It has been a crazy twelve months, filled with new adventures, new places, new struggles, and new joys. It’s easy to forget the many examples of God’s refining love being poured on our lives throughout the year. So we’ll use this space to remind ourselves, as much as you, of His goodness towards us in 2015. On a very cold Valentine’s Day morning at the KCI airport, these two youngsters said our goodbyes and headed to our new home: South Korea. Our reasons for moving were many. We wanted to get involved in a ministry overseas. We wanted to teach ESL. Finally, we wanted get first-hand experience with the struggles of daily living overseas. Thus far, it has certainly been a challenging experience. But this has been, without a doubt, the most growing year of our lives.
Our town is the tiny farming community of Waegwan. So obscure, Google seemed reluctant to provide us with any information when we first got here. We teach at four schools. Hannah teaches at a public middle school, and a private boys Catholic middle school. Brady teaches at a public elementary school and a tiny country school outside of town. Life as a foreign English teacher (“Waygook”) is never dull! Each day in Korea brings new life lessons. Managing a classroom of 30 hooligans who don’t speak your language–and REALLY don’t want to learn it–is a lesson in creativity. Taste-testing traditional Korean delights–sometimes voluntary, often-times forced–is a lesson in open-mindedness. Being the only foreigner in your workplace–trying to read memos in Korean, navigate Microsoft programs in Korean, laughing at office jokes in Korean–is a lesson in patience. Just navigating daily life as the foreigner–figuring out the public transportation systems, paying bills, finding frozen chicken at the grocery store, using a squatty potty and never having toilet paper in public bathrooms–is lesson in humility.
One of our favorite memories of the year was meeting Hannah’s brother Josiah for a Thailand summer vacation! Our experience in Thailand was incredible. From jungle trekking with elephants, to snorkeling on coral reefs, to climbing waterfalls, to cuddling tigers, and eating tons of street food, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
At year end, we can honestly say life abroad has been an incredible adventure. We’ve been given so many new experiences. Through His gentle guiding, we’ve gained clarity this year on the passions and skills He’s given us. More than anything, we’ve gained passion for life abroad, and can’t wait to continue our pursuit of overseas ministry. We are so excited for this new year, and the potential each day brings. We’ll miss our Kimchi family, we’re thankful for the blessing our time here has been.
These past few months, we’ve been preparing for a new phase of life abroad. In March 2016, we are setting out on a 2-month hike-a-thon across the length of Israel. Raising money for Samaritan’s Purse water initiatives, we are raising awareness for the global water crisis. We can’t wait to grow in compassion for those who spiritually and physically thirst. If you’re interested in supporting the cause, you can learn more here!
We are warm with thankfulness for supportive family, encouraging friends, and our loving Savior. Many blessings to you this holiday season.
All our love,
B & H