Friday, January 7, 2011

Last Day of Camp

However... Even though a lot of us are glad that the early mornings and general exhaustion is done and over with, a lot of us are sad that we're saying goodbye to these kids.

For me, it was a difficult start. I had twelve 1st and 2nd graders, ranging in age from 6 to 8. It was super difficult to get the kids together and pay attention - especially since I don't know Korean. But by the end of the week, I really fell in love with the kids. Some learned the verses quickly and others did the opposite motion to the dance songs (moving right instead of left) and some kids were just plain difficult. With the range in kids, my energy was always drained by 3pm.

We had a huge celebration today which involved our skits (which we created and practiced this week) and an award ceremony for our best students and winning team. For the skits, each team had to present a story, memory verse, song, prop, and speaking some sentences in English. My team did the story of the "Wise man and the foolish man." I was so proud of my team when they finished their entire presentation, and a mom of one of my little boys came to the team to share her pride in her boy (he was the foolish man in the skit and said in English: "I am the foolish man!" :) ).

Even though is was really rough at the beginning for all of us, it ended well. I'm super encouraged and proud of my kids, and I really wish I could have more time with them!

Tomorrow, we all plan to have a last and final dinner celebration with our host families, the English Ministry staff, all the teachers and teaching assisstents. It will be difficult to say goodbye to them as well, but I'm glad a lot of them have already found me on facebook. :)

~Rachel Israel

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

English Camp Days 1 and 2

I can only speak for myself for most of this (and I think in my humble opinion that I am having one of the best experiences so don't read into things too much...) since it has been difficult to use the internet at the church since we are so busy when we are there. For any who do not know, I am the teacher for the middle school 8th and 9th graders. A couple of my students know a good amount of English most know a medium amount, and a couple know very very little. Yesterday was our first day of camp. In the morning, we met our students, sang praise and worship, then took our class to memorize our verse. I am very proud of my class - we memorized the verse with full participation (including dramatic motions) in only 25 minutes. For the rest of the class time we were able to play a game called King Frog. The game is a combination of simple English words with motions, memory, and speed. This game was good for those students who didn't know much English. We then recited our verse (with the dramatic motions) in front of everyone. Each class had a turn to say the verse in front of all the other classes (there are 11 classes I think). Each class was required to "pass" Esther and Debbie's approval (camp directors) before they could go to lunch. After lunch (don't ask me what it was) we went to our second class time. This class period was for us to work on our skits. Each skit must involve a song, motions, a memory verse, and each student must have his or her own lines. Each class will practice each day and perform the skit in front of the camp this Friday. So far, the only thing our class knows for sure is that one of the students who plays the "good soil" (parable of the seeds on the path, thorns, good soil, etc) says, "I want to drive a car!" and another good soil will reply, "No, that is not your purpose!" As you might have guessed, the students are writing their own lines........we will see how this goes! But they seem to be having a lot of fun doing it and are getting practice with their English. After "writing" our skit, we played English Bingo with Holly's 7th grade class while all the elementary kids played some Korean games in the main room. After English Bingo, we worked on writing some sentences about the students likes and dislikes.

Day 2! Today was mainly dominated by a trip to go sledding. We memorized our verses on the way to sledding and had to say them before going sledding after lunch. The students all had a blast! It was a good sized sledding hill and I fell off the tube once and flipped up in the air once. I was accident prone today but did not get hurt thankfully. No one got hurt to my knowledge, which is a praise when 100 kids are going down such a fast hill (though Treleen may be very sore tomorrow from her spill as a result of my flipping off the tube). My group was able to practice a lot of English on the van to and from sledding and learn all the words from every PSP and Ipod menu, haha. For dinner the teacher's assistants (mine is Won-Hyung), teachers, and others connected with the EM camp went to this very fancy hotel. The hotel was the nicest in Mokpo. An elder of the church, who happens to be the CEO of the only Ferry company to a vacation island off the shore of Mokpo, treated us to the best buffet of my life. My four plates of food and 3 of dessert has me full 3 hours later, which is rare for a meal. It has me so full that I am very tired. We have a busy 3 days ahead of us to finish up the camp! Hopefully I can have some of the girls blog soon should we get a few spare minutes at the church. Please continue to pray for these kids that they will be open to God's Word and that they will keep working hard on their English.

I could say much more but I think it is best if I wrap it up. I love it here so far :D I love the people, the culture, and even some of the food. A lot of the food. Thank you all for following us, we will update as often as possible!


Day 2! Today we

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Crazy Americans

The food has been great.

The company has been good.

We unfortunately have not been able to go to a noraebang yet, but we will.

And, the jimjibang is coming this week!

The end!

Stephen Firebaugh

We had a great New Year's Eve Service. It was really neat to worship with believers. We may not have understood their language but the language of Christ's love came through very clear. A neat idea was going up at the end and receiving a verse for the year. Great time! Now we are continuing to get ready for next week. The songs with motions have some of us looking more like pretzels but at least the kids will be smiling.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Arrived at Last!

Laurie is enjoying her cooked blood soup...her favorite from dinner!
Emily enjoys her fried mushroom
Treleen enjoys the inner intestines of a cow I believe
Danielle cooked our beef for our lettuce wraps
Sweet potatoes, some gel-like thing, liver, and onions
Cooked rice cakes, and boiled quail eggs to the left of the liver
We met for two hours this afternoon to kick off our time in Mokpo
We await our flight to Tokyo in Minneapolis
We finally are together in Minneapolis after travelling flying in from Chicago, Detroit, Denver, or Raleigh


After around 38 hours of travel we have finally arrived in Mokpo, Korea. Our travelling went smoothly, it was just a very long trip with little sleep (at least for me). After the 6 hour bus ride from Seoul to Mokpo, some of our host families picked us up to take us to their homes at 4 a.m. Some host families wanted to come to the church for the early service so some of the group stayed at the church for a couple hours before going to their host family's home to catch a few hours of sleep before starting our day. We just arrived at the church and it is almost 3:00 p.m. Personally, the 8 hours of sleep I got felt more like 20 so I am excited and ready to get started!!!

~Jake Hendrick

We made it! After going on 3 different flights and a 6 hour bus ride to get there, we have finally arrived in Mokpo, Korea. Most of the host families were there to meet us and take us home when we arrived at 4 in the morning, but ours wanted to go to the 5 am church service. We met our host family and found out that we are staying with one family but another lady is taking care of us. After a few hours of sleep and a very nice (but confusing) shower we were refreshed and ready to start our day. When our host mom came back to the apartment we sat down to eat breakfast/lunch. She served us some traditional Korean dishes like cornbread (bread with actual pieces of corn in it) and rice cake. The people we are staying with don't speak much English so when they were trying to tell us what the food was we thought that the rice cakes were duck. After we were done eating our host mom took us down the road and we ended up eating another complete meal at the Lotie store and then shopping to get more food for the week. Let's just say, the people in Korea value their food! Now we have met up with the team at the church and get started! Oh and it looks like a blizzard over here with all the snow coming down. Everyone keeps blaming us for bringing the snow with us from the States. Oops!

~Rachel Israel and Sam Muntz

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ready to Roll

We are finally all packed and ready to head out! The bags are full and so is our anticipation for a great trip (though not being super excited for the long day of travelling ahead). Please pray for our safety as we travel and that the Lord will give us excellent health while in South Korea!