of a quote from Susan B. Anthony when she was persuading a group of women not to repudiate an unorthodox book of theology, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.” If I am honest, when I look back on my YAV year, I am not 100% sure that I chose the best option when I went to the Time for God program in England. When I let my mind wander too far I often wonder if there may have been a better choice. However, at this point as my life has brought me this far, that distinction matters very little. Perhaps I would not have come down the road that brought me to Korea had I gone to a different YAV site!

We encourage our YAVs to be open to re-assessment of decisions they have made, courses they have taken, and things they believe about God’s will. This is especially because, if we end up discerning incorrectly and others are harmed by our interpretation, we do no one any service, especially God, by sticking to the faith that we were 100% correct even when the fruits of our decision suggest otherwise. We also encourage them to be confident enough in our community discernment process that whatever level of certainty they feel about the decision that brought them to Korea, they are now committed to figuring out what God’s presence is here, what God is doing here, and what Koreans are doing to help God cultivate God’s Commonwealth.

Sunglak Director

YAVs meet Ms. Kyung Hwa Lee, director of Sunglak Welfare Community Center where Will volunteers

Throughout their year we help them to discern where the Spirit is present in the children’s centers, how Christ meets them in the eyes of guests at the Saenaru meals ministry, and who God is calling them to become in light of these new relationships.

You, as Presbyterians in the US, are also a part of these relationships for us. Your financial support, your prayers, and your messages of care keep us going and connecting these US young adults to the presence of God in Korea. If you are also interested in joining our journey and learning about what Koreans are doing to fight poverty and build relationships of reconciliation in the midst of conflict, please contact us and donate whatever you are able. Together we can better discern God’s will for us in this global community.

2015 Joint North-South Prayer and Worship Liturgy (8.15 Anniversary)

ncck peace campaignThis coming August 15th, 2015 will mark 70 years since Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial control as well as Korea’s division into two zones based on the decision of US and Soviet Union officials (with Koreans conspicuously absent). Thus began a cycle of conflict and violence that Korea has yet to escape. Christians in South Korea first learned that Christians still lived in the open North despite severe restrictions on the practice of their faith. South and North Christians met face to face for the first time in 1988, despite it being illegal with participants risking arrest upon return to the South. Since then, South Koreans and Christians of the world helped convince the North to give Christians some breathing room to worship and practice in public, although full freedom to practice is still restricted. Since 1988, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK – South) and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF – North) have co-written prayers for and end to the war, replacing the Armistice Treaty with a Peace Treaty, and an environment more conducive to humane dialogue and cooperation. They encourage their churches to pray this prayer together the Sunday before August 15th each year since 1988. The NCCK would like to ask all churches around the world to join their prayers, their strength, and their support to the push for an end to the “military conflict solution” and an embracing of true reconciliation. Please consider using all or part of this prayer and liturgy in your worship service on August 9th this year. The prayer was written by North and South Koreans, translated by our NCCK Reconciliation Unification Dept. team. The worship liturgy was written by Rev. Catherine Christie (United Church of Canada Ecumenical Worker) and Kurt.

If you agree to do so, you will join Christians in North and South Korea hoping for true peacemaking amidst growing tension between forces of the “West” and forces of “Asia”. Also, the NCCK would like to get a sense at how much others used these materials in worship and in what way. Please send a note to me at this blog or to Catherine at the address listed on the worship liturgy.

Letter from the NCCK General Secretary about the Joint Prayer and Worship Liturgy

Joint South/North – North/South Prayer (prayer text only)

Joint Worship Liturgy with Prayer

Here is the 2015 prayer in its entirety:

Joint Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula

Lord who oversees our history!
This year, we face the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan. On the day when we passed beyond the bitter persecution of the Japanese colonial era, our people sang a song of liberation. The song from our deep hearts flowed down like a stream of tears from everywhere South/North, North/South, Pyongyang/Seoul and Seoul/Pyongyang. Today, the roar of that day echoes through our hearts, however, we have been living with as much hatred as in the Japanese colonial era with our hostile divided state. Oh Lord, have mercy on us!

Lord of Comfort!
It’s been 70 years since we were divided. Although the Jews, who were taken captive to Babylon, returned to their home freely as prophesied; we are living without embracing the hope of Reunification that we had expected would come soon. Now all land routes, railroads and seaways are blocked despite having traveled them more freely under Japanese colonial era. We live in nothing but an unfree situation in which bugs, animals, seeds, and the fruit of trees also are confined in South and North / North and South. Oh Lord, let the liberation of that day live in our hearts again. Let us prepare our song in a chorus of reunification from all over the world.

Lord of Peace!
Like the unchanging sky and land, strong nations surrounding this land have been continually pressuring us, the same as it had ever been, for 70 years. We, sometimes, expected them to come in the role of a mediator of peace, however, militarily and economically they have considered their own advantage first. Recently a military alliance between the US and Japan has been strengthened, and an alliance between China and Russia has stabilized. They fan the flame of crisis by perpetually competing in an arms race by promoting exclusive military cooperation agreements. The way that our people can survive by ourselves is to hold exchanges, to communicate with each other, and to be reconciled, cooperating together; however, we are foolishly reinforcing our dividing wall even more. Oh Lord, change our minds and help us to repent of our sin.

Lord of Mercy!
Waiting for 70 years, we hope the complete peace of the Lord will be manifest in this world. We eagerly wish that our history of conflict and fighting which has been recurring for 70 years will soon be over. Brother and sister shared one same blood; our people, who traditionally wore the white garments, expect to recover our high dignity through beautiful union and peaceful reunification in East Asia and the world. We are dreaming that news of reconciliation will ripple through the East Sea and South Sea all around us, and that the news of peace be a great wind gusting out to Eurasia passing over Mt. Baekdu and to the Pacific Ocean passing over Jeju Island. Oh Lord, please fulfill our hopes without fail.

Lord who makes one!
At This moment when South and North / North and South are praying for reunification with one heart, make us into apostles of peace. Just like Jesus’ disciples, who became messengers of reconciliation after overcoming all fear, let all of us who were called as Christians be able to fulfill the duties of “the ministry of reconciliation”.

We pray in Jesus name, the one who achieved victory over death on the Cross, was resurrected, and gave us eternal life.  Amen.

August 15, 2015

National Council of Churches in Korea

Korean Christian Federation Central Committee

Connections Letter: Women Cross DMZ

Hello friends across the world. We bring you greetings of shalom in the name of Jesus the Prince of Peace. Summer has come to set up in Korea, and the humidity is beginning to take hold. Every now and then an actual rain comes through to cool it off a bit and release the blanket. One of those hot days, our family went to take stroll in the heat along with a couple hundred other people up near the border with the North. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Our US Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) are now reaching the end of their year here in Korea. We have already had our Discernment Event where we placed the YAVs who will come live with us next year in their stead (there will be five YAVs in Korea next year, by the way). We are also getting ready to send another four Korean students to be Exchange YAVs in the US next year. Meanwhile, Jordan and Kalyn are trying to figure out how to wrap up their year, and they are beginning reflections on what their year has meant to them.

This is no easy task. When I was a YAV back in the day, it took me almost two years after that year volunteering in England to be able to answer questions like, “How did your YAV year change you?” It took me another ten years to fully grasp how that change might affect my life and the life of my family. That’s why we are encouraging Kalyn and Jordan to start thinking about those questions early. They have spent a year working a playing alongside children in neighborhoods that struggle with poverty; learning about how to deal with our privilege as US citizens in a respectful and helpful way; and trying to learn the Korean language. Another piece they learn about is the history of conflict and division here on the Korean peninsula. We talk about this from the perspective of one of the three Critical Global Issues that Presbyterian World Mission has taken up as our calling: “We will engage in reconciliation amidst cultures of violence, including our own.” This is a complicated engagement on a peninsula divided by outside forces, that division lasting 70 years, and currently under a technical “state of war” even though open conflict ended over 60 years ago. Our YAVs are considering what might be our role as US Presbyterians when the largest collection of US military outside of the US is stationed in and around this peninsula.

Hyeyoung and our son dancing at the Sunday welcoming event

Hyeyoung and our son dancing at the Sunday welcoming event

This past May, a group of women peacemakers held an event in Korea called Women Cross the DMZ. Hyeyoung, our son, Sahn, and I participated in a short 3K walk demonstration and celebration that welcomed them to the South after they had visited the North. This event was created by women who have been working for peace around the world including Gloria Steinem from the US, Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Peace Laureate from Liberia, Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Peace Laureate from Northern Ireland and various women from almost 20 other countries as well as Korea. They began with a visit to North Korea to meet women leaders there and then moved southward to meet us on the South Korean side beyond the DMZ. It was a powerful message of women taking a courageous step to cultivate reconciliation through humane relationship building. So we brought our YAVs up to Seoul to participate in the symposium lectures given by the women participants on the Monday after they crossed to the South on Sunday.

2015-05-25 14.57.14

Participants at the Symposium singing a song of reunification to end the event

The YAVs came up on a train Monday morning to meet us and head up to the lecture center. Many of the women had brought prepared presentations about the work they had been doing in their home countries to build peace and cut off the cycle of violence. The amount of experience among the women of living through violence against their own communities was profound. However, the two most powerful presentations came from the two women who went off-script and talked about their feelings having met North Koreans, their hope for peace, and some compassionate words for those of us in South Korean and the US. They specifically connected their experiences of violent stalemates in Liberia and Northern Ireland respectively to the conflict here in Korea. Leymah Gbowee remarked that if you go in immediately asking for stories of a community’s human rights crimes, they will not trust you. But if you build that trust first and then come back many times, “Oh the stories you will hear!” Mairead Maguire asked us all to consider fully the very real fear of annihilation on the part of our enemies. She testified that this kind of fear will forever mire talks of peace as it had in Northern Ireland. Our YAVs heard some challenging words.

Kalyn received the most inspiration from Liza Maza, a Filipina who told of the immense difficulty of working for peace while such a large part of your country is filled by a foreign military. The pain of war and occupation by various empires leaves complicated wounds the do not heal easily, not unlike the situation of Korea. This event helped her to reflect more on the role of the US in the current situation in Korea. Jordan told me that the example of these women doing such a brave and misunderstood action made a significant impression on him. He said, “I was inspired by seeing all of the women together for the common goal of bringing peace to such a non-peaceful situation.”

Jordan and Kalyn with our family at the Symposium

Jordan and Kalyn with our family at the Symposium

We hope to keep challenging US young adults to consider their role as US Christians called to the ministry of reconciliation throughout the world and especially where our country has such a large military presence. We want to thank you for your prayers and financial support. Your gifts ensure that we can continue providing this kind of experience to our young adults and sharing the stories with Presbyterians all over the US. This is a steep mountain to climb, but we believe there is hope in a future of reconciliation so long as we all join together and continue bringing the truth of our past to light. Amen.

World Mission Budget Need

Some of you in the PC(USA) world have heard the news of the budget shortfall from 2014 that is going to affect our employing department, Presbyterian World Mission. You may have seen an article in the Outlook. You may have also read and signed in support of the letter written by past moderators of the denomination. If you have not, the basic gist of the situation is that if financial support for mission co-workers does not drastically change in the next two years, we will have to drastically change the way Presbyterian World Mission looks.Ten-Year-History-PMPF-1024x791

Many of you are strong supporters of us already. We cannot thank you enough for all that you have given to keep us going in this position. We have received prayer shawls from you, care packages with coffee, cards from Sunday School classes, and also financial contributions. Many of you already know that Presbyterian World Mission has quite a history of amazing feats. We are also trying to redeem some mistakes of the past and transform into a more aware participant in the globe that is truly helpful to our global partners.

Our Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program continues to bring in young adults from around the US and send them to sites all over the world including here in Korea. More than merely providing helpful “services”, these YAVs learn about the experiences, suffering, and hope of communities around the world. They go back to the US with a better understanding of how we in the US sometimes increase the suffering of others without being fully aware. They go back to the US with a better understanding of how to transform that relationship so that our government’s foreign policy and our community relations reverses our mistakes and instead build an environment for peace, shalom, and life in abundance for all. Next year Hyeyoung will also connect them to the Glocal Multi-Cultural Leadership Program of Hannam University so that they better understand the needs and hopes of the immigrant and migrant community in Korea.

My job with the NCCK is building bridges across the division of conflict in Korea. For the most part they have been focusing on reconciliation between North and South Koreans, but they hope to include US Americans in more of their efforts as well. The North still considers the US as its number 1 enemy. The US responds with derision and dehumanization throughout our media such as movies like The Interview. Most US Americans have not heard the history of the Korean Christian Federation, and thus assume they are “not true Christians” based on how much they lack resemblance to our limited understanding of Christian identity. I hope to build more bridges alongside the NCCK, and I hope to bring many of you with us to raise awareness of how this conflict came about, our role in it, and hope for re-humanization of each other and reconciliation. If anything, at least we can push together for a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement. Read an overview of that work on this NCCK post, past activities, and also a current program here.

If this is the kind of work that you believe is important in this world, then I challenge you to affirm that significance with a financial contribution to make sure we can continue here, learn even more, and share that will all of you for years to come. If you have been supporting us already, thank you again! I also challenge you to consider whether you can increase that amount this year and to consider how to make it a recurring gift throughout our assignment. You may click on the donate button to the side or follow this Donate Link. The church as we know it is going to look very different in the coming years, but if we can put our energy and resources together in new ways, we can continue accomplishing amazing feats.

NCCK Young Adults Peace March

gangwondo barbed wire

This coming July, my partner, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) is inviting Korean young adults residing around the world to participate in a Peace March week long program on Korea’s division, war, and hope for reconciliation. They are especially interested in Korean Americans (and Korean Canadians/Germans/Japanese/etc.) participating, and they have asked me to send a special invite to Korean Americans in the PC(USA). They hope this will be a significant time, the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division, for Korean residents in other countries to encourage their communities to join the movement for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. It is VERY SHORT notice, I am afraid, so if you have this week free in July, please jump on this. Details below!

2015 DMZ Walkathon for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula

Christian Young Adults,
Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division

Dates: July 20(Mon.) – 25(Sat.), 2015
*The actual program will depart from Seoul around 7-8am Monday the 20th. Traveling from the US you should arrive in Seoul by Sunday the 19th. NCCK cannot provide accommodations the evening of the 19th, but we can suggest affordable options. The program will end upon return to Seoul around 10pm Friday the 25th.

Participants: Korean immigrant young adults aged 18-40 around the world including Germany, US, Japan, Canada, etc. Denominational affiliation is not necessary. (Korean citizens will be considered as potential volunteer staff)

Cost: $400 USD participation fee (negotiable) – airfare and flight reservations are on your own.

Registration: Please fill out this Peace March Application and email it to Rev. Kurt Esslinger at elfslinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Also direct any questions to me at that email.

Theme and Bible Text

Theme: Christian Young Adults, Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division

Bible Text: Ephesians 2:14-16 (NIV)

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”

Program Aims:

1) To enable the young generation to reflect on the reality of the division through visiting the Demilitarized Zone area, “the symbolic place of the division”;
2) To provide an educational opportunity in which they can learn about the division system;
3) To empower the young generation to articulate on the vision and mission for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula;
4) To encourage the young generation to seek ways to bring about their commitment to peace-building in Korea and beyond;
5) To build a global youth network for peace and reunification in Korea and beyond

Walkathon course: Cheorwon-gun ~ Inje-gun~Gosoung-gun, along the DMZ in Kangwon province. The total length of travel for six days will be approximately 112miles and in six days’ walkathon program, the participants will walk about 29miles. Activities will likely include worship, lectures, peace and reconciliation workshops, visits to DMZ unification observatories, significant sites of Korean War history, peace museums, Seoraksan mountain walking, etc. The program will be carried out bilingually in English and Korean.

* DMZ is the border between the northern side of South Korea and the southern side of North Korea. It bears much history about the division. It would be a very meaningful journey to travel along the DMZ line in Kangwon province as this province carries a painful division history. The total length of the DMZ is approximately 155 miles.


In 1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation. However, immediately after the liberation Korea was divided into the communist North and the capitalist South. Five years later this division became the major cause of the Korean War (1950 to 1953) in which more than six million people were killed and the entire country was completely destroyed. The consequence of the three years’ war was the solidification of the division system. Today Korea’s division is the only remaining case of the Cold War. The 70 years’ division has caused confrontation and antagonism between the two Koreas, bringing unbearable han[1] to minjung (grassroots people) in the two Koreas. There are still more than 120,000 separated families in the South Korea and their number is increasing as saetemin (North Korean defectors) are gradually on the rise. Pain and suffering among the North Koreans have been aggravated by the decades-long sanctions against the North from the international community. Moreover, the military confrontation between North and South Korea (and the US) is escalating as the daily reality of the Cold War rhetoric between two Koreas continues. Consequently the Korean peninsula can be a flashpoint at any time, threatening peace and security in the entire region and beyond.

God’s Shalom is not possible without a true reconciliation with our sisters and brothers. God requests us to reconcile with them first before we come to God for worship. (Mt. 5:23-24). Reconciliation with people is a prerequisite to reconciliation with God. True faith requires sincere commitment to the healing and reconciliation of the broken relationship among people. Reconciliation is a long process of true repentance, justice, forgiveness, and healing. It also requires us to accept otherness and respect the values of others.

The people of the two Koreas have committed sin against each other during the 70 years’ division, hating each other and even killing each other. For Korean Christians, therefore, the “mission for reconciliation and peace” is not an option but an urgent necessity.

One of the significant roles of the church today is to enable our young generation to experience the division and to encourage our young adults to be more attentive to the mission for reconciliation and peaceful reunification in Korea.

It is in this light that the Reunification Committee of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), in cooperation with partner churches in the U.S.A, Germany, and Japan[2], proposes a walkathon program, “DMZ Peace March for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula.” This program will provide a platform in which the young generation of Korea and overseas meet each other, reflect on the reality of the division and work together to find out ways to bring their commitment to peace-building in Korea and beyond.

[1] Han, a Korean word, is a deep feeling that rises out of all those unjust experiences of sufferings.

[2] The program is co-organized with the ecumenical partners of the NCCK which include: Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea (EYCK), Korean Reunification Committee of the United Methodist Church, Korean Church Association in Germany and Korean Christian Council in Japan. Kurt is participating as support staff on behalf of PC(USA).

Registration: Please fill out this Peace March Application and email it to Rev. Kurt Esslinger at elfslinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Also direct any questions to me at that email.

Connections Letter: Korea YAVs in USA

Greetings to you in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace. I am writing to you from the road in Ames, Iowa, at the moment, where I am visiting churches here before I head on to Chicagoland and elsewhere. I always appreciate this time to tell the stories of our ministry.

One of those stories that has been particularly interesting for communities I meet here involves the Korea YAV Exchange Program that Hyeyoung and I have been able to get off the ground with Hannam University. This year for the first time four young adults from Hannam University in Korea are currently serving as Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) at YAV sites in the U.S.A. SooHwi is at our Denver, CO, site; SeongEun is at our Chinook, MT, site; HanByeol is at our Tucson, AZ, site; and JiHye is at our Atlanta, GA, site.

Before they were to come over to the States, Hyeyoung and I met with these four young women to talk about cultural differences, the purpose of the YAV Program, and to reflect on their hopes and expectations for a year of volunteering in the U.S. They were full of excitement and a sense of possibilities, but they also admitted they were quite anxious. None of them felt very confident in their English ability. We also sent cultural notes to each of the sites where they were placed to prepare the staff there for Korean cultural differences. Staff members at the sites were also concerned about whether they could offer placements that would provide meaningful work in light of the language barrier.

So far the four women are enjoying an amazing time and staff at all the sites tell us their work has been enriching despite the language barrier.

SOOHWISooHwi in Denver has connected with other immigrant groups in the Denver area to learn about their struggles in a society where they also spoke a language different from English at birth. She sat with them to hear about their struggles navigating the U.S. system, having only recently learned English. One striking observation that SooHwi, along with the other three Exchange YAVs, has made is that they have a feeling of powerlessness in situations with their fellow U.S. YAVs when everyone else around them is speaking fluent English. The native speakers are making decisions for the entire group while not fully realizing that the exchange YAVs cannot keep up and therefore have little power to share their concerns. This is a valuable lesson for all of us native English speakers when non-native speakers are influenced by the decisions we make. We cannot assume that a non-native speaker truly understands our conversation when we are speaking at full native-English speed. Are we making an extra effort to open a space for non-native speakers to feel safe to disagree? Do we give them time to translate our words and also to translate how they want to respond?

SooHwi now feels much more confident in her ability to rely on God to give her the strength to put her own thoughts out there even if they might not come out in perfect English grammar. Her fellow YAVs also have developed better skills for keeping themselves aware of SooHwi’s different ability to join in conversations and decision-making. These days they make more of an effort to listen to SooHwi’s perspective and give her more space to say what she wants to say.

HANBYEOLHanByeol was placed with Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona (CHRPA), and supervisors there were concerned about how to work with her despite the language barrier. There is also a stereotype of Korean women not being quite as strong as U.S. American women, so they wondered if she could physically do the work. After six months of volunteering in Tucson with CHRPA, HanByeol has been making quite an impact. Her supervisor at CHRPA shared this reflection: “HanByeol rides her bike eight miles to work every day, and now that it’s winter, she is learning how to diagnose and repair gas and electric furnaces with Dan. She has built steps and wheelchair ramps with Abigail and Hugh and has repaired roofs with Josh and Allie. And she is not a token helper here, but a full partner, a member of the team who contributes her labor and her worldview and is starting to joke around more and experiment with being sassy and she knows that people like her and accept her and she is letting herself be known by others….

“I know that she still misses home and family and that her brain is tired at the end of a day because she is learning language and culture and bicycle safety as well as furnace troubleshooting and ramp design. I do expect, though, that she will look back on this year and see that it contributed to her life, and I expect that we will all look back on this year of CHRPA and see that HanByeol contributed to all of our lives and the lives of our clients whose roofs she repaired and water heaters she replaced. And that is all we hope for, really.”

WHOLE CREWThis is a beautiful example of what mission work can look like where it is no longer the “powerful” countries sending mission workers to “needy” countries. Instead we all realize that we should all be sending and receiving mission co-workers so that we all both learn from each other and teach each other. This way we all become more helpful participants as people of faith in the global community. I hope you will join us in this mutual transformation by following these letters or our blog, or praying for us, or by sending in a financial contribution. Thank you to everyone who has already joined us. It’s because of your prayers and donations that we can continue this work. We can all learn to humbly walk with God a little closer together.

2014 in Review

I find it very interesting that people from 51 different countries actually came in to take a look at our blog here and there. Most of the stats aren’t particularly exciting, but there you go.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.