Tag Archives: yskorea

monday morning update, may 18, 2009

the weekend that was: got home from korea around noon on friday and had a wonderful family weekend (with a little work thrown in). had a nice lunch with jeannie and friday, then picked the kids up from school. in the evening, we took off as a fam and got pedicures (yes, it’s manly). i have a nice bright shade of glittery dark blue toe nails now (and very smooth heals, thanks to a paraffin wax treatment and some seriously filing and routing). then we ate dinner at one of our favorite family joints: bj’s. we dropped liesl off at home (she had homework), and jeannie and max and i went to see star trek, which we really enjoyed. i slept pretty good friday night, since i hadn’t really slept on the flight home from korea.

saturday, i did homework alongside max. he was working on a report on haiti, while i worked on final edits for the middle school ministry book. this took me much longer than i expected, and i worked on it on and off until 1:15 in the morning. in the evening, jeannie and i had our first date night in way too long. we tried out a great italian restaurant in the little village area near our home, then went to see angels & demons. we’d both read the book, and really enjoyed the movie. i liked it SO much better than da vinci code (both in book and movie form). in da vinci, the people of faith were all either idiots or had evil intents. and all the good characters were people of no faith. but in angels & demons, there were good and bad people on both sides. i stayed up late working on my edits, then still wasn’t tired (reverse jet lag!). so i watched tv until 3:30am, and made myself go to sleep.

sunday morning i was pretty tired, but we were off as a family to attend the baptism of the son of some good friends (beth and joe slevcove). then a reception at their house, followed by running a bunch of errands (mostly grocery shopping for our ys leadership team retreat). we had our home church in the evening, and watched an amazing short film called “the man who planted trees”. wow — just a stunning animated story about the invitation to us to join in god’s ongoing creation work in the world. i’ll have to blog about it in more length at some point. sunday night, late, i drove up to oceanside (the very north edge of san diego county), to join the others on the ys leadership team for a 4 day working retreat.

where i am at the moment: in oceanside, california, on a ys leadership team retreat. we have a lot to do this week, and it should be great. i go home thursday night.

on my to-do list this week: the leadership team retreat will take up most of my week. then i’m in the office on friday, and have to make some serious headway on packing my office for the upcoming ys office move (two weeks away!).

procrastinating about: now that i’m done with my middle school ministry book edits, i’m procrastinating about a magazine column i have to write (that’s already late), and packing my office.

book i’m in the midst of: almost done with what would google do?, and still getting going on stuck in the middle.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: nothing, really. i listened to very little music while i was in korea. oh, i did download the new green day album, and enjoyed listening to that on the plane.

next trip: after i get home from this retreat, i’m home for a week. i have a ys one day team retreat a week out, but it’s local, and i don’t think i’ll spend the night at the hotel.

how i’m feeling about this week: great! (though i wish i weren’t away from my family again so quickly.)

monday morning update, may 11, 2009

ysk_logo3the weekend that was: i’m in seoul, korea, for our yskorea event. got here friday evening, and the event didn’t start ’til monday morning. so it was a weekend of great food and jet lag. we had varying forms of korean barbecue every night (fri, sat, sun), and other wonderful stuff along the way. ralph winter (producer of all the x-men movies, fantastic 4 movies, and so many other) and his wife judy, arrived saturday morning, so we’ve spent much of our time with them. they’re wonderful people, and we’ve had great conversations about film, faith, church and everything else under the sun. henneyone of the stars of wolverine is a young korean-american actor named daniel henney (originally from michigan!), who lives here now. he hosted a dinner for us saturday night (because of the connection with ralph). i sat next to him, and it was fun to get to know him a little bit. really, really nice guy, and surprisingly normal and unjaded by huge fame. people say he’s the “brad pitt of korea”, which was fairly obvious as our dinner was regularly interrupted by people taking photos and asking for autographs (which he graciously gave).

where i am at the moment: yup, in seoul. it’s actually monday afternoon as i write this in korea, but sunday night back in cali. our event started this morning, and i was the speaker for the opening main session. i was a little concerned, because i’d taken a strong sleeping pill last night (i’d not slept well saturday or sunday nights), and was still feeling really groggy and disoriented this morning. but the fog lifted, and i had a good interpreter, and i think it went well. our attendance isn’t what we’d hoped, but the word is many people were going to start coming tonite.

on my to-do list this week: i’ll be in korea until friday, so that’s most of my week!

procrastinating about: at the moment, i’m seriously procrastinating about getting ready for the full-day critical concerns course i co-lead on thursday. not ready in the slightest bit! i also have to do the final checks on the middle school ministry book this week, and write a magazine column.

book i’m in the midst of: making progress on what would google do?, and re-started “stuck in the middle” (a collection of cartoons about the middle school years).

bluegrassworshipmusic that seemed to catch my attention this past week: haven’t had much chance to listen to music, but i’m listening to a very fun album called “bluegrass worship” as i write this, and it’s cracking me up.

next trip: i get home friday noon from korea, and am home a couple days. then sunday night, i drive up to oceanside (the very north edge of san diego county) for a ys leadership team retreat, through next thursday night. it’ll be a bummer to leave my family again, but i’m really looking forward to this strategic time with the ys leadership team.

how i’m feeling about this week: pretty good, though i’ll feel better when i get some plans in place for the critical concerns course i’m teaching on thursday.

off to korea

ysk_logo2i need some seoul, baby.

so today, i fly to seoul, korea, for our first-ever ys youth worker event there: the next wave convention (feel free to check out the site, but it’s in korean).

i went to seoul a couple months back on a set-up trip, and had an amazing time. really looking forward to this event. we’re hoping for something around 1500 attendees. it will be a slightly different crowd than we have at our events in north america. most attendees will be paid church leaders, but will cross over from youth ministry to young adult ministry and some senior pastors (there are actually tracks for all of those). we’ve had wonderful partnership on this event, mostly from large churches in seoul, as well as some parachurch orgs. our host church is young nak church, and they’ve been very gracious with us.

our korean partners were insistent on a format with koreans doing all the seminars, and outside guests doing the general sessions. so the six general session speakers are: me, brian mclaren, len sweet, dave gibbons, mike pilavachi, and ralph winter (producer of wolverine!). tic long, from ys, is coming along with me, and i’m sure we’ll have a great time together.

please pray for us and those attending this event!

posting to my blog might be a little light while i’m gone, though i’m sure i’ll at least have something every day. but who knows, maybe i’ll post like crazy!

monday morning update, may 4, 2009

the weekend that was: man, i can’t believe it’s may already. may, 2009. crazy. everyone says time seems to go faster when you’re older; so i must be getting older! i had a full, good weekend. friday night, we had a bit of a chillaxed family night (though liesl worked on homework). we got carry-out and rented the original terminator movie. could hardly believe that thing is 25 years old (not that it didn’t look that old — because it did — but because it doesn’t seem like more than half of my life ago that it came out!).

saturday, i had a great day with my kids. max and i ran a bunch of errands mid-day saturday; and while we were at the mall, decided to catch wolverine together (which we really enjoyed). i’m going to korea this week, and will be hosting ralph winter, the producer; so it was fun to see the movie before being with him. then, saturday afternoon, liesl and i stopped by my office. in prep for our office move, i’m getting rid of all my cds (and i have 100s, maybe 1000s, there). i let her raid my cds for her and her boyfriend. she took an entire box. matisyahu1then we picked up her boyfriend and the three of us went to the elemental experience, a day-long concert event fundraiser to build a homeless youth shelter in san diego. a friend of mine scored me free tix, which made it extra cool, since we had $65 vip tickets. we didn’t show up for the first four or five bands, but saw the last three: pinback (a san diego-based modern rock group), bassnectar (an extremely cool dj), and matisyahu. if you’re not familiar with matisyahu, he’s a hasidic jew who does reggae with a rock edge to it. very, very cool. and very trippy to see this fully-decked-out orthodox jew (complete with black hat, long beard, long temple curls, black jacket, and hanging tassels (tzitzit), singing about jerusalem, while pot smoke drifted through the swaying crowd. anyhow, liesl and her boyfriend dug it (as did i), and i scored some major “my dad isn’t as much of a dork as i thought” points. the highlight of the day was in the car on the way home from dropping off her boyfriend, when liesl said, “that was really fun; thank you, daddy!”

sunday was a blisteringly full day. i taught twice in my church’s middle school group sunday morning. had a great time, and love the opportunity to do that. i had one of those great moments in middle school ministry where i had to think and adjust on the fly. i was teaching on how we can see/find god; and at one point, i passed out a balloon to every kid, had them blow them up, then talked about how we can’t see the air, but we see the effect of the air (and how the same is true in how we “see” god). i knew i would have a hard time finishing my teaching if they all had balloons, so i’d planned on having them all sit on them and pop them at once. but when i told them that and quickly counted to three, only three kids (out of about 100) actually popped theirs. all the rest started complaining about how they didn’t want to pop them. and when i said they could keep them if they didn’t play with them, the ones who’d popped them started complaining that they wanted one too! ah, good times in middle school ministry.

sunday afternoon, we babysat for my co-worker dave palmer, watching his 3 and 5 year-old kids. they’re awesome kids, but their 3 year-old son has more non-stop energy than just about any human in the history of the world. so by the time they left at 5pm, we were spent. our home church came over, and i had dinner with them, before max and i took off to drive to orange county (next section).

where i am at the moment: in orange county for the day. all the southern california waldorf schools (the kind of school my kids go to) have a greek pentathlon to culminate their study of greek history, arts and literature. so max will be, today, throwing a discus and javelin (!), greek wrestling, and running a 40 (yard? meter?) dash and a relay. i’ll be baking in the sun, occasionally rooting him on, and mostly waiting. we drive home tonite.

on my to-do list this week: i only have two days in the office this week, and will have lots to get done. ys has a new vp of finance starting today, so i’ll be spending some time with her. there’s the ongoing ys office move stuff. and i have a bunch of prep for our youth workers event in korea.

procrastinating about: i’m seriously procrastinating about losing 20 pounds and getting back into an exercise routine.

book i’m in the midst of: still plodding through what would google do? not making much progress.

cockburnmusic that seemed to catch my attention this past week: i downloaded bruce cockburn‘s live acoustic double album, slice o’ life, and have been totally loving it this week. i know most of the songs (have been a fan of cockburn’s since college), and these solo acoustic versions are just fantastic. seriously, even if you’ve never heard of cockburn, i recommend giving this thing a shot. he has amazing lyrics, and is a brilliant guitar player.

ysk_logo1next trip: thursday of this week, i fly to seoul, korea for 8 days. it’s our first ever yskorea convention (called “the next wave convention“). general session speakers are len sweet, brian mclaren, dave gibbons, mike pilivachi, ralph winter, and myself. all the seminars are being done by koreans. we really don’t know how many are coming (since most will just show up), but are hoping for somewhere between 1000 and 1800. tic long is coming with me, and i’m really looking forward to spending this time with him. since he’s leaving ys in late july, i think this will likely be the last time he and i have a good long trip like this with just the two of us; and i’m sure it will be bittersweet.

how i’m feeling about this week: a little stressed about how much i have to get done before leaving for korea!

korea update, 2

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.

korea update, 1

i made it to korea, after almost not making my connection. flight to san francisco (where i was connecting) were all jacked out of san diego, as there was low clouds in san fran creating the dreaded “flow” problems (sounds like a medical issue). my flight was massively delayed, as was the “earlier” flight. i was lucky to get on the earlier flight, but the connection was still questionable. just as i was boarding, i heard someone yell out my name, and saw karla yaconelli cuing up to get onto the flight i was supposed to get on!

when i landed in san fran, i literally ran over to the international terminal. as i was approaching the gate for my flight to seoul, the gate agent yelled, “hurry up, mr. oestreicher!” (apparently, they knew i was coming.) they closed the door right behind me, and i took my seat, huffing and puffing.

i met up with charles kim, our yskorea dude, upon arrival, and took a long cab ride into seoul. charles has some connections at the ritz carlton, so that’s where i’m staying! i’ve never stayed at a ritz carlton in my life. it’s a bit… well, posh.

charles and i walked through the crowded and alive streets, and found a hoppin’ chicken and beer place for a late supper. it’s now midnight here (but 7am in san diego), and my body clock is very confused. we have a breakfast meeting with a key korean publisher, and a full day of meetings tomorrow, including an appointment with the pastor of the world’s largest church (they have something like 200,000+ members). crazy. hope i don’t make a fool of myself.