Today is the last day of January, and I am enjoying the Lunar New Year break from Bible college by catching up on some reading and doing some Bible college class preparation today. And, oh yeah, I went into town to take a bath. About every two weeks now, I go to the local bathhouse, soak in the warm, the hot, and the cold tubs of water and then pay a professional scrubber to use his abrasive washcloth to exfoliate me clean. It’s what many Koreans do since not everyone has a bathtub, and this is the traditional way to get thoroughly cleaned and hang out with the guys, if you’re a man, or with the girls, if you’re a woman.
Clean on the Inside
As I was soaking in the warm tub with my eyes closed, I thought of the lyrics to the song, Washed Away by Calling Levi: “Washed away! Washed away! Every sin and every stain! Covered by the blood of Christ! All my guilt! All my shame! Washed away!” It’s amazing what the Holy Spirit can bring back to remembrance.
January has brought some snow to Seoul to complement the frigid temperatures, and we have had to turn on the ondol floor heating system to make it comfortable to sit through services and Bible college classes. I say that if it’s cold, there might as well be some snow, so I have been happy to see the white stuff falling from the sky. The mountains are majestic dressed up in a mantle of snow.
Church and New People
We’ve seen some visitors to our church and to our Bible college this new year. A sister from a church in China who studies in the U.S. was in Seoul visiting a friend and came to our Wednesday night prayer meeting. Some folks Pastor DeVries and I met at a Bible study in Uijeongbu have started attending Bible college classes. And to my great surprise and joy, one of the doctors from the Wednesday English Bible Study at the hospital came to church for the last two Sundays. In his words, he likes or church because it is less formal than other Korean churches and he feels as though he has been a member for a long time. Now that’s an answer to your prayers!
Dana Johnson arrived last Saturday afternoon from China to spend ten days with us in Seoul. She arrived on the day of the Lunar New Year and was greeted by pretty women dressed in traditional handbooks. She is staying with one of the sisters in our church and taking advantage of the shopping and healthcare here in Korea while she is on break from her teaching duties. She was part of the team here for two years and received a joyful, warm welcome from the church members. After our morning service, we all went to have a new year’s lunch at the home of one of our members, and Dana shared about her adventures in faith since she was last here in 2103.
If you have ever thought about coming to visit Korea, there are two events coming up within the next year to consider. One is our annual East Asia Conference in July which our church hosts. Guests from China, Thailand, Japan, and other countries participate and YOU can too! I hope to have information available online soon. The other is the 2018 Winter Olympics. Start praying and saving some traveling money!
- for God’s provision for new housing as close to the church as possible for Pastor DeVries and I. We need to move in May, and we want to be closer to the people we serve.
- for souls to be saved this year at the hospital and in this new class of Yeomyung School students.
- for family members to return to church.
- for the believers living in North Korea.