First Activities

During our first week we were introduced to our MCC staff and various other people.  The first photo includes (starting on the left); HaeYoung (SeongHan’s wife), Jiwon (MCC office manager, logistics, our “go-to” person), R, SJ, Jenny (MCC service worker who oversees our work in DPRK), Blaine and Rebecca Burkholder Derstine (our “bosses” located in Chiangmai, Thailand), SeongHan (MCC staff overseeing MCC peace activities-with many connections to Goshen), Aaron (here for our first week auditing MCC books), Solga (MCC staff who oversees our Global Service Learning Program).  We had chicken galbi for which Chuncheon is famous.  Delicious!!

We have tea nearly every afternoon in the office.  The pictures included here are not all that great, but we were celebrating Ron’s birthday with some delicious cheesecake and Korean steamed buns (filled with mung bean paste or with meat).  SunJu Moon directs the KAC which shares the office floor with MCC.  She also has connections to Goshen!

Our first Saturday in Korea we took the train to Seoul and met the other MCC service worker who showed us a tiny bit of Seoul.  That will be another blog sometime.

The following Saturday we again took the train to Seoul and attended the annual Anabaptist Conference.  There were 80-100 participants – not just Mennonites, but people who are interested in what it means to be Anabaptist.  There were four main speakers (only the first one was Mennonite):

  • History of Anabaptists in 17th century
  • History of the church in Korea
  • Pastor of a social activist church
  • Environmental activist

It was four hours of Korean with translation!

We attended Jesus Village Church one Sunday.  We discovered that we knew – or at least had acquaintance – with a number of people at the church.  Two women we had met in Laos three years ago when we were there; a man who attended Goshen College in the physics department and knew Ron and who knew Sally Jo from the library; many who knew our good friends Erv and Marian Wiens (from Kenya days) who had ministered here for six years.

One day we visited Peace Building and met our MCC SALTer who is living and working there for this year.  The name of the building has a double meaning in that it also describes the purpose of the activities – peace conferences, forums, education, etc. – that are created and held there.  They also run a coffee shop.  A group of items in the director’s office are arranged symbolically.  They are lined up on a break in the wall.  The top is the North & South Korean presidents shaking hands across the divide; the second is the famous painting of Dirk Willems helping his pursuer.

And during our first two weeks here we had 1 ½ hr language lesson 5 days a week.  The language seems very organized with most symbols having only one sound.  Trying to remember those symbols is difficult for us!  However, we do feel that we can “read” many signs—we just don’t know what they mean!

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