someday, i will return to north korea

My great grandfather was one of the first christians in a village nearby Pyongyang.  God’s grace was poured over his entire family but they experienced intense persecution because of their faith.  As a result of the persecution, his family “escaped” with his entire family from what it now known to the world as North Korea.  My father was five during this time and the stories he shares don’t seem real.  Not everyone in his family survived that journey southward that one chaotic night.

NK as some may know is one of the most isolated nations and subsequently, some of the gravest human rights violations and suffering go unnoticed – including approximately 200,000 Christians that are in prison labor camps simply because of their faith in Christ. This past weekend, Minhee and I had the privilege of spending some time with friends that left Seattle three years ago to go to Yanbian, China [via Singapore].  They left – with their three children – the comforts of home, family, and friends to act upon their convictions. The father recently relinquished his well paying job with full benefits to serve the people of North Korea – initially at the border of NK and China and in a few months, he’ll be [hoping to] receive his “resident card” that would allow him to enter to and from North Korea to do development work.  There are no salary or benefits to his work as a “tentmaker.” 

Who in their right mind wants to become a “resident” of North Korea? Continue reading “someday, i will return to north korea”

fighting global poverty f.a.q.

As most of my blog readers know, my wife and I [and our three children] are starting an organization for the purpose of joining the fight against global poverty.  We are not the first, and thankfully, we will not be the last.  People – acquaintances, strangers, blog readers and stalkers, Twitters, Facebookers, internet surfers, and our church folks have asked us questions and so this entry is our attempt to answer those questions – in hopes that it may intrigue and inspire you and also to excuse myself from answering countless personal emails.

Recent Updates: Dec. ’08 / March ’09

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions: Continue reading “fighting global poverty f.a.q.”

land of the morning calm

Several folks have asked us why we have chosen to go to South Korea – also known as the Land of the Morning Calm – for our sabbatical. 

One of the reasons why we have decided to spend two months in South Korea is because Korea boasts some of the world’s most incredible beaches:  beautiful, intimate and not overcrowded, free of consumerism, and exclusive and private.  Check out these amazing pictures and don’t be envious. Continue reading “land of the morning calm”

change the world

One of the greatest gifts that we have as human beings is the ability to dream.  So, I ask you this simple question: 

However small or large, simple or complex, organic or organizational, local or global, how are you dreaming to change the world?

Don’t be afraid or timid.  Please share your thoughts so that we can inspire one another to keep dreaming…and personally be compelled from dreaming to doing.

In addition to living out my calling as a pastor of this glocal church, leading this neighborhood cafe and music venue, loving my wife, and nurturing my three children, Fighting Global Poverty is what my wife and I are dreaming about.  3 billion people live on less than $3/day and about 27,000 children die every day due to the complexities of global poverty.  That = a child every 3 seconds = 20 children every minute.  Continue reading “change the world”

the hope in the steven curtis chapman’s family tragedy

* Guest column I wrote for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The accidental and tragic death of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman’s youngest daughter – 5 year old Maria Sue – was very difficult to process.  There was the initial shock, then confusion, then anger, and then the need to ask some hard questions.  [Another post on Lessons we Can Lear About Compassion].

Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled, “Tragedy in Steven Curtis Chapman’s Family.”  Little did I know that it would be the most read blog entry [for that day] in the entire WordPress blogosphere.  Just yesterday alone, that entry was read 10,104 times and 9000+ new visitors stopped by the blog.  Continue reading “the hope in the steven curtis chapman’s family tragedy”

tragedy in steven curtis chapman’s family

* Part II:  The Hope in this Tragedy | Part III: Life Lessons from the Memorial Service

* Guest column I wrote for the Seattle P.I. [published on June 9]

May 21 | Incredibly painful and tragic news in what was meant to be a celebratory week for the Chapman family.

“Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman’s completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago…” [Jim Houser, Chapman’s Manager]

As a parent, my heart just aches for Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman.  Their youngest child – 5 year old Marie Sue [adopted from China] – was struck and killed in an accident by an SUV driven by their teenage son [in their driveway].  They have six children of which three are adopted from China.  Their foundation and ministry – Shaohannah’s Hope – advocates for international adoption.  Read official news below. Continue reading “tragedy in steven curtis chapman’s family”