Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Courage

I think that courage is something I lack in. Partly because of my self-doubt and lack of confidence, the anxiety that comes with wondering what people think of you, but also the realization that I was stuck. Reading the Bible all my life, hearing the Gospel countless times, taking Communion every year gets to be a routine. I hear it, it comes in me as the truth, and then it leaves until the next time I hear it, when it should be planted in my heart and convict me to do something. Though I admit I judge others when they do drugs or party or curse (how typical, right?), I do nothing, NOTHING, to share the Gospel. Why? Because I'm scared of what they'll think. This past Sunday, my pastor shared about the book of Ecclesiastes (a book that has followed me since the beginning of last school year). His message opened up the topic of fearing the Lord. Who do we fear more? People or God, the One who created every single person on this earth? Either we do not fear the Lord or we do not have love for other people and a desire for them to come to know the Lord. Ouch. When he spoke those words I knew that they were true. I live my life in fear, but I question whether that is fear from my consciousness, the fear of being condemned, or fear that wants to repent and draw closer to the Lord. Do I love other people enough to lay down my pride or fear of being judged and present the Gospel, the only way to Heaven? Do I love my family enough to do this? Evangelism has ALWAYS been hard for me because I lack desire. My Bible study is going through the series of Matthew, and we are on our last week going through the crucifixion. Reading the passage this morning I was awakened by the questions my packet asked me. "1. If you struggle with being bold about your faith, how does the mocking of Jesus give you courage?"
"2. In Matthew 27:32, a man named Simon was asked to carry Jesus' cross. Jesus himself said that to be a disciple we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross. In what areas of your life do you need to bear your cross daily?"
"3. How does it affect you knowing that it was the love of Christ that compelled him to bear your sin on the cross?"
What we sacrifice daily is absolutely miniature to what Christ did to save us on the cross when He did absolutely nothing wrong in His entire human life on this earth. It's easy to forget the excruciating pain He went through on the day of His crucifixion: the lashings, the thorn crown, the reed, the nailing, the hanging. How can I ever fully imagine that kind of pain? Which is exactly why I need to remind myself of His sacrifice daily. We can't imagine it because Jesus already paid our price. That one day, that one sacrifice washed ALL of our sins away if we just repent before the Lord. How powerful is Jesus' blood?! Jesus' sacrifice and courage to love those who killed Him and die for them is beyond anything we have to do on this earth. We are called to simply spread the news of what the Lord did for us on the cross. While thinking over this, I realized how ungrateful I was being by putting my needs before God's. I was idolizing the opinion of others before the opinion of the Lord. I hope that this realization will help me remember the greater picture of God's plan rather than the small, worldly fixations I have with pride. 

With gratitude,
S.Park

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Daehanmingook, Saranghae

Ahnyung Unnies and Oppas and Dongsangs all around! Or hi.
I just came back from a trip to Korea, and I absolutely fell in love with the motherland all over again. I honestly am going to save up all the money I earn just to go back next year haha! Not only was hanging out and being lazy with my cousins and family fun, but my mom, sister, and I were able to explore many parts of Korea rather than staying in Seoul the entire time. I'm going to split this trip up according to transportation types because I literally rode all kinds. 

Airplane:
Of course we had to ride a plane to Korea, six hours from Myanmar to Korea to be exact. Korean Air is the business, I slept pretty much the whole time! When we landed in Korea I was literally hit with a wall of humidity, but it felt like heaven compared to Myanmar's heat/rain/humidity. After 4 flights within three weeks, I think I've had enough. 

Taxi:
Unlike California, taxis are everywhere. Starting at 3000 won, approx. 3 dollars, it's cheap and taxi drivers are seriously the best drivers I have ever seen. The streets in Korea are mean, and I thought I was going to get hit more than once while walking around, but the drivers swerve in and out without a sweat. Super convenient when coming to and from the subway station, as well as, to and from our hotel room to the bus station when we were on our trip. Of course cars are always nice to have, but with my uncles working and my aunts having their own schedules to attend to, cars weren't always available.

Bus:
We traveled to the southernmost edge of Korea, as well as, the second largest city, after Seoul, Busan by bus. It takes about 4 hours from Seoul, northern Korea, to Tongyeong, the southernmost part of Korea, and about 2 hours from Tongyeong to Busan. I loved hearing the different dialects of the Korean language, and the different markets and shopping centers, of course. After staying in Seoul the other times I've been to Korea, I never realized just how scenic and green Korea is. It is absolutely beautiful with so much oxygen it hurts. Though Tongyeong is the countryside with many little markets and stores with kimbap, what they're famous for, Busan is more like Seoul with department stores and streets filled with shopping, as well as, the famous fish market. Where else can you get a basket of clams, octopus, squid, shrimp, and fish for five dollars? A steal! Also, the bingsoo in Busan was some of the best I've had in Korea :)

Cable Car:
Tongyeong is known for their cable car system which moves up and down the mountain revealing trees upon trees and the seaside. The view was refreshing!

Boat:
We rode a boat off the tip of Korea to one of the smaller islands where people go to hike and view the scenery. We actually weren't wearing the right attire and were pretty much stuck doing nothing for two hours, but the boat ride was really exciting and being so close to other islands was a really cool experience. I normally don't like boats, but the hour trip there and back wasn't bad at all!

Train:
Coming back from our trip back to Seoul, we took the bullet train which gets to Northern Korea in half that time as it would on the bus. Also, because Korea is known to have one of the best Wifi systems in the world, I was able to sift through the surprisingly fast internet while enjoying the scenery outside. 

Subway:
Subway is one of the most important modes of transportation in the city areas of Korea. Not only did we use it in Seoul, but we also used it in Busan since they are more urbanized. We took it to the amusement park, Lotte World, where we met up with the girls on the Myanmar team, to the South Gate where there is a major flee market, to one of Korea's palaces, and many more places (mostly shopping and eating and shopping again). People watching is the best on the subway, so many different types of people. Students in uniforms, grandmas in flower patterned pants, parents with the cutest babies, young people all on their phones watching their shows with the antennas sticking up. Rush hour though don't even think about getting a seat, and it's so smelly I wanted to cry. My mom even told me there are push men whose jobs are to push people into the subway haha! 

Foot:
I have never walked more in one day than I have while in Korea. All the flee markets, fish markets, scenic views, local markets, eateries, shops, church, everywhere is walking, walking, walking. I love that everything is so accessible and it makes you feel like you worked for your food, which is amazing might I add. I think walking with your friends up and down the street is what brings people together. Linked arms and busy talking is all up and down the city. Seriously everywhere you go! That's something I'll miss and wished there was more of in the states. So much fun is literally a footstep away! Friends are all just a couple streets over and restaurants are everywhere you turn to look. Ugh take me back faster, faster! I knew there was a reason I used to want to trade my US citizenship for a Korean one lol! Not only that, but I LOVE my cousins, uncles, aunts, and my grandma! Though I missed my poor father who had to teach summer school, I loved being able to spend time with them (: <3

Missing my Motherland,
S.Park


In front of the Korean Palace


Only some of the bingsoos we had in Korea! (:


Cousins and grandma... thank you for letting me bother you and wake you up while you were sleeping 


In front of SM Entertainment. Crazy fan girls waiting for celebrities to make appearances


Watching my cousin and uncle play soccer. They got 5 out of the 6 goals!!


Some authentic KBarbie




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Minglaba, Myanmar

Anyunghasaeyo or Minglaba or Hello!
Currently I'm in Korea meandering the country after spending 5 days in Myanmar on a missions trip. I haven't been updating because I've been too busy enjoying my time in Asia, and because access to a computer is limited as my grandmother doesn't own one lol.
Myanmar was definitely a trying and difficult missions trip. Though we only served the VBS for 3 days and traveled for about 20 hours there and 6 hours back to Korea, I felt as though I was tested and pushed in many ways. It was revealed to me that I don't have too much compassion and I still want to please people more than anything else. Also, my physical health was in the dumps. The second we stopped at LAX, I landed wrong out of the van and because I have a torn ACL, my bones felt as though they became disjointed. It hurt more than when I actually tore it, and started to black out, but thankfully after sitting for a couple minutes felt normal again. That was the only time my knee gave me problems the entire trip! PTL! I loved the country of Myanmar, though extremely humid and traffic-dense, the children at the education center were so passionate about The Lord, they surrendered their entire being to Him because He is their hope. The last day I served was so hard because I became more sick than I have ever felt before, temperature running high and bathroom issues you would not like to know the details of. I was miserable to be quite frank. I found myself not wanting or able to play with the kids or do worship moves, I unfortunately had to lie down through the activities. I was thankfully able to play the guitar for the last set and the way the kids worship is so pure. It seems as though they have no other thought other than The Lord, singing at the top of their lungs. I realized that I worship with the motions and the routine of church conscious of other people. I always feel as though I learn more than I go and share haha. It was definitely physically challenging and the language barrier was rough, but I feel as though going was so much more worth it and I hope to go back someday. Leaving the students was the hardest thing to do, but I know that God is moving in their school. Until next time.

-S.Park

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The End. Bye.

So last week I had the bitter task of moving out of SLO and back home for the summer. It was actually really upsetting because, though of course I missed my family and my bed, I really felt as though I was leaving a place I had grown accustomed to and my Epic familia. The day before I left, or should I say the morning of, a group of friends and I had a desire to adventure around the SLO area one last time before parting ways to worlds of internships, jobs, home, missions, etc. Norman, Shaina, and I started at SLODOCO and decided to go 4 rounds before the night ended, and we somehow ended up dragging along Danny, David, and A-a-ron, as well. 4 rounds quickly became 6. We then sauntered off to Perfumo Canyon, a rather sketchy mountainous road up to see the stars. The stars were SO BRIGHT as was the full moon. I forgot how pretty SLO was at night, and how you can actually see stars freckle the sky unlike LA. I had to go pee rather urgently, but it was enjoyable while it lasted. Somehow next we ended up at In N Out, and though it smelled heavenly, I ate a nice, large steak before the adventure and was not hungry. So that was three rounds. Our 4th was my personal favorite, the Pismo Beach Pier. It is seriously so amazing seeing the ocean at night, a kind of haunting new perspective. We frolicked hard core on the pier, and took some all too attractive pictures... we're basically a band. Our 5th location was, by Aaron's recommendation, was the SLO cemetery to go see some pyramid. Now this isn't like one of those modern cemeteries with cremated bodies under plaques, there were statues and tombstones over like 90% of the dead people. So creepy. Not to mention the pyramid was like in the back of the lot, I made the guys stand next to me so I don't get sucked in LOL jk... but really. Anyways, we made it to the pyramid and it was made out of granite and was super big, fashioned for a family of three, but the dad was missing nbd. I guess it was a cool experience. Sort of. Our final location was where we began, sweet little SLODOCO. Such a crazy night/morning, not to mention we had our friends' graduations the next morning... I make great decisions in life. It was worth it, though. Coming home is always awesome, and it's finally hitting me that I'm actually going to Myanmar and Korea, and I am so excited! However, I found out I actually tore my ACL, after 4 doctor's appointments in one day lol... It would happen to me haha, but I'm thankful I can get surgery over the summer and not when I'm going to school! Anyways, ramble ramble as for usual. I'll try to keep my blog updated in Asia! (:

With much excitement,
S.Park
PC: ma gurl Shaina Jung!


Round 2: Perfumo Canyon... Danny's a noob


Round 4: Pismo Beach


Round 5: Ze Pyramid and my shadow... oooooh

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

La Dee Da

Good Morning People of the Interweb!
Why are you on the internet instead of studying for finals? Just kidding so am I... obviously. Anywhozzles this week is super bitter but super sweet, as well. Being the last week of school, I'm really busy with finals and projects and essays per the usual, but spending quality time with a lot of people I love keeps me going. First off, I had to say bye to Livia *insert tears on tears,* and though I'm going to see her again in the fall, it's weird not seeing her beautimous face every week... or multiple times a week. She's become one of my closest friends in SLO, and I'm so thankful that we are not only able to seek God and His Word together, but also that we are able to be weird and crazy together. Only she accepts my crazy, delusional, girls gone wild weirdness in the wee hours of the night, well, because she does it too! She's off in Florida on summer project, and I cannot be more happy for her! I'm confident that she's going to be doing amazing things through God this year, and I can't wait to hear all about it and all about the gaters she's eaten. Another farewell is to dearest Mama Yan. Shaina, Ginny, and I can talk for hours on hours and days on days about anything from school to Epic to our personal lives, and she is so compassionate and wise! I'm SOO going to miss her and her passionate self. SO SAD! Also, I was able to have a one on one with Esther making super fast choco chip cookies, we're basically pros, eating an amazing home cooked meal by E-dizzle, and singing duets. I love spending time with her, goofing off with her, and getting to know her more and more! Also, I love her passion for music and her willingness to sing with me haha :)! On the other hand, we are moving into our new apartment tomorrow! It'll be fun reinventing our own space, Shaina and I, and I'm excited to see how this new place affects our lives for the, hopefully, upcoming twoish years. My parents are coming up to move me out, and it'll be awesome to have a little reunion with them. School has taken a turn for the worse compared to the past couple of quarters, and I realized how hard group projects can be, but I know that I'm learning to be patient and understanding, while also trying not to find my worth in my schoolwork. It's hard because I want to please those I surround myself with through being the best at everything I do, but it just never works out that way, and I am just now realizing this. Though, of course, I'm striving to be the best that I can be, I know that grades, in the end, are meaningless if I am not doing it to glorify the Lord, a Lord that doesn't want us to find our worth in grades or looks, but in Him. I'm not using this whole meaningless thing as an excuse for my poor grades, but I'm trying not to beat myself up too much for it, or think of myself as lower or worthless. EEEE Summer is so close I can feel the heat and the lazy days at home, but I'm not quite there, yet. Only two and a half more days! Let's do this, yo!

With conflicting emotions,
S.Park


Our I Won't Give Up/Wrecking Ball Cover hehe


Post Haircut! Thanks Shainaniganns :)


With my fave she-devil at farmers


Last discipleship of the year with this beauty :'(


Phonathon Banquet with the Fuads 


Ginny, don't leave us!


The night we thought we were masterchefs

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smorgasbord

Hallo Peoples,
The last few weeks have just been nonstop busy, busy, busy. First off, we had MAPP which was super fun planning and putting together, though at times stressful, it was worth it knowing that the men had a good time! :) I feel like everyone frantically runs around thirty minutes before the men arrive, wondering if everything will get done, but in the end the event runs smoothly, and all that matters is that the men feel appreciated by us women in Epic! They deserve much praise and appreciation for being some of the kindest, funniest, supportive, and derpiest men I have ever met. You go, guys, you go! Other than that, this past weekend was like the randomest weekend I have had this weekend full of events I didn't know I would partake in. On Friday, I got to spend some time talking to my main girl Shains, and during that time we had forgotten to eat because we both had a little snack around dinner time. Before you knew it it was already 10:30 pm, and nothing in SLO is open at that hour, also, we were too lazy to cook. Therefore, we were rolling around the floor commenting on how hungry we were about a hundred million times before Norman, bless his soul, took us to In N Out! Oh my gosh, I don't think In N Out ever tasted so good. Afterwards we spent about three hours at SLODOCO, and we chatted about random things until 4:30, a time that is absolutely past my bedtime by like 6 hours. At least I got fresh donuts out of it. Downside to that, people saw that I turn into a different person in the wee hours of the night, way too tired to act normal. Anyways, on Saturday after discipleship Shaina and I spent all day in the house, definitely rare for us, but I think the occasional staying home and recharging is always a good thing. At night, however, we went to KBBQ at 9 at night for the 15% off deal (my dreams came true that night. I love meat.) and went to watch a horror film, Oculus, if I didn't fall asleep I would've probably told you not to watch it, but I can't say that because whilst closing my eyes, I drifted into a slumber. It was a great last weekend before dead week, which has already been stressful due to some events that have occurred, but just trusting that God has a bigger picture planned has been a lesson in itself. My expectations for this year were different than actuality, but I think that something greater will come out of it... at least one can hope! Happy Dead Week, Y'all!

-S.Park

Saturday, May 24, 2014

It's All Too Real

Hmmm... What to even write about... I'm sitting here on this perfectly gloomy Wednesday afternoon, though I keep thinking it's Thursday, unable to focus on anything. I'm just a hot mess. School isn't looking too appealing to me right at this moment, and the amount of studying I have been doing is literally a shame to all mankind. I deserve to be punished for my laziness. It's spring quarter, a pretty hard one at that, and all I want to do is go to the beach and play, play, play. And eat. Can't forget the food. Don't you have those days when you just want to have the sudden desire to WANT to study? Wouldn't THAT be something? I am currently in my poetry class, listening to a class presentation wondering when my professor will stop his thunderous laughing. Please, sir, just stop. Two days later... Okay so not gonna lie, I totally stopped writing this, and am finishing this post like now... Whatevs. We had Women's Time yesterday! I had such an amazing time with my other sisters, and lead worship for the first time with a guitar. Initially, I was super nervous because I have never played in front of people other than like my roommates, but then I was like this is for God. Not me or my pride or my self-satisfaction. I think Women's Time in general was just a reminder of all of that. Only God can satisfy my dissatisfactions, my emptiness, my lack of motivation. I hung out with an upperclassmen, Katie, yesterday, and she is honestly so wise and amazing! I was talking about how I found myself being complacent with certain things, and she reminded me that as much as it is important for us to pour into each other, God is the one who should pour into us and satisfy us. Why do I forget this so often? I'm always thinking about what other people can do for me, or how affirmation from people satisfy me, but at the end of the day, isn't this life about God? I'm gonna miss you, Katie!!!! Never leave!! I seriously LOVE the women's community in EPIC. Though we are far from perfect, I can honestly say I can count on every single one of the women to be there for me whenever I'm in a sticky situation or if I just need someone to talk to about life. Now onwards to MAPP prep! :)

With satisfaction,
S. Park