Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MountainChild Visits Pentaport Rock Festival 2010

Saturday, a group of MountainChild fans, myself included, traveled to Pentaport Rock Festival 2010 in Incheon. A short-ish trek took us to the middle of a huge field- obviously staged for a massive event. For one of the first times in Korea, this festival hoped to marry the love of rock music and a heart for social justice. This invitation for MountainChild to join the festivities was a big deal, and a rather foreign concept to most Korean concert-goers. We staged our booth, and set out to talk to folks about MountainChild with high hopes to spark an interest in things greater than rock music. (If one can actually aspire to such in the fanatics at a rock festival.)

I'm stoked to report, against several factors, that it was a huge success!

Small Stage.
Main Stage.

The two stages at the festival were separated by a rather long walk. The staggered band schedule provided plenty of transitions between shows and we found ourselves located perfectly. Right in the middle of the mass exodus. Over the weekend, the team talked to over 250 people who were interested in MountainChild (or the free ipod). But regardless, we made connections with over 250 people, most of who bought arm bands to fund clean water projects, some of which took more specific information on getting involved with MountainChild, all of from whom we got follow up information. It was awesome!

Humid. But SO awesome! I do believe the hours of 2-4pm were possibly the most humid and hottest hours I've experienced in Korea yet. But, we made it though and soon thanked the good Lord for a setting sun.

All said and done, Pentaport was fantastic! But, more than that, i am thankful for the sweet taste i got of MountainChild! I have yet to visit Nepal, and still have so much to learn, but i am falling in love with that place and the folks who are working full time to bring life to the people there! May Jesus come to that place now as a picture of the hope of what it will one day be. Beautiful. Saved. Redeemed.

New friends. Zeke. JiYun, YoungMin(back), and Peter

Can i get a whoot for MountainChild? That's what i thought!

Visit for yourself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Daily Still #1- My Track

Things have started to feel like normal here in Korea. Life is getting into a groove and well, slowing down if you will. Which is both really nice, and a little mundane at times. While there is plenty excitement in my week, the groove of daily life is settling in. Not a bad thing, just a season. But, I did realize that I haven't taken many pictures recently nor do i have much material to write about. For two reasons, i think.

  1. My camera is mid-croak. It milks all batteries in a matter of minutes and well is just rather frustrating. (forgive the lack of digital love my friends)
  2. Things are more normal and i guess less exciting to document? Maybe?

But, i was walking to the track this morning to go for a run and realized what it is that makes my walk to the park so exciting. It is not the jog that awaits me, but the fact that for a year i get to go for a morning jog... in Korea! That doesn't happen for a lot of folks! For those who follow my blog with hopes to get a glimpse of my life here... well... the little things are interesting! Where i jog, where i live and what i do between the work and daily life is interesting. And well, it is for me too! Life is good and i enjoy it! So i've decided, until i find something more intriguing to write about, i shall document the little things in my life.

For starters, the track i've recently converted to. It is here many a lap is run and plenty of sweat is poured. Simple, but this is my life!

Daily Still #1- My Track.

A nice sports park at the base of a little mountain. A little more out of the city than the other track i used to run at. A lot of people are the track in the morning, playing soccer, running, etc. I like it because the mountain is beautiful to look at while i run... and well... if i'm going to run in a circles, it's nice to have something nice to look at! Can i get an amen?
( Plus, the soccer players aren't too bad on the eyes either. )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Corporal Punishment

One of my first questions in class is, "How was your day at school?" A typical, "let's warm the waters" and get that English flowing, while i take attendance question. Most of the time it is followed by a one word answer, "horrible", "so-so", and a sometimes i'll manage a "good". Anyway, on a great day, they will deluge the details of their day. I'm hopeful that they had a good day and have something awesome to share. But, most of the time they talk about the massive amounts of homework they have, how tired they are, how much namogie they have, or how they hate their home room teacher. Most of the time followed by a story of how he/she beat them in class for forgetting their homework, talking too loudly, messing around, etc. They often also have bruised or red marks to show for it. Not ok. I've heard stories of teachers beating them with padded PVC pipe, sticks, bare hands. Yea, not ok. SO, not ok. So i listen to these stories and am quick to reassure them that it is wrong. Even if the law says it's ok... it's not. It's these kids in particular, i am mindful shower with positive attention and love!

How the hell can a male teacher hit a female elementary/middle school student? That, in no book or right of mind should ever be tolerated.

Corporal punishment, is legal-- or was legal, in Korea. A bill recently passed that banned corporal punishment in schools, but somehow i doubt that will change anything. In a less than impressive quote from the Korean Federation of Teachers Association, they oppose the recent ban handed down form the Seoul Office of Education, on grounds of Korean culture.
“Also, despite the negative effects of corporal punishment, it is irrelevant to put a sudden end to such a custom which has long existed in our educational culture."
"Educational culture"? "Custom"? Since when did beating become a tolerable "custom"?

Holy heck. Read the article for yourself. I'll stop writing before i get really angry.

Corporal Punishment Ban Opposed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Guilty as Charged.

I am often accused of optimism. And while at a loss, most of the time, navigating how to respond to such a label, I can’t exactly disagree. I'm guilty. So shoot me. You see, in prime cliche fashion, my glass really is half full. I like it that way! While I acknowledge the pain and evil on this globe we call Earth is vast and deep, my experience proves that fixating on the problems never provided solutions. It doesn't really fix anything! What if we were to take a step back? One step out of the mire and eyes set on something more beautiful. Would that make a difference?

I am convinced that the objects you fix your eyes to, and the direction in which they are moving, makes all the difference. You can’t escape it. For where your eyes are fixed there too your feet will move. The promise of a fantastic view, will keep your feet moving upward-- past the shaky knees and screaming lungs one switchback after another. The promise of prestige will keep ones feet quick up the ladder of success. The intrigue of a connection will move sweaty palms and an awkward pick-up line across a crowded room. It’s simple. The things that captivate our affections and hold our attention will move us to tangible action-- in the direction of that object.

What about the bigger things in life? What about when life seems to be hard? What if we were to fix our eyes on beauty? On things that are most beautiful? Eyes lifted from the bad we find in this world, and fixed on the one thing that is most beautiful. Wouldn’t that change things? I have to argue, yes. Not only does it change things... it makes like just a bit sweeter!

You see, there is a beautiful Creator. One who has fashioned the world in which we live. One I have decided to fix my gaze on. One, who has captured my attention and wooed my affections. It is this Creator who has ordered and orchestrated the natural beauty I find in this world. The same Creator has also fashioned the people who fill it with capabilities and passions that reflect his grand beauty. Human hands, hearts, and minds capable of creating impressive beauty of their own!

Yes. People are hurting. Yes. People are hungry. Yes. People are dying. Starving. Suffering. I get that! I see it, and it settles deep in me. But, I have been created in the beauty of the Beautiful One, and live in a place surrounded by that same beauty. My hands have been empowered and I've been given a new heart motivated to create beauty of my own. So, with one foot in the mire, getting dirty for things that have caught my heart, I am steadfast. I am strengthened and excited! Beauty is present! It is transformative, increasingly so, in the most dire of situations in real, tangible ways. I am an agent of that! In the daily moments Beauty has the power to change things. It is on this I have chosen to set my gaze. As I do, it is changing me. As it does, the more I have to share. The more beauty in this world, the more it is changed for the better. How could it not? That is something worth getting fired up about!

In light of that, optimism is inevitable! Good things are happening and the promise of greater things is real, even when things look bleak! There is hope in that! Optimism, or maybe joy, is the fruit of that promise!

So, let my culprit be momentum, and beauty my charge-- not to positive naivety, but to action! Radical, joyful, awesome, powerful action with eyes set on that which is most beautiful! Life really is good! And Beauty really does change things!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To the Roof

I am preparing for my trip to Nepal. As i do, i hope you'll follow! In the next few months, i'll be posting some information, pictures and fun Nepalese things... so ya'll come back now, and enjoy!

My trip to Nepal will be only a week but i don't doubt it will be life changing. I have much to learn and these people have much to teach me! I'm hopeful they will be touched by the love of Jesus and i trust that his Gospel can bring life to these people. Physically and spiritually! What a mission to be apart of!

First, a bit of information for you! Some essential Nepalese phrases. Enjoy!

A greeting and farewell paired with hands palm to palm in front of you. Used only once a day. Just like my "anyanghasaeyo"teamed up with a bow, in Korea.

[tik chha]
A less formal greeting, "how are you?" "how is your day". Also serves as a response- a general "so-so"as my students tend to say to avoid a more complicated answer.

[diddi, dai, bai, bahini]
Family is important in Nepal. People are addressed in affectionate familial names. Just like in Korea. In Korean "oppa" means older brother. Most girlfriends refer to their boyfriends as that. "Onie" is older sister. I refer to the sweet ladies who i see often in restaurants or who are helping me as "onie". In Nepal "diddi" is older brother. "Dai" is older sister. "Bai" is younger brother, and "bahini" is younger sister.

my essentials.
"Spicy?" In a land know for it's curry and spicy dishes, this will be critical. I am sure their dishes of minimum heat may max out my taste buds. So if they describe it as spicy, even for the natives, i shall steer clear! My body will thank me.

One of the first few words i learned in Korean were "delicious" and "beautiful". When i was eating or looking at something awesome, i wanted to be able to compliment the cook or the artist! Even if i couldn't have a conversation, i wanted to tell them what i thought! "Ramro" works just the same. It's just a nice, general word for everything delicious, fantastic, beautiful and good! I like words like that! Ekdahm ramro! (very good!)

There you have it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This week marks a few big days! As of yesterday, I am one day closer to being finished with one year than having started it! That's right folks, I've hit my six month mark and, like always, it's still a little unbelievable. This week also marks the start of my 23 year of life! :) Can I get a "whoot" to that? It's been awesome! And from the look of things, I think it's only going to continue in crazy awesomeness! God is good, and he brings life and fullness to his children- and that, my friends, is truly awesome! Happy day to that for sure!

So, an update for me followers. Again, i shall break it down for you!

Work is good! My middle schools have just returned from studying for their big tests (our SAT equivalents) so we are getting back in the groove of normal class. Motivating them past cucumber like brain activity is my newest challenge. It makes sense though. Students study, literally, all day the few weeks leading up to their test. Cramming crazy amounts of material for every subject in to their heads to spit out into a test. For my middle school students, these are very important tests. They will say which high school they'll go to. That high school will weigh heavily in which university they will get into. It's very important. When they're finished with these tests (which they have every 3 months or so), they're fried and want nothing to do with any sort of studying-- especially English. I have led many incognito English lessons lately.

It was this month that I began to realize that I'm making some sweet relationships with some of my students. Noah. Adam. Julie. Grace. Annie. Sonic. There are a few who have become dear to my heart-- ones who just make me smile! They make going to work a joy! And a riot!

I am going to Nepal! Late this September, I'll be joining a team and making my way to the "Roof of the World". I'm SO excited! A little over a year ago, after attending a few events, the Lord opened my eyes to the real issues of sex trafficking, and it's global presence-- even in my California neighborhoods. It was then a seed of compassion and hatred for what is happening to women and children was planted. Unsure of how to immediately get involved, with many questions and still much to learn, I began to pray that the Lord would show me how he'd have me be involved. This is my opportunity! Sex trafficking in Nepal is pervasive. The organization I'm traveling with, Mountain Child, was conceived in Nepal. While trekking through the Himalayas, a group of Christian men stumbled upon a group of sex traffickers and a host of children. The children were being transported-- to be sold. These Christian brothers had to do something. Mountain Child was born. I am not entirely sure what the Lord is going to do while I'm there, but I do not doubt for a moment that he has big things waiting. Check out the organization.. support them if you'd like.

crazy korea moments.
This past weekend was Amy's birthday. Let me take a moment to explain one of the craziest things i've ever seen. We went to a club. Cocoon. I am not a "clubber", nor really enjoy the clubbing scene, but I do like to dance! We paid our money, and descended down into the pit of a place that would fail all fire codes to the nth degree. It was literally as if I were descending into a steam room, packed should to shoulder with men and women-- all of who were drenched with the sweat of a night of dancing. Or just standing. There was really too little room to even dance. Actually, rather Cocoon like. Swaddled in a sack of sweat drenched people and a awful addition of the fog machine (who invented that thing and thought it would be awesome?). Though I'm a bad judge of numbers, I can safely say there were at least 1000 people in this club. It was intense. And i wish with everything in my i had my camera to document-- but sadly, no such luck. We danced for a while, and departed. We emerged into the "fresh" air... in an unimpressive display of sweat and nastiness. One thing i can say: Been there. Done that.

big things coming.
The last weekend of July, we have a few days of vacation. A few friends and I are making our way to Busan! Beach. Book. Relaxation. Awesome.

I've begun thinking about what is next for me. And while I still have a lot of time, I am praying for what the next season holds for me. Join me? I could use all the wisdom I can get! Six months is kind of a long time, but no so much when I think job placement, living situation, and good things like that! But, like he has done in my life unwaveringly... God provides! Always. We'll see what is next on the life adventure. Though I am 1000% sure that includes home for a while... I've got some people I need to hug and a few summer BBQs, coffee dates, football games, Sunday get togethers, sushi dates, high school baseball games, and auntie play dates to attend to. That should keep my busy for a while!

There you have it! God is good! Life is full and I am well!

Love and miss you all!
sarah, sarie, pottsie, potts, capa

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I like Rooftops.

I am not used to living in the city. Though I appreciate the hustle and bustle of a city, my little soul just needs some open space! I spend a lot of time looking for ways to "get out" of the noise (and i mean literal noise) that i find myself in, even in the grocery store. Wait a minute...ESPECIALLY in the grocery store! Don't get me started on that.
Parks have become my good friends. And even though Korea has yet to discover the value of picnic tables and benches with backs, for the most part i can get some quiet! Especially in the afternoon, when most folks have caved up in their apartments. I think it's safe to say there's an unhealthy fear of sunshine in this place! Just as i'm going out to get some sun, the people are packing up for the day- perfect!

I also like rooftops. Necessary to get above the craziness that is life in Korea sometimes. They are pretty hard to find, but OH! so coveted! The roof at my work has become my little oasis. It is nothing special- just a dirty wall i can sit on and eat my dinner, but it does the trick. There just something kind of urban-chicin' awesome about sitting on a roof. And a smiting joy of escape that comes over me as i sip my Coke Zero (no Diet Coke in Korea) and look down at the madness below. I'm always on the hunt for the an awesome rooftop treasure! I'm just a fan!

Anyway, on to the real purpose of this post. Fancy me for a bit longer about rooftops!

This September I will be traveling to the "Roof of the World" to work with an awesome organization called MountainChild. MC carries hope to the children living in the Himalayas! Who doesn't want to be apart of that? Half of the kids growing up in the Himalayas will die before their 8th birthday- due to a multitude of factors. MC runs the RANCH in Kathmandu, Nepal which houses, raises, and loves children who've escaped the harshest of lives. These children are showered in love, educated with purpose, and raised up to return to their people and end the cycle of suffering. I could be spending my week working at this RANCH doing whatever needs to be done to make that happen!

MC also treks to reach the ethnically Tibetan, who live in the mountains above Kathmandu. Many of who don't have the proper medical attention and supplies to treat critical injuries and illness common on the mountain. This team will be delivering aid in several ways. Medical supplies and basic medical attention will be hiked in. A lot of the medical issues found are rooted in the lack of clean drinking water, this team will address this issue in a water treatment facility. Something foundational to improving the health and living conditions of these people. But above medical supplies and clean water, these folks need Jesus. We've got him in surplus and plan to deliver some of his love and grace to the folks up there too. I could be spending my week on the mountain rocking a backpack.

There you have it! Pray for me. Pray for my team! Visit the MountainChild website and support them. God is doing big things! And it's beyond awesome i get to join in!

More to come!