I found a church that I really enjoy attending, or better yet, Mr. Ryu (Pronounced "You"), my boss, found it for me. When he picked me up on my first day in Gwangju, I mentioned that I was looking for a church. He insisted that I attend the english speaking service at the one he attends, called WolGwang Church (Pronounced "Werlgwong"). My first day in Gwangju was a Saturday, and he picked me up the next morning to show me how to get there. I am glad that he assertively introduced me to the new church, because I love it. Wolgwang is an enormous church with thousands of Korean members. It has five services, and one of them being the english speaking service that I attend. Most of the people who attend it are young native english speaking teachers, like myself. There are also some Filipinos, as well as Koreans who want to practice their english. I am blown away by how welcoming and friendly all of the people who attend have been. For example, on the first Sunday that I attended, after the service, numerous other native english speakers assertively introduced themselves, and invited me to lunch. I know it is cliche, but I felt like I had known my new friends for years.
Pastor Jeremy, the minister who presides over our service, has preached two truly inspiring messages, one being on Servanthood. It was based on Mark 10:43, where it says, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." His sermon basically outlined the fact that humans naturally want glory, and promotion. Humans simply would rather be served, than to serve. And contrary to popular belief in the humanistic nonchristian world, servanthood is the avenue to becoming great in the Kingdom of God. The sermon segued into a houndout that was given to all who attended the service that particular Sunday. It listed various ministry opportunities, and their respective points of contact, among them being the praise and worship team.
The one item that I was determined to bring to South Korea was Jake, my Taylor acoustic guitar, simply because I knew I would miss it. (FYI, I name my guitars and guns. My black Fender American Telecaster is named Rose. My SKS is named Rico Suave, and my 12 gauge shotgun is named Bernice.) I am glad that I brought it, because yesterday, I attended my first rehearsal for the praise and worship team. The leader is a Korean named Jay, and most of the members are Koreans who are able to speak english, some better than others. And once again, I am blown away by how friendly, hospitable, and welcoming my new colleagues have been. There may be a language barrier with a few of the members, but the one commonality that we all have is that we love music, and we love to use it as an avenue to praise and worship God. And might I say, many of them are college educated musicians, so I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping up with them, and becoming a better guitarist.
In this picture, you can see Jay in the distance. He is in the middle playing the white bass guitar in front of the screen.
A shot of Pastor Jeremy
Being that today is the last Sunday before Easter, we had communion to commemorate The Last Supper. The senior minister of Wulgwang, I forgot his name, presided over the communion while Pastor Jeremy translated. It was a moving experience. Wine, instead of grape juice, was served with the bread.
And as always, a shot of a meal that I enjoyed during the week. This meal was served in a restaurant that is just below my school. The featured dish in the large black bowl is one of my favorite Korean dishes, called dulce bibimbap. It is a variety of julienned vegetables including seaweed, cucumber, carrots, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables on top of an uncooked egg, spicy red sauce, and ground beef on a bed of rice. The black bowl is extremely hot, and everything is meant to be mixed together. And as everything is being mixed, the egg is being cooked. In the cup to the left is hot chicken broth, and above it to the right is kimchi, pickled radish, and spicy seasoned cucumber, called namool. This was a terrific meal for only 4,500 won.