I’ve not updated this blog in a long while, but my frequency of updates will increase as I write about our time in South Korea.
Jill and I have been praying for over a year for the direction we should take with our lives. There have been many months of confusion and lostness as we’ve sought out God’s will. Over and over in our prayers we would express our frustration: “How long will You be silent? How long will You keep our path dark?” I’ve been reminded recently that life is less about the destination, and more about the journey– and specifically the transformation we either reject or accept during this journey. I’ve learned since coming out of those dark times, that unless we allow ourselves to be transformed, we very well may not be able to handle the final destination… Its glory and reality may destroy us.
God has opened the door for us to teach English in Korea, and these positions will allow us to do things that we have been praying about since the first day of our marriage. But getting to the point where we could leave has been long and arduous.
At every step of our paper work to get work visas, we have come up against trials and difficulties. There were times that we seriously doubted if things would come through for us to be approved. It came down to the week we were going to move out of our apartment, and we still needed to have our visa interviews with the Korean Consulate. We were under the impression that we could have video interviews, but after talking with a sweet Korean woman at the consulate, she refused anything but face to face interviews. This was a week and half before our departure to South Korea on January 23rd. On Thursday the 14th, I called Jill from work and said: we have to drive to downtown Chicago TONIGHT to have our interviews on Friday morning if we want our visas to come in time for our departure.”
After some frantic planning, we left that day for Chicago at 4pm. God was looking out for us, and thanks to my cousin Suzanne Blackford (who works in the hotel industry), we got to stay at the Double Tree Hotel in downtown with the employee discount! What’s more is the hotel was two blocks from the Korean Consulate! Friday morning we checked out of the Double Tree, and walked ten minutes to the Consulate for our interviews.
At 10:30am they called my name for my interview, and after ten minutes of talking with a nice Korean official, and answering a few questions, he shook my hand and said: “Have a great time in Korea!” Jill had her interview right after mine, and the Korean official did more laughing and flirting with Jill than interviewing her! He told her, “you have a beautiful smile, the Korean people will love your smile!” After she answered some questions that he was satisfied with, Jill was approved too!
We left the consulate overjoyed. We had overcome the last wall that stood in our way to taking the jobs we had been praying for for many months. As we walked in downtown Chicago back to our hotel, we were sharing with each other about our experience, overjoyed that the interviews had gone so well. While talking, we walked by a man who was walking in the same direction as us, and he turned to us and said, “Praise Jesus the Lord!” Then he turned and went down another street.
At first I thought it strange that a complete stranger (who I can confidently say was in his right mind) would say such a seemingly random comment to us as we walked by. But as we were driving home, God spoke to my spirit, and showed me the significance of this encounter. God used this man to solidify and affirm the direction Jill and I are taking. I don’t believe that it was a coincidence that as we were celebrating the success of our interviews, this stranger turned and reminded us of Who was guiding our lives. As I sat driving, my spirit was filled with deep gratitude and love, as God showed me that He is Lord over all things, and that all things are in His hands, and that all things are being made new. Even in the midst of seeming darkness and confusion, Jesus is Lord, and His Spirit is guiding our lives.