kahm-sa-hahm-ne-dah, Korea

July 7, 2007

Honey, I’m home! Thank you, Korea, for a wonderful 8 days on your soil, but I’m ready for my own bed tonight. Ah, tonight…there’s a long time to wage war against sleepy eyes until tonight.

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The day before we flew out, we hailed a taxi and went to the famous Busan outdoor fish market for Tom to get more photos of the Korean culture to go alongside the article. We didn’t know what we were in for: octopi (would that be octopus in the plural?) and other fine sea creatures. Ah, the smells.

Simply gesture to the squid, eel or crab of your choice and they’ll cook it for you in the adjacent restaurant. We decided to pass.

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A little street off the beaten path.

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What’s your definition? Any lovers of Balderdash out there?


scattering back to the world

July 5, 2007

Last night marked the finale of the conference. Truly, what a glimpse of Heaven.

We got the official numbers in: 121 countries and 15,994 students and staff members.

God amazed me with the interviews He brought about for me with students from France, Nigeria, Russia and Brazil. The story is taking shape. Now, I just have to write it when I get home. 🙂

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This has been our Jerusalem, of sorts, this last week. And now, just like Acts 1:8, we’re off to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.

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A married staff couple from Albania. Every time I see people from Albania, or hear about the country, I flash back to 1996 when I signed up to go on a Campus Crusade spring break mission trip to Albania. Then, a war broke out and the plans changed, rerouting us to a country in the Middle East. Maybe one day I’ll go! Want to come with me?

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At the Global Connexion Fair there were booths for every part of the world with information about the country and the need for Jesus-followers to labor there. This box was teeming with response cards filled out confirming, “Yes, I’d like more information about reaching Europeans for Christ.”

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I couldn’t take my eyes off of this believer worshiping in front of me last night. Wow, what a challenge to praise God amidst adversity and circumstance and recognize He is still God and worthy of my worship.

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Dr. Park, the national director of Campus Crusade in Korea, took time last night to share the message about how Jesus can save your life. I don’t know why that surprised me so much that he did that — and I was overwhelmed to be reminded of the need and that, in a crowd this size, there are college students who came as seekers and maybe even religious…but whom never said “yes” to Jesus to save them from their sins and give them new life.

Students poured down the aisles to the stage like a fast-flowing river, most with one or two believer friends with them, holding their hand or arms wrapped around them, in support of their friend’s life-changing choice.

Amazing. This week wasn’t just about believers being trained up to go out to the world, but for students to place their faith in Jesus for the first time. A moment I won’t ever forget.

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Raised hands with cell phones.

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On the subway going back to their dorm/condo/hotel after the last session.


pinch me — i’m in KOREA!

July 3, 2007

Another good, long day. I’m pooped. Not sure how CNN correspondents do it — and I’m not even a battle-torn location. I think the sheer volume of everything at this conference is catching up to me: 15,000 of everything…voices, meals, bodies, conversations, and opportunities.

A highlight today was an interview with Ese from Nigeria.

I walked by her and noticed her beautiful hair and caught a quick glance at her incredibly-large name tag and saw she was from Nigeria. The thought came to mind, “Go talk to her.” I hesitated, thinking that was a nice thought but…why? I already met a student from the continent of Africa so wasn’t really looking for another one.

She passed by and I moved on. After she left I thought how she looked like a staff woman I met when I’d traveled there 3 years ago.

I went upstairs and the moment I arrived — out of nowhere — Ese came around the corner. Um, yeah. LOVE it when God does crazy stuff like that!

I introduced myself and asked if she was a staff member. She said no, that she was a student, and we got to talking. In a few moments I knew this girl had passion and would be great to interview. We sat down and talked for about 30 minutes. What a find!

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Standing in the corner of the room, this is the incredible view.

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Would you call this guy a wanna-be Aussie Superman? Or just a student who really loves his country?

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Imagine the logistics of feeding 15,000 students each day, 3 meals a day. I’m hoping this girl is servant-hearted and picked up meals for her 4 friends. She doesn’t exactly look like she’s packing away that much food regularly.

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Lunch today. Not bad!

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Kind of like the feeding of the 5,000 — multiplied by 3. Like how quickly I did the math?

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A staff woman and student from Costa Rica I dined with for lunch.

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A little known problem in Korea — the dust epidemic.

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Even uniforms can’t put a damper on their cuteness.

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How convenient to buy infant clothing off the side of a bike.

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I took this especially for Rich and Joseph Street — future American firefighters. Koreans read right to left — think that’s why their emergency number is 119?


a little flag show

July 2, 2007

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127 countries represented in the crowd. 192 flags paraded down the aisles in the parade of nations. The rest of the 12,000 Korean students arrived today. (And, yes, these people you see here aren’t Korean nor students. 🙂 It’s the “grown up” section, of sorts.)

There wasn’t an empty seat in the entire house. Students overflowed into the aisles.

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A common scene at CM2007: a student grabs another student’s extremely oversized nametag and attempts to pronounce their name. I LOVE this guy’s shirt. He’s from the Republic of the Congo and his shirt has the crest of Campus Crusade all over it. Think JoAnn Fabrics carries that?

So the prayer request from last night didn’t quite get answered in the way I thought–it got answered for sure, but not in a group of 10-12. More like a group of 5 bus loads of students. Abundantly more than all I can ask or imagine, as it says in Ephesians. God has clearly gone before Tom and I on this trip.

I got 2 really great interviews today — one from Brazil and one from Liberia. (Yeah, go ahead and break out your atlas.) I’m not sure if I’d have met either of these students had plan A happened.

One of the coolest things to realize was how God answered my prayer about how to interview on the move. Instead of me moving, God put us on a moving boat so I could stand still and interview and write. How creative is He?

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watch cm2007 online

July 1, 2007

Watch the main sessions! The internet broadcasts are posted a day or so afterwards.

It’s like you’re sitting next to me here in the crowd, only a little different. Your couch or computer chair is probably a little more comfortable. Feel free to stand up and sing along, though.


day in the city: prayer request

July 1, 2007

Big prayer request: tomorrow, Tom and I are meeting students at 9 a.m. (8 p.m. for you in EST). It’s a free day for students to sight-see. But here’s the cool thing — they’re meeting in the lobby of their living area and going out by groups of 10-12…and they’re encouraged to mix countries within those groups. So, it’ll be a mini-U.N. group.

Tom and I are excited to join a group for the photo ops and for the way the lives of the students will weave together over the course of the day.

Would you join Tom and I in praying:

  • That God would drop into our lap the best group for our story purpose
  • That it’d be a group of the most diversity possible
  • That students would be in the group who have especially fascinating stories/testimonies
  • For great photo opportunities for Tom as he shoots the day
  • For me as I interview students on the move, literally
  • For us to enjoy our day together as we venture into Busan and for eyes open and sensitive hearts to those around us

every tribe, tongue and nation

July 1, 2007

Wow, today was a great day. Very full. The extroverts will go to bed energized. The introverts might be slightly overwhelmed.

A dear friend from the office, Tricia, e-mailed me last night that God kept bringing me to mind and she was praying that He would be dropping students in my lap to interview for the story. I was stunned. Today, that very thing happened. Over. And over.

Today I interviewed students from Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Poland and France. Unbelievable.

It encouraged me that she wrote because it reminded me that God wants His story here told more than I do and He’ll bring it about and He’ll provide the right characters in that story. And He’ll move others like Tricia to bring it about.

So if you’ve been praying, thank you! Know that it’s making a huge difference here, on the other side of the world.

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It’s like a rock concert’s staging with the lights and a kickin’ band. This was our morning worship time. Just like my Sunday church service at home, only this has a few more tribes, tongues and nations represented. Oh, and a bigger stage.

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Seeing these two guys talking made me grin. I mean, where else in the world might conversations like these be happening?

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You’d think you’re at Denver International Airport with this mass of people, but we’re just all on our way to seminars.

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Some new friends from Kenya (middle two girls) and from Malaysia. They’d all become friends just today. It’s like the last night of camp with people taking pictures together and writing down e-mails for each other here.

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Tonight on the way home from BEXCO, I ventured to the largest non-American store I’ve been to (save Ikea). But even Ikea doesn’t boast an incline moving walkway like this — all so you can take your grocery cart from the food section on the first floor to clothes on the second floor to crafts on third, etc. It’s like shopping and a 5% grade incline treadmill workout…all at once!

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I’ve decided that the best way to try some Korean food in small quantities to see if you like it is to come on Sunday nights and try free samples. I thought only American grocery stores did that. At every aisle intersection there were two little stations set up. This is the dried food aisle. Not sure what the stacked black stuff is. Ideas?

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A future Shrek-ear-wearing McDonald’s employee (see yesterday’s blog entry).

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My question: do they sell this outfit in an adult size? I especially am coveting the pink-and-white polka dot rain boots.