Thursday, February 8, 2018

Trip to Bangkok, Thailand (February 2018)

On the way back from Philippines to Chiang Mai, I stopped over in Bangkok to spend time with Peter Lee for Sky Bay Thailand.

I had a meeting with the new CPA, David Nam and Sky & Alliances, to discuss about the pending issue with the tax authority due to the previous accountant's incorrect filing of the data. I felt a lot more comfortable about his competency handling this issue and also handling accounting matters going forward.

I spent sufficient time with Peter Lee to discuss Sky Bay's 2018 business plan and a few strategic issues. One of the new business line was a licensing business and merchandising business in conjunction with a character called "Pangah." We will give a try to this merchandising effort in 2018. We had a meeting with a doll manufacturer to explore the possibility of join venture.

Also, I spent time with Peter Lee and his daughter, Daeun and later his son, Sungmin. They all have grown up well.

I had a get together with the graduates of SfK MBA Bangkok 2016 and Chiang Mai 2017, who are based in Bangkok. They all were making progress in one form or another. I sincerely pray that their efforts will bear fruit and produce significant transformation impact in the lives of people they serve.

Overall, my short stopover was necessary and useful. - Jeffrey 

Trip to Manila and Baguio, Philippines (January/February 2018)

I had a chance to minister in the Philippines through K-BAM Philippines from January 28 - February 3. K-BAM is a network of people who are or desire to be engaged in BAM ministries. It has changed its name now to KBM Global.

KBM Global is now led by Jae Jung Jang, an elder of a church and the chairman of Uni Group, Ltd., a group of businesses primarily in shipping and finance. He wanted to hold this conference in Philippines, where he lives. Many came from Korea and I was also invited.

We held one-day seminar in Baguio and another one-day seminar in Manila.

Baguio is called the summer capital of the Philippines because people travel to Baguio during the summer season seeking the mild climate due to its 1,500 meter altitude. It is located approximately 250 km north of Manila. It takes more than four hours to drive to Baguio from Manila because of winding roads on the mountain sides.

The entrance was decorated by a giant lion statue established by the local Lions Club. The road was winding along with the streams and rivers that stretched between mountains.

Once you enter the mountain region, you can smell and sense the fresh air.

Baguio was originally designed to accommodate a population of up to 35,000 people, but the population has far outgrown the design and reached more than 500,000. Naturally, the roads are narrow and usually packed with cars. The result: traffic jam.

A team of five drove up from Manila to Baguio and stayed at Bell Academy, a dormitory style school established by a Korean missionary. They were Rev. Dongho Kim, Jae Jung Jang, Harry Kim, Chang Sun Moon and myself.

We left Manila at 6:00am and arrived in Baguio around 11:00am, a bit earlier than the lunch scheduled with the leadership team of Bell Academy. JJ Jang took us to walk on an eco trail surrounded by straight-grown tall pine trees. The air was fresh and it was wonderful to stroll with friends. On the trail, JJ made a proposal that we five make a promise to be brothers. All agreed and we took a photo shot signifying the brotherhood among five of us. The order was established with Rev. Dongho Kim to be the oldest, followed by JJ Jang, myself, Harry Kim and Chang Sun Moon.

The lunch was with Elder Soo Yong Kim, his wife and a missionary couple who are leading the Korean Missionary Association in Baguio.

After lunch, we ended up playing golf at John Hay Golf Course that used to be part of the John Hay Military Camp of the U.S. It was not long, but pretty challenging due to narrow fairways and hilly terrain. But the real challenge was the rain that got only worse as the rounding progressed. We had to quit after 12 holes. It rained pretty bad.

There were only male caddies because of the hilly and touch terrain. One caddie was 64 years old and has been working at the course for 40 years. But he was not the oldest, he said. The oldest caddie was 76 years old. Whoa!!!

We had dinner with the leadership team of the Korean Missionary Association in Baguio.

The seminar took place at Bell Academy from 8:00am. Approximately 40 people, consisting mostly of Korean missionaries, attended.  JJ mced the event and Harry Kim talked about Understanding BAM, Dongho Kim BAM and Spirituality, myself BAM Cases and Chang Sun Moon BAM and Diaspora.

After the seminar, we drove back to Manila. Manila has a pretty bad traffic jam during rush hours. Fortunately, we were able to beat the traffic jam

Elder JJ Jang, Rev. Dongho Kim and I played golf at a course where JJ arranged for Rev. Dongho Kim to play golf for a couple of months. The weather was fine and we enjoyed the golf.

The following day, KBM Global hosted a one-day seminar for missionaries and businessmen in Manila. The same speakers give lectures and two additional speakers flew in from Korea and also shared their perspectives and their stories: Law as Mission and Funding as Mission.

After the seminar, there was a Book Cert where Harry Kim's books were introduced after a bariton singer's concert.

The following day was set aside for a free day. I met up with Jackie of Partners Worldwide, who is Asia Regional Director, together with Caleb Yoon who ministers to the Philippinos working in Korea. His humble and pleasant personality was impressive.

After that, we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant at Shangri-lah Hotel. The foods were very good, but the discussion about K-BAM issues was even better. Actually, K-BAM was changed to KBM Global at this discussion session.

After lunch, a few of us were invited to provide consulting for Jinsu Kim, CEO of IT Corea, an IT-based finance company. 

In the evening, we had dinner at a seafood restaurant in the Dampa Area. If you order certain foods, the restaurant will send someone to buy fresh seafood and cook them for you. A total of nine people ate fresh and delicious seafood sufficiently and the total cost came out to be approximately $150. What a deal! I thoroughly enjoyed the food.

Four people left for the airport to return to Korea and I stayed one more night for an early departure.

JJ Jang's connections were fully unitized for mobilization and his organization skills shined in making arrangements for all events. Overall, our trip to Philippines was fruitful on our side. I hope it was also fruitful to people in the country. Only time will tell. - Jeffrey

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 in Review and 2018 in Preview...

We have jump-started the year 2018 because we received the vist of my mother and my sister early in January. It is always good to recollect what transpired in the previous year and to preview that is lying ahead in the new year.

2017 was a busy year for traveling.

Together with Kristin, we visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to get the visa to Thailand. It was a short stint to put our footsteps into the country. We also spent a couple of weeks in Kigali, Rwanda in conjunction with SfK MBA Kigali we held for the Kigali Diocese of Rwanda Anglican Church. Also, we made two in-depth tours to Italy: i.e. Southern Italy and Sicily, and Taste of Tuscany. Both of them were Expat tours. Together, we visited several cities (Los Angeles, Denver, New York) in the U.S. twice. Also, while we were traveling to the U.S. we made an exploratory trip to Ajijic, Mexico, the Lake Chapala area.

On top of these trips, I made short trips, all related to to SfK Ministries. They include a short trip to Udon Thani, Thailand, to Vientiane, Laos, to Seoul, Korea four times, a day trip to Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an overnight trip to Memphis, Tennessee, a 3-day trip to Atlanta, Georgia, a 4-day trip to Jakarta, Indonesia to attend TBN Asia Conference, an exploratory trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and a few trips to Bangkok, Thailand.

Also, we received several visitors in Chiang Mai during our first year of living here. We received friends of Kristin (Geum Sook and Hong Im's couple), Peter Lee and Danny Kim and Amanda, who stayed at our house. Moreover, I received the visits of several other people outside our house, including Sunghoon Koh of GNI, Woo Won Chang of Shanghai, Bong Rae Lee, Joon Hong Um, Jiwoon Bang of Hesed Cambodia.

Along with their visits, we explored several places in and around Chiang Mai, including the Hmong Church in the hill with Gary Moon couple and Ben couple (Christmas 2016), Doi Suthep and other places with Gesaryn's friends, night bazaar, Roong Aroon Hot Springs, Bosan Village etc.

Furthermore, I attended several conferences held in Chiang Mai, including Lausanne Consultation on Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation, WEC's BAM Conference, Freedom Business Forum, SfK MBA Chiang Mai.

2018 is going to be quite busy also.

In January, we received the visit of my mother and my sister already. And I will travel to Manila and Baguio, Philippines to speak at K-BAM Philippines.

In February, on the way back from Manila, I will stop over in Bangkok to meet with Peter Lee on closing Sky Bay Thailand accounting books and some banking transactions.

In March, we are scheduled to make an escorted tour to Vietnam with Gate I, visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay. And, we will make a short trip to Dalat. Also, in Ho Chi Minh City, I will meet with CBMC people and speak at Ho Chi Minh BAM group meeting. After our trip to Vietnam, Kristin will return to Chiang Mai and I will travel to Seoul Korea primarily to attend SfK Korea board meeting.

Later in March, Kristin and I will fly to Auckland, New Zealand from Chiang Mai and Seoul, respectively, and travel together to Christchurch, New Zealand. Then we will begin our 14-day escorted trip to visit several cities in New Zealand, called the Last Paradise on Earth.

After the New Zealand tour, we will make a short trip to Nadi, Fiji in April before we fly out to Sydney, Australia. From there, we will begin an independent tour visiting the iconic places of Australia: Sydney, Cairns where we will experience the Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, Ayers Rock (better known as Ululu) and Melbourne. We will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary in Melbourne and fly back to Chiang Mai.

In May, I will travel to Los Angeles, California to attend SfK Life board meeting. Right after that, I will travel to Toronto, Canada to attend IBEX General Assembly and its Advanced Training.

In June, I will lead the SfK MBA Irvine at Bethel Korea Church for two weeks starting from May 29, along with other fellow lecturers. In June, I will travel to Korea to celebrate my mom's 88th birthday and to attend the launch of SfK BAM Fund.

In July, I will travel to Rwanda to lead SfK MBA Kigali.

In August, I do not have a schedule at this moment.

In September, I will travel to Korea to attend K-BAM Sorak.

In October, we will join Expat Explorer to travel to Greece. SfK will host its second SfK MBA Chiang Mai.

In November, we will travel to the U.S. and further to Cancun, Mexico to hold our family gathering over Thanksgiving and also to take care of our Thai visa and international driver's license. I will end up traveling to several cities to raise funding for SfK Life Corporation into December.

In summary, for the year 2017, the highlights were Chiang Mai to settle down, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Ajijic, Mexico to have a look, and Italy to have in-depth experiences. For me, the number of countries I have visited totaled 75.

For the year 2018, we will visit several countries for the first time: Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Greece. Without counting any other new country I will get to visit unexpectedly, the number of countries I have visited will total 80. That is, Lord willing. So, Lord, I pray for Your travel mercy on me in 2018 as in 2017. Amen! - Jeffrey

Friday, January 12, 2018

Chiang Mai - Fruits, Foods and Farewell... (January 2018)

My mother and my sister Minja left for Korea in the night of January 10th. Their six day stay was far too short, but we had quite extensive coverage during this period. Unfortunately, the night they left for Korea, Seoul's temperature fell below zero down to minus 13 degrees celcius. Until we see each other again, "Farewell!"

Our tour ended at Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, but on the way back home, we stopped over at Central Airport Plaza to taste some representative Thai dishes.

We tasted Pad Thai Kung, Tom Yam Kung and Song Tam. All these dishes are well known to foreigners, but probably Pad Thai is the best known, a stir fried rice noodle with shrimp. Generally, people like it. Tom Yam Kung is a sour and spicy soup with shrimp and vegetables. Many people like it but some don't. Song Tam is more authentic Thai than two other dishes. It is a green papaya salad with peanuts, red peppers, carrots and other ingredients. Song Tam could be prepared differently with many other ingredients, such as seafood and meats.

Song Tam
Tom Yam Kung

Pad Thai
Also, while I was not around, they tasted Thai tropical fruits. The fruits that they tasted were not exhaustive, but pretty well covered with papaya, coconut, mango, dragon fruits and avocado. Of course, they are on top of many other general fruits.

They thoroughly enjoyed foot massage that they received it almost everyday. They liked foot massage better than Thai massage. I am glad that they enjoyed it.

I was so grateful to spent time with my mom and my sister in Thailand. It was made possible because my mom has been kept healthy and strong to date at the age of 88. So I am grateful to God. - Jeffrey