A new journey

17 Jul

Our journey began with a gathering outside a ticket kiosk in Syracuse’s Hancock airport. There are eight of us five female and three male. We are all going to South Korea as part of a week long trip to continue a relationship between the Pyongyang and Cayuga-Syracuse presbyteries, which had started fourteen years prior. Many of the travelers on this mission have never gone this far from home and been so completely immersed in a language and culture as unique, confusing and loving. Home is a very long way away and we cannot even read the traffic signs. It would be easy to panic and run back to the safe bubble of CNY, with our familiar patterns, shows, music and food. This is not that story.

Everything started out great as we collected our boarding passes through to Japan where we would need to pick up our last piece and transfer to our third airplane of the day. Once all of the good-byes and hugs were given the group of eight climbed the stairs and went through security. We huddled near the gate for our first plane ride and talked nervously, trying to sum up the others who were around us. Where do we fit and what is my job amongst this group of young adults are questions each asked in our hearts. Then the plane was ready for take off and before long we were wondering what was for lunch in Chicago. From Chicago we flew twelve hours to Japan and then through security and one last plane to Incheon, South Korea and once all of the paper work and money changing was over a sense of relief began. We were greeted outside by our hosts and off to the cars we went. Stopping for a drink and bathroom break along the two-hour drive to Han Nam University in the city of Daejeon. Everything seemed to be going so well and the rest we all longed for was so close. Then the realization came that one suitcase was missing. One person was lost and alone, a world away from home. No shoes, no toiletries, no change of clothes, and many questions about how and why. The emotion and exhaustion of the day bubbled up and spilled over in us all. Everything, after all, was supposed to be okay. We are the people of God and nothing should happen to us, right? The book of Hebrews tells us that God will never leave nor forsake us, but there is no promise of an easy life. So very often we in the Church look at the world through rose-colored glasses and believe that everything is okay. The world is a dark place and sin is everywhere. Pray with us as we travel this road together.

Pray with me for a small group of people who have ventured into an experience that is exhausting and life changing at the same time. Pray that as they hear a story here it will find fertile ground in their hearts and when they return to the United States they will be able to share the passion and perspective of the faithfulness of the Korean people.

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