Going home was all that I hoped it would be and then some. I wouldn’t change a thing about my trip back to the States. Well, I would have certainly prefered not to have been redirected for 4 hours on my flight back to Korea…but that’s a different and not so important story. The important stories are the ones that led me to forfeit my time sleeping in my cozy bed in order to soak up as much of the little time I had with the people I love. When I look back on it, I can’t remember half the things I did because the were squeezed ever so precisely between other things I have a hard time remembering!
It started with a wedding. Well, a wedding rehearsal. This particular wedding rehearsal had not the pleasure of my company due to Chicago traffic putting a wrench in our plans. Still, I was able to see a good portion of my family the night before my cousin Tim’s wedding. The following morning, the Hatfield clan was reunited for the first time since last summer as a whole. With Josh living in Albuquerque and me in Korea, getting the family in the same place at the same time has proved to be a challenge! Nevertheless, we were all together for a whole 3 days! The wedding later that day went on without a hitch and I had a great time catching up with my mom’s side of the family.
The next day I invited a bunch of family and friends over to the house for a catch-all BBQ. Gracias to Mother Gwen and Father James for being so hospitable! It was really fun to hang out and see all of my closest friends as well as several uncles and grandma. That evening we went out to Mexican which is truly a delicacy to a foreigner living in Korea. My taste buds were dancing! As planned, food was an important part of my visit home. I’d like to think it falls somewhere under the category of “Friends”.
The following day I traveled 10 hours east to the beautiful city of Charlottesville, VA. This was an essential trip to take as it was my only opportunity to see my now girlfriend, Rebecca. Yes, the same girl who visited me in Korea in February. We spent the next 3 days exploring Charlottesville as she played host and tour guide. Once again, food seemed to be intertwined into whatever we did and wherever we went. It was particularly interesting to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s “dream home”. As expected, our time was memorable and I look forward to heading out her way again when I return from Korea in the fall.
700 miles and 12 hours later, I found myself arriving 15 minutes late for best friend Bryce’s wedding rehearsal. After running through the ceremony and of course eating, me and the boys spent one last night with Bryce…well, you know what I mean. The next morning we got up early and played 9 holes of very impressive (slight exaggeration) golf. 18 B-Dub wings later, it was time to get ready for the wedding. It was a very charming wedding to say the least. I was impressed how well everything fit together so well and was happy to see the first of my closest friends at Bethel get married. I walked away from the wedding feeling rejuvenated from all my friends and wondering to myself if anyone had invented a wick away dress shirt yet…I really needed one.
The next morning I slept in for the first time since arriving but the feeling was bittersweet. Afterall, 12 hours later I would be boarding a 777 to head back to my other home in Korea. One last lunch with the fam and an afternoon bike ride with my pops and I was on my way back to O’hare. My last hours in America were spent riding with one of my best friends, Raymond. It reminded me of my Bethel days and the seemingly long drives back and forth to Bethel on US30. It doesn’t seem long anymore. I guess the way you perceive things in the present are always different than down the road looking back. Going home brought back so many of those fond memories from high school and college and I just saw everything in a new, precious light. I wonder what I’ll think about my time in Korea a year from now. All I know for sure is that when I look back on my time growing up in Fort Wayne and Mishawaka I don’t regret a thing. I really did my best to embrace the people and places I was surrounded by. And in that same way, I live my life in Korea as if I won’t be returning…because afterall, I may never have the same fortune as I do with my college or home town.
So, here I am. Living each day in hopes that I can look back on this great adventure and believe with confidence that I really did it all. And not just for myself, but for God. Who or what has He put in my path so that I might be able to glorify Him? It’s something I’m striving to be aware of everyday. It is my hope that in these last 4 months that I will be mindful of Him in all that I do, say, and think.
Please continue to pray in these ways:
~There are possible opportunities for me to travel to Thailand and The Philippines. Pray for God’s will in the planning.
~Many Korean people have no idea who God is. Pray for those I come into contact with to thirst for real truth
~That the Word would continue to be spread in the hard to reach places and where Christians are not free to worship
~Pray for my careful job search for next year and that I am seeking after the Lord’s will
~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