Sunday, May 8, 2011

ICC Women's Weekend

I had a few intrigues about the women's weekend that I hosted at our home. Taylor of course cleared the area and headed to Seoul for a memorable night with some buddies and Corin.
The ladies started arriving Friday night, the 29th of April. We had snacks, played games and just enjoyed each others' company as we awaited the arrival of all our Friday nightr guests. Saturday morning, we woke up to what we thought would be a rainy and dreary day, but God is Good, and he held off the rain inour part of the countryside. We all had a yummy breakfast with a nice warm cup of coffee to get us up and going. Then we decided to go for a walk as we waited for the rest of the ladies that would be coming out to join us. It was on the walk that I was thankful again for our rural placement. The ladies really enjoyed getting out in the fresh country air. When we got back, a few others had joined our numbers and soon we were diving into God's word together. I gave a short devotion on Colossians chapter 3, focusing mostly on renewal. I felt as though it went really well. Then we split into small groups and had a time of discussion, reflection and prayer. Sooooo good. I love hearing what God is doing in the hearts of others and how the scriptures move each of us individually. It just goes to show that God's word is LIVING, constant, and applicable. (and so much more)
We then shared a feast at lunch since our numbers dropped from the original head count. There was plenty to go around and we were all quite satisfied by the time the table was cleared.
I had asked a friend if she might be intereseted in creating a devotional for the ladies as well and she (Melody) presented hers just after lunch. She focused on Ezekiel 47:1-12. Mel had us close our eyes as she read the passage and encouraged us to take that opportunity to envision the scene described. She then lead us to John 7:37-39, showing us how the river in Ezekiel represents the Holy Spirit and then to 1Corinthians 3:16 to relay that our bodies are the temple spoken of in the original passage as well. We then went back to Ezekiel and reread the passage, this time envisioning ourselves as the temple and the Holy Spirit as the river constantly flowing from us. It was a great, refreshing, and vivid reminder of the LIFE we have that is constantly flowing in, through and out of us.
We then, of course being ladies, moved on to crafting time. We made fabric flower broaches and hair clips. It was so fun to see God's creativity displayed through the creations of these women.
Then it was time to pack up and head out. I was sad to see the time go so quickly, but it was quality time indeed.

My reflections: As I prepared for the devotional, I was very much tried in the ares that I was intending to teach on. The sin seems to bubble up throughout the weeks leading tot he retreat and I knew it was Satan trying to deter me from presenting the TRUTH through the word of God. (Melody also mentioned some defeat in her preparations as well.) Satan is a sly one, but God is triumphant!!!
I was slightly discouraged by the number of attendants. Last year we had a fairly large group where as this year, our numbers dwendled down to only 11. I felt as if I had failed to make the retreat sound enticing or that the distance to travel was a deterant, but come Saturday morning... when we sat down for the first devotional and then split for our small discussion/prayer groups... I was so thankful for the number of women that God had encouraged to come. I was reminded that it was not about me and what I wanted out tof the weekend. The Lord was using this time for His Glory and so I was pleased to have the opportunity to host a time of worship and fellowship. I also found that I was very much less stressed this time around. I made most of the food ahead of time, which helped a great deal, but I also just felt more spiritually prepared that day. I was very encouraged by the weekend and always love growing closer with the ladies in the body. I look forward to hopefully squeezing in one more women's weekend before February... just in case we decide to head back to the States.

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the month of May

As most of you know, we have been tackling the task of finding an option for natural birthing here in Korea. Our searches for midwives or doulas in the immediate area were unsuccessful. We had Korean speaking friends or co-workers help find a women's hospital in the area that specializes in Prenatal care, birth and pediatrics. They are very common in Korea and are usually refered to as Women and children's hosptials.
We finally got in to see a doctor this past Wednesday. The nurses and staff really didn't speak much english, which was not exactly a confidence boost, but I was happy to be getting in somewhere and ready to make a choice in health care. The doctor seemed nice enough. He spoke English, but it was rather broken and his pronunciation left me slightly puzzled at times. (Side note: If you have ever played the game Mad Gab, this is what it felt like throughout the appointment. It is always fun trying to decipher the phrase and I feel as though I should get points each time I am right... especially on the first try!) So we were told we would go intot he sonographer's room and take a look at the baby. Before doing so, we repeated told the doctor we did NOT want to know the sex of the baby. This was our first sonogram ever, with all three of the kiddos, so it was kind of neat to see the little heart beating in its chest and all the wiggling around. As the doctor started naming off parts of the body, Taylor left the room and I reminded him I didn't want to know, boy or girl. He proceeded with his anatomy lesson and said something to Taylor's coteacher in Korean before turning to me and say, it is a ______.
My heart kind of sunk, not because I was not excited about this little life and the gender it was chosen to be from the beginning, but that I now knew. That I would have to keep a secret from Taylor and that I was now denied the exciting joy of finding out as the baby came out into the world. Well, life goes on. I am very excited to welcome another healthy baby into the world, just a little less suspence this time and a little more dislike for the Korean method of child birth. Apparently, Koreans feel you should know what you are getting. They think this way concerning not only the sex, but also the deformities (both mental and physical) before giving. birth. They test for everything they possibly can, from genetic disabilities to birth defects to contractable diseases. Sad to think that most parents in Korea (and around the world) have ample time to decide to put thier child up for adoption based on thier pursuit of the perfect child to raise.
Anyways, we left the hospital determined to have a birthplan in hand, in Korean and english, the next time we walked through those doors. Luckily we have a month to figure out all the details.
The next day was Cinco de Mayo, or as they call it in Korea... Children's day. Yes, the celebrate these very creations we had just seen on the big screen in the doctors office with an entire national holiday devoted to them and thier pleasure! Parents take the day off, if they don't already ahve it off (being a national holiday and all) and take thier kids out shopping, to festivals and museums and even amusement parks. It is crazy, but kind of fun since kids here don;t really celebrate thier birthdays on thier actual birthday, but rather on lunar new year. Since Taylor had the day off, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and try our luck at the dinosaur museum again. (If you recall, we went last summer, but it was pouring cats and dogs, so we only got to view the inside of the museum.) It was gorgeous outside. Perfect t-shirt weather. The sky was birght blue and Corin was in a fairly good mood, so the rest of us were too! We made a quick tour of the inside museum again, as just a refresher course and then headed to the outside grounds. There were playgrounds everywhere and dinosuar statues. Corin thought it was pretty cool... Okay, I won't lie, I did too! The museum is positioned on a seaside mountain that has trials winding down to the shore along the cove. The rocky beach is littered with dinosaur footprints and a boardwalk type trail that guides you on a tour of bboth the footprints and the beautiful ocean views. It was such an amazing view. You will find an album in the left hand column to get an idea of the beauty you are missing out on here in Korea!
We had a great time driving in the countryside in our little white car as we made our way to and from Goseong to take in the dinos. I am really thankful for a directionally sound husband and the blessing of a car. :) I donlt think I could ever get tired of mountains and tiered fields full of lush green crops.
P.s. Corin kind of dressed himself that day. Hence the fingerless gloves and socks with sandals. (Taylor might have made a comment in regards to Corin taking on his dad's sense of style before he did... )