my first full day in korea was great, other than waking up at 5am and knowing i wasn’t going to get back to sleep.
i met charles at 8, and we walked to breakfast with the head of a large christian book distributor to talk about yskorea books. it was a very profitable conversation, and breakfast was yummy also. lots of western food, but i also enjoyed some spicy kimchee fried rice. after a little morning break, we had a great sushi lunch with the leader of a youth ministry training organization here. he needs to be a key partner on our event, but there are lots of politics involved; so it was a relationally challenging conversation. but i think we made good progress. the miso soup was great, and i had some green tea ice cream on milk-covered shaved ice.
after lunch we walked to the yskorea office. it was saturday, and no one was there, but it was fun to see the massive whiteboard with plans for the convention all over it (all in korean, of course).
then we drove to the largest church in the world: full gospel church. the church has 700,000 members (not the 200,000 i previously wrote), and about 100,000 – 150,000 of them worship at this location on any given sunday. we had the great honor of a private meeting with the senior pastor, rev. young hoon lee. this is the church that david (paul) yonggi cho was the pastor of for years. he’s retired, but still preaches at one of the services each weekend, and is considered one of the most influential and respected church leaders in all of asia. our time with pastor lee was very interesting — a good cross-cultural experience for me. to get time with this guy is almost unheard of, but god really seems to have opened some doors for us. he welcomed us into his office, and was very affirming of what we were doing (charles had met with him previously, so he already knew the basics). we talked about the importance of youth ministry, and the need for encouraging and training youth workers in korea. and we chatted about how this kind of ministry could grow into something influential for all of asia. the time was very formal, and his office was crazy-hot (i was dying, and wearing a suit!). at the end of our time, i asked if he would pray for us, and he asked that i start, and he would add to my prayer. we joined hands and had a very memorable time of prayer. certainly, this will be a memory for a long time.
then came nap time.
in the evening, charles and i walked to a hole-in-the-wall korean barbecue place, and the food was stinkin’ awesome. we had bbq beef and pork, cooked on a grill at our table, along with all kinds of korean goodies (yes, kimchee!). we topped off the evening by going to the bar in the hotel next to mine. it was surreal to be sitting with my korean-american friend, in a bar in seoul, listening to an 8-piece filipino band dressed like punks, but playing american 90s music, including such wonders as achey-breaky heart. yes. it was odd and hilarious.
tomorrow is a long day: visits to three major churches and a few moments with their senior pastors, a short meeting with david yonggi cho (again, it’s amazing that we have an opportunity to meet with him), and then a gathering in the evening for the leaders of various para-church youth ministry orgs in seoul.