Silk Road Seoul (2)

            I was calm, cool, and collected. This time I stepped out of God’s way. When I did that I realized that I was moving too fast and in my excitement to tackle something new, I had not thought things though. The teaching job in China would require me to work on my Sabbath, not much religious freedom in a communist country you see. It was the same for teaching jobs in Japan, except for the communism angle. Once in a while there would be an activity or sports day scheduled on the Sabbath and I just cannot compromise even if it is just once and in my experience having compromised before, it is rarely just once. It was a blessing in disguise and because I leaned on God and not my own warped understanding (Prov 3:5-6), I could discern things that I would not have if I had reacted in my usual manner. Was so happy. I felt like I was finally doing something right and being rewarded spiritually for heeding God.

            First, I started filling out the forms. Then I started working on Passport to Mission, an online course of sorts that lets the decision makers see where your head is or how you would possibly cope in a new environment. The online session had already started for those who desired to begin their missions in October and about half of my time was already gone but I pushed through and finished with little time to spare, maybe minutes before the deadline. Next I started on the identification related things; fingerprinting, FBI background check, photos, etc. Things were moving right along but time was winding up.

            September the 16th my contact at the main branch of the SDA Language institute in Seoul asked if I wanted to start in October or December. Well, things were still going fairly smoothly so I said, “October”, which was the plan since my timing for the August session was off. “Yeah, I can do this,” was my sentiment at the time. Then I hit a snag; the mysterious and oft dreaded apostille/notarization process. Getting my degree notarized and apostilled was a trial in itself and has its own blackened file in my memory. Some people I asked treated these separate processes as if they were the same, I had conflicting information, and in general no one even knew what an apostille was nor had they hard of it. I even went back to my Alma matter and they gave me the run around too.

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Silk Road Seoul (1)

           I am back in the US as I type but hear me out. So after my unsatisfying jaunt through grad school, while I was pitying myself and working temp jobs, my friend Kyle said, “hey wanna teach in China for a year?” Me teach in China? Let me get this straight, you want introverted me to stand in front of a room full of people and relay information to them and you want this to happen in a place so far from my comfort zone that it may as well not even exist in the same universe? No way. Not happenin’ partnah. However, Kyle always encourages me to do things out of my comfort zone and sometimes I listen, so I told him I would apply and I did.

             I forgot all about it and was confident that I would never be chosen yet I was called in for an interview and started to get excited about doing something new and different. The interview went extremely well, which was surprising because I usually sabotage myself. Then some communication issues popped up. The company asked me for documents I had never received, I was being told conflicting information, and they took way too long to respond to me once the problems arose. There was no way I was going to feel comfortable having to rely on them in China when I couldn’t even rely on them in DC.

            Once I extricated myself from Chinagate I set my sights on Japan. “Ok God, China didn’t work out so what now, Japan?” I found the JET program online. It was government-funded and I met the qualifications so I thought I hit the proverbial jackpot. I went through the whole process; filling out forms, doctor’s appointments, shots, getting my international drivers license just in case, and running people down for recommendations. I harbored an unfounded and inexplicable affection for Japan since I was in high school so I was convinced that God was sending me there but so far, so wrong. I got the second most painful rejection letter of my life, which I saved because I want to occasionally find it and relive the pain, obviously. I did not even make it as an alternate. I heard the program was getting increasingly difficult to get into but a rare wave of confidence had swelled up in me and it quickly dashed me against the rocks of disappointment.

             “God…whaaaat are You doing?” “No, what are you doing?” was the response. Well, I was trying to circumvent God. I thought that somehow if I went through the church, I would be the lowest on the spiritual totem pole wherever I went due to religious standards I just could not measure up to but who am I to compare when God does not? So what if I not Supermissionary, no one starts out that way. I went through Adventist Mission and could not believe I had wasted so much time. As I was looking through the list of countries with mission trips available, repeatedly scrolling back and forth over Japan with the little “0” in brackets next to it and holding my breath, South Korea caught my eye.

“God, you have got to be kidding me”.

“I’m not.”

“Not Spain or Mexico? I can get by with Spanish but I don’t know any Korean and I know next to nothing about South Korea beyond K-Pop, Naver, and hanboks!”

“South Korea. Trust me.”

            I was a little upset about China, crushed concerning Japan and all God would say was, “wait”. I trusted Him and though I was disappointed, I was not angry, I did not get frustrated like I usually do nor did I whine or complain; I prayed. For the first time, I completely handed all my stuff over to God.