Volleyball Team Lends a Hand in Korea
For the past few weeks, Asbury University’s volleyball team has been learning and practicing the idea that the “serve” might be the most important part of the game.
The team left in late July for the Republic of Korea, where they spent time serving a small group of elderly, blind women and ministering to small children in an orphanage. Along the way, they conducted a series of volleyball clinics to share some of the tips and techniques that helped propel them to a school-record 42 wins in last year’s season.
Below are excerpts from a “daily diary” by Coach J.P. Rader ‘83 that chronicles some of the experiences that impacted the team during the trip.
2012 AU Volleyball Korea Mission Trip – Diary #1
What a start to our Korea trip we have had! We have now completed three FULL days here and have decided that someone should have brought along a pedometer to measure how far we have walked. My guess would be in the 5-6 mile range each day. The first two days here have been devoted to seeing the city of Seoul. We started with an early morning hike on our first day up An San (An Mountain) … and topped it all off by attending the Full Gospel Church on Sunday morning. Full Gospel is recognized as the largest church in the world and we were witnesses to that as what looked like 4,000 people packed in to the service we attended (one of six they have on Sunday!). It was incredible to see the passion with which the Korean people pray and worship. Very impressive and humbling.
Today was the team’s first opportunity to share in ministry as we went to the Lydia House in the southeastern part of Seoul. Lydia House’s mission is to provide care, love and community for a small group of elderly blind women in Seoul. Our group was welcomed by Lydia House’s director, Ms. Suh, who is blind herself. She facilitated the opportunity to interact with the women in the house and help them on a walk along the nearby canal. These seven ladies whose ages ranged from 70 to 86 were a hoot, to say the least. They were in various stages of ambulatory ability, but their spirit was a witness to us. God’s love was evident in all of them and it shone through in their smiles, laughter and hugs. It is a humbling thing to see Grace that is so clearly evident. The women of Lydia House witnessed to us through their lives without being able to speak a word of English. It was wonderful to see the team helping them, enjoying them and laughing with them. The opportunity to be God’s hands and feet is what this trip is all about. Tomorrow we are off to Eastern Child Welfare and the opportunity to help with orphan babies!
We focused today in our team devotional time on Romans 1:16, which centers on the idea of rejecting passivity with our faith. We talked about serving others and speaking and acting boldly as Paul implores us to do in those verses. This fit nicely with the opportunity the girls had today to serve at the Eastern Child Welfare Society. Eastern has a portion of its work in Korea devoted to facilitating the successful adoption of the children in its care (most of them are orphans or have been abandoned by their mothers). These children, ranging from infants a few days old to almost one year old, are in great need of love and attention. Our volleyball girls provided both in addition to serving the Society through cleanup and other forms of manual labor. This was a transforming experience for the girls as they held the little ones and showed them love. Here are a few of the comments after today’s session at Eastern:
- “A blessing … it was amazing to see how much they needed love.” — Sarah S.
- “At first, cleaning the fridge and washing strollers was difficult as we wanted to hold the babies immediately, but we realized that we were serving Eastern in a practical area that they needed help.” — Alyssa/Jessie/Lisa
- “It was a great experience … the other women who worked there were overwhelmed with the 30-plus babies they had in their care, and they needed help. It was great to serve them.” — Maddie L.
- “Holding these babies gave me a greater sense of how lucky and blessed I am … I just wanted to give them some hope.” — Kellianne C.
- “What a great day … when we got to the 5th floor, it was hot where the babies were and I wondered how long we could hold out. But we acclimated quickly and by 4:30 p.m., when we were told that our shift was over, we realized that no one wanted to give up the baby that was in their arms and go home.” — Coach Keith Stowe
All in all, a tremendous experience. We saw again how God has brought us to Korea to be His hands and feet here.
Tomorrow the volleyball clinics begin!
2012 AU Volleyball Korea Mission Trip – Diary #3
We have now been in Korea for one week … and what a week it has been! The team has worked with the very old (Lydia House) and the very young (Eastern Child Welfare), seen the palaces of Seoul, climbed a small mountain, set foot in North Korea at the DMZ and taught volleyball to high school boys and girls. At our devotional time last night the girls reflected on the experience of going to the Korean War Museum and then visiting the Joint Security Area where the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone that is the boundary between the two countries) is located.
- “It was eerie being at the DMZ. To see what stands between the two countries was fascinating. Being watched by a N. Korean soldier was a strange experience.” — Cat S.
- “We learned so much from the N. Korean defector that was part of our tour, as well as the tour director, about Korean History and what has happened at the DMZ. It was a history lesson.” — Lisa/Kellianne
- “I really appreciated not only the Koreans but also the American soldiers that are here protecting the freedom that we have in the U.S.” — Maddie L.
It has been wonderful to see how the girls have embraced all that we have done, worked hard at the volleyball clinics and been willing to share what God has been doing in their life with the kids at the clinic. Thus far Sarah, Maddie, Cat, Brittney and Jessie have had a chance to share and have done an excellent job.
Today is scheduled to be a long day with six hours of clinic, a coaches’ clinic and a match between the girls and some of the teachers who have played college ball.
Thank you for your prayer support and your willingness to send your daughter on this trip. I think you can see from some of their comments that it has been changing them.
2012 AU Volleyball Korea Mission Trip – Diary #4
I wanted to start this diary entry with a quick word about the girls’ devotionals they have given this week to the campers and to each other. It has been impressive how prepared they have been and the depth and honesty with which they have shared. It is not an easy thing to face your peers and high school students and express accurately what God has been doing in your life, but each one of the girls has done so effectively. To illustrate this I will use today’s activity as an example. I decided early in the planning of this trip that the second Sunday we would climb Mt. Dobong or Dobongsan. Dobongsan is about a 45-minute subway ride outside of Seoul in a beautiful and rugged setting. The climb up Dobongsan is arduous, to say the least, but the girls gamely pushed hard for two hours to make the summit.
We didn’t make the summit (base camp 1 was more like it), but we did get a chance to sit and have a devotional time of sharing led by Asst. Coach Keith Stowe. Coach Stowe led out with an excellent devotional that focused on the temptations we deal with in our lives — both tangible and intangible — and our need to turn them over to God each day. He also emphasized the need for all of us to make the most of each day that God gives us. This message is particularly pertinent as the girls head in to what will certainly be a very busy season and first semester.
Maddie also shared with the group the need to keep everything centered on Christ, staying connected with him daily. The freshmen have been sharing their life stories with the group, and today Lisa and Courtney had their turn. It is always a great thing to see how God has grown each girl to get them to this point and what He will do to grow them further in the next four years.
On a lighter note we had a great time at the FC Seoul soccer game last night, beating the drums with the local fans and thoroughly enjoying the Korean scene. Tomorrow we finish up with our last clinic day and then we are off to Daejon for a day before coming home. We can’t wait to see everyone!