Just Got Back

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It is hard to believe that we have been traveling for close to 40 hours in the last 2 days (26 of those hours were on a plane). But we are FINALLY home. Pastor Andrew picked up us from the airport early this morning. I don’t think our family was expecting us so soon because when we got to the door, we were ringing the doorbell, calling on the phone and banging on the door but no one was answered.

Finally, Josiah came and opened the door. He explained that he heard a doorbell ring but he thought it was a dream. Then he realized it was me calling out his name through the door. Hilarious!

It was great giving the kids a hug and giving some of the small souvenirs that we got for them. Now it is time to get back to EST… it is going to take some time to adjust.

In Between Airports

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

After the all-nighter and trying to pack at 3:30AM, we quickly rushed to the Jakarta International Airport to catch our early flight to Kuala Lumpur. After landing in KL, I had to still bargain for a cheap taxi ride to the main international airport. It bothered me this one taxi company had a monopoly at the airport and was charge a crazy price. Whenever there is a monopoly it is easy to get complacent and have this superiority mentality. Ah yes, a healthy competition always puts us on our toes.

It is kind of like a new church plant in an area. The new church plant always challenges the status quo as they try new innovation ways to share the Gospel and build God’s Kingdom. In fact, usually this causes other more established churches to rethink their paradigm and even challenge them to upgrade their ministry. At the end everyone wins – more souls in God’s Kingdom and more churches being effective for God’s glory.

(Sigh)… I digress.

Anyways, we are 10% on our journey and towards our final destination. Christina and I have been talking about how we want to give all the kids a huge hug as soon as we walk through the doors.

Now from KL it is on to Taipei and then to LA… then finally to DTW.

Indonesia Trip 2007 Update 3

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Our journey back to our home:

Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur – Taipei – Los Angeles – DTW – Ann Arbor

One of the best parts of going back home is being welcomed by 3 kids that we have missed so very much and a bed that will be beckoning me to sleep recovery.

Indonesia Trip 2007 Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today was another eventful day. We met up with Louisa’s mom and she showed us around a local market, where Christina finished off her Christmas shopping. Now I know where some of the name brand products in the U.S. are produced from.

We then headed out to one of the universities in downtown Jakarta. It is hard to imagine that there are so many universities all within one international city. We met up with another para-church leader from a ministry that is focused on missions for the students. As Christina and I were talking with him, it was just another reminder that having a local church on campus for the students is a paradigm-shifting concept that is hard to conceive. So many of the campuses here in Jakarta (and I am assuming for many campuses on international cities) are stuck in the para-church model.

Then as we were visiting some of the student activities centers, we happened to run into a student leader for another one of the para-church ministries on campus. It was great hearing from her some of the various needs that are on the campus as well as getting her insight into the possibility of seeing a local church that is for students on or near the campus.

After talking with some of the students, I realized that students are students wherever you go – whether it is in the States or in an international city. It really got my blood pumping as I thought about the possibilities of starting up an international church near these campuses in this city. The possibilities are endless.

Then we reconnected with Pastor Young and Annette in the evening. We headed out to dinner together along with Engel and Louisa. It was great getting a taste of Indonesian food one last time. My taste buds were forever grateful. Now Indonesia food has definitely bumped up on my all time list of favorite food – it is a close 2nd to a medium cooked steak :-)

We finally got around to doing a session of pre-marital counseling for Engel and Louisa. Even though it was brief, we covered some of the major principles of marriage. I am excited for them and the life that they will be starting together.

In about 3 hours we will have to head out to the airport to get back to the States, therefore I have decided to pull an all-nighter and get back on Eastern Standard Time Zone.
 
 
 
Meeting with Ayen.JPG
 
Ayen was nice enough to sit down with us and share about the situation on her campus
 
 
 
Room at the University.JPG
 
Activity room filled with some students – as you can tell on the right side the TV was displaying a soccer game on a PS2
 
 
 
Meeting wtih Yofi.JPG
 
Yofie gave us some insights to the campus life and how ministries got started on campuses
 
 
 
The Rock at University.JPG
 
Christina and I are standing by “the rock” which is similar to the rock in AA where people paint on – I think ours is better
 
 
 
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The University of Tarumanagara – a top notch university in the city of Jakarta
 
 
 
Before the Meal.JPG
 
We had some seafood for our last meal. It was one of those places where you can actual choose what you want.
 
 
 
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As you can tell, Pastor Young is very happy. It feels different when you see the fish before it is cooked
 
 
 
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Our last supper. It always looks better when it is cooked and ready for consumption.

Indonesia Trip 2007 Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We arrived in Jakarta yesterday evening. It was great having Louisa and Engel pick us up from the airport. This is where all the HMCC alumni connection becomes a blessing. Then we all went out for dinner along with Pastor Young, Annette and Jim Sung, an expatriate who moved to Indonesia in July. He graduated from University of Illinois a bit earlier than me. I was roommates with John, his younger brother during my last year at U. of I. You start realizing how small the world is when you see people from the past at various places outside of the U.S.

After dinner we were so tired that we just ended up crashing out at the hotel. Then next morning we went to a pretty well-known international church in the city of Jakarta. It was a great service with contemporary music (a lot of Hillsong out here) and a guest speaker that talked about family, marriage and children. I am convinced that starting an international church to reach out to not only expatriates but also to more “westernized” Indonesians can have great missional value. It is my prayer that someday in the future at HMCC would be able to start something in some world-class international city.

We then went to have some authentic Indonesian food. I am a true convert to Indonesian food. I don’t think there is anything out there that has this kind of spices and flavor to food.

Afterwards we met up with Alex who is one of the key staff leaders with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) in Indonesia. Christina and I were able to pick his brain about the university scene in this country. It was pretty amazing to hear that there are close to 200 plus universities in or near Jakarta alone. IVCF have close to 120 ministries in about 70 universities in Jakarta.

But the awesome part was when he mentioned that there are some churches that are trying to enter into the universities. Once again, there seems to be a greater shift that is happening on college campuses and how local churches are either starting up or beginning to have their own ministry on campus.

Then afterwards we drove around an area in the southern part of Jakarta where most of the expatriates live. It really felt like we were in the States. As the world is changing constantly, the possibilities of living in another country is not that far removed. It is definitely possible for a whole family to live out in these international cities.

We closed out the night with some street food. There is nothing that beats out street food – it was truly an incredible experience!
 
 
 
2007 Indonesia Dinner1.JPG
 
Our first Indonesian meal with everyone
 
 
 
Meeting with Alex.JPG
 
We meet up with Alex who is an IVCF staff worker for all of Indonesia
 
 
 
2007 Indonesia Lunch1.JPG
 
We ate at another authentic Indonesian restaurant with Louisa and Engel
 
 
 
Lego City.JPG
 
We found out that Indonesia is a shopping mall culture – they even had this huge Lego City for kids in the center of the mall
 
 
 
Christina-Seth at Night.JPG
 
Christina and I were enjoying the night life
 
 
 
Chef and Seth.JPG
 
This lady cooked up a dish that was not even in the menu… I just described what I wanted and then bam! We wouldn’t mind having her as our personal chef :-)
 
 
 
Indonesian Starbucks.JPG
 
Mission in life? To drink a Starbucks’ Vanilla Latte from every single country.

AMI Malaysia Trip 2007 Update 5

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Yesterday, we spent the whole day at the historic Dutch and Portuguese quarters. As we walked around we were able to see some historical sites. We passed by the church where St. Francis of Xavier started. It was awesome seeing some other sites that dated back to the 16th century.

But it rained like crazy. The monsoon season is not the most pleasant. It rains and then drizzles and then stops, just so that it can start up all over again. Christina, Hannah and I stopped by a local café to just chill as we waited for the rain to stop. We had the rain and the coffee but we were missing the opera music in the background :-)

Then the rest of the team met up together to walk down the famous Jonker Street where they had the nightly street market. We just walked around through the local shops and then tasted all the various street food. There is something about street food that sometimes beats out the fancy restaurants.

Today as some people were getting ready to leave for the airport it was a bit sad saying bye. Even though it was only about 5 days of fellowship, there was a close bond that was formed between all of us.

Pastor Young, Annette, Christina and I finally got through all the customs and luggage fiasco and now we are waiting for our plane to take off. Thank God the airport has free wi-fi.
 
 
 
University of Malaka.JPG
 
This was one of the major universities in Melaka… another reminder about the important of universities in cities
 
 
 
Bike Taxi.JPG
 
Christina and I decided to try out the bike taxi – 2 miles per hour… haha!
 
 
 
Snake Man.JPG
 
The man was encourage us to take a picture with the snake… you know me and animals so I declined
 
 
 
Old Peru Team.JPG
 
The 3 members of old Peru Team – Dan, Pastor Paul, and Ailsa. It was great reconnecting.

AMI Malaysia Trip 2007 Update 4

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

It was an adventure yesterday as we arrived in Melaka and try to go out to eat. The taxi here is completely different. There are no taxis roaming around. You have to call into the taxi terminal and then someone will come but we found out that they usually wait until you call twice because they want to be sure that you are seriously in need of a taxi – what the?!

Anyways, went to the wrong location due to an error by the bellboy. But after we got to our finally destination it was a place near the shore so it made up for the delays and taxi nightmare.

We are going to spend the rest of today just chillin’ and checking out the town. I really feel like we need to start up a new taxi company out here and really service the people. As I was taking a shower this morning, I was thinking about a TV commercial that would be able to attract new customers. Then we can use the profits to support our missionaries as well as fund the various works in AMI.

Christina and I will be heading out to Jakarta tomorrow evening. We are excited to reconnect with some of our former church members.
 
 
 
Legacy Lobby.JPG
 
The art work in our hotel lobby dome is incredible – artist would truly appreciate it
 
 
 
Christina and Seth Sunset.JPG
 
This sunset and the outdoor dining made the madness of the whole evening worthwhile

AMI Malaysia Trip 2007 Update 3

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We finished off our conference and we now safely arrived at Melaka where we will have some time for R&R. Melaka is one of the most historic city in Malaysia. We will be spending a few days here before heading out to Jakarta.

This day started off at 6AM with some of the men determined to get some tickets for a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers for the rest of the group. The concierge told us that it will be wise to get in line to get the tickets around 7:30AM. He said 7AM would be good and 6:30AM would be even better, so we decided to leave at 6AM. Since we were leaving KL in the early afternoon, we wanted to make sure that we get the tickets. It was quite an experience. It felt like Black Friday all over again!

So far within the last 4 days, the informal relationship building times have been a blessing. It reminded me of the importance of even how the early church fellowshipped together over meals and encouraged one another. The times of listening and asking questions have been helpful in trying to developing a greater heart of prayer for the AMI missionaries.
 
 
 
Petronas Line1.JPG
 
Waiting in line at the Petronas Twin Tower Building at 6:15AM
 
 
 
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The line at 8:15AM
 
 
 
Petronas Line3.JPG
 
Some happy campers as the doors were opening up. It really did feel like Black Friday!
 
 
 
3D Glasses.JPG
 
We looked like a bunch of hippies with the 3D glasses… it came with the Petronas show.
 
 
 
Petronas - Seth-Christina-Hannah.JPG
 
We took a picture on the 42nd floor overlooking parts of Kuala Lumpur
 
 
 
Young and Annette Sleeping.JPG
 
Ah yes… you got to love these moments.

AMI Malaysia Trip 2007 Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

On the 3rd day of our conference, we had two sessions that was lead by Pastor Young. He shared from God’s Word and the TLT ministered to the missionaries by praying for very single one of them. We also had a great time of lifting up prayers for one another, as well as lifting up prayers for God to open up future doors the various mission fields.

Due to the British influence, we have several “tea times” throughout the day. It feels as if we are constantly eating and drinking some kind of tea or coffee. Somehow gaining weight is not going to be a problem here :-)

In the afternoons, we get a couple of hours of break; therefore, Christina and I spent some time together walking around the city. Even though we are in some ways free without the kids, we were talking the other day and realized that it is not as fulfilling without the kids.

For dinner, we ended up splitting up to several groups according to our taste buds preferences. There was an Indian food group that Christina and I joined. It was truly a bonding experience… I didn’t know that many people in AMI loved Indian food. The Gospel and Indian food are truly two things that can bring various people together.
 
 
 
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Pastor Young encouraging us from God’s Word
 
 
 
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A little “comfort logo” of home – they are taking over the world!
 
 
 
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Christina and I took a picture in front of the hotel – we are enjoying the night life

AMI Malaysia Trip 2007 Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I finally found an internet connection and also found some time to write!

First of all, it was THE longest trip of my life. It took us 21 hours to get to Kuala Lumpur – the 2 different layovers did not help. But we finally arrived on Monday afternoon. We spend the first evening worshipping with some of the other AMI people and then had dinner together. Afterwards, Christina and I just slept in order to overcome the jetlag.

Then the next day, I led one session in the morning and then another one in the afternoon. It was a full day. Two of the major goals for this first AMI International Regional Conference are: 1) time of fellowship in order to encourage the AMI missionaries; 2) time of refreshment so that we can be renewed to serve the Lord in the various mission fields.

It has been good just reconnecting with the various missionaries in AMI. We also had the opportunity to hear from each one of them about their specific field and some of the various prayer requests that they wanted us to pray for.

I am looking forward to the rest of the conference.
 
 
 
Hannah and Christina.JPG
 
Happy campers even in spite of the long layover in Taipei
 
 
 
PKeith Directing.JPG
 
Pastor Keith was directing us so that we can all leave together for our meal
 
 
 
Malaysia Session 1.JPG
 
In this session I am talking about church planting in the college campus context
 
 
 
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Sat at table with the Liu’s… as you can tell Caitlyn was not happy that we disturbed her lemonade drinking

Malaysia and Indonesia

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

Today, Christina and I will be heading out to Kuala Lumpur to join some of AMI missionaries to have our first AMI International conference. This is something that we have been dreaming about and talking about amongst the AMI Trans-Local Team (TLT). As we see more people being sent out, we are trying to continue in the training and spiritual development of our missionaries.

We are going to minister to the all the couples, as well as to the whole family including the kids. We are believing by faith that God will pour out his Spirit on our gatherings.

Afterwards, Christina and I will be spending a few days with some of our alumni in Jakarta, Indonesia. We truly want to be a blessing to them.

I believe these are the beginning steps of even envisioning an international church plant in the future. I am reminded of the story in the Book of Numbers, where Joshua and Caleb were sent out with other leaders to check out the promise land. We are praying that we will come back with a great report.

Men’s Gathering with Robert Barriger

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Even though it was a last minute request to have a men’s/women’s gathering with Robert and Karyn, they were humbly willing to serve the church.

The men gathered together and were reminded of our calling as men. Once again, the truth was reiterated – “we are male by birth but men by choice.” Principles such as courage, valor, being men of our word, giant killers, and etc were spoken to our lives. The powerful thought for the night was that the choices we make now affects the people in the future – our future spouse, our future children, our future grandchildren, and our future relationships where we can influence them for Christ. Our choices are for “them.”

Then we had a great time of prayer, as the men of our church. The imagery that I got was a picture of a warrior guard the House of the Lord – “we will protect this house!”

Afterwards I talked with Christina and she mentioned that the women’s gathering went well. Karyn’s personal stories were not only hilarious but they highlighted the truth of God’s grace and mercy in a person’s life.

We are looking forward to tonight’s gathering where the whole church will be coming together to seek the Lord with one heart.

Christian and Christ-Follower Parody

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

With the marketing savvy of Apple, they have caught the attention of many of the younger generation. I think I will still be a PC guy (without the rigidity and blandness of course) because I don’t know if I want to “re-convert.”

Believe it or not, I was a Apple person all throughout my college and seminary years (one of the few). But when I came to Michigan, everyone was using a PC. Since Apple did not have certain programs and the OS was not like what we have now, I was forced to convert. My idealist side gave way to my practical side.

Many of you probably have seen the PC guy and the Mac guy commercial. This one church decided to do a parody off the commercials. It is pretty funny thinking that there are so many Christians who view Christianity in the way the PC guy (Pharisee Christian) views it. It was a hit even with pre-Christians because they have experienced the negative effects of Christians that do not fully represent Christ.

Humor is a good way of exposing areas of people’s lives that magnify self-righteousness and pride.

Check out the seven different commercials here.

Sacred Debt

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Today I was reading Jill Carattini’s thoughts on “indebtedness.” I couldn’t help but to think about why it is a struggle for so many Christians to surrender and sacrifice their lives to God. We try so hard to muster up the courage and the devotion to be willing to give up everything to God, but maybe we have been looking at things in the wrong way. Instead of increasing our devotion level, we need to increase our gratitude level.

Carattini writes,

“’Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.’ So goes the counsel of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his advice is worth contemplating. Do you feel pressure to reciprocate when someone treats you to lunch? Do you find yourself repaying kindness for kindness, compliment for compliment, and so on? You are far from alone if you do. According to sociologists, this sense of obligation, which they refer to as the ‘Rule of Reciprocation,’ is present in every single known human society, and this rule is as powerful as it is prevalent. Professor of psychology Robert Cialdini notes, ‘So typical is it for indebtedness to accompany the receipt of [favors, gifts, and the like] that a phrase like ‘much obliged’ has become a synonym for ‘thank you.’”

The implications of that etymological statement perhaps unveil our haste in responding to debt. Indebtedness is uncomfortable, after all; to be rid of it is liberating. Gratitude, on the contrary, asks much more of us. Our sense of indebtedness is not removed, but lingers in a state of being thankful.

Of course, you can return a favor and still experience gratitude for the favor given you. But you can also return a favor simply to reciprocate, to mindlessly remove that feeling of indebtedness. One psychology class carried out a revealing experiment on this subject. The professor sent Christmas cards to a large list of complete strangers to test the Rule of Reciprocation. He found response astounding. Cards came pouring back to him, all from people he had never met, the vast majority never even inquiring into the identity of the unknown sender! They simply received his card, and automatically sent one in return.

The experiment merits inquiry into our own lives. How do we respond to the sense of obligation? Are we uncomfortable with indebtedness? It is worth asking if for no other reason than that there will be times in life for which there is no fitting response to indebtedness. What happens when we discover there is no appropriate response to the gift or the giver? What will happen when we simply cannot reciprocate?

Quite simply, we respond with gratitude. We come into the presence of the giver with thanksgiving and we are changed by the gift. And when the giver is Christ, freely submitting to death for a debt that was not his but ours, how then do we respond? The old hymn perhaps offers much wisdom:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head,
For such a worm as I?

 

Thus might I hide my blushing face,
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

 

But drops of grief can ne’er repay,
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away,
‘Tis all that I can do.

 

It is gratitude that sees this sacred debt for which there is no reciprocating and with devotion says, ‘Here I am, my Lord and my God. I am yours.’”

Hmm… Oh, what God can do with people who understand this principle! During this Advent Season may we never forget.