Wednesday, July 31, 2013

And these precious souls are the reason I came to Korea...

Jr. High Students in Mrs. B's English Class

     I have begun to care deeply for these kids already, and the way I know that's true is because I find myself thinking of them and praying for them when they are not with me. On the first day I gave each one a journal that I purchased for them. I wrote a personal note on the first page of each one asking questions about things my students had mentioned in class.  Their assignment was to read my note, consider their answers to my questions and write me a note back in their journal for the next day using their best English grammar. Well, suffice it to say, they blew me away! They LOVE writing back and forth with me, and I love writing to each of them everyday too! They look forward to when they will get the next note from me. At this point, the fact that their written English grammar is being practiced (and corrected) daily is just a nice side benefit to the exercise!
     God's purpose and plan for this trip may be (or more likely not be) fully revealed to me, but I know He is stretching me and showing Himself to these Jr. High kids in the process.
     The first morning I explained that each day we would begin by gathering prayer requests and praises for the day, and I would then pray. Well, when I asked them if anyone had a prayer request, you could hear crickets... No one wanted to speak up or call attention to themselves. So I suggested some things I wanted to pray for and when I asked them to bow their heads, one of the girls quietly said, "Mrs. B. Teacher, I want to pray for chicken." All the boys began snickering and whispering in Korean. The girl was embarrassed. I was rather caught off guard by this request so I stammered and tried to get a little more information before I prayed...for chicken. She went on to say how the cafeteria food is really bad and that all she really wanted was to eat some chicken. (I'm not sure I've had chicken in that cafeteria yet, so I knew this was going to be an earthly long shot...) SO, I prayed that if God would so will to answer this small request sometime during camp that we would praise Him and that if He chose not to, we would also praise Him! 
     I ended up working in the classroom through lunch period and nibbling one of my precious-few Cliff Bars that I packed. Well, my kids came running back across campus from the cafeteria 15 minutes earlier than they had to and burst into our classroom shouting in their best English, "We have chicken lunch today!!"
     What a GLORIOUS, personal God we serve! I asked the students if they thought this was 'luck' or if they believed that God had specifically answered our prayer. Two students weren't willing to say that God answered our prayer, but the other five were confident that He had. I told them that this couldn't just end with excitement, but that it needed to end with thanksgiving! I asked them to bow their heads with me and we thanked God for caring about one young girl's desire and that we were grateful that He chose to bless them all with chicken!

That Crazy Little Thing Called........Kindergarten??

Hello Everyone!!

     I love teaching!! I am currently co-teaching a class of 10 Korean kindergarteners. I am only 2 long days in, but I am loving it! Being that Kindergarten is the lowest level offered, I have the joy of speaking at a rate of 12wpm. Class goes a little something like this. "Please.........take............ out...............your...............notebook." Although this may seem to be annoying and a waste of time, I love the outcomes. As I collapsed at 10pm last night, I was reminded what an exercise of faith this truly is. Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." God is certainly using this time in Korea to build a greater ability and desire for patience in me.

This morning as we finished our story about David and Goliath, I asked if anyone had prayer requests. Just to share a few for encouragement and laughs:
-Having faith to fight Satan like David Fought Goliath
-Overcoming a fear of eating Chickens
-no more bug bites at camp

Please pray for us as teachers, because each of us deal with different classroom dynamics. Some of us deal with an over-active class, while some of us are having a hard time connecting with some of the students in our class. Please pray against discouragement and a lack of focus on our TRUE GOAL.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words and prayers. We covet them, especially during this tough leg of our trip.

Audra Baumann

I love teaching!

     It's about 5:30 p.m. here, and I've just finished my second full day of teaching. I absolutely LOVE it! I have a class of eight adorable ten year olds, four boys and  four girls, and although it's only been two days, I've connected with them all so much. When I was introduced to them a few nights ago, I broke the ice by teaching them one of my friends' favorite games, Ninja. They loved it and demand to play it every chance they get. I also love working with my Korean co-teacher, Bruce. He's hilarious and super good with the kids. He goes to school in Philly so I may actually get to see him back in the states!!
     Every morning, we have an hour long Bible class. I teach my kids Bible songs, memory verses, stories about King David (that's the theme of the class) and more. Shout out to Mrs. Franck for teaching me so many songs in first grade! They've been useful. After that, we move on to four one-hour-long English class periods. I work with them on their grammar, spelling, reading, pronunciation, and conversational skills. We frequently go over to "Miss. Hannah Teacher's" room and have class wars. We both teach level 3, so after we finish a lesson, our kids compete to test their skills. They get so into it! I also got recruited to be one of the music teachers, and I have to coach the child who is playing David in the camp play on his lines and teach him all the songs. Ironically, I know none of the songs either so I have to learn them all tonight in order to teach him his part.
     If you wouldn't mind, I'd like you all to pray for a few of my students over the next few days. Hannah and I both have students who are farther behind in their English than the others and get very discouraged. I also have a few students who don't know the Lord, and I'm trying my very best to teach them about Him in spite of the language barrier, but it is harder than I though it would be! And pray for Audra! She isn't feeling well and has been out for hours. We're hoping  it'll pass by morning because her class of kindergartners needs her!
   Thanks everyone-- That's all for now!!
Hello everyone!!!
   So, my friends and I have been in South Korea now for almost three weeks! The Global Youth Forum seems like ages ago. Valerie and I were saying earlier today how this trip seems like four mini trips: the global youth forum, the tour of South Korea, the prep for the EMC, and the EMC itself. We are on the last and most important leg of our trip. I think we all hit a wall during the preparation for the camp. Our friends had left and we were growing weary of kimchi and rice at every meal. We all prayed for perseverance and the Lord answered! I have found blessings in the small a nice run in the morning with Jaime and a good night's sleep in the air conditioning. Also, THEY ARE NOW SERVING AMERICAN FOOD!!!! It is beautiful. A few days ago we had fresh fruit, ham and cheese sandwiches, and PB&J. The next day we had bow tie pasta with grilled cheese. It was such a nice reprieve from rice and kimchi.
    Yesterday was my first day of teaching and it was soooooooooo amazing! I have seven third graders and they are the most adorable kids in the whole world! Their names are James, Jeffery, Jane, Judy, Cherry, Cindy, and Haley. Each one has such a unique personality! James is my sporty and competitive student. Whether we are playing a vocab game or playing duck duck goose (which in Korea is "kimchi kimchi moo"), James gives 100% to win. Jeffery is my quiet and shy student. The rest of the class is outgoing and vivacious and Jeffery is quiet and reserved. And soooooo adorable! He has the chubbiest cheeks. Judy and Haley are both very studious. Each student hs their own notebook in which they take notes and practice their spelling and writing skills. While I was correcting Haley's notebook, I noticed that she spelled a few words wrong. I circled the words and wrote the correct spelling beside them. About ten minutes later, I passed by her desk and saw that she had practiced writing each misspelled word three times on her own without me asking her! Judy is like my shadow. :) Whenever I turn around, I see little Judy tagging behind. Cherry is my tykwondo master! She tried to teach me some moves and laughed as I butchered them. Jane and Cindy are also as cute as can be and amaze me every day with their willingness to learn.
    Today in class we talked about syllables, vowels, consonants, adjectives, direct objects, subject and object pronouns, the verb "to be", and spelling. It is so funny to teach the kids songs and jingles that I learned as a child at Tall Oaks when I was their age! Valerie is also teaching third grade and has the classroom right next to mine. We teach the same material so after each lesson we have what we call "Battle of the Classrooms". Her class is "Team Winner" and my class is "Team Awesome". "Team Awesome" and "Team Winner" play vocabulary and spelling games together and it is so funny to see the kids get competitive!
    The Korean girls are fascinated by our eye colors and our eye lashes. They come up and stare at our eyes and ask us to close them and then break into giggles! They are all so adorable. They also love a game called "ninja". Valerie and I taught them the first night of camp and they loved it! James will randomly raise his hand during class and say, "Teacher Teacher! Ninja?" Then I'll say, "No James. Not right now." Then he will raise his hand and say, "Teacher Teacher! Kimchi Kimchi Moo?" Haha they are so cute. My translator is wonderful! Her name in JuAe and she is so great with the kids. Valerie's translator is named Bruce and all the little boys love him!
     While teaching is really fun, it is also exhausting! I have a new found respect for all my childhood teachers. It is a good feeling though to be so tired at the end of the day. Well I have to go prepare my lesson plans for tomorrow! Take care.
~Hannah Crismon

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Final, and Longest Leg

Dear Friends and Family,
      With home and my daily routine left behind, and two weeks of teaching ahead, I find myself (homesick as I may be) looking at the faces of my students in front of me, remembering why we all came. This message comes to you directly from one of our three daily twenty minute breaks, between busy classes filled with laughter and, oh yes, confusion.
      Teaching is proving successful so far, and hopefully will continue to be so. Being that it's only day one, I don't have much to report in the ways of classroom experiences, but I can certainly say it has been an entirely new journey! From classroom soccer with balls of paper, to being riddled with questions ranging from my age to my blood type (oh yes, my blood type), teaching seems as if it will push me even more so out of my comfort zone.
      If my trip so far could be summed up with one word, it would most definitely have to be (provided hyphens are allowed)  life-changing. The ways which the Lord has worked through us all on this trip have been, and continue to be, remarkable. My request to you all is that you continue to pray for us as our journey is on its last leg.
      I think I can safely say that we are all enjoying our time here, but at the same time, we all greatly miss our homes and those we left behind. With our time here having eclipsed its halfway point, we know our time is coming near to its end. Our days in Korea are dwindling, as is our strength in some areas. Please pray we will be given strength to finish out the race.
     The following prayer is a prayer from the Valley of Vision:
 Life-Giving God,
Quicken me to call upon thy name,
   for my mind is ignorant,
   my thoughts vagrant,
   my affections earthly,
   my heart unbelieving,
 and only thy Spirit can help my infirmities.
I approach thee as Father and Friend,
   my portion forever,
   my exceeding joy,
   my strength of heart.
I believe in thee as the God of nature,
   the Ordainer of providence,
   the sender of Jesus my Saviour.
My guilty fears discourage an approach to thee.
 But I praise thee for the blessed news
   that Jesus reconciles thee to me.
May the truth that is in Him
   illuminate in me all that is dark,
   establish in me all that is wavering,
   comfort in me all that is wretched,
   accomplish in me all that is of thy goodness,
   and glorify in me the name of Jesus.
I pass through a vale of tears
   but bless thee for the opening gate of glory
   at its end.
Enable me to realize as mine the better,
   heavenly country.
Prepare me for every part of my pilgrimage.
Uphold my steps by thy Word.
Let no iniquity dominate me.
Teach me that Christ cannot be the way
   if I am the end, 
   that he cannot be Redeemer
   if I am my own saviour,
   that there can be no true union with Him
   while the creature has my heart,
   that faith accepts him as Redeemer and Lord
 or not at all.
      My prayer of the day, and my suggestion to any who read who may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Teachers ready for students...

It's been a very, very busy Monday here at the GVCS campus! There were so many parents and their children lugging suitcases and camp supplies into the dorms as we teachers put the finishing touches on our English lessons and prepared our daily devotionals and memory verses for the coming two weeks. Finally, at 2:30 this afternoon we were all stationed in our respective classrooms waiting for our students to show up ready to be tested for English fluency via a written exam and an oral test. It was great to see such a wide variety of personalities. Some were oh so quick to make connections with their American teachers and others were more reserved and shy. Our TOCS team fell in love with their young charges in short order!
Teachers for the English Mission Camp 2013 -- GVCS, Mungyeong, S. Korea
(a combination of American high school students and Korean university students)
We are humbled and thrilled to be working with this group!
This is a picture of my classroom before my students arrived. I made the "Learning Tree" to the left of the board out of two sheets of poster board and also hung signs from paper chains listing some of the topics we will be covering in our conversational class period (sports, food, travel, etc.)

I thought you might also like to see the accommodations for the girls and me. These two pictures show the dorm room from both sides. These photos are of my dorm room, which I have all to myself. Our four TOCS girls share a room just like this a few doors down from me.
We appreciate your prayers for tomorrow. We will be teaching our first full day of classes from 8:30 a.m. - about 4:00 p.m. It's going to be a long and glorious day! Pray that we would have wisdom and boldness as we discuss the gospel in our classrooms and reach out to specific children that the Lord laid on each one of our hearts this evening.
Another specific prayer request that we have is to please pray for us tomorrow evening, as our team has been invited to share their winning presentation from the Global Youth Forum with the local government English camp-goers and their leaders. It is not a Christian camp, but our team's presentation is filled with scriptural truths. Pray for our students to execute it well to the glory of God and for the hearts and ears of their audience to hear it.
Janet <><

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Weekend in Mungyeong

We are nearing the end of our weekend here in Mungyeong. I didn't have my weekly Sunday afternoon nap as is my habit, and I am tired! But we had a great day (:

Yesterday, we worked on our lesson plans in the morning, and one of the English Missions Camp (EMC) directors asked for volunteers to lead worship for the English service this morning. Somehow, the 5 of us became committed to help out along with our friend from California, Tallen. We spent the afternoon selecting and practicing the songs that we would sing. After dinner, Mrs. Baumann, Hannah, Valerie, Tallen, and I went on a walk together through the village surrounding the campus. The countryside here is so beautiful, and we paused to take pictures, look at spiders and flowers, and take in the smells of the village.

Today, we had worship in the late morning. It went really well, and as my friends already talked about in their posts (I urge you to read them if you haven't already!), the message was so encouraging, especially as we enter into the EMC. Pray that we would all joyfully give of ourselves to the Lord and to our students and to each other!

After lunch, we briefly met with the other EMC volunteers and received the stories of David to use for our homeroom Bible time in the mornings. We plan to incorporate reading, singing, prayer, videos, etc. to bring God's Word to our children. Please pray that their hearts would be open to our Savior! Tomorrow the students will arrive, and we will help with their placement tests and be part of an opening ceremony before classes start on Tuesday.

Then, we took 2 taxi cabs into the city of Mungyeong to go to Home Plus, a store similar to Target or Walmart. It was great to get off campus for a few hours! We shopped, bought groceries, and ate dinner. I had Red Bean Ice Flakes, a traditional Korean dessert that I was told to try! It was surprisingly good! It had shaved ice flakes, red beans, ice cream, corn flakes, cranberries, and sunflower seeds in it.

I pray you all have a sweet Sabbath as we did!
With love,

P.S. My pictures aren't loading properly, so I will try tomorrow!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

     Praise The Lord, I found chocolate!!!! After two weeks, the little store by our cafeteria opened and I bought not one, but two Hershey's chocolate bars. Therefore, I deem today a good day😊.
     On a more serious note, we were pushed out of our comfort zones yet again today as we led this morning's worship. It's funny because right after we got done singing on stage last week, I looked at Hannah and said, "I'm never singing in front of a bunch of people again!" And she, of course, adamantly agreed. But sure enough, we found ourselves, once again, up on stage singing our hearts out. It was actually kind of fun though, and I'm glad I'm doing things I normally wouldn't feel comfortable doing.
    The sermon today was really good, and I heard the message loud and clear: we need to bring whatever we can offer to Christ, even if we're scared or have no special skills. This trip has been full of moments where I've panicked and looked at Mrs. Baumann with an "I can't do this" kind of attitude, and she's just keeps telling me to do my very best for Christ. And, magically, it always seems to work out! Our God is good. He can handle anything and everything, and through Him, so can I. So my team an I are going to keep offering up whatever we can, even if it doesn't seem like much. I hope you all enjoy your Sabbath as much as I've enjoyed mine!

Hello Home!

     Greetings! It is currently Sunday morning in South Korea! We have not done much during the past several days. After our tour of South Korea, we began orientation for the English Mission Camp. We all came into this thinking that we would be teachers assistants. Not so!!! We found out that each of us would have our own classes to teach! My first reaction was "Ohhhh noooooo I don't think I can do this!!!" I panicked for about two days as I pictured myself teaching a class of third graders pretty much by myself!
    I went to talk to Mr. Baumann to share some of my concerns. She has been such a source of encouragement to all of us during this trip! She assured me that we are here to fulfill God's will! We might not have known that we were going to have our own classes, but He did! He brought us here to do His work and He will surely be with us through this whole experience! Looking back on this trip so far, He has certainly provided for us. Between our success in the Global Youth Forum and the smoothness of the trip, there is no doubt in my mind now that the English Camp will be a success.
    I would like to send a personal thank you to all of you at home. Thank you for watching our blog so faithfully. Thank you also to my family members who facetime me at bizzare hours of the night and morning to compensate for the thirteen hour time difference. It is so wonderful to be able to talk to you all! This afternoon, my team and I are going to the town of Mungyeoung to refresh our supply of snack food. My stash of protein bars and granola bars is no more. :( Hope you are all doing well and I look forward to seeing you when I return home in less than two weeks!

Sabbath in Korea

Sunday lunch in Mungyeong! This morning we met for an English worship service here on campus. Our team volunteered to lead worship and bring the special music, and they did a great job.  Below is a clip of them singing
"Oh the Deep Deep Love of Jesus".
Pastor Chris Lee brought a wonderful and challenging message from Mark 14:3-9. He reminded us that our Christian service should be like the alabaster flask of expensive perfume that Mary poured out on Jesus' head -- broken and emptied out in service to Christ out of hearts overflowing with love for Him. Pastor Lee also reminded us that in our service to Christ we should each one do what we can, not yearn for others' gifts, and that God would give us the power to complete our service to Him.
After lunch today, Valerie decided to break out some special Sunday treats. Thought you'd like to see her happy face!
We hope you all have a wonderful Sabbath as well. May God's richest blessings be poured out on each one of you!
Janet <><

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't forget to look up...

God in His wisdom hasn't allowed us to see 'the big picture' of the English Mission Camp (EMC) yet. For a group of seven people that all REALLY like to have their plans made and well-organized, I think He's effectively gotten our attention and our dependence on Him is WAY UP!    

Rather than each of us being a teaching assistant in a given classroom for the next two weeks, we learned today that most of the Tall Oaks team will be the actual teachers in our given classrooms. We have spent that past two days pouring over our curriculum, writing lesson plans, decorating our classrooms and checking out some of Mr. Crismon's ESL resources online to use as a supplement!

I am so grateful for each one of these precious saints on this team! When the time is right, Josh is always ready with a timely, fitting verse of scripture. Jaime is a source of peace for us all. Audra is a combination of a constant calm and levity. Hannah asks good questions that always make me think just a little more deeply. Valerie continually makes me giggle and she consistently points out the good in every circumstance. And Matt has been a kind and thoughtful teammate who is willing to bring me an exhortation from our bible studies when I need them. Our faithful prayer partners and encouragers are ever with us as well. Your notes of encouragement mean so very much to each one of us! They are truly like manna to our souls! We so needed to hear as a team the words that Cathy Mercer sent from Is 12:2, Ps 61:2-4, & II Cor 3:18! My dear brother, Chris sent precious truth from Is 57:15 that quenched my thirsty soul tonight and Nina Mentzer and Lisa Crowe both sent Phil 4:6-7 that was a precious reminder.

Tonight after I had been stooped over my laptop at a picnic table working on two weeks worth of lesson plans I looked up at the sky and saw the first brush strokes of the sunset here in central South Korea. I thought I would share the beauty with you all. It was a good reminder to me to look up in the midst of much work, because God has so much more for me to see and enjoy in Him and His creation!

Thank you all for following us and praying for us. We are so encouraged by your comments, fb messages and emails! What a blessing!

Janet <><

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Annyeonghaseyo (μ•ˆλ…•ν•˜μ„Έμš”)

The title of this post is a formal greeting for "hello" in Korean. Clearly, coming up with titles for blog posts is not my strong suit. As you read from Valerie and Hannah, today was our first day without our friends from Red Lion. It's been a slower day, but we still have a lot to be thankful for even though we have to adjust back to our Tall Oaks team tempo. Today we had salad, spaghetti, and garlic bread for lunch! It was great (:
I also treated myself to a hazelnut iced latte from the cafe! And this morning, I went on a run with my new friend from California. These may seem like small things, but I am thankful for them nonetheless!

We started our orientation and planning for the English Missions Camp today. When the students arrive on Monday, they will take a test and be interviewed to place them in the best level according to their English ability. The primary students will be placed in levels 1-6, and there will be 2 levels for middle school students. Right now, Audra will be co-teaching Level 1; Mr. Crismon-level 2; Hannah and Valerie-level 3; Josh and me-level 4; Mrs. Baumann-middle school level 2. We began looking through our curriculum and making lesson plans to help our students with listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom and creativity to plan and connect and prepare for our students! Pray also that the Lord would prepare their hearts and ours for English teaching/learning and gospel sharing/living whether they are believers or not.

Grace to you and peace in Christ!
With love, Jaime

photo credits to Mrs. Baumann!

   Hello everyone! So the Global Youth Forum has come to a close and we have begun preparation for the English Mission Camp. As some of you know, GVCS treated all of the participants to a three day tour of South Korea! These three days were so amazing! I shall briefly share a few of the highlights with you. One of the coolest things about the tour was the our hot pink party bus! It had a ceiling that looked like a light bright, a sparkly red stirring wheel, a sparkly floor, leather seats, a flat screen TV, and purple curtains. On the first day we went to this old historic town that was over 600 years old. The houses were so quaint and beautiful against the backdrop of the Korean mountains. There was a river at the base of a cliff full of small, smooth stones. We played in that river for a good long time and skipped rocks.

This is just one of the beautiful houses we saw there.
This is the river that we had such a good time in. As you can see, Jordan and Josh invested in some traditional Korean hats :)

During our second day of touring, we went to Seoul were we toured a Korean palace.
Here we are at the front of the palace not looking at the camera haha. Sorry about that. As we were walking through, people kept asking to take pictures with us. We would be standing under a door and out would come 10 cameras. :) We enjoyed our 10 seconds of fame. That tall guy in the background is our new friend Talen from California! That night we went shopping in the market in Seoul. There was this jewelry shop that went on forever! There was jewelry as far as the eye could see. Just when we thought that one could not fit one more article of jewelry in that store, Valerie found an escalator! There was a second floor. Poor Josh and Jordan had the hardest time corralling six girls in that store. We shopped there for a while and bought some souvenirs and gifts for family members at home.
Here is a picture of the market in Seoul! There was so much stuff to buy! That evening, everyone wanted burgers at Burger King except for me. Mrs. Baumann, my dad and I went and got some awesome Korean much better than burgers in my humble opinion.
The last day of our tour was also spent in Seoul. In the morning we went to the DMZ where we walked down one of the military tunnels of North Korea. It was cold and damp down there and really made me think about the dark history between North and South Korea. On our way there, we drove past the border which was marked with layers of barbed wire. It was very unsettling. We then went to a cemetery where foreign missionaries to Korea are buried. We spend that evening in the Tines Square mall in Seoul with our old middle school teacher Mr. Tillman. It was so cool to see him again!
     I want to give a quick shout out to our friends from Red Lion! We had such a good time with then during the youth forum and the tour! They left for Seoul bright and early this morning at 4am. Some of us stayed up and saw them off. Everybody was a little mopy this morning when we ate breakfast without them for the first time since we have been here. We are praying for safe travels for them as they fly back to America tonight! We miss you guys :( #redoaksforever
     Today was a bit of a rough day for me personally. The constant smell of kimchee and the lack of sleep is starting to take its toll. For the first time since I have been here, I am a bit homesick. I miss my dad's cooking. I miss my bed and my bath tub. I miss my mom, my grandmom, and my little brother. And I really want some flat bread pizza. We began preparing for the English camp today and we realized that we really didn't know any details about what will be going on. I found myself really flustered and frustrated. I had to remind myself that this is the meat of our trip! As Mrs. Baumann reminded me, teaching English is only a small part of this. We are here to touch the lives of the little Korean children that we will be interacting with. I have no idea how God will use these two weeks, but I know that He has got something figured out that I can't even comprehend. So I would just ask that you continue to lift us up in your prayers. Please pray that we remain strong and keep our eyes on the ball. I know that I can be easily distracted by my own physical discomforts. As of right now, I'm sleep deprived and I have a really bad knot in my neck that's driving me crazy. These things pale in significance to God's larger plan for us while we are here. So thank you so much for following our blog! It means the world to know that people at home are following our progress. Take care and God bless!
  Hannah Crismon

God is good, all the time.

Hello from Mungyeong, South Korea!!!

I want this post to be a testimony of God's omnipotence and omniscience. God is a mighty force, and yet gently places influences in our lives. This truth has been made very clear to me during the first ten days of our time in South Korea by his unifying word. God has used our time in South Korea both to beautifully orchestrate friendships between neighbors and grow us as individuals.

When we first hopped off the plane in Seoul, we didn't know any of the people we would be working with. However, after we played "run back and forth to try to meet our bus driver somewhere" we were ushered quickly onto a large bus. Before we had made the 90 minute drive to the campus, I had become friends with three individuals in particular. We have become even closer since then, and have the blessing of continuing our new relationships in person in Delaware!!!! Rachel, Kathleen, and Jordan have been such a blessing to me personally and our team as a whole. when they left for Seoul at 4a.m., it felt as if a part of our team was leaving us. We are all sad to see them leave us, but are glad that this is just the start of a lovely connection.  All to say, God is so good to have crossed our paths during this month in Korea.

As for God's stretching us, today was the first part of English Mission Camp (EMC) orientation. Today was a day of working out details such as what level of English we will be teaching, where, and how. Each of us have spent the past few hours preparing eight days of lesson plans for our individual classes. As we begun this work, we started to realize that we knew NO details. Although WE don't know the details, I know someone who does...GOD!!!!! Even though we like to plan every last detail of our lives, God uses situations like these to grow us in our patience, faith, and wisdom to know that He is good.

I'll try to write back after our orientation is over! Please pray for us whenever you are reminded of us. Thank you for your love and support!

Audra Baumann


The things I miss

Although I really love South Korea, there are a few things I would kill to have, and since I can't stop thinking about them, I might as well write it all down. First and foremost, I miss anything and everything deep fried! Cheese burgers have a very special place in my heart,  and rice just isn't filling the void. And oh, what I would do for some Chili's right about now, and it hasn't even been two weeks yet. I also really miss salt and ketchup. If I ever come back to South Korea, I'll definitely pack all the appropriate seasonings. I miss my mother's cooking, and I miss my own bed. Adding to that list, I miss toilets that actually flush toilet paper! One of the first things I had to do after 36 hours of traveling was learn to unclog the toilets that my friends so very promptly clogged (but really, nobody warned us).  I miss my family a lot, especially my mother and my cheerfully obnoxious little brother Luke. I miss a lot of things, but those are just at the top of my list at the moment.
I hope I'm not coming across as ungrateful, because although I miss all these things, there is an infinitely longer list of things that I'm grateful for! I'm so grateful for this opportunity, for the chance I've had to meet new people and learn about and serve God in new ways. Even after all these days spent together, I still love my team and couldn't ask for a better group of friends. There is no one I would rather be halfway around the world with! I'm also grateful for the support and the prayers we are continually receiving from home. They have been such an encouragement to us. This trip has not only given me more to be grateful for, but it's given me a new appreciation for what I already had. That's all for now!
Valerie :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Identifying Evidences of Grace

This has been a sweet day for our team in Mungyeong-si, South Korea. We have been on the go since we left the U.S. on Sunday, July 14.  Today was our first day to be able to sleep in a bit, allow some of our experiences thus far to sink in, journal, hang out with new friends and play some basketball and soccer.

We started our day together at 10 a.m. for prayer and devotions. The book that we are working through, Humility – True Greatness by CJ Mahaney has been such a good challenge for each of us to dwell closely to the cross of Christ, as that is the place where it is impossible for believers to become proud or puffed-up.  Mahaney writes, “Our salvation from first to last, is truly all of grace – and the effect of this grace understood is humility.”
As I see it, humility will be one of the key ingredients for us as we embark on the mission of teaching at the English Mission Camp over the next couple of weeks. Please pray that we would have hearts that are emptied of self and filled with awe of our Savior’s ultimate act of love for us and for the children here that we will teach. Our training begins tomorrow (Thursday 7/25).

Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth.”  One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp wrote the following in response to this verse, “The word humility itself comes from the Latin root humus – the kind of earth that grows good crops. God gives the earth to the “humus-people”, the humble ones. Humility is that good humus that grows gratitude that yields abundant joy.”  May our team be that “good humus” that grows gratitude and yields abundant joy!
For our family members and friends who are reading CJ Mahaney’s book along with us as we are away, we are studying chapter eight right now: Identifying Evidences of Grace. Paul’s example toward the Corinthian church is powerful for us. He was able to see this motley crew of sinful new believers through a divine perspective.  Remembering that each one has been called by Christ helps us fight our fleshly habit of having a critical eye for those around us and we are beginning to cultivate a divine perspective of others' true identity in Christ's sight. The exercise of identifying fruit of the Spirit in one another’s lives has also been a very good and practical exercise for our team. 

Below is a picture of our tired and happy crew after Monday's shopping excursion at the traditional Korean market. I must say, they got some pretty cool gifts for their mammas! :)

I will post more at a later time. Just thought I would share my heart for now.

Love and thanks to you all!

Janet <><

Adventures in South Korea

Hi blog readers (:
We apologize to those of you who have been anxiously awaiting our posts; on Monday and Tuesday we were away all day seeing different areas of South Korea. Today (Wednesday) we have a day off before our orientation for the English Missions Camp will occupy the rest of the week before we help with the camp for the next 2 weeks.
This post will be very picture-heavy!
After church on Sunday, we drove about 45 minutes to the city of Andong and the traditional village of Hahoe. We ate a really delicious Korean  lunch at low tables, seated on cushions. 

After lunch, we went to the 600 year old village of Hahoe. We walked through the old streets, looked at some souvenir shops, and enjoyed some time down by the river. It was beautiful and refreshing! After our time in Hahoe, we went to a big department store, Home Plus, for dinner. They had sloped escalators for carts to go up and down! There was a food court with lots of options (:

fried squid rings, anyone?

i was so thankful for this fresh meal (:

On Monday, we went to Seoul! We went to Gyeongbukgong Palace. There was a huge courtyard and beautiful gateway with lots of ornate buildings behind it. We walked around the buildings and then walked over to the Korean Folk Art Museum. While walking to the museum, Rachel and I were stopped by a Korean family asking to take pictures with us! The teenage son and daughter both separately took pictures with us, and similar occurrences happened to the rest of our team! We went to a big department store for lunch followed by exploring a really cool street market.

we watched a changing of the guard ceremony at the end of our time at the palace

Are you still with me?
On the way home on Monday night, we had a sing-off with Disney songs, country songs, and pop songs with our friends on the bus. It was so fun!
On Tuesday, it was raining all morning. We drove up to the DMZ. We went down into the 3rd tunnel, which was constructed by North Koreans and later discovered by South Korea. We walked down deep into the earth and went down a small, dark tunnel until we reached an area with barbed wire and a cut out into North Korea. My heart was so fearful walking down the tunnels, and I had to pray and recite songs and Scripture to myself the whole time. When we got back last night, I was reading Psalm 27, which says,

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
    and set me high upon a rock.

I am so thankful that our heavenly Father keeps us safe in his arms of protection!
After we left the DMZ, we went to a nearby restaurant for Korean barbeque. It was so good! Then, we went to a cemetery where missionaries to Korea are buried. Their dedication to translating and sharing God's Word with Korea was inspiring. God's Word does not go out and return empty! 
Afterwards, we went to a mall in Seoul and met up with our old middle school English/Latin teacher from Tall Oaks, Mr. Tillman. It was really nice to catch up over a meal with him!

 Today, we all slept in and have been hanging around campus.  This afternoon, Kathleen, Hannah, and I walked along one of the rice paths into the village. We were admiring some flowers nearby to someone's house, and a woman walked over and cut off stalks for us while smiling and talking to us in Korean! It was such a sweet moment (:
We are all sad that our friends from Red Lion are leaving tomorrow morning, but we look forward to becoming closer with the others teams we have become friends with.We also hope to befriend more Koreans during the camp next week!
Thanks for sticking with me everyone!
With love,