Thursday, October 29, 2015

RTW Trip (September - October 2015)

My first round-the-world trip was in 1982 and 1983 for five months. It was heavily in the U.S., but it was round the world nonetheless from Seoul Korea to several cities in the U.S. and to London, UK, to Paris, France, to Bahrain, to Hong Kong, to Taiwan and back to Seoul, Korea.

This was the second time to travel around the world, starting from Kigali, Rwanda to Seoul, Korea, to Los Angeles, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to New York City, New York and back to Kigali, Rwanda. In between, I also traveled to other cities in Korea, California and Georgia, even to a different state, such as Florida and Alabama.

Below is the summary of this 7-week RTW trip:

Kigali to Incheon: A familiar trip from Kigali via Qatar Airways to Doha, Qatar and to Incheon, S. Korea. It was a comfortable trip. In Korea, I stayed for two weeks at Bon World House in Hwagog-dong, established and run by BonJuk, a franchise for selling a variety of porridge and similar products. This franchise is owned by a Christian business woman and this guest house is to support missionaries to visit and stay in Seoul for a short period up to 3 months. At Won10,000 or less than $10 a night, it is a steal. Moreover, they were offering to return the money as a support for the mission activities. I ended up refusing to accept this nominal money that I paid for my lodging.

I attended a brainstorming session held at Bonacom, Bo-eun, Chung-Buk, for a Jubilee Enterprise Fund or JEF, a proposed fund to support business as mission. A follow up call will be made in November.

Bonacom was started by a pastor couple (Rev. Dong Jin Kang and his wife) with a couple of families and after five years of struggle, they finally made it now to become an exemplary Christian community. They now reach out to several countries with organic chicken farming and windmill power. Surely they are a creative mission. May God bless them! We felt the fall season with fruits and changing colors of the tree leaves.
Rev. Kang, Dr. Sohn, Sam Cho, ChanJung Kim

I have attended the BAM Consultation held in Sorak for three years in a row. I lectured two sessions. It is great joy to see many businesses as mission in action in many countries. I found the participants to be more sophisticated than three years ago and was very encouraged. I met several new friends, such as Seung Won Choi, Moo Sung Bae, but greater joy was to see old friends, such as Harry Kim, Hyun Guk Lee, Tae Hyoung Kim, Jungmin Park, Chang Sun Moon, Jae Jung Jang, Jae Chul Chung, Kyoung Sup Kwon, Jong Sup Kwon, Byung Sung Choi, Seung Won Lee, Sung Kwang Kim etc.
At a panel with Jae Jung Jang, Kyoung Sup Kwon and Harry Kim

Tenor Trio: Seung Won Choi, Seung Won Lee, Amos Lee
Praise Team
With some of the participants... All Kingdom fellows
In Seoul, I also met up with many old friends, such as Pyung Ku Lee, Rev. Dongho Kim, Rev. Sunki Bang, Yoon Duk Suh (along with Nam Hyun Kim and Jin Bae Park), Chang Ho Maeng, Jang Sik Shim (along with Jong Soo Lee and Seung Hyun Yang), Jun Kyu Kim (along with his two female colleagues Kwon photographer and Hee Sun Kim sports dancer), Sang Hoon Shin, Young Jun Kim etc. I looked around the Yonsei University campus that has a new underground campus under construction.
Prof. NamHyun Kim, VP of  Yonsei Univ. JinBae Park, Yoon Duk Suh
Eagle Statue
With YD Suh in front of Poet DJ Yoon's Commemorative Stone
Obviously it was always joy to see Shalom Bible Study friends on the day I arrived. I was a little tired, but it was the only time to get together with them. Several loyal friends were there and I was delighted.

I had a get-together with my brother and sisters together with my parents. My brother Min-tae's daughter got married on September 12, but I could not attend because I had to preside over the wedding of one of SBS family, Joo Heum Baik in Dae Gu on the same day, which was fixed earlier than Young Ae's wedding schedule. But it was joy to see her and her husband when we had the family gathering.

We had to make an unpleasant decision among my siblings that our father was too ill with his dementia to be cared for our 85-year old mother. So I had to communicate the decision to the father with the mother's consent and understanding. He was upset and resisting initially, but later he accepted to go into an assisted living facility where he can receive a 24-hour care. I am glad to hear that father is adjusting and adapting well to a new environment and also that mother is relieved from the 24-hour care and enjoying some free time with her friends.

Speaking of the Joo Heum's wedding, I was privileged to preside over the wedding and it was a great blessing to know them. May the Lord walk with them and become the third string of their marriage relationship.
After the wedding
Chanmi Yang and Joo Heum Baek
At their honeymoon in Japan

I saw my college friend Shin Ick Kang, Vice President of Handong Global University and Dr. Young Gil Kim, the founder and former president of HGU fter attending the Sunday worship service at Onuri Community Church in Seo Bing Go. We talked about BAM and found the common interest. I also attended the Christian CEO Forum held at the church later where I met two Christian Americans (Tyler and his friend Beau, and Edith who runs Grace Chocolate Factory) who are helping Chinese business people to reach out to North Korea. It was a delight to see them in action for the Kingdom.

Onuri Community Church
I also met several new people during this trip. Among them was Mr. Yong Duk Park, a missionary to Turkey. He seemed to have many resources and connections that may be used well and profitably for the Kingdom purpose. I hope to stay in touch. Also, I saw the missionary Kwi Moon Oh, who is from the U.S., a former pastor and is now serving in China. He seems to have a resourceful connection network in both Korea and the U.S. I shared with him the plan to organize a fund to support BAM practitioners and he was happy to provide assistance as necessary.

Incheon to Los Angeles: This trip was made via China Southern, my first use. This airline is using Guangzhou as the hub and I had to back track a bit to fly to Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, I joined Kristin who arrived directly from Rwanda. We stayed for several days (September 19-24) at the residence of the Song's as usual. I saw many old colleagues and friends, such as Rev. Sung Jin Lim and his wife, Sung Kil Lim and his wife, John Lim, Bonnie Lee, Cindy An, Sunnie Kim, Young Shim, Tae Hwan Kim, Yang Rae Kim, In Kim and his wife, Jean Suk Kim and his wife, Jonathan Lee and his wife, Grace Yoo, Christine Oh, Steve Park, Myung Hee Hyun, Sam Sukman Oh and his wife, Suk Hwan Kim, Daniel Pak, Grace Kim and her three children along with her mom (Hyun Sun Kim gwonsanim). What a joy it is to see old friends and colleagues after a while!

Mrs. Song in the back, Mrs. Lim, Sung Kil and Mrs. Sung Jin Kim
Sung Jin Lim, me, Sung Kil Lim, Sung Hoon Song
Mrs. Jean Suk Kim next to Kristin and Mrs. Jonathan Lee 
Jeansuk, me and Jonathan
Sam Sukman Oh and his wife
We also had dinner with Jinsoo Kim and his family. His two children are both attending the same university in Seattle as Joanne followed the footstep of her brother Nathan. I was delighted to hear that Nathan went to India to serve over there for three months, proclaiming the gospel.

The greatest encouragement out of our trip to Los Angeles was to get re-connected with many former colleagues for the Kingdom purpose. I shared with them the plan to start Synergy for the Kingdom (SfK) Ministries and almost everyone was excited to be part of it.

Kristin had her eyeglasses made and I was able to take care of notarization for transferring Wyndham points to someone for free. We also shipped our passports to New Jersey to apply for visa to China.

San Francisco to San Diego:  After a short stay in Los Angeles, we drove to San Francisco on September 24 and had dinner with Joyce at Fuse Box, a fusion Korean restaurant. We also drove down to San Jose to see Kristin's friend couple (Young Chae and her husband) and Ji Young Rhee and Sung Soo Kim (They are colleagues). Always joyous to have reunion with old friends.

Kristin, Young Chae and Ji Young Rhee
Sung Soo Kim, Young Chae's husband, me
On Saturday and Sunday, we hung out with Joyce to explore the interesting places in San Francisco and its vicinity. Please refer to a separate blog post for "Hangout with Joyce in San Francisco." Click here.

After saying farewell to Joyce, we drove down to Los Angeles primarily via Pacific Coast Highway 1, stopping over in San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Laguna Beach and San Diego. It was a delightful journey. Please refer to a separate blog post. Click here.

Los Angeles to Destin, FL and Atlanta, GA:   After the panoramic road trip from San Francisco to San Diego, we took a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta Georgia, after we paid a visit to a Korean sauna.

Early in the morning, we rented a car at Atlanta Airport and drove down to Destin, Florida where our daughter Amanda lives with her husband James. The road trip took us 5-6 hours. It is a manageable duration, but we were physically tired due to the red-eye flight. Fortunately, we managed to drive down safely. On the way, we stopped over here and there, but One Eared Rabbit Antique Store was most impressive. Click here.

We hung out with Amanda and James for a few days in Destin and nearby places. It was so much fun with great joy! Please refer to a separate blog post for "Hangout with Amanda and James in Destin, Florida." Click here.

After our visit to Destin, we drove back to Atlanta, GA and stayed at the new house of Koomin Chung, one of my former colleagues. He and his wife, Sinyoung, have a son, Seung Young, a lovely 9-year old. I fell in love with this little boy and I momentarily enjoyed being a grandpa.
Koomin Chung, Seung Young and Shin Young, a lovely family

We met up with Sam Kim and his wife twice: once at a restaurant and the second time at their house. We talked about SfK Ministries and he has agreed to serve the board of SfK Life Corporation. We also met up with Kristin's college friend Jung Hee Woo and my friend Nack Paek, Chairman and CEO of Metro City Bank.

On Sunday, we worshiped at the largest Korean church in Atlanta where Kristin's friend Jung Hee Woo fellowships. We spent time together over lunch.

During our stay, I met with Dan Glaze at National Christian Foundation and registered companies related to the SfK Ministries. Also, we drove to Birmingham, Alabama to see my old friend Tom Phillips who drove down from Memphis, Tennessee. We talked about the SfK Ministries and agreed to join our resources together. Tom will serve the SfK board and I agreed to help out with his hydraulic power plant fund. Over dinner, we met up with Chuck Welden who is another BAM practitioner and has sharp mind. We had a fruitful discussion.

We renewed our Colorado drivers' licenses to Georgia licenses. So technically now we are Georgian residents.

Meanwhile, I had conference calls with Daniel Lee at Denver Foundation, Bo in Hong Kong and Dan (and Phil) at Crosswater Global Foundation in Bermuda. Our discussions centered around how effectively to set up a platform to channel the BAM fund activities to the missional businesses around the world. I also had a conference call with Young Ki Kwon, who holds a PhD in Physics and a specialist in laser technology. He is now running a company based in London. He also agreed to serve the board of SfK Ministries. Halleluja! He is an old friend of mind and I was so pleased to be re-connected for the Kingdom purpose.

Atlanta, GA to New York City, NY:   On October 15, I flew out to New York City and Kristin one day later because of her driver's license renewal that arrived late from New Jersey after the Chinese 10-year was added to the passport.

Right after my arrival, I had lunch with Dayoung Choi, Shinhan Bank America's branch manager in Little Neck, saw Tae Ok Park and Young Wook Yoo, my college friends, and Yeonhee Han, my former colleague, in Manhattan. They are all precious friends and we are glad to maintain our relatonships.

In the evening, we had dinner with Kristin's brothers and their family at Keum Gang San Restaurant. Kristin threw a birthday party for me. It was a delightful dinner and evening! Thank you, Kris! Kristin's oldest brother became a grandpa of three grand children in one month because his two daughters gave birth to them within one month time span - the younger one gave birth to hetero twins! I was happy to see all three brothers and their wives in good or improved health.

Kwang Soo, Kwang Sung and Kwang Goo, three brothers of Kristin
Three grand children
The next day, we visited Kristin's mom who passed away in January 2015 and is now resting in peace in Pinelawns. Kristin realized that she lived alone for 40 years in the U.S. after her husband passed in Korea, raising all four children to settle in the U.S., who are now becoming grand parents. What a life she lived! We treasured the fond memories that we had together while she was still alive with many thanks.

We stopped over at the storage place and decided to keep it. There were just too many varieties of stuff to get rid of. Over lunch, we saw Mr. and Mrs. Yeun Ho Suk, my college senior and friend, who is diligently responding to my e-mail and ministry updates. We saw Mr. and Mrs. Kwang Ho Cho over dinner. Mrs. Cho is a close friend of Kris and our reunion is always joyous. Mr. Cho and Mr. Suk both agreed to be part of Kingdom Fellow network.

We attended the worship service at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and were challenged by pastor Tim Kelly's sermon on "Sin." Always soft but inspiring his sermon is! After the sermon, Kristin went to spend time with her nursing school friends and I met up with Harry Kim and his son Samuel over dinner. I briefly shared with him the plan for SfK Ministries and we both were excited about the new ministry.

On Monday, I went out to see a few friends of Kristin over lunch. Hong Im Shin, a nursing school professor, and Geum Sook Cho, a missionary to Myanmar along with Hee Ok Lee, an oriental medicine doctor living in NYC.

On Tuesday, October 20, I played golf with Jay Yoon, Jae Sup Choi and Dae Won Kim, founder of South Pole brand at Ridgewood Country Club where Mr. Choi has the membership. The gold was enjoyable with a fine weather. Mr. Yoon's golf was always fascinating. After the gold, I saw Ki Soo Sohn, a two-year junior at Agape Club (Yonsei University) who lives in Pal Park. They all agreed to be of help for the SfK Ministries. Praise the Lord! We had a dinner together with the Chois and the Yoons. They are our travel friends for the Kilimanjaro climb, Cape Town to Victoria Falls tour and the Scandinavian and Baltic Europe tour. They all are nice and lovely people. They arranged for a pick up from Elmhurst to Fort Lee and back.

New York JFK to Kigali, Rwanda: On Wednesday, October 21, we both flew out of JFK but through different airlines: I through Qatar and Kris through Brussels. Kristin arrived the next day, but I had to stay over night in Doha to arrive on Friday, Octover 23. As always, we enjoyed the travel, but we were glad to be back home, our sweet home.

We thanked God for His travel mercy to result in safe travel, fruitful outcome for the ministry, joyous gathering with our children, delightful reunion with our friends and successful achievement of various administrative matters.

While we were traveling, a thief broke the wind shield of our car and stole the car stereo. It was an unpleasant happening, but hey, who said there would be no problem. We were grateful that the theft was limited to that incident. Thank you, Lord! - Jeffrey

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