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Interview with Yuki Nagao, Mission Co-worker from UCCJ

  To continue with my plan of interviewing some of my mission co-worker colleagues, today I am interviewing Rev. Yuki Nagao, who is working here in Korea as a mission co-worker from the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ). Following her ordination in Japan in 2015, Yuki came to Korea to study in the SEST program at Hanshin University’s Graduate School of Theology (which is the seminary of the PROK), and has continued here ever since.   John: Can you explain what SEST is, and how does it relate to you becoming a mission co-worker?   Yuki : SEST means Studies in Ecumenism and Social Transformation. It is a two-year theological program for foreign students. When I came here I had classmates from Taiwan, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malawi, and Ghana. Also, we had short-term exchange students from USA and Hungary. Since I was already ordained, I was sent to the PROK as a mission co-worker. After my graduation from the program, the plan had been for me to return to Japan, but

Invitation to Webinar June 23

  Join me on Wed., June 23 for my upcoming webinar with the United Church of Canada:   “Intercultural Encounters of a Mission Co-worker in Korea” 7 pm Eastern Time   You are invited to a Zoom meeting. When: Jun 23, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)   Register in advance for this meeting: https://united-church.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwldeGrrDwpHNdowZuIw3R1OBf1Hd41L1P2   After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  

Interview with Thomas Smith, Global Ministries Intern

  Just to try something a little bit different, I’ve decided to interview some of my mission co-workers who are working with me in the PROK. It is interesting to hear about some of the different ministries they have been involved with here in Korea. Watch for more excerpts from these interviews in upcoming blogs.   I want to start off with my colleague Thomas Smith, since he has just completed his term and is on his way back to USA this month. Thomas is a Global Ministries Intern from the Disciples of Christ in the USA. He arrived in Korea in August 2019 and for most of his time here he was working in the English language program at Yangmuri church in Haenam, which is quite far from Seoul, on the southern tip of Korea.    John: What are some of the things you’ve been involved in while you were here? Thomas: Mostly teaching ESL to students, ranging from about age 6 to 16, but sometimes as old as 18. John: What did you find the most challenging? Thomas: The really little kids spoke absol

Covid Continues in Korea

  The numbers of new cases have dropped recently in Seoul, but there are still fears of a “fourth wave.” Some restrictions have recently been eased, but the current restrictions will remain in place for at least another two weeks. This means no group gatherings of more than 4 people. Some churches are able to gather, but only if they are at less than 20% capacity. Still, the work of the church continues. I continue to go to the office every day during the week and I am starting to get used to attending church services online on Sundays.   Meanwhile, the PROK held their annual “mission academy” last month through Zoom, preparing mission co-workers for mission assignments overseas. In this photo you can see the system we managed to set-up for the facilitators to communicate online with the participants. Because the COVID-19 crisis is a world-wide pandemic, the PROK sent thousands of masks and other equipment to partners in Indonesia and elsewhere. In January I accompanied my colleague Ju

Looking Back on covid year 2020

I must admit, I am glad to be turning the page on 2020. Nevertheless, looking back over the year, I see that quite a lot was accomplished. Here are a few of the highlights for me: It’s a little foggy to me now, but there was a part of 2020 that was not consumed by Covid-19. In January I took part in the PROK’s mission academy, which prepares members of the PROK for overseas mission work. Somehow I got recruited to sing in the group’s choir (apparently, this too is part of the work of a mission co-worker!) Early in the year I was also fortunate to visit the PROK congregation in Haenam, which is on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. Here I am being introduced to the congregation along with some of my colleagues from the General Assembly Office. Much of my work involves meeting people face to face. Here I am having tea with some representatives of the PROK’s women pastors' association in their office in Seoul. My home assignment in Canada, which was scheduled to take place from