Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy Past Weekend Events

We have been really busy this term. With fun things and mundane things. We want to share some of the fun things that have been keeping us busy.

November 22nd one of the English students was baptized. It was a beautiful decision and commitment on her behalf. Her name is Joanne. Please keep her in your prayers. That evening we had a special dinner at Pastor Choi’s, our director, house. Pastor Choi’s wife made the food, and it was hands down the best Korean food I’ve had here. It was amazing. I wish I could learn to cook like that!



After we ate, we made some of those present sing. Wilma (the Chinese teacher) sang a song by herself first, but then Pastor Ryu wanted to sing it with her. This is them singing a children’s song.


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We have the best group! hehe... I think the song has something to do with a pig, but I'm not sure.

November 29th we went to an acappella performance. One of our AY members is part of an acappella group and they were performing in Seoul. I’m not sure if he’s part of an acappella academy, but the place we went was an acappella academy and a bunch a groups came and each sang two song. Most of the songs were in English! So that was good for us foreigners. =)


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This is a sample of one of the groups. Enjoy!






Wilma gave us a tangerine!








After the concert we went out to eat at a Western restaurant (spaghetti) and walked around downtown for a while.


The next weekend we had a homecoming (alumni-type) weekend for the former teachers and All-Day Club members. In the afternoon we played different Bible games. Matthew was in charge of charades and I had a “Cut-Paste-Memorize” game. Cut the memory verse out of newspapers. Paste in on a sheet of paper. Memorize and recite it to me! It was fun.






Cut...or reading?



Paste!





Memorize and recite!



Afterwards we had dinner…and then we did something very exciting… we went bowling! Not everyone came. It was actually a pretty small group but it was still great. This was the first time we’d been bowling, but we’d seen the place numerous times. Happily there were shoes that fit us and it was a non-smoking building.





As you can see, the only males were Edward and Matthew with a bunch of crazy girls. =)

It’s been freezing here at times. One Sabbath we woke up and our computer said it was 9 degrees outside. It may be off, but there was no doubt about it being very, VERY cold outside.




This is us walking from the bank to E-Mart. It’s cheaper to walk (obviously) and not that far, so we usually walk instead of taking the bus. Sometimes the exposed parts of our faces become very red, and then our students will make sure that we notice it. “Teacher! Your face!” You learn that humility is a good characteristic to have. =)

Christmas Cookie Party

Christmas is on the way and so we thought it would be fun to have a mini-Christmas party here at our apartment.

So we invited our teachers and the All-Day Club members over to make and decorate sugar cookies. I (Beth-Anne) remember doing this with my elementary school friends at my grandparents house in New Jersey. After hosting this even myself I admire my mother even more for doing all that work for us!

Most of the ingredients were easy to get, but the icing for the cookies provided the most difficulty. First of all I could not find any food coloring or sprinkles. So my loving father was kind enough to mail those to me, along with other yummy cookies baking necessities! I then was told where to buy powdered sugar and was finally all set.

To say we had a blast doesn't begin to describe the afternoon! Most Korean's do not own stoves so most of them have never made anything that has to be baked. I made the dough ahead of time and then let them roll it out and cut out the shapes.



(From bottom left around clockwise: Edward, Judy, Joanne, Villa, John, and Cindy)



(From bottom left around clockwise: Francis, Brian, Wilma, Cleopatra, Ruth, and Jane)

While I baked the cookies, Matthew played Christmas pictionary with them. Guys against girls. The guys were destined to lose but they were good sports. Then it was time to decorate the cookies!



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Take a close look at the snow man. Green guy with red scarf. Those little dots are from the sprinkles, as well as the eyes and mouth! Some were very artistic...and others (note plate on the right) were not so artistic....



The cookies decorated by the party!



We are extremely blessed to be in Incheon with a wonderful set of staff and students. We love them all!

After everyone left Matthew and I had some decorating to do. About five of those who came had to leave early so we were to decorate cookies for them and then deliver them. Here's a speedy view of that process.

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Matthew's last cookie. Isn't it great?!

....Wish you were here...

Currently Listening to: "Our Christmas"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Philippines

About six years ago I got a packet asking if I wanted more information about sponsoring a child through Children International. http://www.children.org/ It was free to get the information so I did, and I received this picture.



This is Jason, he is five years old in this picture. I couldn't resist and so I began sponsoring him. For the past six years I have been able to write him and received letters and pictures from him. However, visiting him was always out of the question because it was too far.

But when we found out that we were going to Korea, I knew that I wanted to visit Jason in the Philippines. Korea is much closer to the Philippines than the USA.

So on November 14th we flew to Manila.

Here I will put a plug in for Korean Airlines. If you ever have the option to fly with Korean Airlines, do it. They have the best service. They are kind and polite, and their food is pretty amazing. For those that are vegeterian you know how terrible veggie food is on planes, but our was really good! And!!! Shocker-of-all-shockers they served us ice cream!



So, fly with Korean Airlines. It's a great choice.

So into Manila we flew, and for 20 miles it took over and hour to get to our hotel. Traffic is terrible.



Here's a picture of some pesos.



This was the view from our hotel in Quezon City.

Children International picked us up at our hotel on November 15th and brought us to the agency to meet Jason.



It's hard to explain what it was like to meet Jason. His mother and youngest brother were there as well, but just to sit next to him felt unreal. Matthew and I brought him a Lego set and a basketball with a pump as a present. It was so cute to see Jason hug Matthew for both of the gifts.

Jason was really shy, understandably, but I was really shy too.

First we went to a public park...







Then we were able to take Jason, his mom and younger brother to Ocean Park. This was a big deal to Jason because it's too far to come for his family, plus it would be out of the question because of finances.





Watching Jason's excitement and joy in the aquarium was worth the whole trip.

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As far as I know he's never been able to see stuff like this, and so it was really special. He almost ran through the whole aquarium!

After Ocean Park, we went and ate with them and headed to the Children International distribution center. This is where the children go for the medical supplies, doctor check-ups, dentist appointments, etc.





Inside the hall at the center.



This is where they take pictures that they send to the sponsors. Here a little girl is having her picture taken..



An activity for the children while they wait for appointments.



I was shown this area of homes which represent the type of homes the children live in. Many are without electricity and basic plumbing. We should be grateful for all we have.

Then we drove to see Jason's home and meet the rest of his family.



This is a picture of Jason's school. It's the multi-level building in the background. It is right up the street from his home. I forgot to mention this, but at lunch Jason ordered two pieces of chicken and rice, but only ate the rice. He then got the chicken to go, so he could share it with his brothers at home.



Once at the house he and his next oldest sibling pulled out the box of Legos and began assembling!



This is us with his whole family. Four younger brothers, father and mother. His whole family was nice. It was poverty that they lived in. The house was small but thankfully all of them seemed healthy.
It's beyond words to describe what the trip was like, but before we left Matthew got another hug and I got a kiss on the cheek and a hug.
I pray that many of you will consider being a sponsor. It isn't that much a month, and it really does change their lives.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Yap and Palau

A Blog of Matthew





How should I begin? It has been three years since I went away as a Student Missionary to Yap (I was also able to visit Palau). It was the worst and the best, the craziest and the simplest, the most adventurous and the most homesick-filled year of my life.



This blog is about me stepping back into time. It's closest and best to compare it with a dream. So this blog is about me stepping into my dream world that I alone knew and know, but this time...my beloved wife would share in this dream of mine.



So let's jump in! (Play the following video for the full effect)



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The trip began from, well, Incheon, South Korea. Where else?



We rode buses and planes, and quickly found ourselves in Guam!








The first picture is from 3 years ago - travelling to Yap at 21 years of age. The second picture is of the exact same location. Notice the SAME picture on the wall?









We stepped out for some fresh air and perhaps stamps in our Passports! (We got none *frown*)






Our flight finally departed - with us on it - and we arrived on Palau.




We stayed at PMA (Palau Mission Academy) with a wonderful young married couple who just happened to have a dog and two playful cats! We were so pet and people deprived by this point that we savored all the moments and simply had to take some pictures.










And after many years of wanting desperately to take Beth-Anne to the Rock Islands, I finally had the chance! But...it started off with rain. *sigh*




First Stop: Milky Way




They call it Milky Way because there is a sandy-white sediment at the bottom which turns the water a cloudy blue - milky.

This next picture is of me from 3 years ago at the Milky Way.






This picture is especially for Jaden (Beth-Anne's cousin)!!!






We hope you enjoy these next two videos!



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The Next Stop: Imfamous Jellyfish Lake

First picture is of me 3 years ago at Jellyfish Lake - surprise, surprise.

























Again, a few videos for your enjoyment.



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So, despite the rain, we had a good time, and things finally began to clear up for us as we broke for lunch.



Beth-Anne and her famous pose.







After lunch, we explored Clam City.





Tom and Geoff, are you jealous?










Sorry about this picture, it....had issues. Here's how you solve the problem: 1) tilt your head to the right, or 2) tilt your computer monitor to the left.





Beth-Anne dives for a pair o' clams.


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After Clam City:



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Shark City lies beneath these calm, torquoise waters.









Watch the video...if you dare!





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Yes, Beth-Anne did swim with the sharks...all 20-30 of them! They were all Black-Tip Reef Sharks (one of my very, very favoritist kind (I misspelled all that on purpose by the way).)






We had one more snorkeling spot after Shark City.




The emphasis of this next spot was coral and small, but beautiful, fish. Here are the pictures and videos.






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We just couldn't resist comparing....












Palau is so beautiful, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.









(Beth-Anne's beautiful pictures of a beautiful sunset from land...)







(My pictures of the same beautiful sunset near the water (I had been out shopping for food while she had been inside sick. *another frown*).)









How could we not make the most of our time on an English-speaking Island with good Indian food and...of course...The Rock Island Cafe!?!?!














Next Stop: Yap!!!




Pictures of our Lei's - given at the airport to all those incoming.






The school. (This used to be grades 10, 11, and 12.)




(My classroom had been in the far right classroom of the building on the right.)







My Students!


Let me tell you, it was one of the most amazing and refreshing experiences I've ever had to again meet my students that I had taught (attempted to teach) 3 years ago. All my students remembered me, missed me, and were so proud that I had come back just to see them. I understand now how Paul had loved so much all those he had preached to and taught - because they had become his friends.


These former students of mine, though they still call me Mr. White, are now my friends and I can honestly say that I love them and really miss them.






Good ol' times with basketball.





They also took me to a Sea Wall. It's a wall....at the sea.




Beth-Anne and my former student, Elias, walk the Sea Wall.



Here are some pictures of the deck where I had, for so many different hours and nights, cried to God for help and answers.





This first picture is one of me from three years ago.




The same spot....*sigh* - surreal memories.






Of course, we had to see some of that world famous Stone Money.











We also had to re-visit a few, old plane-wreckage sites.


Yap's former runway from a few decades ago.




The pictures on the right (or the 2nd in each set) are from 3 years ago...if it wasn't obvious enough already.











We couldn't make a trip to Yap without tasting that wonderful pizza aboard the old-school (we're talking WAY old-school) ship at the Manta Ray Bay Hotel.















Yes, we got pulled over by the cops because I (yes, Matthew), didn't completely stop at a stop sign. Then, because we were just coming back from church, we got even more "busted" because I didn't have my wallet (which contains my driver's license) - not good! So....they said we could either 1) have someone bring my wallet to me, or 2) have someone drive the car. We had no phone numbers, so we opted to walk. However, the police officers were very kind, so one of them drove my former-student's vehicle for us back to the school. No tickets or fines - YES!!!



Beth-Anne sneaked in a shot (I mean...a picture!) from the back seat. Shhh...don't...say....a word.







All in all, the trip was good, but exhausting and...too much for our sensitive city-accustomed skin.









But, oh, those glorious sunsets never cease to remind me that God is a beautiful, caring, loving God.






The picture tells just how tiring everything was to us (the flights were at the worst possible hours).









Beth-Anne and I couldn't believe what we were saying to each other, but we missed home - Korea home.





The trip was more emotional, more powerful, and more wonderful than I could have prepared myself for. This trip - it was the right way and the perfect way to say good-bye and farewell to that little, scarcely-known Island in the West Pacific. That Island changed my life, and I pray, sincerely, that I changed the lives of my students - I have grown to adore them.
I will put more pictures up on my flickr picture account later. If you're interested, here's the link: http://flickr.com/photos/56841549@N00/