What does a quesadilla, sparklers, and McDonald’s have in common? You guessed it…MY Christmas! I knew it would make out to be a very unique weekend and let me tell ya, it did not disappoint! Let’s begin with the days leading up to Jesus’ big day shall we?
Days prior to 크리스마스(Christmas):
I feel like December has been a really fast month. Between working 2 jobs, planning a bachelor party for Christmas Eve, writing cards, sending gifts home, keeping in touch with friends/family, and finding time for friends here, I’ve barely had any time for me! All that aside, if you really know me, then you know that my personality deep down loves this sort of lifestyle. I have a knack for juggling what seems to be a gigantic mess all at once and have been that way for quite a while now. At this rate, I feel like I’ll be boarding a plane back home before I know it! Still the last few weeks have been tremendous and I continue to fall deeper in love with Korea, its people, and the friends I’ve made here. I can honestly say that if you offered me a chance to go home right now, I wouldn’t take it. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be. God has certainly made that clearer than ever.
Included in my juggling act, I had the opportunity (whether or not my boss actually said I could or not) in my classes to share a little bit about what Christmas meant to me. To be honest, it was difficult for me. Not because I’m shy about my faith, but because a lot of these kids are hearing about Jesus for the first time. Roughly 29% of all Koreans are declared Christians, but in my town the percent is even lower. Many of them are either Buddhist or have no belief at all. This makes me very conscious of the words that come out of my mouth. While I want to be bold for Christ, I need to do it in a way that isn’t overwhelming, or bombarding on the students. I want them to know who Jesus is, not to run away from Him! Not to mention the degree of risk that is involved with me possibly losing my job over something like this! 🙂
크리스마스 Eve (Christmas Eve)
My current employer has offered us 1 day off for our entire holiday season. That’s right. While many of you reading this are taking days maybe weeks off to spend time with loved ones, stuff your face, or maybe even just catch up on sleep, I’ll be busy slaving away in the oppressive work environment of a Korean English Academy! Ok, ok…it’s not all that bad but Christmas Eve certainly didn’t feel or look like any of the “Eves” I’ve celebrated in the past. I worked 9 hours and jetted out to downtown where I had spent the prior week planning and preparing for my good friend Stephen Howard’s bachelor party. Funny thing a bachelor party is. Especially when you consider all the elements of this particular party and its organizer, yours truly. Being a Christian man, I had to come up with something that was outside the “norm” of a traditional stag party. Coupled with the fact that I’m living in a foreign country and have never even been to an actual bachelor party myself, I was a little nervous about how the night would turn out. Fortunately, the night was anything but a bust! Everyone who I talked with afterward loved the uniqueness and goofyness of the whole thing! And most importantly, I think Stephen had a really enjoyable time with the 15 other guys who made it out. I can’t think of any other way that I would rather have spent my Christmas Eve! If you check out my Facebook you can see some pictures from the evening. (Please note that a majority of them were taking during a very special kind of photo scavenger hunt.)
Christmas morning I had the pleasure of skyping with my Dad’s side of the family. Also, the night before I called my Mom’s side of the family and talked to everyone on speaker phone. Between making a few other direct phone calls to loved ones back home, I took a little time for myself to open all the amazing gifts that my family had sent me the week prior! It was such a blast taking each gift that they had sent me that I had to record myself doing it all! My apartment still feels the remnants of the season through my little tree that sits lit on the corner of my desk. I then headed out to have lunch with some friends from church and a few of their friends. I had an amazing quesadilla at the restaurant along with some other tasty treats.
Following lunch I met up with one of my closest friends in Korea, Minnie or Kwon Minjee. She drove us out to the far end of town where we met up with several other friends, Korean and foreigner, for a party in an amazing coffee shop that overlooked a beautiful river. The night was complete with Christmas carols, coffee and cake, White Elephant gifts, and some really great fellowship. While sitting in the room, for a moment I didn’t feel like I was thousands of miles away from home. It was such a warming feeling to know that God had put each one of these people into my life and that I GET to spend this very special day with them. Later that evening I started to get this pain in my stomach. That’s when I remembered that I hadn’t really eaten anything in the last 10 hours aside from a cup of coffee and some peanut brittle. So what better place to eat at on Christmas at 11:30 pm than McDonald’s?!
So what now? Well, there’s still so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. This weekend Stephen and Hannah are getting married. Next week I switch my work schedule to a daytime shift for a month…so that means no kindergarten job until February. Also, in about a month I am getting a very special visitor to Korea! So the madness will undoubtedly progress and I will continue to rave on and on about how busy I am…I’m even starting to annoy myself! Merry Christmas everyone and may God bless you in the coming year!
Please continue to pray in these areas:
~Soo Wang and the entire Lee family
~Obedience to God
~Discernment, wisdom, and patience for God’s will
~Friends in the States are still seeking employment. Pray that God provides for those needs.
~Finding ways I can be Jesus to my friends, students, co-workers, and perfect strangers