Thursday, May 19, 2016

Trip to Los Angeles, USA (May 2016)...

After a week-long visit to Korea, I traveled to Los Angeles, California. The primary purpose of this trip was to hold the first in-person board meeting for SfK Life and to dedicate SfK Ministries to the Lord.

I was glad to spend time with In S. Kim and his church pastor, Daeho Yu. I stayed at the Healing Center, the missionary housing of the God's Family Church. I also spent time with Jinsoo Kim, my wife's cousin.

SfK Life board members met in person for the first time over Korean dinner. We are a group of interesting characters, but started jellying well.

On Saturday, SfK Life board held a strategic planning session in the morning and the regular quarterly board meeting in the afternoon. In the evening, we dedicated SfK Ministries to the Lord and His Kingdom. A total of 42 people participated in the dedication service. Dr. Neal Johnson keynoted the service and Rev. Dongho Kim sent us a congratulatory video. We all were blessed and challenged.
With Neal and Diana

Neal Johnson 
Board Members with Neal Johnson
Kingdom Fellows
All participants

We had lunch with Sunnie Kim and Young Shim at Morton's. Young's enthusiastic offer to help was encouraging.

Also, I had dinner with Tom and Lita, a dentist couple, who started His Hand on Africa ministry focusing on Rwanda. Kristen also joined us to ask Joyce about Peacecorps since she signed up for Peacecorps and is scheduled to be dispatched to Uganda in November.

I met with Brian Chun over breakfast, who is a BAM practitioner focusing on Haiti. It is always encouraging to meet like-minded people.

After the dedication service, I hung out with Joyce for a couple of days, Sunday and Monday. We visited Museum of Jurasic Technology and Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. The visits were quuire interesting thanks to Joyce's interest in art and curious stuff. - Jeffrey

Trip to Korea (May 2016)...

After a 6-week long trip to Thailand, my next trip was to Seoul, Korea. Kristin and I stayed at her aunt's condominium in Yongsan.

I had a schedule packed with meetings: meetings with Dr. Wonmin Sohn to discuss about setting up SfK Korea and BAM Fund, Donghwa Kim and Matthew Jung to discuss about various matters related to creative missions, SBS members to talk about SfK Ministries, M. Jae Moon, Dowoon Lee and Heon Lee to catch up, YoonDuk Suh, Namhyun Kim and Inheung Kim to meet up and catch up, Jangsik Shim to talk about various economic matters and lending license in Korea, Sung Soo Kim to talk about collaboration in Tanzania, John Chae of Binchae to talk about potential collaboration on BAM, Daniel Ian (a missionary to Myanmar) to talk about collaboration in Asia, Panshik Shin to talk about trip to Croatia and Eastern Highlights, Heart to Heart leadership to have dinner and watch Celo Concert, Youngjun Kim to catch up, Ilha Lee (GNI CEO) and his staff to talk about potential collaboration on managing community development funds throughout GNI network, Harry Kim and BAM colleagues to talk about BAM, Jae Chul Jung to discuss about potential collaboration and Jinsol Hwang to discuss about potential collaboration.

SBS members at Hug In Cafe
With Matthew Jung and Donghwa Kim
With Minja Lee, my younger sister
John Chae, Chairman of Binchae Foundation
Heon Lee, Dowoon Lee, M. Jae Moon
With M. Jae Moon, Yonsei University Professor
Daniel Ian and his wife (Myanmar)
With Jinsol Hwang, CEO of The Bridge
Harry Kim, Seungwon Lee, Daniel Lee, Wonseok Lee, Changsun Moon
Thanks to the Heart to Heart leadership, Kristin and I had an opportunity to visit Seoul Art Center for the first time and watched a Celo Concert. Deborah Kang, one of Heart to Heart members, played a violin along with a 9-member Celo Ensenble.

The most significant meeting among them all was with Rev. Dongho Kim who agreed to serve as the chairman of the board of directors of SfK Korea. It is greatly encouraging to serve the Lord and His Kingdom together with him.

Obviously, the most meaningful time spent was with my mom and my younger brother on the parents' day. Kristin and I visited my father who passed this world to be with the Lord in January 2016. We later met with my mom and my brother at a restaurant in Hapjung, Mapo.

I had an interview with CGN TV. Personally, I do not enjoy receiving the media attention, but I did it to introduce SfK Ministries.

I gave a 2-hour lecture at Onnuri Professional Mission School (OPMS) for the 6th cohort. - Jeffrey

Trip to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia (April 2016)

Angkor Wat reflected on the water... 
Angkor Wat is one of the items in my bucket list. So the visa run from Thailand to stay longer than 30 days was a golden opportunity to cross out this item. This UN heritage site is a famous place for many people who want to experience old temples for Hinduism as well as Buddhism.

Siem Reap was the center of the Khmer Empire. Also, it has many sand stones in the area. Thus, the Khmer people built many temples in the region.

Among others, we chose to visit three temples: Angkor Wat, Ankor Thom and Ta Prom.

Angkor Wat is the representative of all temples in the region and is a special site. It was a Hindu temple but was later converted to a Buddhist temple. Buddhists are readily accepting Hinduism because Buddhism was originated from Hinduism. There were inscribed pictures of the old legends on the walls of the buildings throughout Angkor Wat.

The Khmer new year follows the Buddhism calendar, starting some time in April. This time of the year is also one of the hottest months of the year. Despite the heat, hovering between 106-108 degree in Fahrenheit (40-41 Celsius), there were a lot of tourists, largely locals still celebrating the Khmer new year.

Ankor Thom was a city occupied by noble people surrounding the King's palace. This palace was built here because Siem Reap was located at the center of the Khmer Empire. Jayavarman was the most famous and respected kings.

At the center of Ankor Thom was the state temple, called Bayon. It used to have 54 towers representing 54 provinces at that time. Now only 39 towers are left. Each tower has four faces of Buddhas overlooking people who worship him. The walls had many common life stories, such as fishing, crocodiles, cock fights, cooking pigs and fish, harvesting crops, wars, human life. Quite interesting... only if we had more time and if the temperature was a little cooler.

Ta Prom was the most interesting of all. It became famous when the movie Tomb Raiders was filmed here. This temple was built by King Jayavarman VII, dedicated to his mother, referred to as the goddess of wisdom. This temple was abandoned for 400 years, excavated in the 19th century. So Spung trees grew over the temple and their roots cover many parts of the temple. Thus, Ta Prom is also called the Jungle Temple. A large part of the temple has collapsed, but still a lot of temple buildings coexist with the tree roots.. Since it is a Hindu temple, the restoration project is sponsored and by the Indian government.

We went to a local restaurant to have dinner and to watch Khmer cultural dancing. But, the cultural dancing was with minimal motions, thus making us bored, although their outfits were quite bright and colorful.

The Khmer version of the Tuk Tuks was a little different from what I knew. Their version represented a combination of motor cycles and passenger carts, connected through a trailer linkage. With the trailer detached, people can ride the motor cycles separately. During the day time, we could find many TukTuk drivers taking a nap in a hammock inside their TukTuks.

We hired a car and we appreciated the air conditioned car so much while we were transferring from temple to temple. Yikes! It was far too hot..

We missed the sunrise and sunset, but the heat preemptively made us decide not to go.

There were two North Korean restaurants. They serve North Korean meals and offer their entertainment performances. It has been reported that diplomatic offices of North Korea had a mandate to earn FX to finance their operating expenses, hence operating these restaurants. We missed the opportunity to experience the North Korean meals and entertainment performances..

The highlight of the tour was obviously Ankor Wat, but the second highlight was staying at a 5 star hotel with excellent food and lodging without the 5-star cost. Their food and service were impressively good.

Overall, the trip to Angkor Wat was short but sweet. - Jeffrey