The sun is rising earlier and the days are growing longer as spring approaches here in Korea. For the past few days, I have not had to scrape frost off the windows of the red tin can that I use for a car, and it is raining more than snowing when we get precipitation.
Last week we finished our second 7-week semester of Bible college classes and celebrated with steaming bowls of bulgogi and galbi tang at a local restaurant. Before I had finished taking my first spoonful of bulgogi, the students were asking what else I wanted to eat. I finally got the answer to one of the questions I have wanted to ask Koreans: “Why do you think I need to eat more than you do?” The answer: “Because you are taller.” I had to laugh. Now I know why the server in the hospital cafeteria always brings me a larger bowl of rice than the Korean doctors around me receive when we eat lunch together.
Last week also included a speaking engagement at the KONIS kindergarten graduation in Seoul. I delivered the congratulations to the students and then went to lunch with the staff at a nice hotel buffet. Koreans often show appreciation through treating people to a nice meal. I am so blessed to be so appreciated that now I am dieting!
One of the sons of the owner of KONIS, Phillip, has become a friend of mine, and this past Monday he invited me to join him and his high school friend Jimmy for a cup of coffee and some conversation. Coffee turned out to be a bowl of juk, Korean rice porridge with vegetables and a little meat in it, since Phillip had heard I had not been eating due to a bout of stomach virus. Koreans believe in three square meals a day, even if you are dieting.
Is There More to Life
Over spoonfuls of healthy, stomach-friendly juk, I heard about how Jimmy became a believer recently. The story of his first 30 years of life was quite eventful, especially the last ten when he got into some situations while living in America that resulted in him returning to Korea where his parents disowned him for three years. He said that he came to a point in his life where nothing made him happy, all he felt was emptiness, and he thought that there had to be more to life than what he had experienced so far.
The Best Stories
Fortunately for Jimmy, he had a Christian friend like Phillip to lead him to Christ. Phillip had gone through a bit of a prodigal son experience for a season, so he was able to identify with Jimmy and help him put his faith in Jesus Christ. As I sat there and listened to Jimmy speak, I thought, “Redemption stories are the best and most beautiful stories of all.”
I love how nothing is wasted with God. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God is always working all things together for good. All things, even the things we thought were wasted, God redeems them and uses them to do divine good.
Let Go and Let God
As I sat there listening, I wondered why Phillip had asked me to join them. Was it because I was Pastor Dan and I was supposed to say something incredibly spiritual? If so, he was likely to be. I decided that I would not try to be spiritual, but simply trust God to use me as a vessel, however that would happen. I am learning that it is so much easier when I am willing to let God have His way. I walked away from that evening thanking God for allowing me to be part of that time of fellowship.
Thank you for all you do that makes it possible for me to be here.