Greetings to you from Korea! 

When Yujin went off to college in London for his higher-level training in performing arts in September, about which I’ll tell you more below, the first thing SeungHee and I decided to do as fresh empty nesters was to visit our folks in Korea. Though we had been doing as much as we could in ministry, a good part of it was still limited due to Covid restrictions which gave us time. Then, we unexpectedly bumped into round tickets to Korea at an affordable price – How divine! So, here we are! It’s been a couple of months in Korea, spending most of our time with the families. God has blessed us so much on this trip, and we’ve been enjoying every bit of it! We just had no idea that it was going to be this much extended unexpectedly. 

A few weeks ago, we were ready to call it a wrap for our time in Korea and return to Ireland as planned… until the doctor told me that I have ‘primary biliary cholangitis (cirrhosis),’ which is a rare liver disease (and a mouthful for me) and wanted me to take a biopsy. It threw me off balance a bit, but we quickly realized that it was rather a God-given opportunity to not only discover it but also treat it as much as possible before we go back. So, we have put off our return till December 8. The good news is that I have only some early symptoms and am treated by a top PBC specialist at one of the best hospitals in Korea, and the medicine seems helpful so far. And, to my surprise, because it’s a rare disease, healthcare covers most of the bills. What a relief! But most of all, I’m so thankful for all those fantastic doctors who have been taking care of us, from the one who did the general health check-up’s for SeungHee and me that have eventually led to discovering my PBC to the PBC specialist who is currently treating me, and, of course, all the other doctors in between.

Now, can you pray with us for complete healing of the cholangitis that my liver will be healthy again and that everything will go smoothly for the next few days and we may be able to return to Ireland as rescheduled with no more complications, please? 

By the way, part of the last prescription the doctor gave me was to come back and see him for further exams and treatment in about three months, no more than four months. So, I have to be back in Korea in March next year. Oh, well… You know what else is good about it? Kevin’s going to be discharged from the military service in March! 

SPREAD ALL OVER

We wanted to take this trip to see our folks as mentioned above as they were aging quickly, which ended up to be a medical trip for us, however, and we were happy to see them doing well. Especially it was great to see my mom still keeping well enough because the last couple of years have been quite a journey for her (and all of us) after my dad went to be with the Lord, and then she was diagnosed with dementia. SeungHee’s parents are also doing well and graciously have made room for us to stay with them the whole time. 

It was also an unexpected blessing to have a short family trip with Kevin in Korea. Coming to Korea, we were only hoping to visit him somehow because he had been deployed to the frontline, but civilians (that are us) are denied access there. But when a request was made to his battalion commander for him to be withdrawn to the reserve unit for a day and have us visit him, the commander instead gave him a special leave for four days. Wow! What’s even more amazing? The day after he got out to see us, the Covid restrictions leveled up, and the whole military banned leave. What a favor of God! He is a good Father who wants to bless all who fear Him! We all had a wonderful time with him and are, of course, proud mom and dad of our Marine son as he is serving to protect the God-given freedom of the people, which is sacred. 

Next year I want to go to Colorado and see Hyejin. We haven’t seen her for two years now and miss our sweet girl so bad! She has grown much in maturity, and we are happy that she’s doing very well at school and work, enjoying learning more of what she’s good at. But there are still some typical challenges in her life, and I feel it’s time to be there for her. Or is it just me thinking that way because I miss her? 

Yujin is a talented and enthusiastic young man who never stops pursuing dreams of God in him, and we are proud of our youngest. When none of us had any good knowledge about performing arts colleges in the UK, we all felt that was the direction where God was pointing for him. After navigating through the foggy land once again altogether as a family, guided by signs of God, yet still with fears and doubts as well as with encouragements, and with more prayers, then finally with faithful provisions of God for the college, he is now in London at one of the most prestigious performing arts colleges in the UK. While facing everyday challenges, he loves where he is and what he does there. We thank each and all of you who have prayed for and helped him! You can click here and read the newsletter he had written before he went off. 

WITNESSING FRUITS 

We have seen the ministry’s most significant challenges and hindrances in 2021 as for most others around the globe since we came to Ireland in 2015. Some of what we still have been able to continue so far are assisting online college student meetings and Alpha course for a local university’s Christian Union and preaching at local churches in person and online. (About once a month, I usually go to 1 or 2 of the five different local churches that are within 1-hour drive and preach.) Regarding our training courses such as DTS we once again postponed them all to next year. Please pray for us to clearly hear God for directions and wisdom for next year and understand His way. 

IMG_2581
The portrait of me drawn by my homeless friend

In the meantime, God has blessed us to witness some early fruits of what we had sown before the pandemic. It was unexpected and so encouraging! Here are some of the beautiful stories to share with you. I’ve made a couple of close homeless friends in the first few years in Ireland. One of them used to be a heavyweight boxer as well as a fine artist. You would be blown away if you saw his portrait drawings from his early times. (He’s holding one at the top of the page.) They are so beautiful and lively! I had encouraged him to start drawing again. The problem was that he couldn’t even stay focused for five minutes because of the medicine he needed to take every day, but I continually encouraged him to try. A couple of years passed. One day he surprised me when he told me that he had drawn a portrait of a little boy and his mom was happy to pay him 10 Euro for it, and he said that he would like to draw a portrait of me now. It made me just excited. A few months passed again, and he brought me a portrait he had drawn out of my photo. Wow! I was so happy! The devil had tried to destroy him and taken away so much from him by causing him to make many bad choices. But God has not only saved his life but also has been continually redeeming his calling and talents. He has such a gentle heart for people and has been stepping close to God over the years. What a wonderful Redeemer we have! He loves to lead other homeless friends to Jesus and introduce them to me so I can pray for them. Would you please bless him with me in your prayers so that he would lead many more to Jesus and bless them? 

Here is more God has let us witness during the pandemic. Our house used to be full of young adults every other Saturday, sharing meals around the table, singing out to God by the fireside, and studying the Bible with them. Now it’s been strangely quiet and empty, and we missed them. But God has instead drawn some of them even more closely to us and brought joy to our hearts. Last Christmas time, we received a special Christmas card from a girl who used to be a regular to our Fireside Gathering. On the card, she wrote that her time in Sligo turned out to be one of the best times in her life because of what she had experienced and learned through us in the gatherings. A few months later, a couple of other regulars visited us and said that their times in Sligo had been a total blessing because of the gatherings and their relationships with us in the Lord. They said that they had miraculously experienced so much joy and healing and the providence of God in their lives. They also enjoyed our homemade cooking so much and felt loved and cared for in many different ways by us that they consider SeungHee and me as their Korean mom and dad. We’ve seen another young man grow more mature, equipped with spiritual authority, and assigned to a full-time ministry. Others experienced healing in their relationships and found the purpose of their lives in the Lord. And most of them learned to passionately serve the Lord and neighbors with their gifts and talents. We are deeply grateful for each of them whom God has placed in our lives and now has gone through our ministry. We pray that their lives will be 100 times more fruitful, multiply further in their own and the next generations, and continually serve the kingdom that knows no end. Please join us in prayer for them! 

DEEP CHANGE

The world has radically changed at all levels in recent years, of which the pandemic is only part, and the rate of the change is only getting faster, far from slowing down. I’m going to write an article to talk about this Deep Change and what it means to us and the kingdom of God when I go back to Ireland. The key points will be the moral decay in Western Civilization, the extreme polarization of society, the coming collapse of civilization, and the consequences that we cannot afford. And I will conclude with a suggestion on how we can avoid it – The only solution as far as I can see. It will be based on historical observations and rational analysis from a spiritual perspective. So, stay tuned! 

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy, overdue newsletter and continually standing with us. Your prayer carries us! 

Have a wonderful Christmas in the presence of our Lord Jesus! 

JooYoung for family

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