Posted by: topher274 | August 31, 2008

But… but why?

Why am I going to Korea? I have answered this question to many people so far and I’m sure I will again. I always say that there are many reasons why I am going, so it seems like it would be good to list them out. Let’s see how far I get.

1. I want the money. The most necessary (though not sufficient) reason for my going to Korea is money. For my undergraduate degree, I attended fabulous Houghton College. Though wonderful in so many ways, it cost a pretty penny. And pretty penny – modest financial aid = still a pretty penny. I’m doing this for the money, to pay off my small mountain of college debt, to be free for whatever I might need to be free for in the future. Though 18 year-old Chris made the decision for 28 and 38 year-old Chris to go into such enormous debt, 24 year-old Chris is going to try to help them out.

2. I want to do what I have been trained to do. At Houghton, my major was ‘Intercultural Studies with a Concentration in Linguistics.” The climax of this major was a semester of studying abroad in the great nation of Tanzania, the spring of my junior year. I have a great love for other cultures, other languages, and new experiences in new worlds. Tanzania opened my eyes to what is absolutely a whole new world for this insular American. Since graduating I have been on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. It was great there, but it did not have the cultural or linguistic immersion I needed.

3. I want to develop skill in teaching. I know that I have both a calling and a gifting to become a teacher. I love to do it and I have real talent and potential, but we all know that talent and potential don’t go very far. I need to develop real skill by experience. I need classroom hours and lesson plans and frustration and joys of teaching. I spent last school year at The Daniel Academy, which experience clued me into just how far I need to go. Moreover, my good friend Dr. Benjamin Hegeman, a missionary to Benin (among many other things), told me on a number of occasions that the way to get good a teaching is to teach very young children. He said that if he could do missions in Benin all over again, he would have every one of his pastors be elementary school teachers first. This is now my current aspiration.

4. I want to do something hard. There are many jobs and lifestyles that a body could pursue. Any one of these has the potential to become a career and/or provide for a family and be productive. But the wildness in me wants to do something hard. I don’t want to just coast through life I don’t want to live from paycheck to paycheck without saving. I don’t want my life to be looking forward to weekends and pizza and movies. I want to live! I want to achieve. I want to turn all the potential that has been invested in me by God, by my family, by my friends and by my own hard-spent-yet-to-have-earned money – I want to turn it into something great. I want to live a great life and that only comes by doing hard things.

5. I want to become a mature person. I can feel it. At 24 years of age, I can feel my life slipping away from me. The culture of chilaxin’ and video games, of paycheck to paycheck and spending money I don’t have cannot sustain even my own life. I know that I need to… I really can bring myself to say it… I need to grow up. I have grown up a lot – during college, during the two year since, but I really need to grow up. I need to build my life into something I’m proud of. I want to spend my hours, my days, my weeks and my years doing what it takes to turn my life into what I want it to be. If I can just barely support my self right now, how can I support a family? How can I spend my money wisely? It’s in the decisions I make today. And this is a big one.

6. Some of my best friends are there now. I mostly met Ryan and Carolyn at Houghton in Tanzania. Through a tumble of relational whatnot and many twists and turns they have become some of my closest friends. You may notice that I call many people some of my closest friends. In fact, you who are reading this may think ‘I am one of Chris’ closest friends’. Well, yes. I have been blessed with many wonderful people in my life and you all know who you are and how much you mean to me. But I think the moment that I decided to go was when I was on the phone with Ryan back in March or so. Long story short, I am going to Korea to journey with this couple for a while. It’s going to be great.

7. Learning Korean will be very useful. Being at IHOP-KC, I met a myriad of Koreans. There are Korean missionaries all over the world. Koreans are just good people. If I ever get a translator job for the US government, Korean is a language they pay for. Learning Korean is a stepping stone to learning Chinese, since 40 percent of the roots of Korean words come from Mandarin.

I think I’ll stop at seven. Seems like a good complete number.



  1. “hard-spent-yet-to-have-earned money”… :)

    Even after our many conversations about this, I somehow didn’t know a couple of these reasons. It’s amazing what you learn in reading a person’s blog, even when that person is a reasonably close friend.

    I’m very glad that you are blogging. It feels a good deal less like you are falling off the face of the earth, this way.

  2. Yeah!! Bloog by chris!! Sorry it took so long for me to find it. I’ve been scanning the internet (just like neo) for months, but by george, I’ve found it!


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