With the help of our congregation and the Spirit’s moving among us, the
Koreans’ visit was a great success in terms of getting to know, value and love each other. But it all happened in the blink of an eye. Here’s a look back at the itinerary (which we always called “tentative”). Following that is some commentary by Korean Trip Team members via email during the visit, edited and used with permission to give you a closer look at how the trip worked out.
Thanks for all your help. Thanks be to God whose love draws us together with our brothers and sisters in Korea.
Korean delegation from Yum Kwang Church arrived at the Indianapolis airport at 3:25 p.m.
Traveled to Muncie and checked-in at Saint Gobain Guest House Welcome Dinner at Pastor Ron and Susan Naylor’s home
Greetings, all! From my perspective, all of the great leadership from Don and Sue Whitaker and help from the rest of the committee has provided for a wonderful first two days with our Korean brothers and sisters. The delegation loved the dinner at the Naylor’s and it meant a lot to them to be hosted by the Senior Pastor and his wife, plus the food (delicious, of course, as prepared by Debbie Foster and Sue Whitaker and served by John and Don) was thoroughly enjoyed by the entire group. They love St. Gobain house. Today (Wed.) was well-planned and the details covered by Claudia Sursa were great!
The breakfast was fun at DeFur Voran and Scott Shockley and Charlie Sursa welcomed them. . . Mayor McShurley did a good job of presenting certificates to each of the members of the delegation and we snapped a good picture of the Senior Pastors lifting weights in the police exercise room. The delegation enjoyed meeting Presbyterian executive Bob Anderson and seeing the Presbytery offices in Indy. . . We took a quick tour of the Federal Court Building and one of the ornate court rooms, jaunt to the Capital to see the rotunda, and then a wonderful stop at Second Pres. They loved this tour with Pastor Glen Bell! We got back to our Chapel just in time for the 6 p.m. service. Then the group headed to the Sirloin Stockade for dinner. They are wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ and I am confident that the rest of the week will continue to solidify our relationship and be the basis for great work in the future.
President Gora spent almost a half hour with the group this morning (Thurs.) and posed with them for a group picture in her office, and they very much appreciated her time. They also indicated they were looking forward to the rest of today’s events and are very grateful for our making arrangements for their trip to Chicago (thanks again, Anne!). Thanks to Chin and John for serving as chauffeurs for the trip.
After meeting with President Gora, we were off to Minnetrista. We toured Oakhurst mansion enjoying the house and learning more of Muncie history. First on our mission tour was Christian Ministries where we toured the food pantry and sleeping room. The Korean delegation was moved to make a generous donation. At Habitat for Humanity, Lindsay Arthur described what they do. She introduced the volunteers there and one man mentioned he'd spent several years in Korea in the early 50's. Pastor Lee immediately asked, "In the Korean War?" The man said "Yes." It was an electrifying moment! Pastor Choi expressed their deep gratitude to the man and the group burst into applause. Very moving! We visited
Deliverance Temple on S. Pershing where Rev. Royce Mitchell told us the ways they work in the community. Back at the church, our Mission Conference was an interesting discussion/translation on ways the Yum Kwang Church and First Pres could do mission together. They need English-speaking people to come teach English at their church and at the seminary they are building in the Philippines. The BarBQ at Claudia and Charlie's made for a delightful evening to close Thursday.
-Carrie Jo Miller
Friday & Saturday, 5/2&3
Chicago was a wonderful experience for all! The group arrived on schedule on a sunny, beautiful Friday evening. We checked into the hotel and walked to the Hancock Building where we had dinner. We had a beautiful view of the lake and city. After dinner, we took them down 95 floors to catch the correct elevator to take them up 94 floors to the observation deck. All our ears popped on the ride. The 360 degree view of the city all lit up was beautiful. They loved the story of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow causing the Chicago fire. We then returned to the hotel and said goodnight…so I thought. Turns out only John Linder, Pastor Choi and I went to our rooms. The rest snuck out and walked Michigan Ave. for two hours! . . . .Saturday morning our tour of Fourth Presbyterian Church was wonderful. Pastor Choi was very impressed and moved. . . .At 11:00 we took the boat tour which was cold and overcast but fun. They kept taking pictures and would get very interested in certain buildings or views. They kept telling us that Seoul is big but not tall. It was so much fun to see them get excited over things. . . After the tour we returned to the hotel for our Chicago style pizza. Three-inch thick pizza was a first for them. … I really enjoyed my time in Chicago. John and Chin, thank you for chauffeuring them. . . . It was said many times in our conversations in Chicago about how hard it is to put some feelings into words. No matter what the language there sometimes are no words. I have been a part of an experience that is so much bigger than me. I have met people who loved me without even knowing me. I have seen God’s work when I didn’t deserve to. This has been an experience I will cherish always. --Anne Stewart
In retrospect, it seems that the entire, almost-week-long visit was a rousing success. As you all probably know, our Korean friends were profuse in their expressions of appreciation for literally everything and everyone during the visit. As Ron noted, this was clearly an historic event in the life of First Pres. (And I would add, one that was perhaps “pre-destined” to occur?) Certainly there is a Power greater than any of us guiding the crossing of paths of two congregations that are thousands of miles apart. Obviously, the complete story is yet to unfold.