Monday, August 19, 2013

Giving Back Begins


We are still jet lagged. Jenny has been able to stay up better than me. I slept through a welcome-home party that our family prepared for us the other day.

When we haven't been sleeping we've been giving out some cultural items we picked up in Japan. Jenny's mom wanted a kimono!

Finding Foodlife Work to Do

We spent most of our time in Korea sweating, resting, and eating. There was little opportunity for foodlife work. Since returning to Arkansas we have been jumping at any chance to take food out to the compost bin or to help our parents in the garden. 
We found Egoma growing wild in our back yard!
Jenny and my Mom in the garden.
Jenny and her mother spent a morning canning tomato puree.
Today we are pickling some turnips and cucumbers that we have. Concerning foodlife and our future occupation here in Arkansas, we have some news!

Turnips canned Northeast Indian style (thanks, Acivo)!
We also visited our friend Sam who has been working at Heifer Ranch for the summer. Wendy made friends with the "ladies."

Big Foodlife News 
A group of campers at Camp Mitchell
Jenny has grown up attending activities as a youth and working as a camp counselor at Camp Mitchell, the camp and retreat center of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. While we were still serving at ARI, the directors of Camp Mitchell began talking to us about starting a small farm in conjunction with the summer camp. Their goals are 1) to educate the young campers about food and where it comes from, and 2) to provide food for the camp in a more sustainable way.

Jenny and I have committed to leading the efforts to start this farm. We have agreed to work with this project for at least three years. On the side we'll also be working with St. Peter's, Conway looking after the community garden behind their Canterbury house and organizing the Canterbury College Ministries. 

We have already had a chance to go and take a peak at the land that we will be farming next to the camp. We did not have time to get many pictures but we will be back there soon. We will be at camp periodically for the next couple of months and beginning in late October we will begin living and working there full time.

We are excited beyond words. This is a great way for us to use the gifts we were given by the ARI community to serve our home community that worked so hard to send us to ARI for the year. But this isn't just our farm project, we are eager to get friends, family, church, and the local community involved in any way possible. So keep checking up on us! We'll be reaching out to people of many different trades and talents to make this farm come to life. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

안녕하세요 from Korea!

We've been in Korea over a week now, staying with my cousin John, who is teaching English in a town called Waegwan, just one train stop from Gumi and Daegu in the Gyeongsang province. We haven't traveled around the country much but we have enjoyed quite the array of Korean dishes in our short time here: bibimbap, gimbap, mandu, many kinds of gimchi, dak-galbi, so-galbi, samgyepsal, patbingsu, hunje ori, a few barbecues, and many, many milk shakes (not necessarily Korean).

(mixture of shoots, leaves, and vegetables on a bed of rice,
topped with egg and spicy pepper sauce)
(egg, pickled radish, and ham wrapped in
rice and then wrapped in seaweed)
(fruit, cream, shaved ice, and red bean paste)
(samgyeopsal is strips of fatty pork belly)

one of many kinds of gimchi 
one of a few barbecues
mandu (dumplings)
hunje ori (smoked duck)
me and John enjoyed our smoked duck!
Doug is rockin' a typical visor, often seen worn by middle-aged Korean women 
This man reminded me of our friend, Ban-san, Korean missionary at ARI!
We hopped on a train to Gumi one day and attempted to climb Guemosan, the mountain there. We didn't make it but about half-way up due to heat, exhaustion, and laziness. But we did see a beautiful temple, waterfall, and a cave (and a bird hotel!)

So different from temples we saw in Japan, so much paint and pattern!

Doug and the birds
At the weekend we ventured about an hour and a half away with some of John's friends to a river. We barbecued, swam, and took a few turns on the natural water-slide!

Now it is Monday and we are completely worn out from all the sleep and free time. Like seriously. It's been a hoot and a half living without a care for a week and eating out at least once a day (if not twice or thrice if you include milkshake/ice cream missions). But we are definitely ready for some home-cooked meals (made by moms!). I supposed we started our journey home last Sunday, but tomorrow is really the day, we are going home! We will fly from Daegu to Seoul early in the morning, then catch a flight from Seoul to DFW in the evening, and land in home sweet home, LIT by 7:25pm the same day!

We're waiting one more week to spill our guts to you about our big plans coming up. So hold on to your  hollyhocks!

For now, here's what's up:

Central Arkansas for the week ahead, we're visiting St. Michael's, Little Rock this coming Sunday. We won't do any official reporting there until later, but come hug our necks anyway!

Our Kim sister is off to college so we're helping to move her in to UCA this Sunday, we may go stomp the grounds a bit, admire the great attention to detail that UCA grounds keepers work so hard to maintain! Then we're off to Heber Springs for the week. We'll be swimming, sun-burning, and eating Knight parents' organic tomatoes and okra!

Next Sunday, August 25 will be our official welcome back at St. Peter's, Conway. We will be presenting about our past year during the Christian Ed hour (9:50-10:45am) and enjoying a potluck lunch after the 11:00am service.

We would like to make it to more churches over the next couple of months to talk about what this year has meant for us and for our community as a whole, if you are interested in having us come to your church, please comment, message, or email us!

As I mentioned before, we're preparing to share our next step with all of you, so stayed tuned for an update next week!!

Your Knights in Asia,

Doug and Jenny

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Love and Goodbye to the Asian Rural Institute

The love between Jenny and Nishi is an amazing thing to witness. I think they were meant to find each other in this world. They communicate not just well but joyfully, even though they don't speak each other's language very well and are from different cultures and age groups. They just fit together. Anyone watching them scrubbing the kitchen sinks and chatting together can see it and be touched by the light that shines from their love. Above is a doodle of them that Jenny drew on her love letter to Nishi. They have fuzzy hair because they shaved their heads together this spring.

Today is our last day to set foot on the ARI campus. I think we love this place, this community, this curriculum, this journey—we love it too much to say that we will never return. But as we look into our future, we cannot see the time or money which will allow us to return.

We have sat with the people on this side of the planet for one year, as our earth made one more circle around the sun. That sun has been shining on us, into us, and through us just as it always has been. It has given food to our food and blessed us with light and warmth. It has illuminated the faces of people from around the globe, all of them smiling, all of them crying, all of them speaking words to us, seeking to connect, to understand, to feel that glimmer of hope that helps us know that we can live together on this planet.

We have seen here that it is possible to live together. We have seen here that it is hard, it is a constant struggle, but one we can all choose to share.

Jenny and I have given a whole year of our life to this community, but we have also received so much life and love. I think that is how a good community works out; You are giving to everyone and everyone is giving to you. What you end up with is “twelve baskets of broken pieces [of bread and fish]” (Luke 9:10-17). I wonder how we can ever do all that needs to be done on the farm. Though I worry, I bend my back and pull weeds with everyone else. When the day is done we go home and God does the rest. “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37)” Often I have cooked a dinner here and feared that I had not cooked enough. After dishing it out and watching how people took the food with regard for the scant amount, I can see that everything works out. We almost always have leftovers. We are focused on teaching our participants servant leadership, organic agriculture, and lessons in love, but even short term visitors who come here can get a full serving of this learning.

Community event at the park
From the bottom of our hearts I would like to thank our family, friends, the Episcopal Church, ARI, and the rest of the universe for supporting us and making this journey of love possible. As I write this, Jenny is weighing the last of our luggage. In two hours we’ll be picked up by a friend and whisked away from here. Don’t worry everyone we’re bringing all the love, all of the learnings, all of the gifts, all of the connections, all of the hugs, all of the tears, all of the inspiration, all of the chopsticks that we have received from these wonderful people on this side of the world—we’re bringing it all back to you!

Just a few things happened this week that we’ll fill you in on:

The participants did gender skits! They portrayed the struggle for gender equality in their countries with a skit. Many of them dressed in cross! It was hilarious and enlightening.

Jenny was sent off by a final women’s dorm meeting. Showered with love, love, Love.

We made one final trip to the river this morning with the participants. It was a warm day shot through with sunlight and rainbow-splashes of water.

We ground up our wheat that we have been growing all year in Knight Field. We had more than enough to make some honey wheat bran bread to share at Jenny’s last morning gathering, which you can watch here.

We got buns, Hun!
Jenny shared this bread with the whole community at the end of her last morning gathering. You can watch a video of her sharing on youtube: (link soon to come)

Before we head home we’re visiting Korea for 9 days. We should safely arrive on Arkansas soil August 13! A beloved member of our family has passed away this week, so we have lots of hugging to do. 

This is our last blog post from ARI but certainly not our last blog post! We have many exciting things coming up and we want to continue to share them with you, so stayed tuned!

Lots of love, one last time, from the Land of the Rising Sun,

Your fellow servants in Christ,

Jenny and Doug