Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our American Journey - Day 23 (1)

Back when we were studying linguistics in Dallas, TX, in the early 1990s, finances were a little tight. So we advertised a room for rent in the house that we ourselves were renting. The person who finally came to live with us was a Korean girl who had come to America to study at a nearby Bible college. Min Sun was our family’s introduction to Korean language, food, and culture. For a year and a half, we shared each other’s lives. We discovered delicious Korean food with her, and she ventured into the world of North American food with us. She helped us with the language (Korean was our practice language for linguistic analysis) and we helped her with writing assignments in English. She took us to her church and introduced us to a wonderful family of Korean people, and we took her up to Canada and introduced her to our families back home.

We even met her mother… sort of. She would call from Korea to talk to Min Sun. Unfortunately, Min Sun was usually at school when she did. Furthermore, she didn’t speak any English, and I didn’t speak any Korean! So I asked Min Sun how to say, “Min Sun is not here. She is at school and will be home later.” in Korean. The next time Min Sun's mother called, I was ready. But as soon as I said my two sentences, she launched into a torrent of Korean that I didn’t know what to do with! I asked Min Sun to teach me one more important sentence: “That’s all the Korean I know!”

Once we finished our studies and left Dallas, however, we almost lost track of each other. These were the days before e-mail was common. But there were occasional letters back and forth. We learned that she had graduated from Bible college and gone back to Korea. Then that she had gotten married. And finally that she and her husband had moved back to the States to pastor a Korean church.

We just spent a wonderful weekend with Min Sun and her family in Iowa. She now has three children and her husband is a man of God who loves his ministry as a pastor to a small Korean congregation. I had the privilege of bringing a message to the congregation on Sunday and Pastor Ahn Ho translated for me. Afterwards we joined in the traditional after-church fellowship meal with lots of good Korean food, and enjoyed talking about language development, Bible translation, and our ministry with the Kusassi people.

Korean Christians are extremely missions-oriented and they were shocked to learn that so many of the world’s languages still don’t have even a verse of God’s Word available to them. When one man discovered that I had only given this message to their church, and that we had only given a 5-minute presentation at another, he even berated us for not making a greater effort to speak in as many churches as possible on our trip through the USA in order to make them aware of this sad state of affairs!

Easier said than done, but we thank God for the opportunities we’ve had so far, and look forward to more in the future. May & June are already filling up with speaking engagements and presentations. In fact, I’m speaking at a church the first Sunday we’re back in Canada... Yikes! Maybe I should let Kathy drive today while I work on my message!

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