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She walked up behind me and said "Andrew, you are supposed to be in the chapel, everyone is there and you are the only one not there. What are you doing?" Seeing this as my chance to tell an authoritative member of the cult that I intended to leave I told her: "I am leaving tonight, tell me the exact address of this complex." She was startled by my response and then replied saying that "There is no address, there are no taxis for you to take back home, you must stay." I then pulled out my phone and told her that I was going to call the police (119 in Korea, not 911) if she didn't disclose the exact location of the complex. She then said: "This building does not have a physical address; you shouldn't have a phone that's against our community's rules give it to me now." I resisted. As the cult member stood before me I used the GPS function on my phone to establish my location and was utterly shocked after the GPS system pin pointed the complex's location. The location was not on any roads, the roads leading up to the complex didn't exist on the Google Maps app, essentially; there actually wasn't a physical location for the complex. I felt hopeless, after gaining no progress towards escaping from this cult and the staff member said: "You are here for a reason, you need to be healed; come up to the chapel after you realize what's good for you." She then left the room.
As I dug deeper into the backgrounds of these young Korean volunteers, however, to my great surprise, I learned that some of them are actually members of Korea International Cooperation Agency which is an agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. KOICA implements Korea’s foreign aid to developing countries. When KOICA was created in 1991, my impression was that it was a cheap copycat of America’s Peace Corps. Poorly funded and a lack of passion, I harbored deep suspicion that it would soon disappear quietly after its initial publicity.
In the midst of such unspeakable poverty, there stood a small concrete building manned by young volunteers from Korea wearing bright green vests. It was a Dail Community Center. Dail Community is a Christ-based charitable organization founded in Korea. It’s well-known in Korea for its Baffor Sharing Movement Center, which started in 1988 by Pastor Choi Il-do by serving free noodles to the homeless at Cheongnyangni Train Station in Seoul. Today, Dail Community’s Bapsang (Meal Table) Community in Dongdaemun-gu serves hot meals for approximately 1,000 to 1,500 homeless and elderly everyday.Dail Community has transplanted their sharing community to the poorest neighborhood in Cambodia. Through donations received mostly from Koreans and Korean-Americans, Dail Community was serving daily hot lunches to nearly 700 Cambodian children and seniors living near Phnom Krom. From their modest center, they were not only feeding the Cambodian children, but they were also teaching them taekwondo and English and providing other cultural and educational services, all free of charge.
After the early morning prayer service and breakfast, we returned to Seoul to visit Dail Community. Dail Community was founded by the Rev. Ii-Do Choi.Rev. Choi began his ministry when he saw the same homeless man in the street for several days. One day Rev. Choi asked the man how long it had been since he had eaten. The man held up 4 fingers. Rev. Choir asked him, “Four what? Hours?” The man replied, “No, four days.” So Rev. Choi took the man to a local restaurant and bought him a meal.That experience led Rev. Choir to offer Ramen noodles to the homeless at lunch time. However, in Korea rice, not noodles, is considered a proper lunch. So Rev. Cho decided that he was going to serve rice to the homeless one day and that would be the end of the ministry. But the local people begged him not to stop but he could not afford to purchase enough rice to feed more than 100 people a day. But God had other plans, and contributions kept coming in, so for the next 15 years, Rev. Choir continued to feed rice to the homeless. This was all done outdoors. There was no building, no kitchen.Eventually Dail was given a building to house their feeding program and the community soon open a small hospital for the poor. Today they feed an average on 1,000 people daily.After helping serve lunch we toured the hospital and the Rev. Choir hosted a lunch of traditional Korea food.In the afternoon, we toured Deoksugung Palace which is one of the Five Royal Palaces of Seoul. We arrived in time to view the changing of the guard ceremony.Day 7We attended our last 5:00 a.m. prayer service, then we met as a group to talk about our experience with the service.After breakfast, we returned to Seoul to visit 100th Anniversary Church and the Yanghwajin Missionary Cemetery. The missionary cemetery contains the remains of about 119 foreign missionaries. In 2007, 100th Anniversary Church was established near the grounds of the cemetery. Part of its mission is to take care of the cemetery and share its history.We toured the cemetery and the mail church building. At the end of the tour, the church hosted a special luncheon for the group.Later we finally hard a little time to be tourists as we visited the neighborhood of Insadong for about 90 minutes of shopping.After the shopping was over, we boarded the bus for our last meal at the church, then we attended the Wednesday Evening Worship Service. After the service ended, we met in the Fellowship Hall for a time of farewell with our Korean brothers and sisters.The next morning we would need to board the bust at 6:30 a.m. for the return trip to the airport.
Pastor Choi Il-do, better known as the "rice-scooping pastor," has stepped down from the chief pastor post at Dail Church, a move he said will allow him to concentrate on volunteering activities to help the needy.The 54-year-old has been the chief pastor of the church in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province over the last two decades. Choi has set up a number of centers and institutes to help the homeless and underprivileged, providing them with free meals and medical services."I have thought about yielding the chief pastor post for about 10 years. I've had to consider whether it's right to retain the job for such a long time while there are many younger pastors," he told Yonhap News. "I hope my resignation will be understood as my intent to focus on volunteering work."The work of a pastor should not be limited to stay within the church, he said."Preaching before hundreds of followers is not the only act of ministering. Taking care of poor people is also ministering. It can be accomplished in the streets and even in red-light streets. A church is nothing more than a building," he said.Choi also returned 400 million won in severance pay to the church that will be used as a scholarship fund for poor students.He has also promised to donate the 200 million won deposit on his rented home. His resignation came almost 11 years ahead of the official retirement age of 65. Pastor Kim Yoo-hyun, 42, will succeed Choi.
My wife and I are working together to translate a Korean book by Pastor Choi Il-Do (최일도). For you Koreaphiles out there, here's the bibliographical information in Korean:최일도: 밥짓는 시인 퍼주는 사랑. 시인목사 최일도의 아름다운 세상찾기.We've finished a second draft of the translation and are currently reworking toward a third one. My wife hasn't yet translated the title, however, and due to the abysmal condition of my Korean, I cannot provide an accurate rendition. I think that it's something like:"A Poet Making Rice, Scooping Love"But I suspect that we're going to need to find some other title in English. First published in 1995, the book was a bestseller here in Korea. Choi now wants to publish it in the United States.I'm trying to figure out what sort of marketing niche the book will fit into. It's a biography that explains how Choi founded Dail Church, which is located in a poor area of Seoul (Junnong-Dong, since you asked) and which provides free meals, shelter, and medical service for the poor and aged.But the book offers more than this. It's also the story of how a young wanderer and aspiring Protestant minister growing up in the dictatorial era of President Park fell in love with a Catholic nun whose heart he won through poetry and persistance. In short, a love story.That's the first half. The second half tells the tale of how Choi's life as a seminary student was transformed by a chance encounter with a homeless man in a train station. This so affected him that he began cooking ramyon (spicey Korean noodles) on the streets to feed the homeless drunkards. That was in late 1988, and by 1995, Choi was offering free medical care and planning a hospital. In short, a social-gospel story.Two different stories, one life.Anyway, for readers interested in learning more about the Dail Church, the House of Sharing, and Angel Hospital, please visit the blog of Dail English Pastor Aaron Krueger:http://dailkorea.blogspot.com/Those proficient in Korean (not I) can visit the official Dail Church website:http://www.dailchurch.orgDail Church welcomes any support and assistance, of course, so if anyone wishes to help, please visit the websites and establish contact via email.
Musical `A Poet Making Rice, Scooping Love`IntroductionMusical `A Poet Making Rice, Scooping Love` Babpeo pastor Choi Il-do, his story comes to you with a deep impression! This winter, our creative musical to present a 'dramatic impression'! The touching true story of 1.2 million best-seller 'A Poet Making Rice, Scooping Love' gets recreated to a musical at Sejong Center!The miracle of a bow of rice which changed the world!One day, a dream suddenly comes up to those who were like mayflies. Musical 'A Poet Making Rice, Scooping Love'Introduction to character Choi Il-do - Babfor priest. leader of Dail Community. Don Quixote doing what he would to the end. Heart-warmed people of our time pursuing ideal rather than reality, freedom than stability, and emotion than ration. Kim Yeon-su - She meets Choi Il-do while being on the course of becoming a nun... As a result of the courtship from a man, she comes to live her 2nd life as a wife. Even if she looks gentle, she is very determined and passionate. Poet's sensitivity-holding character being gentle in appearance, but sturdy in spiritAct 1 On a bright day, the bible meeting of nuns held in Myeongdong Cathedral. Choi Il-do who first participates in the meeting and exchanges greetings with nuns see and fall in love with Rose (Kim Yeon-su). She is also caught by an unknown thrill on meeting him. He finally makes a propose of love, but she can't accept his love so that she hides deep inside nunnery while he leaves for Gasado as if giving up his life due to her absence...Act 2Due to the accident that the old man Mr. Park felt to death in the middle of Cheongryangri Station last night, the surroundings of Cheongryangri are unsettled. Choi Il-do gave a meal to a homeless old man met by destiny and became friends with the king of begger, Hyangsooki, street women and homeless people, and he starts to bring meals with a handcraft to provide homeless people with meals...