Today, have a listen to Scarecrow by Lee Hi...I still have a hard time believe she is only 16 years old. Super voice!
Sunday I went to church with my host family again, and it was a special sunday because the Jesus Heart church was meeting up with their mother congregation Jesus Village Church for a baptism service for two members. Kaia, one of the NARPI staff, came with us, and we were going to also see Deborah, the SALTer in Chuncheon. We drove out past Chuncheon, past the 38° Parallel, and close to the DMZ, about 40 minutes away, I think. Everyone gathered around a creek on the side of the road. There were probably around 40 people, 50 counting children.
We sang together, heard a message about the meaning of baptism, then heard testimonies from the mentors of the two people being baptized and finally their own personal testimonies. This was all in Korean of course, so unfortunately I didn't understand much at all, but it was still nice to be there at such a special moment and see everyone celebrate these two people and the step they were taking.
The church members brought flowers for the people being baptized, and even brought out a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday in honor of this "spiritual birthday" of sorts. It was really neat! We had a big "love feast" type meal of bibimbap all together outside under a tarp. The kids splashed in the stream and caught tadpoles and the adults chatted. Everyone who had good English took the time to chat with the foreigners too, which was really kind. It was just a really lovely time, enjoying the fellowship. As were were going to go, one of the members of Jesus Heart Church, Kyeongjoo, invited my host family and I and Kaia to come visit his mother's home, which was just an half hour away. We readily agreed and clambered into the borrowed Connexus van yet again.
The home was located in a pretty historic area, right in the middle of three hills where a big battle took place during the Korean war. I forget the exact number that Kyeongjoo's brother in law told us, but definitely many thousand. When walking around near the stream near the house with his son, he once found the rusty remains of a rifle. All the wood had rotten away, leaving just the metal barrel and trigger. He showed it to a friend who ran an army supply shop, who said that the type of trigger it had identified it as a Chinese weapon, so it must have been used by either Chinese or North Korean soldiers during the war. He showed it to us, and it was very sobering to think about how many bodies must have been laying all over the ground in that area 6 decades ago. The hills looked so beautiful, it was hard to believe they had once held so much death.
Kyeongjoo brother and law told us his family's history and how he had got involved with the Mennonite community. He shared with us the vision he had to one day, when the Koreas were reunited, help turn the group mentality of communism in North Korea to a community centered around the love of Christ and peace, rather than the state. It was really cool to hear, and made me realize that not matter how many jokes I hear about "North Korean refugees," there is still a deep desire here to be connected again with the other half of the peninsula.
We stayed there for around an hour or so, talking, seeing the property, taking pictures. After we said our goodbyes we drove to Chuncheon for some dalkkalbi, where I was stuffed to the rafters and badly wanted floss for like the millionth time here. I tell you, nothing gets stuck in your teeth like Korean food. It took a long time coming back because of Sunday traffice, and then we decided to stop for some patbingsoo because Kaia had never had any. We finally got back at about 10:15, and then I was up this morning at 7:30 to start the teaching week again.
I'm excited...on Thursday a new teacher is coming, and I'm looking forward to helping make her feel welcome!