* Click photos to enlarge.
The title of this post, "Hello!" is basically the extent of my Korean linguistic ability, so I'll write the rest in my native tongue of broken English.
|My interpreter Jongyul Pahk, in white shirt.|
I'd be totally lost without interpreters on this trip, and I am very grateful for the hard work of those willing to translate both in and out of meeting. It's given me appreciation for the beautiful promise in Romans 8:26-27 of the Spirit and of Jesus interceding for me when I pray.
I arrived in Seoul last Monday, and was greeted by Sayul Choi, a retired friend here. He took Jim Atcheson, David Bergh and myself to he and his wife Ahsun's home where we had an amazing dinner of Korean barbequed chicken in a sweet sauce, traditional kimchi, and rice, followed by beautiful strawberries for dessert.
Jim and I spent the night with Choi's then the next day Sayul took us to a nearby park before we went out to the convention place. The park was beautiful, with flowers in full bloom, peaceful little lakes and streams, and wonderful trails for walking.
The convention was held about an hour east of Seoul at a hotel in a scenic agricultural area. In the morning I'd go out for my run, following a narrow road that wound past rice paddies, dairies, and small family farms. Seventy percent of South Korea is mountainous, and the convention spot gave me a nice glimpse of the miles of lush countryside.
|Convention hotel is furthest back.|
There were about three hundred people at the convention, the biggest one I've been to on this trip. Many young families, the children the same as all over the world, poking their siblings with sticks, getting dirty between meetings, and running to be first in the cafeteria line. Parents reacting the same as parents everywhere too. “Don't poke your sister, get out of the mud, don't run to the front of the line.” I didn't need an interpreter to understand those phrases.
|Ed & Sue|
Across the road from the convention hotel was a store selling ceramic jars used for fermenting soybean paste, pickling vegetables such as radishes and cucumbers, and making kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional fermented cabbage dish made with ginger, scallions, radish, garlic, red chili pepper, fish sauce and various other ingredients depending on the recipe. It can range from quite mild to very hot. The strong pungent flavor balances perfectly with starchy rice, and I can easily understand the Korean's love of eating it with every meal.
I also got the chance to try the most unusual food I've eaten so far in my forty two years on this earth. Silkworms sauteed in a wok. Purchased from a street vendor, they are served up in a nice little paper cup, have a strong nutty, earthy flavor, and are quite chewy in texture. Not bad, although I'll allow I can probably go another forty two years before another round.
Once again I've quickly grown attached to the new friends I've made in the last few days, and it will be hard to leave. I am loving the genuine warmth of the Korean people, with their big smiles of greeting, deep bows and heartily extended “Pleased to meet you” in English given by young and old. I couldn't feel more welcome. Amazing how a common love for Christ brings a spirit of harmony that bridges language and culture.
Today I'll take a chartered bus along with about twenty others to Joo Am convention in the south, near the town of Suncheon. It will be on a small farm, where they raise strawberries and chili peppers. About two hundred and fifty people are expected and I'm very much looking forward to my time there.
Hope this finds all well!