Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Korea

Dear friends,
I am now writing to you from my house in Delaware. We've been home for a few days, but I wanted to write a wrap-up post for the end of camp and our travel back to the States. Coming home from Korea felt a little bit like stepping out of the wardrobe from Narnia. My friends and I had an amazing time in Korea and have now stepped back into our "normal lives" that are pretty much unchanged. I think everyone is missing Korea a little and recovering from jet lag and colds to different degrees, but instead of mourning the end of the trip, I am asking God to keep me thankful for every gift he graciously gave us through the month!
Now a brief recap of our last days in Korea--
Last Thursday was our last day of teaching. Many of the students and teachers were sad to see camp come to an end, but we made the most of the day by having fun with our kids. As soon as I walked into my classroom, several of my boys came up to me and said, "Teacher, today is last day. No study, only games?" I smiled and told them we would not be using our workbooks all morning and would have a lot of fun! We had our last Bible study with them and then spent most of the morning playing fun and educational games. At the end of the morning, Diana and I wrote in the students' journals for the last time, and the students wrote notes to us. Then we gave them special desserts and sent them to lunch with our love. In the afternoon, Diana and I taught the government-sponsored kids from Eumseong for the last time. Though their English wasn't as good as that of our EMC kids, they became very dear to us because of their fun and loving spirits (especially the girls).

Level 4 EMC class, complete with Ricky, the little stinker, blocking me (:
our Eumseong class
walking behind the school on a beautiful evening

On Friday, we attended the closing ceremony for our Eumseong kids and then for our EMC students. The Eumseong campers watched the EMC closing ceremony, where God's name was lifted up! Our EMC students performed the David and Goliath musical that they had been preparing all throughout camp, and they did such a good job! Afterwards, we had to say goodbye to all our students who then left to go home. It was sad to see them leave because we don't know if we'll ever see them again! But I continued to remind myself that the Lord knows and loves each one, and my friends and I will continue to pray that the Lord will call them as his own and they will follow him all the days of their lives! After the students left, we took pictures with all our Korean friends and coworkers before lunch. During the afternoon, Mrs. Baumann discussed with us how we would re-enter America physically and emotionally and how to process our experiences before the Lord. Campus was so empty after the students and some of our co-teachers and friends left. Fortunately, we were able to go out for a really fun last night in Mungyeong with our Korean friends David and Scott. They took us out to a delicious Korean barbeque restaurant that raises their own livestock-true farm-to-table haha (: Then, we walked to a café for a delicious, traditional bingsu dessert. We ended our time out at HomePlus, a store we have come to know and love (: Back at the campus, we talked together and soaked up our last moments in Korea and went to bed kind of late.

 Josh's class
 with Bruce, Valerie's co-teacher and a dear friend to all of us
with Diana, my co-teacher
with David, one of the EMC staff and now good friend
Valerie and Audra with Scott, another staff member and friend
 (Pray for him as he enters the Korean military next week!)
 Bruce, Hannah, Josh, and Jun
the girls (:
 Jun (Mr. Crismon's co-teacher), Josh, and Bruce
 dinner on Friday night

On Saturday morning, we said our last goodbyes and drove to the airport with our friends from California. Our plane left at 6pm, and we flew to Toronto, where we completed customs, and on to Philadelphia, where we were greeted by our families!
I was definitely happy to see my family, sleep in my bed, and eat some of my favorite foods. I've experienced pretty minimal jetlag, but some of my friends are having a more difficult time readjusting. Please pray for them! And if you think of it, pray also for the hearts of all the students we taught. Thanks for following along with us on this amazing journey!
With love,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Easy, Peezy, Pumpkin Pie!"

I keep hearing, "You know thees word! It is 'Easy, Peezy, Pompkin Pie!'" throughout my classroom this morning as my students were studying together for their last vocabulary test. It's been fun to watch their vocabulary grow and understanding improve over these very quick two weeks! The thing I will miss the most is the daily journaling with each of my students. It's been a sweet gift for me each day!  I will also miss our time of reading the bible together and singing English praise songs. Below is a clip my student David reading King David's charge to his son, Solomon. Below that is a brief clip of my class singing, "Your Grace Is Enough". during our worship time in class this morning.

David reading from I Kings 2:1-12
Jr. High students singing "Your Grace Is Enough" during our class worship time.

My kids have worked hard during this English camp and have also had a lot of fun in the process! I have always had such a high regard for my colleagues who teach our students every day, but that regard is even higher now!! "THANK YOU!!" to all of my teacher friends! You have a hard and WONDERFUL job!

I got up early this morning and wrote a note to each of my students letting them know I would miss them. I wanted to encourage them to continue reading the bible and continue studying English too.
(I figured a Snickers bar was another good thing to give them before we parted company... I heard that chocolate is a universal language in and of itself...)
It is much too hard for me to believe these two weeks have passed. I thank God for the wonderful experiences I've had with these seven Jr. High students! I will never forget Jihye, June, Heesu, David, Jake, Joshua or Harry. Below are some pictures of my crew from this morning.

Harry & Joshua reading our bible passage this morning to the class from I Kings 2:1-12.
One last picture before they take their vocabulary test!
I look forward to keeping in touch with my new journaling pals. They said today that since we can no longer journal each day that they would email with me. I hope they do!

Tomorrow morning we will attend the Closing Ceremony of the English Mission Camp, have lunch one last time with our students, then wave goodbye as their parents pick them up or they hop on one of the busses to go home. THEN, the Tall Oaks team will pack up, clean up, hopefully go out to dinner in Mungyeon and prepare for our Saturday morning departure for the airport.

Thank you all for praying for us. Your prayers have been a great source of encouragement to us as we have seen God answer prayers in miraculous ways this past month! We are all really looking forward to being home to share some of those miraculous details when we get there!

From a heart overflowing with gratitude and love for my Savior, Jesus,

Janet <><


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The End of a Battle, The Beginning of a War

Dear Friends and Family,
      Honestly, this was not an easy trip, but I am sad to say that these are our last three full days that we will be spending here in South Korea. This post is not an update on how we are doing, or on the things we have been doing the past week, but a charge.
      I thank you all so much for continuing to pray for us on this trip, but I would now like to ask, if you are willing, that you pray for our students. This past Sunday we were told that some of us would be taking on a new class of unbelievers. We were also told that seeing as they are part of a government camp, we would not be allowed to share the Truth with them. Our prayer is that seeds have been, or will be, planted with this group of kids. Please, pray for them! We are not allowed to openly approach them, so pray they will be influenced either by our actions, or by the students from the English Mission Camp.
      As for the group of kids we received last week, the encouragement we have received from them is like no other. As Jaime acknowledged in her post, one of our students (our classes combined so we could take on the new class) has said that prior to this camp, he did not know Christ, but now, through this camp, he has come to know Him. Pray for Aron!! Also, another student, Jacob, has written concerning how he has been affected through this camp, and how this camp has given him the desire to pursue God. He has written that he will devote himself to God from this day, until the end of his life. Pray for Jacob!!
      Although these are the only two students I mentioned, pray for the others as well! I just named these two for the ways that they particularly encouraged me. Work is being done in the lives of the others, and I charge you to pray for these young children. Being so young and spiritually feeble, they have targets painted on them. They may have won the particular battle of devoting themselves to Christ, but they have an entire war before them. There is a battle raging in side of us all, and that includes (especially so) young believers. Pray for all of the students, and keep the ones I mentioned specifically in mind. As Roger Squire said, "It ought to be as impossible to forget that there is a Christian in the house as it is to forget that there is a ten-year-old boy in it." In this case, they are the same thing. Don't forget them. Pray for them.



English Missions Camp, Week 2

^lame title, I know.
Now that that's out of the way, I'll get to what I have to share with you all! It's Tuesday night here, and we have 2 days left teaching in the English Missions Camp :( We are all so sad that we will have to say goodbye to our sweet students on Friday morning before flying home Saturday. This is our 4th week in Korea, and it feels like home in some ways. We'll be so happy to see our families, but sad to leave behind this chapter of life that God has blessed so richly!
Last weekend, we had so much fun connecting with our students outside of the classroom. On Saturday, we went to a beautiful park where the kids played for a little while. Keeping track of everyone was a little difficult though. Then, we went to what was described to us as a Slip-n-Slide, but it was really a turf hill sprayed with sprinklers that we went down on sleds! If that didn't make any sense, look at the pictures (: The students (and teachers!) loved it!

this moth was huge!

the view behind our dorm

On Sunday, we were able to rest in the morning before church. After an encouraging message from one of the Global Vision Christian School principles, we played a Bible-craft-game-thing with our respective classes. We all got a different Bible verse in Korean and English along with glue, scissors, paper, and newspaper to cut out letters from to reconstruct the verse. Then the students had to memorize the verse. It was really fun! We had a few hours off, so our Tall Oaks family went to Home Plus (like Target) in the city to purchase some groceries and gifts and eat dinner. When we got back to the campus, we had a pajama party with all the EMC students! The students were divided into 2 rooms based off their ages, and we played "American games" with them. In the room with levels 1-4 (7-11 year olds), we played musical chairs, do you love your neighbor?, random dancing, and ate snacks. We all had the best time (:

the nearby city of Mungyeong

preparing for musical chairs

On Monday, teaching changed for Hannah, Valerie, Josh, and I. Elementary students sponsored by the government came to attend camp that would be different from EMC. During the first week, we each had 7-8 students. Hannah and Valerie both taught Level 3 classes, and Josh and I both taught Level 4 classes (our friends from Cali did the same for Levels 5 & 6). Now, levels 3-6 are combined into one so that we can teach the EMC students for half the day and the government students for half the day. I hope that made sense! I really enjoy teaching the combined Level 4 class. Josh had some very sweet and smart students in his class that I like interacting with in addition to my original children. Some of the students have written in their journals about the work that God is doing in them through the camp, and I am so thankful to God for this answer to prayer! Please pray that God would plant seeds through us and grow them to raise up men and women of the gospel! As we all pray daily for our students, it is such a blessing to know that the Lord will see and direct their lives even when we live. Josh and I (along with our co-teachers) have 13 students in the government-sponsored camp. They are really cute, but their English is definitely not as good as our EMC kids, so we are working on different skills and types of conversations with them.


one of the students' journals-pray for Aron!

Thanks for following along with us; please pray us through the end of our trip! God has been so good to us, and we want to be faithful through the end of the camp (and always!).
With love,