Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Though all the staff are followers of Christ, Connexus is not publicized as a faith-based academy. Our students come from all different family backgrounds and experiences to join Connexus with the purpose of learning English in a positive environment. But, God has been providing daily opportunities for His love to be shared in this place.

In my final class of the day we celebrated the birthday of my two eldest students (twin girls). When first arriving, they ran to me, each giving me enormous hugs. If that wasn't enough to make my day! Along with the other two girls in our class, we had a great time eating cake and exchanging gifts while still having time to complete our entire lesson. No complaints from this teacher!

This evening, shortly after classes were finished, I received a homework assignment from one of the birthday-girls and just had to share it:

'Today is my birthday. So my friends give me a presents. I like that so much. And I went to the connexous. Kate teacher, Sally and Allie gave me a present. That was 2 notebook and 3 pens. I like that very much! My best time today was in connexous and night in our house!! I think you would want to go to your home. I will pray instead for you! "Please Kate teacher's family don't became not healthy. Please Kate teacher's parents, sisters and brother became healthy!" Bye!!'

~ A-very-encouraged-and-thankful-Kate-Teacher

Monday, October 21, 2013


On Sunday, we joined together celebrating a traditional North American Thanksgiving (a month early for me, but a week late for our Canadian teachers!). Here are a few snapshots from our amazing evening:

The beautiful sunset I had a chance to see on the way to dinner. (I love having these mountains right out my front door!)

The lovely new apartments where our community will soon unite.

Gathering with 40 people from all over the world - new friends and old - sharing what we are thankful for.

The many hands who prepared all the incredible food!

Watching generations of those committed to serving the Lord.

Thankful that I did not get sick downing this whole plate of food.

Sharing stories and laughter...

...and great pie.

With friends who welcome you in like family.

So much to be thankful for ~

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall At Last

While I love the summer sunshine, there is just something so incredibly delightful about crisp, overcast fall days. As I walked to work this morning and ran errands this afternoon, I could not wipe the smile off my face as I drank in the autumn. This sweater-wearing, hue-changing, tea-drinking season never ceases to warm my heart. There's something inside of me that longs for a "bouquet of newly sharpened pencils." (You've Got Mail - a fall must-see everyone!)

Some days I feel so distracted. In the writing of this post, I also wrote a lesson plan, graded a pile of homework, sent a few emails, bought a cake (no, I did not eat it, too ;), and mailed a postcard. Oh my. On days like this when I find it difficult to just sit down and type, I revert to pictures. So here are just a few happy things from this last week:

I got to see this artist perfecting the finishing touches on his murals at Dosim Station. He even painted in the rain. So talented!

Friday after work, Anna and I went to the night market with my students and their families. We ate amazing food, played carnival games, and laughed a lot. They are some of the most generous people I have ever met! 

Thoroughly enjoyed an abundance of persimmons in our house!

Abby and I discovered a new restaurant and coffee shop near home. Will definitely be going to both again soon!! 

 Went to the Zandari music festival with a group of friends. It was so much fun!! I love that good music can always be enjoyed, regardless of language.

Take time today to enjoy the small things!


Monday, October 7, 2013

A Bubble Tea Breakdown

What a full week it was! Outside of teaching, we had an incredible staff retreat in Puncheon with time together, soaking in the beautiful country quietness and learning more about Restorative Justice. On the weekend some friends and I partnered with Justice for North Korea in a 5k run to raise awareness for refugees who are journeying to Seoul.

Friday morning, I asked God to show me new ways to love people.  Had I known His response prior to my request, perhaps I would have prayed a slightly different prayer. But I didn't. And I am glad of that, now. He has been on this kick of stripping me clean of my pride, so this is how He answered:

Abby's computer broke last week, which is a super bummer. I wanted to buy her something to get through the day so off I went up and down our street until I found a place that seemed to have good bubble tea. But, when I tried to order it, the woman couldn't understand me - I tried English and Korean, and then both again. Nothing but a blank stare. I felt humiliated and just completely dumb. I told her I was sorry (in Korean) and walked out of the cafe holding back the floodgates. I went for the elevator in my school's building, planning to escape to the bathroom to cool down as soon as I reached our floor, then someone tapped me on the shoulder: Sarah was just heading up too. I tried keeping the tears back so she wouldn't notice. Then the elevator opened and Abby and Heather emerged. Whew, they didn't notice. The two of them went on their way but when the elevator shut containing me, Sarah and a random Korean woman, I lost it. Then I cried and laughed simultaneously. After telling her about my excursion, Sarah determined to go back and order the tea, which we did. What a gem, that woman..

Here is what I am learning...

1. Loving is not about what I can or cannot do, but all about Him and His work in my heart.
2. I need to approach love with the sole purpose of letting go of myself and allowing Him to take over.

What a journey.