A Fond Farewell to the Land of the Morning Calm

Flag of the Republic of KoreaThis is my last night in Korea after being here 377 days. I came on orders reluctantly, not wanting to leave my family or the position I was in, but as everyone who wears the uniform understands, when Uncle Sam says “go,” we either go or we get out. Since I believed that God still wanted me serving as a Chaplain in the Army, I “saluted the flag,” packed my bags, and said “goodbye” to my family.

BDE Hail and Farewell
Brian, Eric, Me and Maya at our BDE UMT Hail and Farewell

After arriving, however, I discovered that my new unit of assignment was a great one that I would enjoy being a part of while ministering to its Soldiers and encouraging and equipping the chaplains in the subordinate battalions. Those chaplains, Eric, Maya and Brian, proved to be great chaplains and grew to be good friends. I also appreciated the chaplain assistants and KATUSAs both in the battalions and my UMT in the BDE, SSG Pagan, SSG Kendrick and CPL Kim. Had this been all that this year included, it would have made the sacrifice of the year worth it.

20160125_102914
Me with Young Ho Kim, a chaplain in the ROKA

Through my Army assignment to the Yongsan area, I also reconnected with chaplain friends from previous assignments and attendance at the Chaplain School. In C4, I met Young Ho Kim, who is a chaplain in the ROK Army. It was nice to run into him again at a joint training event we both attended. Sean was another chaplain I got to know at C4, who along with his wife were very kind to me while in Korea without family, inviting me out and checking in on me.

Me, Sean and Jorge at Mr. Kabab
Me, Sean and Jorge at Mr. Kabab

Then there are the other chaplains who I met here and got to know a bit as we worked together to provide religious support to the USAG Yongsan: Chaplain Kim, Mark Lee and Brian Oh of USAG Yongsan Religious Support Office; Yun Kim who was pastoring the Traditional Protestant Service when I arrived, who I took over from; Jorge Budez who pastored the Episcopal service where I attended many times (and even preached once) and who also covered for me; Jamison Bowman who was on rotation in Korea; Chaplains Wheatley and Morris in the 8th Army Command Chaplains Office; and finally Martin Cho who I was in the same CHOBC with and now he has come to replace me as Brigade Chaplain; all just to name a few. I look forward to running into these chaplains again as we continue to serve.

Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The final group photo of the congregation taken on our last Sunday together as a congregation

My additional assignment as pastor of the USAG Yongsan Traditional Protestant Congregation was a rewarding experience. I didn’t think after just a year in the congregation that I would grow so attached, but they are great people who became great friends and our times of worship and fellowship were very meaningful. I will not soon forget the blessings that I received through this congregation!

Ilsan Lake Park
John and me by the Lake.

There was so much more that I experienced in Korea that multiplied the blessings of the last 377 days. I met John Eun Yup Kim online before arriving in Korea and soon connected with him and and his family who provided a warm welcome and great introduction to Korea. John  helped me attend the Korea National District Assembly and later invited me to preach at his church.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene
Bashir and I

I met Bashir Asim Gil, from Pakistan, at the District Assembly, and we got together several more times (including in his home with his wonderful family), culminating in my visiting the church where he ministers my last Sunday in Korea and getting to preach at the English Service. Both John and Bashir have become good friends who I hope to keep in touch with for years to come and hopefully see them at Nazarene gatherings somewhere in the world!

Fortunately, we had our KATUSA to translate for us!
Me with my KATUSA, my new Chaplain Assistant and my old Chaplain Assistant at a restaurant in Suwon

As I was preparing to come to Korea, I thought that due to its proximity to other Asian nations, that I would get to visit countries like China and Japan, not to mention many areas of South Korea, but it turned out that I didn’t do much traveling besides my many trips to Suwon with my Soldiers and a “Staff Ride” to the DMZ. I didn’t even visit some of the interesting sites in the Seoul area that most tourists make sure to see. This is kind of disappointing, but as I look back over my posts on this blog and see the many things that I did do, I’m satisfied that my year here was anything but wasted and I have many experiences and friendships to show for my time.

While I have really enjoyed my time in Korea, I really miss my family and home so am anxious to get back to them. But I take back with me many great memories of the people I’ve met and the places I’ve visited. I continue to be blessed when I think of the times I’ve been able to worship with Korean Nazarenes and the military congregations on post. I return to the Untied States with a better appreciation of the work of the military in this part of the world and the challenges faced by ministers and churches seeking to reach people in this country. I will cherish the memories and and friendships that have been made and continue to thank God for the blessings they have brought.

So to everyone who has been such a blessing to me this year: thank you, thank you, thank you! I pray that God will return to you many times the blessing you have been to me!

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Worship at Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene in Seoul

I was excited to get to worship today at another Church of the Nazarene in Korea before returning to the United States. Today, my last Sunday on the Peninsula, I attended Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene in Seoul.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene and Cafe for Else

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene
Bashir and I

When I attended the Korea National District Church of the Nazarene district assembly back in March, I met the pastor, Tak Kyung Sung, who told me then he would like to have me come and speak at his church. However, my duties as pastor of the Traditional Protestant Congregation on post kept me from being able to do much else on Sundays, so I haven’t been able to attend but I kept in touch with Bashir, one of the pastors at the Eoulrim church. Bashir and I have been able to get together a few times since the district assembly. Through Bashir, I was finally able to attend worship at Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene, on my last Sunday in Korea.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene
The sanctuary is on the lower level of the building.

1100 Service

“Eoulrim” means together or in harmony. That is an exciting name for a church, reminiscent of Acts 2 when “they were all together in one place.” Eoulrim Church has multiple services on Sunday; I first attended the main service at 1100 where I was asked to briefly share a little about what I do as an Army Chaplain and what brought me to Korea. Here’s a clip of that introduction which ends with the gifts they gave me for being there. The first part of my intro didn’t make the video. What you miss is, “Good morning. My name is Daryl Densford and I am from the United States. I am the fifth generation in my family to be a member of the Church of the Nazarene…” :

I really enjoyed being in this service, even though it was in Korean. As I have commented in previous posts, the language spoken is often not as relevant as the presence of the Holy Spirit and the feeling of being among family in the Church of the Nazarene. I also experienced this when I attended Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to feel “at home” wherever in the world God takes you! One of the songs we sung in this service spoke of God being present in the service. I was moved to tears when Bashir told me the lyrics, having just written about the significance about God’s presence in services where I don’t know the language the night before!

Eoulrim Nazarene

One of Bashir’s daughters sung with the music team in this service (on the left in the below picture). She also knows English very well and helped Bashir with the translation of my introduction. The music was very good and the congregation sang with enthusiasm:

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene

The pastor spoke with what felt very much like God’s empowerment. While I couldn’t understand what he said, I certainly felt God’s presence during his message. Bashir skimmed the wave tops with his translation (sitting beside me) so I got enough to understand his urging his people to work with God in His movement and leadership and expect God to do great things.

Pastor Tak, Kyung Sung
Pastor Tak, Kyung Sung

Lunch

Following the first service, the congregation went up to their coffee shop for lunch together. I ate with the pastor, Bashir and another visiting minister in the pastor’s study (off of the cafe), and enjoyed the conversation. The lunch was a traditional Korean meal with rice, beef (I think Bulgogi), kimchi, noodles and some green stuff (sorry, not sure what it was). I ate some of it, but even after a year in Korea I haven’t been able to acquire a taste for all of it.

The visiting minister and I had an especially long (and meaningful) conversation as Bashir and the pastor were active with doing “pastoral” things. He had studied and taught in the U.S. in the D.C. area and had significant insight into American-Asian cultures and interaction as well as the mission of God.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarenen
Of course we had to have a cup of coffee after eating lunch!

1400 Service

After lunch we went to the next service at 1400, which was also in Korean. At this service, in addition to more good music, the visiting minister who had studied and taught for many years in the U.S. spoke to the congregation from Acts 1:8. For being a Southern Baptist, he had quite a bit to say about the work of the Holy Spirit, from what I got from Bashir’s wave-top translation and the little bit of English the preacher used (I think for my benefit)!

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene

Another of Bashir’s daughters sung a special at this service. Here’s a video of her:

1530 (English) Service

Next was the English service at 1530. At this service I had the privilege to preach. Even though it was an English service, many of those in attendance are still learning English, so some (most) of my sermon was translated into Korean by my friend Bashir. I think this may have been more difficult than translating straight from English to Korean as there was more discussion about the best words to use both in Korean and English.

Because of the way the translating was being discussed, it was much more “conversational” but occasionally I would get going without pausing for translation which caused Bashir to have to re-preach that portion of the message. Many times it felt like we were team-preaching which seemed to be very effective since I’m not familiar with Korean language or culture. It turned out to be a very fun time.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene

This was another great experience for me (as are most times when I am able to preach). I always get excited at the “international-ness” of the Church of the Nazarene when I have the opportunity to minister among them in other countries.

Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene
Bashir and Pastor Tak presented me with gifts for being their guest.
Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene
It was almost like Christmas!

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Cafe for Else
Cafe for Else, run by the Eoulrim Church, on the 1st floor of the building where the church worships.
Cafe for Else.
Inside of Cafe for Else where they also share a meal together after the worship service.

I really, really enjoyed my time at Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene, as I did with Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene a couple weeks ago. I appreciate the interaction I have had with Nazarenes in Korea and the friends I have made during my time here!

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You can find more about Eoulrim Church of the Nazarene at their website, www.eoulrim.net

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Last Prayer

501st Change of CommandLast year on 22 July I posted about my first prayer, which wasn’t actually the first time I prayed, but my first official prayer as the Brigade Chaplain. Today, I prayed my last prayer which, undoubtedly, won’t be the last prayer I pray but my last official prayer as the Brigade Chaplain before I leave for home. This was a prayer for the brigade Change of Command ceremony, as the outgoing Brigade Commander passes authority to the incoming Brigade Commander.

Prayers are traditionally a part of military ceremonies and in my experience have not resulted in any issues; though to listen to some media reports you would think that they will be the cause the end of the civilized world.

There are a lot of customs and traditions which symbolize all sorts of history which has been preserved in military ceremonies for years, the Change of Command ceremony is no exception.

501st MI BDE Change of Command
Brigade Primary Staff (which doesn’t include the Chaplain or the Lawyer, who are both Special Staff)

The colors moving into place for the change of command
501st MI BDE Change of Command
The colors in place
501st MI BDE Change of Command
The INSCOM Commander (MG Ballard) speaking to the brigade and guests
501st MI BDE Change of Command
Outgoing brigade commander (COL Arnold) addressing the brigade and guests
501st MI BDE Change of Command
Incoming brigade commander (COL Lee) addressing the brigade and guests

The “Passing of the Colors” as part of the Change of Command ceremony

As usual, there aren’t any pictures of me praying, but that’s OK. I was there. Here’s what I prayed:

Most Gracious Heavenly Father:

Thank you for this day that you have given to us and for this occasion that brings us together which always reminds us of the strength of our military and the freedom it defends, and today, the role that the 501st plays in the defense of freedom here in Korea.

Thank you for Colonel Arnold and for his committed and faithful service as the Brigade Commander. Thank you for the positive impact he has had on the Soldiers and mission of the brigade as he has served with honor and integrity.

I pray that you will continue to be with him and his family as they move on to their next assignment here on the Peninsula. Please return to them blessing upon blessing, as they have been a blessing to so many.

I also pray that you will be with Colonel Lee as he assumes command of the brigade. Provide for him everything that he needs to serve with faithfulness, courage and integrity as he continues the great work that Colonel Arnold has begun.

Finally Lord, I pray that you will bless this time that we share together with your  presence, and pray that everything that is said and done here today will be pleasing to you, as you continue to bless us, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America.

In your precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

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501st MI BDE Change of Command

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Advanced Missile Defense Coming to Korea

NK-Submarine-Missile-Launch
(Photo from Sputnik News website)

The peace that exists on the Korean Peninsula continues to be a precarious one based on the Armistice Agreement signed in 1953 ending the combat operations of the Korean War. Over the years there have been many provocations that have resulted in both military and civilian deaths and drawing observers to the edge of their seats.

With the recent missile tests that North Korea has engaged in, it has become necessary for the Republic of Korea (ROK, commonly referred to as South Korea) and those who assist in protecting its people to step up their defensive posture. United States Forces Korea (USFK) has recently announced the culmination of discussions between the ROK and U.S.A. resulting in the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system onto South Korean territory.

North Korean President Kim Jong-un (photo from Real Clear)
North Korean President Kim Jong-un (photo from Real Clear)

Other countries have already voiced their disapproval over the deployment of THAAD to Korea (not surprisingly, Russia, China and North Korea) and with the way nation-level thugs often respond to defensive measures as though they were offensive, I’m glad that my tour of duty in Korea is coming to an end, though I remain concerned for the Korean friends I have made here, and all of those who live under the continued specter of war. According to the U.S. Pacific Command’s Facebook page:

North Korea’s nuclear test and multiple ballistic missile tests, including the recent intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launches, highlight the grave threat that North Korea poses to the security and stability of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the entire Asia-Pacific region.

In response to the evolving threat posed by North Korea, the United States and the ROK have been conducting formal consultations regarding the feasibility of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery operated by U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) since early February, as a measure to improve the missile defense posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.

Based on these consultations, the ROK and the United States made an Alliance decision to deploy THAAD to USFK as a defensive measure to ensure the security of the ROK and its people, and to protect Alliance military forces from North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile threats.

Through the past months of review, the ROK-U.S. Joint Working Group confirmed the military effectiveness of THAAD on the Korean Peninsula and is in the final stage of preparing its recommendation for both the ROK Minister of National Defense and the U.S. Secretary of Defense regarding the optimal site in the Republic of Korea for the system’s effectiveness and for environmental, health, and safety requirements.

The ROK and the United States are working closely to ensure the swift deployment of THAAD and will develop specific operational procedures.

When the THAAD system is deployed to the Korean Peninsula, it will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed towards any third party nations. The THAAD deployment will contribute to a layered missile defense that will enhance the Alliance’s existing missile defense capabilities against North Korean missile threats.1

And here’s the official press release from USFK:

July 8, 2016 — YONGSAN GARRISON, SEOUL, Republic of Korea – The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States of America (U.S.) agreed today to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to the Republic of Korea, in response to North Korea’s continued development of ballistic missile technology in contravention of six United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

This Alliance decision was recommended by ROK Minister of Defense Han, Min Gu and Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea commander, and was approved by the ROK and U.S. governments.

“This is an important ROK-U.S. decision,” said Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea commander. “North Korea’s continued development of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction require the Alliance to take this prudent, protective measure to bolster our layered and effective missile defense.”

The decision to deploy THAAD underscores the ironclad commitment of the United States to defend the Republic of Korea. THAAD will be focused solely on North Korea and will contribute to a layered missile defense that would enhance the Alliance’s existing missile defense capabilities against North Korean missile threats.

This announcement follows the February 7, 2016, announcement that the ROK and U.S. had begun formal consultations regarding improvements to the Alliance missile defense posture, specifically the viability of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system operated by U.S. Forces Korea.2

This is an illustration of how THAAD and the current Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) systems will work:

 Ãà»çÇÏ´Â ¹Ú»ï±¸ ±ÝÈ£¾Æ½Ã¾Æ³ª±×·ì ȸÀå (¼­¿ï=¿¬ÇÕ´º½º) ¹Ú»ï±¸ ±ÝÈ£¾Æ½Ã¾Æ³ª±×·ì ȸÀåÀÌ 14ÀÏ ¼­¿ï Àá½Ç ·Ôµ¥È£ÅÚ¿¡¼­ ¿­¸° ÇÑÀÏ ±¹±³Á¤»óÈ­ 50Áֳ⠱â³ä¡®ÇÑÀÏ ¿ìÈ£ °ü±¤ ±³·ùÀÇ ¹ã¡¯Çà»ç¿¡¼­ Ãà»ç¸¦ ÇÏ°í ÀÖ´Ù. 2015.2.14 <> photo@yna.co.kr/2015-02-14 23:40:23/
(Graphic from The Korea Herald website)

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There are many places around the world that need our prayer, places where people not only live under the risk of armed conflict, but daily their citizens are being persecuted, tortured or killed. Most of us can’t go into those areas to help, but as believers we can pray for them. Pray that evil will not triumph. Pray that the faith of believers will remain strong under the most brutal trials. Pray that Jesus will return soon to put an end to Satan’s reign over the hearts of so many who cause terror in our world today.

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U.S. Pacific Command Facebook page

U.S. Forces Korea webpage

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Sunday Chapel (x2)

Since the service I was pastoring on post has ended due to the U.S. military moves to Camp Humphreys (more on the final service can be found here), I’ve been able to attend other worship services. Last week I was at Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene north of Seoul. This week I attended two services: the “Traditional Protestant” service at the hospital chapel and the Episcopal service, also at the hospital chapel.

Traditional Protestant Service

Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
One of the Traditional Protestant Congregation members welcoming everyone to worship (he also offered the prayer)

The Traditional Protestant service is the one most of the congregation from my service at Memorial Chapel chose to attend. There were 20 of them there today, that’s about half of my previous congregation and almost half of the attendance today. As I walked in, it felt like a reunion as many from my congregation greeted me as though it had been months or years since they last saw me, even though it had just been two weeks. It was a great feeling!

The makeup of this congregation caused me to think about what has gone on in the United States over the past couple of weeks. There was an almost even mixture of white Americans, black Americans, Korean Americans and Korean nationals. It was not a surprise that everyone got along -contrary to what you see on T.V.- since we’re all part of the family of God. The time of worship and fellowship was reminiscent of a family gathering of siblings and cousins. We’re not all the same, but we have a common purpose: to love, serve and worship God, our common creator and Savior.

As it turned out, the pastor of the congregation was away, so there was a visiting chaplain there (Chaplain Yoo, the 65th Medical Brigade Chaplain). He shared a message from Jabez’s prayer about praying boldly and earnestly to our God who loves and cares for us. He also sang a song as part of his sermon-a tool I’m not gifted to be able to do! The rest of the service was a customary traditional service with hymns, prayer and an offering. Communion is just celebrated twice a month in this congregation, which will take some getting use for my congregation since we were accustomed to celebrating it every Sunday. It was, however, a good service, with familiar elements making the presence of God felt and acknowledged.

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Episcopal Service

Even when I was pastoring the Liturgical Service at Memorial Chapel, when I got away in time I would often attend the Episcopal service at the hospital chapel.  I have filled in and preached there before, as has the Episcopal chaplain for my service. I enjoy the liturgy and sacramental emphasis of the service and always leave spiritually nourished. Not being sure if I would be able to attend next week (my last Sunday in Korea) I stayed to attend it after the Traditional Protestant service.

Yongsan Episcopal Service
Chaplain Budez, the Episcopal Chaplain, preaching from the Parable of the Good Samaritan

The chaplain preached from the Gospel Lectionary lesson for this Sunday, the parable of the Good Samaritan, tying in the tragic events of the last couple of weeks in the U.S. This service, being a “flagged” Episcopal service, followed the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) so included all of the elements normally part of a liturgical or sacramental service, including the celebration of communion.

Yongsan Episcopal Service
Chaplain Budez preparing to serve Communion

The Episcopal service has a small choir of 3 which, along with the organist, greatly contributes to the service. Members of the congregation participate not only in the responsive readings and prayers, but also as Scripture readers and prayer leaders. Since it is a specific denominational service, it is smaller, but the size also lends itself to a family feel with a strong sense of community.

Yongsan Episcopal Service
Me and Chaplain Budez, the Episcopal chaplain and friend.

I always enjoy the service when I attend and today was no exception. I’ve appreciated the ministry and friendship of Chaplain Budez as we have shared a common liturgy in our worship services and a strong desire for a “sacramental” worship service in the Yongsan community.

Just for fun, here’s a short video of part of the Communion liturgy from the Episcopal service. Sorry for the poor quality, but it will at least give you a glimpse of this part of the service:

 

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Company Change of Command

It’s not often that the Brigade Chaplain prays at a company-level Change of Command ceremony (except for the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company), but one of the brigade’s battalions  is currently without a chaplain, so I was called on to offer the prayer. Company Change of Command ceremonies are enjoyable for me as I watch young captains hand over -or take on- command often for the first time. They have much of their Army careers still ahead of them, so it’s an honor to pray for God to bless and help them to be courageous, honorable and Soldiers of integrity.

Here are a few pictures from the ceremony, though it’s not often when there’s a picture of the chaplain praying. I’m not sure if that’s because the photographer pauses to pray so doesn’t take a picture or because the prayer is just peripheral to the main event.

B-Co Change of Command
The Battalion Commander addressing the attendees (you can see me sitting to the right, having already prayed)
B-Co Change of Command
The outgoing commander addressing his troops and the guests at the ceremony (there I am again)
B-Co Change of Command
The incoming commander addressing his company, and the guests
B-Co Change of Command
The new commander taking charge of his troops
B-Co Change of Command
The new commander at the front of the formation of his new command

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Photos from the 719th MI BN Facebook page.

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Worship at “Tree Planted by the Water” Church of the Nazarene

Tree Planted by the Water Church of teh Nazarene
The church is on the 3rd floor of this building.

With me no  longer having the responsibility of a congregation on post, I was finally able to attend a local Korean Church of the Nazarene, in fact, I had the opportunity to preach. “Tree Planted by the Water” Church of the Nazarene is a bit north of Seoul and is pastored by John Eun Yup Kim. I first met Pastor Kim on Facebook before I moved to Korea when we were commenting on the same post. Since coming to Korea, he has been very helpful in connecting me to the Church of the Nazarene in Korea and has become a good friend. I was honored and excited when he invited me to preach at his church.

Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The third floor entry into the sanctuary.

Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene has just been in their current location for a few month. They own the third floor and roof of a three-story building which has businesses and stores on the 1st and 2nd floors. This building configuration seems odd to someone from the United States, but is quite common here since space is at a premium.

The church uses the roof for children’s activities and picnic cook outs. When the weather is nice, it’s a great space. The third floor has the sanctuary, two rooms to the side (could be classrooms) and a small room which glass in the back of the sanctuary. There is an entry way with literature and book racks, bulletin boards and other information. There were enough things posted and on the racks that were familiar as being Nazarene, that I felt “in the right place.” The welcome that I received from the church people made me feel very much at home.

3WThe church’s name, “Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene” is longer than usual and reflects its exciting vision, which is “to see the fullness of fine trees of righteousness in this world by planting the fine vision of Jesus Christ in the broken hearts of this nation.” Their goal as a church is displayed as “3W” representing Worship, Word and Witness: “Worship the Lord, Teach the Word and Go in His power to the world as a witness for empowering the next generation.”

John Eun Yup Kim
Pastor Kim leading worship

The order of worship was common, though in Korean, and the movement of worship was familiar. While I couldn’t understand what was being said, I sensed God’s presence and experienced the joy of the congregation in being in God’s house to worship him. Pastor Kim did well in taking my text and sermon and tying in the music to form a theme. There was wonderful participation from the congregation throughout the service, including the special music sung by Pastor Kim’s wife and her two brothers. I was blessed by the song they sang realizing that it can be “well with my soul” wherever in the world I go because wherever I go, God is there.

Here’s a snippet of “It is Well With My Soul” sung during the worship service
Chaplain Densford preaching
Me preaching with Pastor Kim translating

I’ve only preached with a translator one other time, when I was in Argentina on a Work and Witness trip, so I had forgotten how difficult it is. Having to break after every paragraph makes it difficult to maintain momentum and keep flowing. It’s times like these when you really have to rely on the Holy Spirit to do his part. I prayed for an Acts 2 kind of experience, not that there would be a miracle of languages necessarily, but that the Holy Spirit would help the congregation hear what God wanted them to hear. Since that doesn’t rely as much on me, I can trust that God will come through every time! I decided to preach on the Temptation of Jesus found in Matthew 4:1-11. Had I felt God’s leading in a different direction, I certainly would have gone that way, but wanted to use this message for a number of reasons: 1) I believe that as we consider Jesus’ temptation, we can learn how to resist temptation when it comes our way. 2) I had preached from my outline on this passage 14 other times over the last 14 years, so it’s familiar enough that I could put my best foot forward as a guest preacher. 3) There is some excitement for me preaching this message in Korea, since I have preached it in other countries and several states in the U.S.  It seemed to be received well, at least the congregation was very kind to me!

The introduction to my sermon translated by Pastor Kim. This video shows the difficulty in getting into the “groove” of using a translator

Another small portion of my sermon being translated by Pastor Kim

Another couple minutes of my sermon, talking about being safe in the center of God’s will.
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
Eating lunch at the English-speaking table

After the service, the congregation always eats a meal together. Usually one of the family prepares it for everyone. Today, it was provided by the pastor’s wife’s brother who was visiting from China where he’s the Korean ambassador. It was a good meal, though I’ve found that some Korean food just doesn’t work for me and some of it was too spicy for me, though everyone else was eating it fine, with nothing to drink. Pastor Kim arranged it so that those who could speak English sat at the table with me, so we could enjoy conversation. The others sat at another table- one where they sat on the floor. so I was thankful I was at the “English” table! After the meal, we were served a few other goodies, cherry tomatoes (which they grew on their roof), a chocolate covered treat from Japan and a filled cake from Beijing; all of this along with a small cup of coffee as we talked together. Fortunately, all of the men at the table spoke English so we were able to communicate. There were several questions asked, by me about them and their culture and many from them about my experience in the Army and the United States.

A short time after eating, they have Bible study, since many of the members drive from a distance to attend, coming back for an “evening” service would be a lot of driving. I sat in on the Bible study, though other than a couple of pictures and an English word or two that Pastor Kim put on the white board, I didn’t understand any of it.

Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
After leading the congregation in singing  choruses, Pastor Kim leads the Bible study

.It was a great day with family. It’s true that wherever you go in the world, you can find family in the Church of the Nazarene! I was blessed by the time I spent with the congregation of Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene and humbled & honored by their welcome.

Here are a few more random pictures of the church and service:

Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The congregation singing during the worship service
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Kim’s wife and her two brothers singing “It Is Well With My Soul”
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The meal we ate after the service
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The bulletin board as you enter the sanctuary
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The entry into the sanctuary on the third floor
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
Me with Pastor Kim’s brother-in-law who is the Korean ambassador to China
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
Pastor Kim leading music at the Bible study
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
Some things are the same wherever you go!
Tree Planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene
The church’s notices in the lobby on the 1st floor of the building. The one on the bottom is a notice of my being the guest speaker!

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Following the Bible study, Pastor Kim and his wife took me on a tour of the area including Lake Park and Paju. I’ll share information and pictures of that in my next post…

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