June 2022

It was a long trip from the U.S to South Korea. After 18 hours of waiting, layover and flight, I finally arrived at the Inchon airport, South Korea. It was my first visit in four years since I was not able to visit South Korea because of the pandemic. Even though the narrow plane seat was hard to endure, I was excited to visit.

In South Korea, the weather in May was just like summer. On the day I arrived, my parents, two younger brothers, nephews, and nieces gathered at my parents’ house to see me. All my nephews and nieces grew so much that I couldn’t even recognize them. We ate together and talked about our lives over the past years. The next day was Mother’s Day. As you can see in the picture, I bought a meal for my parents since I haven’t done it for four years. As we ate together at a restaurant, I realized that my parents like eating with me more than the delicious food itself.

I spent time with my parents, friends, and others in various places. With my parents, I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace which is one of the Korea’s royal palaces. With my friends, I went to Insa-dong where old, but precious traditional goods were on display. I also preached a sermon in Korean at the church of my mentor, who serves as the lead pastor. In addition, I officiated a wedding for a previous undergraduate student of my previous church. I was able to see and appreciate how God has guided our lives by being able to meet different people in different places.

During my stay so far in South Korea, there was one difficult thing for me. It was how my parents kept trying to provide for me. They kept trying to buy me food, clothes, and shoes. I was uncomfortable to receive so much from my parents because I believed that I was old enough to provide them instead of receiving. However, I couldn’t stop my parents from providing. It reminded me of some church members who still address their children as babies. Throughout my conversations with them, I later realized that they were still referring to their retired children as babies.

James Finley says that “The mystic is not somebody who says, “Look what I’ve experienced. Look what I’ve achieved.” The mystic is the one who says, “Look what love has done to me.” … There’s nothing left, but the being of love itself giving itself away as… the concreteness of who you simply are.” In South Korea, I realize that love has shaped and molded me. I miss you all and hope to see you soon in Waupaca.

Pastor Chris