“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Well, it has been a while since my last blog post. Sorry, everyone. We’ve been busy and I’ve been trying to process the things we are learning. A lot has happened and there have been some changes here in Korea. I can’t catch up on everything in one post. But I’ll talk about a few things.
First, fall changed to winter, which actually is not a whole lot different from Maryland winters. In fact, my home in Maryland may have gotten more snow than I got in Daejeon. Then spring began, starting with the blooming of beautiful cherry blossoms.
There were also changes at the community center where I work. A new school year started, so all the older middle school students that I got to know (because their English was pretty good) graduated to high school. ☹ The “go-to” game that I play with the kids changed from chess, to Rummikub, to me watching them play with Pokemon cards, to One Card (similar to Uno).
Probably the most upsetting change is that my housemates have gotten used to my terrible pun jokes and now just ignore them.
On the national level, the Korean president was officially impeached and finally arrested. In addition, the Seweol ferry, a ferry that sank off the coast of Korea three years ago due to unknown causes and resulted in the deaths of about 300 passengers, was finally excavated from the ocean for investigation. There are still nine passengers missing from that event. This past Easter Sunday, I attended a Christian memorial service to remember the victims and pray for healing.
The concept of change is complicated. Whether it is positive or negative, change can still be difficult. Further, trying to create change can be even more difficult. But it also can be inspiring. Here is a devotion reflection I did for the last day in Lent, also known as the day after Good Friday and before Easter. The topic of the devotion was despair. But I promise I’ll connect it to change.
“The author of the devotional described how it is awkward to see others in despair. We don’t know what to say or how to comfort someone who has suffered greatly. And he says that sometimes we just have to be present for that person, and wait and pray despair is turned into hope.
I think a good example of people overcoming despair and turning it into hope is the Korean comfort women. These women were forced into slavery during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. After suffering such intense horrors and tragedies, they easily could have lost hope. They could have given into their despair. But they didn’t allow their tragic experience to define them. Instead, they used it to connect with other women who suffered similar experiences in other countries and to increase awareness about wartime violence against women across the world. They changed their despair into hope for acknowledgement from the Japanese government and hope for ending violence against women. Their story is a miracle.
We participate in that story by visiting the museums they’ve built, attending the protests they organize, and wearing butterfly pins to keep the memory of their experiences alive. By doing so, we become a part of their hope.”