Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Korea (part 2)

We also took a trip to the DMZ (demilitarized zone), and looked towards North Korea. Whilst we were there, there was a film crew, recording something about a family being reunited. This is the site where 2 railway bridges cross the river. One was destroyed in the war, and the other became known as Freedom Bridge when prisoners of war were able to return to the south.

 It's slightly bizare that there were in the process of setting up a funfair at the site, ready for the Day of Maize next weekend!

 Many messages left by families still separately from their relatives in the north.
 The peace bell.
 On our return to the city, we also visited the foreigners cementary. It includes the graves of many missionaries (from the UK, America, New Zealand, Belguim) who came to Korea in the late 1800's, and pioneered gospel work here.

Of course missionaries in those days, had a different sort of task and a very different sort of commitment, often leaving their home country with their belongings packed into coffins, knowing that they would need them.

Korea (and the nations)

I'm coming to the end of a really insightful week in Korea.

I was invited to be part of a delegation of Nextmove (a network of mission agencies focussing on adapting to include diaspora communities in their work) to be part of a Symposium on Diaspora Missions. It was an academic symposium, with a few of the world leaders in diaspora missiology. Although I was there to learn and wasn't presenting anything, I got an upgrade to being a Dr!!

 Our Nextmove group with some of the organisers. 
It was significant that this took place in Korea, which has a fairly young missions movement of 30 or 40 years, but has also made great strides in developing diaspora missions within the last 20 years. 

During our time together, they included a service to commission 5 new missionaries, all serving diaspora communities in Korea. The ceremony included traditional dances and an International choir.

 The church which hosted us has an incredible heart for the nations. It's a large traditional church, which also includes ministries or congregations for 8 different language groups.
Within the church complex, they have 2 floors of accommodation for missionaries. Any missionaries are able to stay here for up to a month, with food at the on site restaurant, a health centre and many other facilities, all free of charge. They really know how to practice hospitality!.
 The view from my room.
The organisers of our trip were also incredibly generous, enabling us to enjoy wonderful Korean food at every opportunity. Other churches also invited us out for meals. This is just one example of the spreads put on! (Unfortunately my chopstick skills seemed to get worse as the week moved on!)
 And being in Korea was a very different experience. The cities are predominantly high rise, so have a very high population density.

But even amongst all the modernity and development, there are elements of the ancient Korean culture and history.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Step and Stride

It's been a busy month with overseeing a Step team from Switzerland and the arrival of 2 new Striders. The step team were working in an educational project in Alotenango. They joined in with classes and activities for the children.  

 The project has also been helping some families who lost homes in June when Volcano Fuego erupted. They're in the process of building new homes for those affected. The team helped with some painting.

Now the 2 new Striders are settled into their host families, and getting into their placements.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Learning to Weave - Guatemalan Style

Lesley came to visit and we had a lesson in Guatemalan weaving - using the traditional backstrap. Here's a few pictures of our class!

Our excelent teacher Genia.