Friday, December 29, 2017

Trip to Memphis, TN (December 2017)

While we were visiting Denver, I made an overnight trip to Memphis, TN. The primary purpose of the visit was to meet up with Tom Phillips who together with his wife Beth owns and runs a private business of manufacturing conveyor belt systems and selling to businesses, such as UPS, FedEx, and airports.

Tom is a BAM practitioner and serves as a member of SfK Life board. He is a wonderful and godly man of God and does his best to being a good steward of what God has entrusted with him, including time, talents and treasure.

He has been a strong supporter to SfK Ministries and I cannot thank God enough for him and his faithfulness to His calling. I intend to write a blog post for the FB group of SfK Ministries.

He continued to make a financial contribution to supporting SfK Ministries this year and pledged to help establish a fund that will be adequate to make SfK Life sustainable to cover non-payroll operating expesnses once the fund is fully put to profitable use.

Tom gave me a quick tour of his company, introducing me to all his senior leadership team. He runs the business very intensively and competitively without losing integrity. But, he maintains thrift in his life style, thus preserving the resources, which in turn are used for Kingdom impact. A diagram shows this dynamics very well. No wonder DCI was ranged the fastest growing private company in 2015. His office showcases many projects that he and DCI supports.

I visited DCI in 2009 at a different location. Then, DCI had a staff of 25. Now it has grown to be 162. His business has continued to grow leaps and bounds. It was God's blessing, he said, and I believe.

Tom and Beth remain humble before God and He keeps blessing the business to be greater blessing to others in need. What a testimony!

I had dinner with Tom and his wife Beth, CEO of DCI. Accidentally I found out that it was Tom's 60th birthday. I was glad to be part of his 60th birthday dinner together with Beth.

I am not sure where the Lord is taking SfK Ministries, but I remain resolved to depend on Him and draw His divine wisdom on all matters. I trust He is greater than any and all human wisdom combined. Also, He is more resourceful than all human wealth collectively. Moreover, He is able and provides for what He wills. So I need to make sure SfK Ministries stay on course for the vision and mission that are aligned with God's vision and mission.

Lord, we are tremendously grateful for all You have done. I pray that You will help us also in the year 2018 as You will.

Memphis Airport used to have far more flights flying in and out of the airport than now. When Norwest Airlines merged with Delta, the number of flights was reduced considerably, Tom explained. At the airport, I saw a host of FedEx airplanes.

At the airport and everywhere, I saw the statues and posters of Elvis Presley, the king of Rock 'N Roll. Memphis is the birth place of Rock 'N Roll and blues. Elvis was all over the places.

Also, I learned that Memphis is the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The city still remains deeply divided and requires healing and reconciliation.

This was the second time of visit to Memphis, but I still have not had a chance to tour the city. Perhaps I will next time. - Jeffrey

Trip to Denver, CO (December 2017)

We traveled to Denver Colorado and stayed there for a week.

The metro Denver is a place where we lived more than 10 years before we relocated to Rwanda in 2009. During this period, I lived in New York for four and a half years, but our home was still in Colorado.

Logos Central Chapel
More importantly, Denver has Logos Central Chapel that has sent us to the ends of the earth. I named the church when it was first established and coached the initial leadership teams for the church governance and administration. The leadership is now in their 50's and the church membership has also changed considerably. Nonetheless, LCC is our home church.

LCC has invited a new pastor who is still in his late 20's and has not finished his seminary study and has not been ordained yet as a full fledged pastor. Nonetheless, he looked competent, confident and pleasant. I had a couple of opportunities to fellowship with him.

I gave a presentation about BAM and SfK Ministries to a group of people after the worship service on Sunday. Unlike the last time, several people asked a lot of questions and I was encouraged. I am curious to find out what the Lord has in mind.

Meeting People
Chuck and Eunice Lee have always been so hospitable to us. Usually we stayed at their home, but this time we stayed at a hotel because they had their daughter couple and the friends of their son-in-law staying at their house.

They took us out to dinner and hosted a dinner for several couples for fellowship. Chuck serves as a member of SfK Life board and actively participates in the discussion during the board meetings. I am truly grateful to God for them and their support, financially and prayerfully, for SfK Ministries.

Mike and Hyunjoo also took us out to dinner one night. Chuck and Eunice were also invited. Hyunjoo has gone through a few surgeries due to cancer and other related illness. But she maintained an upbeat attitude and we were encouraged. Mike is a godly man and has been strong supporter of his wife.

Pastor David Chong is the senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado. Pastor Kenny Hong is one of the associate pastors. We have known Pastor Kenny since the OMC time in Los Angeles and it is amazing to see him now in his 50's. We had lunch together and I had a separate meeting with Pastor David, sharing views and thoughts, iron sharpening iron. I enjoyed our conversation, as always.

Kelvin Huh is my former colleague. He worked for CIB Financial that was a subsidiary of Premier Holding Company. He is now SVP and a loan production office manager for a LA-based commercial bank. He shared the issues of life that he is facing and our discussion has led to a solution.

John J. Kim was a business entrepreneur and is a pastor who has just retired from shepherding a church this year. He now leads a Colorado chapter of New Life Mission, challenging and empowering young people to world missions. His son Joshua Kim got me introduced to him and we had an interesting discussion. When we first met, James and Hannah Suh also joined us and our dialogue was exciting. Later, I had one more chance of meeting up with John J. Kim. He promised to come to Chiang Mai to discuss more about how to engage young people in BAM and world missions. Also, he plans to attend the SfK MBA Chiang Mai 2018. I wonder what the Lord has in mind for our relationship.

While we were in Colorado, The Star Wars movie were introduced. On the third day, we watched it. Were were not as excited as a lot of young people. Instead, we found a lot of nonsense in the movie. I suppose we are getting old. But, at the movie theater, I found Sweet Amanda's candy corner.

For several reasons, I thanked God for all He has prepared for us to explore and connect. - Jeffrey

Trip to Atlanta, GA (December 2017)

I took a short trip down to Atlanta, GA while we were staying in New York.

Koomin Chung was a former colleague at Premier Bank in Colorado and Shinhan Bank America in New York. He still works for Shinhan Bank America managing North Atlanta Bank branch and Loan Center covering states of Georgia and Alabama. He works with Jaewoo Jung who leads the lending team for Koo. He looked like a nice man.

More than anything else, he serves as Director of Lending with SfK Ministries. Also, he takes care of administrative issues of SfK Life, our personal mails and even our rental property in Buford. I am deeply indebted and greatly grateful. He is a pleasant and competent man of God who is trustworthy and dependable.

He offered that I stay at his house even after I already made a reservation at a hotel. Also he allowed me to drive his car so I had to cancel the rental car arrangement. He is nice, kind and hospitable.

During my two-night stay, there was heavy snow in Atlanta that normally does not see snow even in the winter. The entire area turned beautifully white, but streets were slippery and schools were closed. I saw the falling snow in a long while.

Koo's father arrived one day after I arrived there. His father is as nice and gentle as Koo. Also, Koo has a son who is cute and talented. He plays golf, drum and guitar. We had dinner together and ate Cold Stone ice cream  Fun and delicious!

I had a meeting with Elder Daewon Cho, a missionary to Rwanda, who came with his church pastor couple. Coincidentally the pastor entered Yonsei University in the same year I entered. It was a pleasant surprise. Also in attendance for lunch was Elder Young Ryong Ryu who was a banker with Shinhan Bank. Apparently, Elder Cho and Elder Ryu were of the same age.

I met up with Samuel Kim briefly. He is a member of SfK Life board and also Treasurer. He has been serving in his role faithfully. We have known each other from Denver where we both lived.

I had dinner with Arthur Kim who is an economist and currently works for the IRS. He runs a couple of FB groups: one for economics and the other for bible study. WE exchanged ideas and thoughts on various issues. 

Although it was short, I was grateful that I had a chance to meet up with Koo and other friends. - Jeffrey

Trip to Pennsylvania (December 2017)

One day, I rented a car and drove down to Lancaster first and later to Philadelphia.

In Lancaster, I visited with Peter Greer, CEO of Hope International He is a long time friend and I translated one of his books into Korean: Spiritual Danger of Doing Good. We explored several ways to work together. No tangible way has come out of the meeting, but at least it was wonderful to be reconnected after a few years of disconnect. I came to Lancaster at least four times while I was serving in Rwanda to attend the Leaders Summit.

I had a fond recollection of watching four Christian musicals performed at the Millennium Theater: Psalms of David, Noah, Jonah and Joseph. All of them were fantastically inspirational. I would love to watch another one at the theater that is producing and performing musicals of only Christian themes and characters.

I bumped into Christine Baingana, current CEO of Urwego Bank in Rwanda, which I managed for four and a half years. What a surprise!

I had a dinner meeting with David Simms later the same day. David used to be affiliated with Opportunity International and once he was global CEO briefly during an interim period. Under his leadership, Opportunity had to go through a major overhaul.

Currently he is Managing Director of Impact Foundation and tries to find a way to support missional businesses in developing nations through donor advised funds housed at the foundation. We brainstormed several ways to collaborate for His Kingdom.

He took me to a Thousan Village store where they collect and sell products from all over the world. We talked about developing a network of stores to promote the products of transformational businesses. Unfortunately the store was closed, but I was able to peep into the store.

After dinner, I had to drive all the way to Queens. It is not a terribly long distance, but I felt it was after having lived in small countries. - Jeffrey

Trip to New York/New Jersey (December 2017)

Our trip to New York was for about 10 days. During this time, I had to drive down to Philadelphia and Lancaster one day. And I had to fly out to Atlanta for three days. So my stay in New York was really short. Nonetheless, I was able to get a lot done during this short stay.

New Jersey Harvest Church
I was given an opportunity to share a message at New Jersey Harvest Church in Closter. Rev. Minsong Ahn is the senior pastor. We have known him and his wife since 1996 in Denver. I talked about work, business and BAM through the message. I trust that the Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of people who attended at the Friday service. I look forward to witnessing what the Lord will do in the church congregation members.

Travel Mates
In New Jersey, there are two of our frequent travel mates: The Jay Yoon's and the Jaesup Choi's. We had a meet up over lunch in Fort Lee. We climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro together; traveled from Cape Town to Victoria Falls through Namibia and Botswana for three weeks through overland trucking; explored the Scandinavian countries and eastern Europe and toured the historic U.K and green Ireland. It is a blessing to have travel mates whose hearts are warm and kind to each other. Mr. Choi is fighting against lung cancer and he looked quite well. We are dreaming of exploring the Patagonia in January or February of 2019, Lord willing.

Meeting People
Kristin has three brothers and all live in New York and New Jersey. We had a gathering over dinner. I found it interesting that our conversation centered around health and MediCare. The youngest brother has been struggling with his kidney for nearly two decades. Recently he had two donors of their kidneys but the doctors found him unready to receive their kidneys due to his liver unhealthy. So he missed the opportunity. I am sure it was frustrating. His wife seems to handle the circumstance pretty well. Their wives did not want to be in the photo, bot only Won siblings.

Yeunho Suk is my college alumnus senior, former CEO of Hyosung America and long-term Chairman of Korea America Chamber of Commerce (KOCHAM). He agreed to assist in our efforts to establish trading posts for SfK Missional Business Trading. He would be very helpful in penetrating into the mainstream market with the products of freedom businesses and community development missional businesses.

After the worship service at NJ Harvest Church, Kristin and I had a meet up with Elder Kwangho Cho and his wife Myunghee who is Kristin's nursing school friend. AFter retirement, Elder Cho is now studying for an MDiv degree. Great passion that he has.

Yeonhee Han and Seung Joon Lee are my former colleagues. Now they are part of senior leadership at their banks, but they all began as my proteges. It makes me feel good to see them grow mature and successful.

Jaesup Choi made an arrangement for a lunch meeting with Mr. and Mrs. John Koh and Jennifer Oh. John Koh is deeply involved in empowering missional businesses in central Asia and I hope to expand our relationship. His wife is involved in empowering children. Jennifer is involved in 5L2F Mission Organization in helping children in poor nations. All have beautify servant hearts and they make me humble before God and also obedient to be faithful to Him.

Dongkee Shin is a CPA and serves as an elder in charge of missions at NJ Harvest Church. We had a lengthy discussion about how the church may implement right strategies for their missions efforts in their own backyeard: New York where all the world nations call their second home. The Greater New York is the ripe mission field within the U.S. I also solicited his involved in SfK Ministries with his accounting profession. We will see where the Lord leads our relationship and his talents.

Taeok Park is also a CPA and takes care of our home tax returns as well tax returns for SfK Life Corporation. It is a customary practice to meet and catch up whenever I visit New York. He is also my college friend. Coincidentally, Taeok was using an office space at Samwoo CPAs where Dongkee Shin is one of three partners.

Harry Kim is a world sojourner and BAM practitioner. He leads Korean BAM network, called K-BAM.  He has two sons working and studying in New York. So he comes to New York quite often. He has changed his travel plans twice and finally he was able to come back to New York while I was in New York. So we met and ate seafood with rice at a Chinese restaurant. Due to his keen interest in eating only choice meals, I had full trust in his choice. He never let me down.

Sung Eun Hong is Chairman of Ranier Group. He is practically 35% owner of the Korea's professional baseball team Heroes. We met when I was in New York and was the first Chairman of Shinhan Society. I am grateful to him for maintaining our relationship.

Dr. David Ahn is a teaching professor of computer science. He was a tenured professor at Nayak College and has recently transferred to City University of New York (CUNY). He used to be CIO of Shinhan Bank American when I was leading the bank. It was wonderful to see him again after almost 9 years.

When I visited Atlanta, I had a meet up with Ji Bae, Director of IT for SfK Ministries. He told me that on that day he was traveling to New York. We would be in the same city at the same time. That would be a wonderful opportunity for me to meet his girlfriend who is a medical doctor. So we met up together with Alex Hong, VP of database management at Loyd Bank New York. What a small world! We thoroughly enjoyed our get-together. 

Central Park
Kristin and I strolled in the Central Park. The fallen leaves covered the grass fields and streets. It is a bit strange sense of looking at skyscrapers through the tree branches in the park.

I saw Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle and remembered the first encounter with the current president of the U.S. Donald Trump. He waved at me, but I did not respond. I am sure he thought I was a jerk who did not recognize him, but I did. I did not like his pompous style and chose not to respond. Ha...!

At the corner of the Central Park, there was a Holiday Market around the Columbus Circle. It looked like Christmas Market in Germany and Austria. Peeping into the merchant stores and window shopping were fun part of walking around the market. I found a booth that sells peace baskets of Rwanda. Also, I found a booth that sells products for empowering women: namely Fashion for Women.

One statement caught my eye: "Who says I have to act my age?" I agree.

I worked in Manhattan for four and a half years. So I am somewhat familiar with Manhattan. But, Time Square gives me always a lively impression and the Empire State Building stands out in the skyline.

Manhattan has the Wall Street. Merrill Lynch has a statue of a bull that symbolizes a rising stock market. There is another statue of a girl that faces the bull. It looks like a girl defines the capitalism and materialism.

Kristin took a photo of Manhattan skyline at the sunset. It looked gorgeous.

We worshiped at Redeemer East Side Church on Sunday. Even after Tim Keller retired, the church split into four churches still thrive. I praise the Lord who enables and empowers the church.

I always wanted to visit NYC as a tourist at least once. I am not sure when, but I really hope to be able to do so. Lord willing.  - Jeffrey