I’ve been in South Korea for almost 8 years exactly. In fact, when I leave just shy of a month from now, it will be barely two months shy of 8 years. Crazy.
When I came here, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I had no intention of staying more than a year; I didn’t feel drawn to anything in particular. I was walking away from something. Ok, a few somethings. But the recklessness that I thought would just be an escape, the Lord used for His glory and my good.
I mean, I say an end of a era. And, genuinely, I can say that it has been an ERA. There are have been big ups, and deeps downs. I faced more fears in 8 years than so many people do in their whole lives. That might seem unfair to say, but unless you’ve lived abroad for any good length of time, you won’t fully understand. But perhaps, if we’re being honest with each other, I could admit that I’m facing by biggest fear by coming home. You might not be able to understand that either. Maybe for you, home is safe and easy. Home is the place that you feel most comfortable. For me, it puts me back in the seat that stears me back into the unknown.
What you can understand though is that I gained a reignited heart for God; for living passionately for Jesus that will last the rest of my life.
I gained a wife and kids.
I gained another family.
I left America trying to figure out what was happening in my life. I ran away in fear and in loneliness, and I will return with my own family. My own tribe; my own unique group of people.
I have had 9 teaching jobs over the 8 years. I have lived and breathed with 3 churches. I have walked a million miles and sang endless songs with the family that I built here. I have been married, and I have seen my three children being born. I have traveled in Asia and seen the lowest of the low, and I have seen the highest of the high. I have worshipped with thousands, and have worshipped in my car park all for an audience of one. I have built skills and talents, and have squandered many hours watching seasons of tv shows in the dark of my room on my laptop because no one else watches English tv shows. I have dropped to my knees in pain, crushed by by the weight of loss. I have dropped to my knees crushed by the weight of my own sin. I have walked the barely lit streets of CheongNa shouting praises with a weary voice powered only by the echoing cry of love in my life. I have driven, windows down, torn up by the seemingly endless rage that has filled my heart, screaming at the top of my lungs. I have had moments, many moments, of staring bankly into others eyes when we have had no way to communicate except through glances and hand gestures. I have traded my dignity so. many. times. And I still kept moving.
Now, I am coming to an end. A much needed end.
I am coming to an end that will turn into a new beginning.
This season that ends leads to another that now begins.
It’s the end of an era, and the beginning of something new.