Sunday, November 6, 2011

Local student "immersed in South Korean culture" during summer mission trip.

Suburban Pittsburgh is served by numerous smaller newspapers that were absorbed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review many years ago. The news in them is often of the "Local horse has baby" or "Library gets new DVD" variety, but occasionally there is stuff with a larger scope. In a recent issue of North Journal, a local high school graduate was one of several students to spend the summer in Seoul during a mission trip.
[Christine] Moudry, along with four other young women, applied to participate in the New Wilmington Mission Conference's Summer Service Team. She had seen other participants take service trips and admired the powerful experiences they had.

"I feel like I'm being called into doing mission, whether it's short term or long term, but I had never been outside of the United States before," Moudry explained. "This was a really great opportunity to go and see what that is like and be immersed in another culture. I never would have had that opportunity before."

While in South Korea, the group learned about history, politics and religious heritage, with a focus on the history and character of Korean Christianity. The students visited many sites, including prayer retreat centers, churches, a Christian school for disadvantaged children, a Buddhist temple and the royal palace.
Westminster College---roughly between Pittsburgh and Erie---has a write-up of the trip on its webpage.
"An outstanding memory for me was the opportunity to talk with a few young men who were North Korean defectors," Moudry said. "They had risked their lives and sacrificed several years to travel through China to the freedom of South Korea, where the government accepted them as citizens and helped them adjust to the new culture through a mentoring program. One of the men we met had only been in South Korea a year and had never met an American. That afternoon, he had a dream that he met an American and by evening, we were talking and praying with them. It was a very powerful experience."
Regardless of your religious leanings, you can glean some interesting information on South Korea from the work of local missionaries, such as the Sisters of Charity, active in the country since 1960.

Other stories with Asian angles out of small local papers include a write-up of high school students taking a trip to Japan, a Gambare Japan Benefit Concert after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and local educators talking about lengthening the school calendar to match those in East Asia.