Monday, August 31, 2009

Every Cent the Delegates Saved, and Every Sacrifice They Made Was So Appreciated.

Hi hi everyone!

Yesterday ended our International District Convention here in Korea. As mentioned in the headline here, it was so much appreciated that the delegates came. There are about 40 of us here in Korea that appreciated them even more than anyone else. That is how many true foreigners there are in the English congregations here for the whole country, brothers and sisters that don’t speak Korean. All of us would tell you that even though we are very happy with our decision to come here and support the foreign needs congregation, it has not been easy – in fact to put it in perspective, it is pretty much the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest with a 300lb man hanging off our ankles. The Korean brothers just aren't accustomed yet to having foreigners in the English congregations. We know that Jehovah will help them make adjustments to welcome foreigners into the English congregations but the changes are slow and sometimes it is almost overwhelming, so when all the native speakers showed up from Canada, the U.S., and Australia, we really felt that Jehovah had heard our prayers and sent in the reinforcements. After the sessions, us foreigners commented to each other that we didn’t realize how it was going to affect us until we stood shoulder to shoulder singing with our brothers and sisters that totally accepted us. Every hug that we received, every smile, every conversation we had, just meant the world to each one of us, and we really wish we could personally thank those delegate brothers and sisters for coming. Many of the delegates said they thought their visit to Korea wasn’t much, but they never considered how much Jehovah was using them to encourage the small group of foreigners serving in the country. Words cannot express how much it meant to us. :-) I personally felt like I was given an unexpected treat everyday. First, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Rex Shin stood before me. Wow, I couldn’t hug him any faster. He was so encouraging. And being a Korean that lived here before, and now in Canada, he was able to offer some encouraging words about being part of the congregation here, and also just having him say that he understood how hard it must be for us due to culture and the role that plays in the congregation, really meant a lot. Then I had a really special treat – I met Hans and Minerva Pintar, my CO and his wife from when I was a teenager. It was choking for me to see him because when I was sixteen he took me aside at my Kingdom Hall and said, “you know I see big potential in you for serving Jehovah. I can see you doing big things for him.” Those kind words stuck in my mind over the years, and I thought about them often. It really is so important what we say to the young ones in the congregation. :-) Then finally I saw a dear old friend that I never thought would go abroad for a convention, or for any reason, so I was so happy to see that person at the convention – very encouraging....and surprising.

I was also impressed by seeing ones like Wes Pisoni that after all this time are still abroad working and helping out, and loving it, even though they are far away from their original friends and family. Really good examples.

Here are some pics I hope you will enjoy:

1. This is Estelle’s mom. Her and her husband left New York to pioneer in the Dominican Republic. She gave us a lot to think about, as it is so cheap to live there and the service work is wonderful.

2. This is my favourite pic of the entire convention. Matt looked so wonderful in this hanbok. And for the first time he dumped us. He was so excited that other foreigners could understand him. Actually, Matt is our best student in the Kingdom Hall. He takes every opportunity to try and speak English. Brenda and I are pretty much corrupting him though. At some point he will hear a talk about how bad sarcasm is, and the brother will give an example, and Matt will say, “that is bad sarcasm??? I heard sister Darci say it at least 100 times! Bad…baddddd…baddddd.” ;-) other words if you see me on the other side of A that will be a testimony to you as to the depth of Jehovah's mercy. :-)))

3. This brother was ultra funny and cool. He is originally from Canada, and his wife and him now are living in China, so one day he dressed as a cowboy – hat and all to represent Canada, and the next he dressed as a Chinese peasant farmer. His suitcase must have been huge even for the hats he was wea

4. I also like this video of everyone singing at the end. These were the Canadians waving goodbye. The group with the coolest objects though were the Philippine brothers and sisters who had long skinny snake balloons to twirl in the air.
5. Langley-ites reunited on the otherside of the world.
Lots of love to everyone,d :-)ps., Harvey and Pearl are doing good. They gave me the big sad eye thing each morning as I left for the assembly, but were the absolute best welcome party givers when I arrived home late each night. :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today is D Day!

Our international district assembly starts today. It is a little scary at the moment though because it is thundering and pouring outside and we are going to be in an open air stadium. :-( But I have my tent-tarp outfit to throw over myself...and three other people if need be. I am not sure of the ducky rain boots but if the water keeps running in inches I may have to wear those too and put the shoes in my case. Not quite the glamorous outfit one envisions wearing to an assembly but we knew it was rainy season during the assembly far in advance and would have to prepare for anything. Last night I told everyone about how I attended the Vancouver International as a kid and it also started to rain like no tomorrow, and the brothers stood at the entrances to the stadium handing out black GLAD garbage bags for everyone to wear. Oh boy, now that is a picture I wish I had. :-) Anyways, last night Brenda and I invited delegates to come to Dr. Fish for a kick off evening. Nothing like having your feet nibbled on by baby pirhanas to get you relaxed for a convention. We didn't know who was going to come, but Matt her and I went and enjoyed an ice-cream and coffee, and finally two brothers from New York walked in. We had no idea who they were but one was from Patterson and the other downtown, and then Jeremy Applestein walked in with a couple Austrailian sisters, and then Estelle and her mom who pioneers in the Dominican Republic walked in, so we had an EXCELLENT evening togather. I have to say it was the PERFECT way to start the assembly - just lots of visiting and meeting new ones. Estelle and her mom popped over to Thailand last week to visit the congregations and work in service and were soooo impressed. Now Estelle says she is anxious to go back there. Apparently there is a new English group formed in Pattaya, down south, and they need help because there are so many foreigners to reach there. Beautiful area too.

Well, I better run, I need to go stand at the window, stare at the rain, and figure out my game plan.

Love to all,
d :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swine flu shut down my school!

The boys were yelling in Korean: "yay for swine flu!" Since they go to school every day of the year this is an unheard of holiday for them. I would be totally excited too. :-) Actually, inwardly I was yelling "Yay for swine flu!" too. But being a teacher it's probably not a good thing to run down the hall saying that. :-/ Anyways, now I will make a little plan of stuff I can get done tomorrow. :-)

We went to a wedding last week. The brother is from San Francisco area, a gyopo (Korean raised overseas), and the sister was from the West Congregation. It was AWESOME. They had the wedding in SF and then had a reception over here. They played a video of the wedding for the Korean brothers and sisters to see. It was so funny to see peoples' expressions when they saw the brothers and sisters in America dancing. They would never be caught dead dancing here. Jason's parents basically sent him here to marry a traditional Korean girl, and he found a really nice one. Made me feel a little homesick for once when I was watching because it reminded me of some things we do in the West that are just normal for our culture: the bunny hop, the polka, rock dancing, and waltzing. It was just such a fun evening.

My boys are practising their hearts out for our big play. It has been quite the challenge getting them to learn to dance with the brooms. They were swinging every which way at first and I think we all were afraid that someone was going to get brained. BUT, this last week they got the footwork down and the brooms are going all the right direction now too, so with one month to go I think it is all going to come together. I went costume shopping last week and bought things for the set too, so I think the boys are getting much more excited now that they can get more into character during practise.

I included a picture of the locks of wishes. Koreans bring a lock and put it on the fence with a wish written on it. They also do the same thing with certain forests. They bring a rock into the forest with a wish written on it and leave it. Unique. Sometimes it would be interesting to find out how certain traditions started so many years ago.
Anyways, I hope all of you are having a great week. :-) I will tell you all about the International Assembly next week after it is all over.
Have a wonderful wonderful weekend!
d :-)
*ps. Harve and Pearl are doing good. Pearl is still healing but is making good strides.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Playing A LIttle Catch Up

This has been a busy month but I thought I would take a moment to catch everyone up on what is going on around Korea. :-)

First I thought I would attach a video of morning exercises. Everyone does this. The beginning of school, or the beginning of the work day. If you go into Homeplus in the morning all the employees will be lined up doing this before they start work. They chant and follow the head person exercise.

Also, this last weekend we took a day and went to Namsun Tower which is in the centre of Seoul area. I think the best part for me was going to Namdaemoon Market. It is the largest market in Korea, so lots of deals to be found. :-)

Here is a picture of the menu in one coffee shop. In the specialty section they have Cancer au Lait. It helps to have a sense of humour living here because their are ALWAYS either mistranslations of words or funny grammar errors. A person can either get riled up that that Koreans are mutilating the some do here...or just laugh about it.

And lastly, here is a picture of Vancouver and how close it is to Seoul. Don't worry I know that I am blurry in the picture, but believe me I look better that way on this particular day, so I included it. :-)

Okay, everyone have a wonderful month. We have our CO this week, and then the international at the end. Should be very interesting.

Love to all, d :-)

ps. Pearl and Harvey are doing great.