So, it’s been awhile. And instead of going on about how busy I’ve been and where I’ve been traveling, I’d instead like to tell you a little story…
This morning I had a dental appointment. But this trip to the dentist was certainly a unique one. Afterall, I am in Korea so what do you expect, right? They called my name “Caleb James” and I headed to the chair, laid back, and was met with a barrage of Korean asking if I knew how to speak Korean. I of course replied, “Jokim”, or “a little”. My hygienist proceeded with the check up and then asked if I wanted “scaling”, or what we might refer to as “a cleaning”. “Nay”, I replied and we were on our way. I was expecting what I would expect in America for whatever reason so when they put the cloth face mask over me, I was a little taken back. I’ve never had the notion that I was being led to the executioner while getting my teeth cleaned, but now we can check that off my bucket list. So, laying back, blind to the world around me, the scaling began. I figured it would start with a metal pick or some floss but I was proven wrong on both accounts. Before I had time to react, a drill of some sort with a suction device started going to town on the nooks between each of my teeth. Let’s back up for a second because I need to preface something about my gum line. It’s delicate and you might even go as far to say pure. Why? Because I rarely put a piece of floss to it. Yes, yes I know I should BUT because of that, they are not by any means resilient. Even in the states when I get my teeth cleaned and they began the flossing, pools of blood develop just behind my lower lip. Well, those pools were no comparison to the waterfalls that must have been gushing from my gums this morning. It almost felt as if the tool she was using was actually trying to carve out my teeth from my gums and lower my line as a whole! The best part was that I was laying on my back with hardly anything to catch my mouthful of blood. I did the only thing I could do and that was to try and gag down gulps of my own self-produced ruby-red. It was miserable. And every time my mask was lifted so I could spit into the small trough, I felt as if I was being granted a 15 second recess from a temporary hell. What I saw come out of my mouth was far from pretty. The good news: my teeth are cleaned, it took less than 30 minutes, and this stomach full of whatever I have should tie me over for the afternoon. Something unsettling tells me this won’t be the last time I have an overseas dental experience.
Aside from having my gums beat to little more than a bloody pulp, life has been fairly normal. I’ve been working an adjusted summer schedule the last 3 weeks, so my hours have been more daytime. During the evenings I’ve been reading a lot more and spending more time alone. Living by myself, you would assume I have a lot of this solidarity but that would be an ill-made assumption. I actually spend the majority of my free time with others. It’s been a nice change of pace to have more time to myself but I feel that as I draw closer to the end of my time here, I’ll have less and less of it. The last couple of weekends I’ve spent doing a bit of traveling. We made a trip to just about the farthest place in Korea from where I live, Saraksan. It’s a giant national park that I’m sure looks gorgeous when it’s not raining for the 60 some hours you’re there.
Just 3 weeks left now. Well, 3 weeks til I finish my current contract job. I’m starting to get that weird feeling you get when you’re coming close to finishing something that’s been such a big part of your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to almost finished but still, you know what I mean. Plans are still coming together for Thailand and I’m really excited about what God has planned for me there. I’ve also been getting really pumped to come back home. I miss my people. In the mean time I appreciate your prayers. In Drew Brees autobiography, he stresses the importance of “finishing strong”. I want that to be my motto for my lasting months abroad. I want to make lasting impressions on my friends here. I want to leave knowing that I followed God’s plan to the best of my abilities and that I didn’t spend the rest of my remaining time on cruise control.
Please continue to pray in these ways:
~My good friends Raymond, Robby, and Pat have all either gotten jobs or made it into grad school or both!
~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