* Click photos to enlarge.
Once again I'm saying goodbye to a people and place that I've come to love in a very short period of time. Tomorrow I leave Korea for Yuzhno Sakahlinsk, on the island of Sakhalin, Russia.
The little town where convention was this last week has several spellings. On some maps it is Joo-Am, others Ju-Am, and occasionally Chu-Am, the reason for the differences being that each are phonetically spelled names using Latin letters to approximate the Korean alphabet. However you spell it, I enjoyed my time there immensely, including sharing a room with Stephen Bransby from South Africa who works in Brazil, and Jim Atcheson from Canada. Being with them gave me a little insight of what it might be like some day years down the road to have the maturity, experience, and gray hair necessary to go to a foreign country for conventions as a visiting brother.
This convention was the first one on my trip held on the property of our friends. The setting is a hillside farm where they raise strawberries, lettuce, chili peppers and cabbage, and like the hotel outside of Seoul, the area is surrounded by beautiful tree covered mountains. The strawberry season was just coming to an end but there were plenty left for convention meals, along with huge crisp lettuce leaves picked fresh every day and used to wrap rice and spicy soybean paste, making a delicious accompaniment to the main dish.
|Convention farm. Meeting in blue roofed building.|
There were about two hundred and fifty people at Joo-Am, every one of them with a big warm Korean smile. I finally got to meet Chansun Pahk, who has worked in Russia for quite a few years. I had heard a lot about him from Dale Benjamin and my cousin Jana, so it was a fine thing to meet him myself. He is a cheerful guy, sits up straight in meeting, likes cooking, keeping active, making jokes and is an all around good fellow in general, but in spite of having nothing in common we got along pretty well. He kindly interpreted for me when I spoke in meeting, and I offered to interpret for him in return, but after hearing my English he politely declined.
The farming areas I've been in have made me think about the many times Jesus used the example of growing things as an analogy for our spiritual well being. Farmers, seed, soil, water, vines, branches, trees, wheat, fruit, harvest, all illustrating that God has provided every possible resource for His children to flourish and be fruitful. Makes me thankful that there is such great opportunity for abundant life in Christ!
I have completely loved my time in Korea and it's hard to leave these big hearted people and their fertile, green country. This feeling is balanced by excitement for the next part of my journey, which will include two weeks on Sakahlin where my Uncle Dennis and Aunt Carol live. My cousin Jana will be there, and her brother Darren and sister Cara will come over from Texas to join us the second week, so we'll have a miniature Printz family reunion. My third week in Russia will be on the mainland at Nakhodka convention before I go to Taiwan.
Hope this finds all well!