Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Can Do" Part Two

One year later, I am thrilled to be able to write Part 2 to the Can Do post I wrote in April of last year...

Pulling out the sharpies, we all decorated our travel towels...because God opened doors and we, by His enabling grace and provision, walked through them and found ourselves in Korea for 2 weeks.  MJ chose to include some verses on her towel.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is a great introduction today, for all of the doing on our part can only be done in the strength God provides.  From first to last, we are His workmanship.  And to Him belong all glory and praise!

With bags packed, we boarded our first flight at Portland International Airport.  With the daily threats from the North, many were concerned about us sticking with our plans.  We wrestled too, but as we prayed and sought counsel from a handful of trusted friends, we were strengthened in our resolve that God was calling us to go.  We want to be a family that serves the Living God, not our comforts or safety ultimately...when we were convinced and united that His call was to go, we got on the plane. 

In Los Angeles, we had the added delight of getting to see our prayer-warrior friend, Barbara, who kindly came to hang out with us during our 3 hour layover.  Oh how good it was to see her again!

After about 24 hours of travel, we arrived at the Nieman's...our dear friends who became even more precious to us in the course of this trip.  They were amazing hosts, and we are overflowing with gratitude for their hospitality.   Here is a picture of our kids and theirs...since the first Can Do post started off with pigs, I thought it would be fun to include a piggie in this one too.

We all got to experience public transportation in just about every form on this trip...we piled into taxis, hopped onto subways (sometimes with plenty of room, sometimes crowded body-to-body), enjoyed the smooth ride of a bullet train to Seoul and back to Busan, and rode on a variety of buses (our favorite bus was the open double decker that we took to tour of the many highlights of our trip!).

God gave us the privilege of visiting many places..too many to list and each with stories of their own, but here are a few highlights.  Scouring the internet for Busan's "places to see," the aquarium caught Bekah's eye (she is a bit of a marine biologist at heart).  None of us objected to witnessing the beauty of God's creatures there, nor did any of us mind riding the glass bottom boat above sharks and other critters.

While in Seoul, Mira took us to visit Gyeongbok Palace...a royal palace first constructed in 1395.  Most of us (Mike being the exception) had never seen anything so old.  Buildings in America just do not date back that far.  There was much to take in there!

The main reason for our trip to Seoul was to be able to visit Ilsan Center.  Our children were all adopted via Holt, an adoption agency with a God-glorifying history.  As a family, we have enjoyed reading the stories of Harry and Bertha Holt.  They are a part of our history and it was a dream come true for us to visit Ilsan where they are now buried after years of faithfulness to God in caring for orphans.  Their daughter, Molly Holt, lives there and has given her life to caring for "the least of these" for the glory of was an honor to meet her.  Knowing she is advanced in years and going through chemo treatments, we prayed that she would have strength to meet with us. We were told we wouldn't know until the day we arrived if she had sufficient energy, but the Lord gave strength and we were delighted to visit, albeit briefly. 

Also while in Seoul, we packed in a day of fun at is Korea's version of Disneyland-like amusement park.  The place is gargantuan, but we experienced all we could of it in one day.  Bekah (and Jesse and Leah) braved the world's steepest roller coaster, conquering fears and living to tell about it.  The rest of us were happy to greet them on the other side :-).  A few of us rode a camel which is just one of those things that makes it onto bucket lists, but I didn't really think I'd ever get to cross it off of one.

We got to try many new-to-us foods...and yes, we took off shoes, sat on floors, and ate with chop sticks :-)

The details of the trip are still being processed by my feeble brain...the beauty of the multi-faceted architecture and color everywhere, the faces of all the people we came across, the variety of foods to try, places to experience, and so much more.  God orchestrated the whole thing, and the details came together in ways I NEVER could have planned if left to me, but He did and we are thankful.  He humbled us through the generosity and kindness of others.  He challenged us and encouraged us through His people...people He took us to the other side of the world to meet from Denmark and Canada and Nigeria, etc. This family from Washington had us into their home and shared their heart for reaching the lost for Christ (crazy, eh? Though they live in Korea now, they are from right across the river from us).  God wanted us to learn some things from them in terms of methodology, preparedness, and being very intentional.  In August, they plan to come this direction so Lord willing we will have the opportunity to have them into our home next round :-).

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to worship our gracious Redeemer with all who gathered at Antioch International Ministries; people from all over the world praising God with joy-filled unity.  We also got to participate in a few Bible studies (here is one that took place just before the service):
The second Sunday we were there, many from AIM headed down to the beach to converse with people about Jesus, and we were delighted to join them.  Here is Paul, trekking around with tracts in hand...we spent the day interacting with any God brought our way to share His love and truth. 

MJ is sitting in the window of the Tower of the Dragon, overlooking one segment of Busan.  Look at those tall buildings!  Buildings where soooooo many people work and live...people made in God's image...people He is calling to Himself just like He is here and all over the world because it is His pleasure that every knee bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.  Mira sweetly bought us all tshirts, and we will wear them gladly as we remember our trip and the lessons God taught us there.  We do love Korea.  Our Father made this whole world and it was a blessing to see another segment of His backyard. It was a blessing to see the country in which two of our children were birthed.  It was a blessing to see old friends and to meet new ones. It was a blessing beyond our ability to fully express, but I'm sure stories will bubble out over time.

If you want to see more pictures, you can go Here and Here

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