My Adventure!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

AND I AM Teaching North Korean Refugees to be THANKFUL?

I was apart of something bigger than MYSELF tonight. 

The Hanawon North Korean Woman's Ministry!

Along with 5 others I went to Hanawon (2 hour drive from Megium Station) to teach English to eager North Korean refugees who have JUST entered South Korea from North Korea (Depending on their  escape routes).  We use English as a vehicle that allows us to enter high security Hanawon, and act as bearers of Christ's light through English education.  It is a stepping stone to get the chance to be a contact, minister, and show the love of God to these women in some way.

We help them acquire skills needed to adapt socially in South Korea.

Over 24,000 North Korean refugees live in South Korea.  Many suffer from PTSD and physical illness from the malnutrition in NK.
 If you can't find time to give of yourself to others, you're not investing in the right things! 

On our way to Hanawon our team and I Talked about the theme of our lesson for our Tuesday Trip: Thankfulness.  We talked about the lesson, the songs we would sing, which were about being free, safe, loving, empowerment, and what to expect at the center.
(They loved the singing and actions of the Hokie Pokie)
(At the gates of the center with barb wire around the fence) 

My thoughts on the way there were plentiful as I had no idea what to expect of the women or the experience except for what I read about the NK work camps (6 legitimate camps visible from air crafts).  What I read was extremely interesting but so heart wrenching as I read about North Koreans trying to get assimilated into a civilized South Korean culture not having a grasp of the meanings of love, thankfulness, laughter, freedom, joy, ect. 

My heart goes out to the ladies I traveled with and got to minister with.  These ladies who are members of the English Branch of the church I attend, give of their whole evening every Tuesday. They go to Hanawon and prepare lessons plans, snacks, and their spirits. 

 It was a drive through rural Korea and it was a breathe of fresh air, literally, to get away from the smog, buildings every 2 centimeters, close collisions between buses and cars, and the day to day vibes of urban living.  

The ladies I got the absolute pleasure of helping range in age from 20s to 50s.  They go through extensive interrogations before they can get accepted into this program to make sure they aren't NK spies.  Then the woman are there for 3 months then are resettled into SK.

The ladies we taught English to literally touched my heart! 

I looked into the 50+ faces of these beautiful Korean woman and I saw a shear eagerness as they repeated lines in English "Hello" "How are you?" "I am fine, thank you" "It is an honor to meet you!" 

**These ladies have risked their entire lives, everything they are to be here and when we introduced the phrase and meaning of "What are you thankful for?" They said right away"Eeenglish teeechrs". I think we were the blessed ones. 

When the ladies all left they flooded your body with loving hugs of absolute gratitude and blessings. They said "bless you!" And "I love you!" As they left every single women gave me a huge hug some even kissed me.  This is NOT the norm for the the Korean culture, they usually do not even look or EVER smile your way if unfamiliar

We got to sing, talk, fellowship, and teach these ladies.  One lady even tried to communicate with me through pictures and a few words how she escaped NK through China then into South Korea.
I was the one getting taught about THANKFULNESS that night. 

I am thankful for.....a God who gives me mercy and uses experiences like these to open my eyes.

My life is NOT about ME.

"Where two or three come in my name, there am I with them."
         Matthew 18:20


  1. Love this Erin!!! So happy that you are not just teaching English but teaching people of who our God is!!! Lots of times in life we think that we are being the teacher when actually our students are teaching us so much more! So proud of you and I know Granny and God are looking down and talking about how proud they are too!!!! Love Becca

  2. Thank you Becca! I'v had such an array of experiences here and I'm learning so much from each one. It's hard not to get caught up in planning and preparing for my little life but when I give of myself and go above and beyond what I have to do I see my life is not all about me and learn so much more. I feel Granny watching me and I mis her but having her watch what I'm doing is so much better than bringing pictures into her. Love you!

  3. Awesome experience! God is good. We take so much for granted each and every day. I hope you continue to find ways to touch people's lives in significant ways while you are in SK!