Dear friends, I wanted to share with you a glimpse into what we experienced these past years in Korea. As I thought back on our time, I began to create a letter that we could have received when we first arrived.
Dear friend who just arrived in Korea, Welcome.
I am sending you this letter to tell you of all the things that you will be experiencing while in Korea. There will be blessings and lessons but I will say to you now to hold on as it’s going to be a wild ride. It will be full of an amazing community, blessings, hardships, adventures, tiredness, love, grace, and peace. But above all this season for you will be about hope, stillness and the faithfulness of our God.
Embrace the culture.
You may not know any of the foods, customs, and idiosyncrasies yet, but you will learn. Watch people, observe people and learn. The food is different than you’re used to, and spicy, but you will grow to love and embrace it. As I write this now, I miss it. So enjoy it while you have it!
You and Cadence Student Ministries will be unknown.
The military people will not understand who you are. Only a select few will be aware of Cadence or Cadence Student Ministries. You will have the responsibility to educate them and share your passion. They will grow to love Cadence and what it is—be diligent in loving people as Christ loves them. You have to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Come in to serve not to be served. Leave pride at the door and don’t think you know anything because of years of service or that you were SOFA in Germany. All that means nothing. It’s all meaningless, but what will last is your sacrifice and love for all those whom the Lord puts in your path.
Start out by loving students well.
Be intentional with those who you come in contact with. Some students will reject you and persecute you but know that God is your defender. Stay focused on Him. You will have a tremendous impact and responsibility to share the gospel with everyone you meet.
Be diligent in staying true to the Word.
The vast amount of people whom you will meet will astound you. There will be the opportunity to share the gospel with over 400 students throughout the course of the three years you will be here. Most importantly, stay grounded and connected to the Lord in your personal life so that when storms come you will not be shaken. You will learn the lesson over and over again from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know He is God.”
Even entering the base will require diligence.
God is going to use you in unforeseen ways as you interact with the gate guards. As you begin serving at Camp Humphreys, you will use the same pass as the gate guards, and through your times talking with them you will have opportunities to share the gospel and more about who you are.
Don’t be surprised when your passes are removed and you need to be signed in every time you enter the base. This will also serve a bigger purpose that is far greater than you even know now. This situation will test your humility, your patience and call to sacrifice. God will use it to open doors to the guards again as you continue to build those relationships. Speak wisely and not foolishly. When questions are asked, what you say will reveal your heart. What you say will have an impact more than you know. Choose to believe the best now about people and it will serve you well.
Be intentional with your students.
One of your first students will be in desperate need for unconditional tough love. She will test your commitment, but know that her life will be changed for eternity because of your faithfulness to love now. You will take two trips to Japan with students for whom some of their lives will change forever. There will be challenges as you coordinate trips out of the country. There will be tremendous spiritual attacks. There will be lots of firsts and learning for both you and the chaplains. Embrace it and be full of grace to all involved. You will also begin to lead family trips with your students and their families. Enjoy those times as well. Know that there will be fruit beyond that week. One family will see for the first time the importance of the father leading the family intentionally as well as spiritually. Also, you will have the opportunity to lead some ladies in how to love and support their husbands, even in hard times.
The community here at Camp Humphreys will be your second family.
While you are not living near family, the community here will be your support in tangible ways. They will love and support you through the adoption of your daughter. Yes, the Lord is going to provide you a daughter. More on that to come. STAY TUNED! (Ok I know you may want to jump ahead and read about it, trust me, and stay with me.) This amazing community will have your adoption as the special offering in VBS. This will be an amazing time for you to just be loved on. Let others love you. Even let the little ones come and bless you. They will be there as well when you bring your daughter home. You will be adopting a little girl from China who is five years old. Sit down, you might faint now. Yes, you saw that right, a Chinese girl who is five. The Lord will direct you to an agency that will love you well in the midst of the process. The process will test your patience and hope more. You will learn more deeply the phrase “Hurry up to wait.” But it will again be a lesson you will learn about the faithfulness of your God. There will be confirmations along the way that you will know that she is yours. Trust that the Lord knows what He is doing. Don’t get anxious about anything but trust in the Lord. Even as you think about all the transitions of having a child, learn to breathe.
Coming home with her will stretch you far beyond what you can imagine.
The Lord will refine you. You think you have your issues figured out now don’t you? Well, guess what, The Lord is going to probe deeper and dig things out further. It will be a hard lesson and a hard road, but trust me you will get through it. She will spit, bite, hit and do everything she can to make you run, but lean in and press through it. She needs you now more than ever. Push through the hurt of being rejected and see her through God’s eyes. You will learn to pray Scripture over her during the rough times— Scripture in Mandarin to pray over her, too. Your daughter will bring you great joy and life. Most of all you will know love, and you will understand God’s love for you more deeply. She will love your snuggles and love just being near you. She will love to travel and explore the world. There will be a time in China that you will melt down because God will reveal something to you so personally about His love even in the small things. Take JOY in the Lord.
Your home will become your ministry center.
You will be off base and the students will be meeting in your home. Know that this season is a gift from the Lord. It’s a gift because God is giving you ample time to minister together and time together as a family. It may not look like it used to, but it is good because you know it was filtered through the hands of God. Don’t get anxious and run to what you used to know as ministry just because it’s comfortable. Trust in His hand and His guidance; hope and be at peace. You will go through valleys of mourning what ministry used to look like before you had a child. You will struggle to figure out your new purpose and identity. Draw near to God and seek wisdom from those who have gone before you.
Unique Bible study opportunities will arise.
The Lord will also provide a group of realtors that you will lead in a Bible study for some time. These folks will bless you in many ways and be your advocates in the Korean culture. Love them well and learn from them. Most importantly, be a tangible example of Christ’s love to them.
You will have opportunities to engage with those from your new culture.
Your time at the doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies will provide interactions with many Koreans. When you are able, use these opportunities to share the gospel.
Your supporters will pray and love you well.
Be humble and reach out for prayer. God has brought you a team. Allow them to love you while you serve.
You will want to run from the hard times.
Know that He has purposes far greater than you. It’s in those hard times that it tests your faith in Him. Do you trust Him?
Lean on those around you.
During the times you feel persecuted, stand secure in the Lord and let the encouragement of those around you bring you comfort.
Before you know it, it will be time to leave.
When you get ready to go you will experience an overwhelming amount of love from others. Sit back, enjoy being loved on and give all the glory to God. He is the one who did it all.
Thank you for partnering with us and being our team as we have ministered and loved our adventures in Korea!