Thursday, March 5, 2015

My flight leaves in about 4 hours, and I have an hour left before I leave to the airport. As I sit here typing up (probably) my last blog entry, I can't seem to wrap everything up. Maybe a part of me doesn't want to acknowledge the fact that the relationships and ministry work I have built and worked up until now will be no longer a part of my day to day activities once I get on the airplane. I won't be seeing these students every day; I won't be able to fellowship with the AECS staff/students; I won't be serving in the youth group at BKC each week; I won't be able to eat meals with David and Moses or Naomi and Purna; I won't be able to eat authentic Indian food anymore; I won't be working with the awesome pastors and staff here. It's such a sad thing to see that all these relationships I have built during these past months is soon to be held accountable only by prayer (and thankfully, Facebook!).

Looking back during the months I have served here, I am humbled by and in awe of how God has used my limited talents and knowledge here in India. During the months I was here, one of the things I struggled with a lot (especially during the beginning) was doubting why I was sent here and questioned how I was serving and glorifying God during my days. As I was saying my goodbye's today, I was showered with God's grace and love through these students: we had an ice cream party with all the fourth standard students, and they came up to give a word of encouragement, lifted up a prayer for me, and gave me gifts after gifts. And to think that me teaching English, coordinating their penpals from the states, and helping set up a special ed classroom, would have made an impact in their lives? I surely don't doubt as much as I did before, and I can confidently say that if an impact was made in their lives through my teaching, that it was only by the grace of God. I pray that when the students remember me, that they would remember more of God's faithfulness than my teachings; I hope that when they think of their penpals, they would somehow be reminded of God's love; and that when they are reminded of the ice cream party and any other fun/goofy times we had, that they would be reminded of the joy found only in Christ.

More than the ministry work itself, what really touched me were the relationships I had built with the students, staff, pastors (and their families), and the AECS staff. What I'm going to miss most about India are the relationships I had built. And maybe, this is a part, if not most, of what missions are about: building relationships (whether through teaching or serving together), using the talents God has given us, and glorifying God through these relationships. And I am not typing this proclaiming all the things I have done. When I think about it, there were so many days when I felt lazy, tired, and exhausted which made me not want to teach or do anything that day (it's a lot more tiring here for some reason). There were so many times when I walked into class or into my discipleship group with an ungrateful and a doubtful heart due to discouraging encounters here. And honestly speaking, there were too many times when I was too stubborn to see that the things that I struggled with here were just a culture difference. Even through my lack of heart, God seemed to pull through and remain faithful in His calling and the works He is doing here in India.

Now what have I learned these past months? What has God taught me?
God has stretched and taught me in terms of ministry, missions, teaching, culture, relationships, serving, working, the different religions, my future/career, and many more. I can't really seem to wrap up my stay here in this blog. All I can say is that God has blessed me with the relationships I have built here, and how He has used me for His kingdom with my minimal and limited talents.

If you would like to know more, please contact me and we can talk over coffee or something! :)

Also, please keep these following requests in your prayers:
- for St. Paul School, PU College, and AECS
- the staff, teachers, students, and pastors
- for blessings and growth upon the ministries that are already planted here
- for more (and many more) workers here in India

One of my fourth standard classes watching a video made by their penpals in America!

A few of my discipleship students at their graduation


Bye dongjoon!

Chinese New Year's = dukgook

grabbing a meal with p. yohan

Eating dinner with a member from BKC

Yumm street good (except for that not so tasty Indian dessert!)

Going for a ride with Soleng!

The special ed class we launched!

Eating dinner with P. Yohan and his family!

BKC youth

During the opening service for the special ed class!

Ice cream partayyyy with the fourth standard students!

A special gift, word of encouragement, and prayer by the school's headmistress, Helen

The many gifts my students gave me :')

Auntie Jothi who makes the best chicken curry in the world! (she made me lunch almost everyday!)

Shopowner uncle in front of teacher's quarter. When the power would go out during the nights, I would sometime come out and eat ice cream while talking with him (I promise he's not as angry as he looks in this picture!)

Last time eating out with David and moses!
A few of the staff/pastors at AECS during my last meal!

I spent my last night spending with P. yohan and his family talking til late at night. David fell asleep hahaa, but they have been like family to me during my stay here. And I wasn't able to get a recent pic with P. Abe, but I wanted to give a special shout out to him. He has been my mentor here and has encouraged, supported, and stretched me in many different ways! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting ready to say goodbye...

Wow! Sorry for this late late post! I will be updating this post with pictures :)

So in January, I was in Jalpaiguri for 10-11 days doing teaching ministry, leading bible study with the teachers, and just spending time with the staff there.

This was one of the holidays where the Sunday school children came and played games!

One of the classrooms at St. Paul School at Jalpaiguri

Susanna SGSN made some korean momo's (mandoo)!

Each morning, there is a layer of thick fog. My flight back to Bangalore was actually cancelled due to the thick fog so I returned a day later than planned. 

From left to right: Susanna SGSN, Pastor James, brother Isaac, and me. Pastor James and Susanna SGSN were actually serving in Bangalore for 10+ years, until they started to serve in the ministry at Jalpaiguri about 5 years ago. Isaac is from Korea and was serving in Jalpaiguri for 3 months.


Jalpaiguri's beautiful, green, spacious, and relaxing campus!

The teachers and staff at St. Paul School JPR.

A group picture with all the students. There are only nursery-I std. students here at JPR.

A selfie with one of the classes. The classroom sizes are also very small here!

Night market!

Fruit market!

On the holiday, after we played games with the children, we gave out children clothes!

Right before playing games!

During the weekend, I went up to Sikkim (a bordering state of West Bengal). There, I stayed with one of the AECS graduates and was able to tour parts of the state/city and visit the ministry work going on there. These type of vehicles are the main source of transportation up and down the mountain (Sikkim itself is in a huge huge huge mountain). These cars are fully packed, seating four to each row (and yes the front, too!!). unfortunately, I was seated in the front row coming back down the 4-5 bumpy windy road down. 

A large Hindu temple that is located at the tip of a mountain.

Buying some meat for dinner

Namchi City, Sikkim

This is Pastor Ramesh (AECS graduate) and his wife. Samuel, the boy in the green, is one of the church member's child and is staying with Pastor Ramesh for a few weeks during his vacation. Solomon, the brother in the back, is an AECS student and a staff at the St. Paul campus JPR who came along with me!

Sunday service at Pastor Ramesh's church where I was asked to share a message.

During my stay here for the weekend, Samuel and I were not able to communicate through words because he couldn't speak English and only spoke Nepali, which I can't speak. So we bonded a lot through facial expressions and just goofing around. He is so helpful around the house!

The house/church!

If you look closely behind the clouds, you can see the snow covered, white peak of Kangchenjunga (the second tallest mountain in the world!). 

Another view of Namchi

Now after my return to Bangalore, the following weeks have been busy! There was the Students for Christ Conference, AECS graduation, and the St Paul High School and PU College graduation. Here in this picture, I am sharing a congratulatory encouragement to the graduates of St. Paul High School and PU College.

Moses and David offered to wash my scooter if I paid them, so I did (because my scooter was so so so dirty!).

Naomi and I enjoying some Lassi (which basically tastes like melted frozen yogurt!)

During SFC

Fun (and not-so-fun) story: My scooter got towed. 

Being a part of the choir during a revival meeting of three Korean churches here in Bangalore.

AECS graduation

Eating ice cream with David and Moses
I believe I wrote about starting up the new Special Education classroom in my last post. This is during the last few days of preparation. The class has now started and the students are enjoying this new classroom atmosphere and environment!

Putting up the whiteboard with the scholarship students.

PU College graduation!

High School graduates

And... I got less than two weeks left here. These next two weeks will be hectic and chaotic as I will have to make final preparations going home, saying bye to the people here, and finishing up the ministry work I have been serving in. Please pray for an effective, efficient, diligent last two weeks! :)