Back home again today, reunited with Audrey and Annie, we’re catching up on bills, mail, and unpacking. Our CCC U.S. Staff Conference was a great experience, and we have a lot to think about. Even though the rest of my coworkers were also at the conference, the pace of getting things done didn’t slow down much. All of us were having meetings and arranging more work since it was a chance to be with the people who are using EveryStudent.com in their ministries.
Best of all was seeing friends from the last 18 years of our time with Campus Crusade for Christ. Many of our friends from Budapest were there, too.
Tonight three members of Switchfoot gave us an unplugged concert. It was a privilege not lost on us. Even Andrew liked it.
For the last nine days we have heard from others, too. This has been good, but it has been exhausting. After the first two mornings we had enough to think about for a week or two, but there has been a stream of other talks since then delivering just as much emotional, mental, and spiritual cargo as the first two. Lots to process.
Here’s two minutes someone captured of the concert.
The park wasn’t too crowded today, and the animals didn’t seem to mind the tourists who were there. The elk, rams, and coyotes we saw all ignored the cameras pointing at them. We tried hiking an easy trail, but Andrew and his friend were more interested in climbing rocks and making their own trail, so Cathy and I just enjoyed being outside in the mountains.
When I walked into the dorm building at Colorado State University (CSU) to register for our Campus Crusade staff conference, the smell inside took me back to 1989 when Cathy and I first came to CSU for our new staff member training. The dorm buildings still smell the same as they did back then. They are good memories, and they remind us of what we were thinking back then and why we joined Campus Crusade.
The messages we are hearing now also remind us why we joined Campus Crusade. Dying to ourselves and our desires in life and surrendering to the work of the gospel still speaks to us. We still believe the eternal value of letting God use our work to advance his kingdom is greater than pursuing our own agenda. This commitment might not always have us at Campus Crusade, but for now we think this is where God wants us.
So anyway, living in a dorm again is nice. The cafeteria is downstairs, and the only challenge is getting there when it’s open and not eating too much. Still, I have not managed to reduce my daily number of chocolate ice cream cones to less than two.
This time Audrey stayed home to go to camp, and she will float around at various friends’ houses after camp until we return. We will probably see as much of Andrew, who is with us, as we will of Audrey. He will be part of CCC’s high school program during our conference. Cathy and I are expecting a renewed sense of vision and energy as a result of our time, too.
I’m back home now and happy to be so. I loved being in Korea and eating Korean food, but I’m ready to return to my normal diet again. I have lots of photos, several new friends, and many good memories.
As far as EveryStudent.com goes, the trip was a home run success. It provided the opportunity to build relationships with many of the leaders of CCCI in Asia who now plan to begin using a translation of our site to reach students in their country. This made the trip worth it alone, not to mention the thousands of other students who now know how they can personally use our site. CCCI’s president, Steve Douglass, helped boost interest as well when he mentioned EveryStudent.com in his address to the students. The trip was a lot of work but well worth the effort.
This is the bed and breakfast we stayed at in the hills outside of Seoul. My brother’s friend’s father built it just a year ago, and it doesn’t look very Asian to me. Nothing in Korea looks very Asian to me, except for the language.
Today we visited a church in the town nearby, and we ran into a group of students from the CM2007 Conference doing an outreach there. A few were Americans (who grew up in Korean homes and knew the language), so we could talk with them.
My brother’s friend and his wife were our guides this weekend. They shared a common language with my brother, but they spoke little English, so I did more listening than talking. They gave us the most generous Korean hospitality you could imagine.
We took the bullet train from Busan to Seoul and topped 300 km/hr (186 mph) along the way. It was a good way to see Korea in a short amount of time. Korea reminds me a lot of Austria; green, mountainous and clean.
In Seoul our first stop was a missionary cemetery. 100 years ago there were no Christians in Korea. Today 25% of the population identifies with Jesus Christ, and Korea is the second largest missionary sending nation itself. This cemetery is a record of those who had pioneered the way to Christ for Korea.
Lunch and dinner at the CM2007 Conference is amazing. They get about 16,000 people fed in less than two hours. Twice we have had McDonald’s Big Macs for lunch. That many Big Macs ready at the same time and same location strikes me as quite an accomplishment. I had to miss both those lunches, but I didn’t mind, as my seaweed, fish, and rice breakfasts have been carrying me through until dinner.
July 12 Update: Originally I had written that there were 20,000 attendees at this conference, but today I learned the official number was 15,994. 10,800 of those were Koreans, and the rest were from 121 different countries.
Today we heard more great speakers, taught more seminars, and held more meetings. This morning I finally found a winner for breakfast; seaweed, fish, and rice. Not unlike sushi. But nothing like live eel.
We sat Korean style for the seminars; no chairs. I stole a bench from one of the convention center restaurants just so I could operate the powerpoints and video projector without stooping over our table for four hours.
And we discovered that writing our hotel address didn’t help our taxi driver get us home. He only reads Korean characters. Duh.