A God Who Answers Prayer

Although Christianity is widely accepted, Buddhism is still the predominant faith in South Korea. I have seen little pieces of it everywhere we travel – evidence that there is still a great need here for the Spirit of God. 

In the Garden of the Morning Calm, which I posted about earlier, we noted that everywhere there were stones balanced on top of one another. Each stone represents a prayer or a wish for luck and good fortune to be bestowed upon the person who stacks the stones.

At Nami Island, we noticed a feast laid out as a sacrifice to General Nami. The feast is laid out for him in hopes that he will send rain and protection to the island. 

And finally, this past weekend we noticed several people lighting candles underneath rocks at the beach. These candles are lit for a few different reasons. One is to meditate on the light in order to be enlightened. Another reason is to remember deceased ancestors. 

1 Timothy 2:5-6 says that, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man.” I wish that I had the words to share this with so many people along our various journeys. The prayers of these people are misdirected. The peace and comfort that they search for in these rituals can be found in Christ alone.

I serve a God that does not require a sacrifice of food, or daily rituals. He requires only surrender. Perhaps this idea of surrender scares many people because of what is going on around them in neighboring countries. Perhaps they do not wish to give up their lifestyle (more on that later). Or perhaps they don’t see their need for God. 

I cannot communicate with them, but I can pray. Not to my ancestors  and not to Buddha, but to my God who hears me. . You can pray as well that God would open the eyes of these people to their need for a living God who answer their prayers. They desperately need to see that God is Jehovah Jirah, the God who Provides. They need to know that God is El Tephillah, the God who Hears Prayer. They need to know that he is El Shaddai, the All Sufficient God and that they do not need to rely on any other god but Him. He is the only one who will hear their prayer, and the only one who will answer. 

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DIY Date Night In KC Town!

Alright, I’m behind on my posting for you guys back home! This isn’t really a traveling post or anything, but I thought I would share with you a fun little date that I planned for Jace and I in our apartment in KC Town!
So I started off my morning by getting to the store at 7am and discovering that it didn’t open until 9am. BAH! That was a fun 2 hours playing on my phone and drinking Starbucks (UM yes I said Starbucks…). But once it actually opened, I purchased tea lights, 2 inexpensive taller candles, and 2 round mirrors. Then I bought 2 cloth napkins at 1$ each, and splurged on a 10$ bouquet of flowers (really getting out there!).
And then the fun part began! I got home and made us 2 Strawberry Lime Sangrias and stuck them in the fridge to cool. This is the recipe I used. Well sort of… I have a confession. I totally bombed the whole cook the strawberries on the stove thing. So I just cut up some strawberries, a lime, and poured white wine into the glass. Then (close your ears wine snobs!) I added a squirt of MiO fruit punch! Yup. I did it. I probably broke about 10 cardinal cooking rules, but these babies tasted soooooo good… Oh and I also added Sprite. Haha!
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Okay, so next I worked on chocolate covered strawberries. Those are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t add a picture. Then I worked on a Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. I couldn’t find a recipe that had everything I wanted, so I just made up one.

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
Makes 2 Dinner Servings
Romaine Lettuce cut up (I just eyeballed it.. I could not tell you how much I used)
Pink Lady Apple (3/4-1)
1/2 cup pecans
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 cup blue cheese or gorgonzolla cheese crumbles

And after that I made a delicious strawberry dressing to go on top!

Strawberry Dressing
(2 servings)
3-4 strawberries mashed up with fork or blended
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 T lemon juice
dash of pepper
dash of salt

Let me be a little honest about my cooking methods. Half the time I don’t measure. I just eyeball everything. Seriously. It works out 99% of the time. If it doesn’t work out, I just add a little more of something else and even it out. Measuring cups are overrated. So it is hard for me to give you measurements for some of these things, but I am trying to give you somewhat of a mental idea of what might make a good combination. But hey, if you guys really like blue cheese, add more! These recipe is not etched in stone anywhere and the recipe police will not come knocking on your door if you get something wrong or try something different. If something doesn’t turn out how you like it, you’ll know for next time! No big deal. So here’s the salad before the dressing:
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I totally wanted to stuff my face in it right then and there.

AND VOILA! Here is the final spread with candles and all:
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No, I did not also make delicious and totally unhealthy bacon and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms… No, the recipe cannot be found here… *cough, cough*

So you too can make this yourself! If all the DIY is too intimidating, just get take-out and serve it on pretty plates! Play a board game afterwards, go for a walk, watch a movie, do a fun photo shoot, there are endless possibilities.

Questions You Might Have

I’ve had a few questions here and there about where I’m living, what I’m eating, and those sorts of things so I thought I would answer some of them here! As always, feel free to comment and ask me any additional questions.

1. Where do you live? Jason and I are living in an apartment about 1.5 miles off base. It is the perfect distance for walking, biking, and not too expensive to take a taxi on rainy days.

2. What is the transportation like? We don’t have a car here, but everything is pretty accessible! Sometimes we take taxis, but mostly we just walk everywhere. Once you get into big cities like Seoul they have a public bus system that is not too complicated. The travel agency on base provides transportation to trips and the like, and several of Jason’s buddies have cars in case of an emergency.

3. Have you had any Korean food yet? Some! I have tried Kimchi, and it’s not exactly my favorite thing ever. Jason loves it though! In one restaurant, we had a dish where you cook your own pork, cut it into pieces, and then eat it like a wrap inside of lettuce with rice and bean sprouts. It was ooooober yummy!!!

4. What kind of household appliances are different in Korea? Get this… the toilet has a seat warmer. It kind of freaks me out a little. Every time I sit down to, you know, it feels like someone else has been there before me… ALSO the dryer and washing machine are a combo! They are in the same machine. It’s very weird. And we have a key pad on the door (WITH a video camera to see who’s at the door!!!) instead of keys.

5. Do they have any americanized restaurants? YES! They actually have a lot. Baskin Robins, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds. And get this… McDonalds delivers. Yes. There is a little yellow motorcycle that will bring heart-attack chicken nuggets straight to your door. You don’t even have to waste the energy to get into your car. I don’t understand why Koreans are so skinny. Actually, yes, I do. I walked 11 miles yesterday back and forth from the base! WUT.

And lastly, for your pure enjoyment: this adorable puppy doggie whom I have named Andy without the owners knowledge.

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Nami Island and The Garden of Morning Calm

My first Saturday here, and already we are tromping about the country! Yesterday we took a bus to Nami Island and afterwards to The Garden of Morning Calm. Nami Island is named after General Nami and is supposed to be a place of love and harmony. They have tons of arts and crafts on the island as well as music, book festivals, and incredibly tall trees! The Garden of Morning Calm is a garden that was created because there were not really very many botanical gardens in Korea and they wanted something to commemorate all the beauty in the country. I wish we had more time in the garden because it was seriously the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen!! Here are a few highlight pictures.

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Looking out at the Island as we came in on a ferry. 

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Look out over a pond on the island at the pavilion.

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White lantern walkway on Nami Island

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A small stream runs through the Garden of Morning Calm, and everywhere people were picnicking on the rocks and playing in the water. 

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The Garden is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills! It is simply gorgeous. 

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After walking through at least ten separate gardens of various types, you get to a small pond with a waterfall and this bridge with a gazebo thingie. 

Thoughts on Traveling

SO I finally made it to S. Korea!!! Praise God! The flight was incredibly long, but I made it in one piece! I won’t bore you with every single detail of my trip, but I wanted to share a few humorous thoughts I had while going through the airport and flying and such. Enjoy!

Listening for my boarding group: Yeah you should know that no one can understand what you’re saying… I know this is my plane, so I’m getting on.

When passing all the people in first class: Back with all the peasants I go!

When flying over Lake Michigan: It would reeeeally stink if the plane crashed right now… At least I would get to pee.

When navigating through the O’Hare airport: I will conquer you, flying jungle!!! *imagines jumping over a pond of piranhas*

When flying Asiana air: What is this hot cloth for… *sneakily looking at the people around me* Oh snap… that’s brilliant. (They pass out these little heated wash cloths to wipe your hands off before you eat!)

When looking out my window while flying over the arctic: That’s a lot of clouds… wait… Oh shoot that’s snow! *please let me see a polar bear!!!*

When using the restroom on the plane: There is a toothbrush in here. And a teeny tiny tube of toothpaste. That’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

When navigating through Incheon airport: Look for English… and other white people. *Please oh please let my bag be here…*

When looking for Jason at the airport: Look for the white guy running towards you… Yup. There he is!!!

How to Survive in Any Culture

Having lived in Africa and Belgium as a child and having many opportunities to travel as a teen has given me a broad perspective of the world. I don’t know everything about every culture, but I do know a few general tips on how to adjust to a new culture. I thought I would share some of that insight asI prepare myself for a culture I’ve never experienced!

1. Keep an open mind. You certainly will not agree with or like everything from that culture, but remember that you don’t agree with or like everything from your own culture either. Realize that this is the time for you to experience something new that you may never get to do again, not the time for you to stick your nose up at something different.

2. It will smell weird. Each country that I have been to has a very distinct smell, whether it was delicious cheese and fresh bread in Belgium (preferable) or something more along the lines of sticking your face in the trashcan in Africa. Yeah it’s gross, suck it up. By the third day you won’t even notice it any more. Okay, yes you will. But you don’t have to wrinkle your nose every five seconds like you’re the Queen of England, choose to be gracious and make the best of it.

3. Try new foods! You are missing on out a huge portion of a culture if you don’t try the weird dishes. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it ever again. By this token I can now say that I’ve eaten fried grasshoppers. At least it sounds cool!

4. When you don’t know what to do, stand back and observe. If there is a cultural situation that you’re unsure of, most of the time the locals are more than happy to show you what to do. If it’s too awkward to ask, wait until you see someone else and then follow suit.

5. Have a positive attitude. If you are grumpy about having to do things you aren’t used to, or things you’re uncomfortable about, you aren’t going to learn anything! And you will make yourself and everyone else miserable. Put on your big kid britches and decide that you are going to have a good time.

Clearly these are pretty general, but they work every time! Just be excited and ready to learn new things.