Thoughts from my Zanzibar Trip

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The trip was more than just exploring the island’s beauty and its unique culture as a Tanzanian archipelago. In fact, I flew over to intentionally interact with the people of Zanzibar, more specifically, the lovers of the beautiful game.

This trip was my second time in Zanzibar. My first trip was an ordinary family trip in which I did not have any specific expectations. The island, however, left me with an extraordinary impression in my mind’s eye of so many people in love with football. It was then that I knew I needed to come again with a different purpose.

Three and a half years later, I was given an opportunity to coach five middle schools and a women’s team. It was a great opportunity for me to go again, interact with the Zanzibaris, and share the passion for the game.

The reality of coaching was way beyond my expectations and I was challenged each day with a series of hurdles: the field condition, weather conditions, not enough balls, too many players, and worst of all, COMMUNICATION. It was tough for both players and me with my poor Swahili. The translator was not as helpful and I was very limited in what I wanted to say so it was discouraging not being able to give more helpful advice and share how football impacted my life. It was not easy trying to adjust and improvise my way out of the day, everyday.

Football is very popular in Zanzibar. The island upholds an unique football culture of its own. Any flat landscape is a field to any age group or gender. You will not go a day without seeing people playing football. Football jerseys of nearly any club in Europe are found in almost any store you run into. During the weekends in local pubs, you will witness the supporters take part in rituals before, during and after a match to support their favorite teams. All these things prove that football occupies an unique culture in the island. Amidst the issues of poverty, diseases, corruption, warfare, and misgovernment, football seems to provide a way of life and hope not just in Zanzibar, but all over Africa. Perhaps, this is why football is called the beautiful game and challenged me to continue to question the concept of football ministry. How can these people learn about the gospel through this beloved sport?

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I recently read a short booklet previewing a forthcoming book “On Becoming Generative: An Introduction to Culture Care”. Fujimura, a contemporary artist,  introduces an interesting theory of Culture Care. He writes,

“Culture Care restores beauty as a seed of invigoration into the ecosystem of culture. Such soul care is generative: a well-nurtured culture becomes an environment in which people and creativity thrive.”

The word ‘generative’ refers to something that is bearing fruit or originating new life. As Fujimura would say, when we are generative, we draw on creativity to bring into being something fresh and life-giving. To me, ‘Culture Care’ sounds more like the gospel, the stewardship of His creation, or the journey to His Kingdom — it’s a generative approach to culture that brings resourcefulness, patience, and creativity into a culture bereft of His fruits. During my stay in Zanzibar, I saw a new vision to gather a community of people committed to generative living that identifies and models the conditions that best contribute to a good life and a thriving culture. Specifically, I saw a need for developing coaches in East Africa through my experiences in Zanzibar and as the African countries represented in the World Cup are more from the West and Northern African regions. I ask the Lord for His guidance, but it would be my dream to establish an organization focused in forming quality African coaches in East Africa. Hopefully, the outcome will see the nations develop a healthy football culture and ultimately lead to World Cup qualification.

Just as we are increasingly finding ways to take care of our environment for future generations, I hope we take importance notice in caring our culture as well so future generations can thrive. Culture and gospel go hand in hand in ministry.

 

After God’s Own Heart

Since returning from the Thanksgiving break, I have been in awe of how God has been restoring my faith. Today the Holy Spirit has challenged me to gather all that I have experienced and express them with words in the midst of my final week of school.

It’s appropriate for me to start with how I was before.

“I know it in my head, but it’s not in my heart.”

If I were to describe my junior year, I would throw in words like ‘dreadful’, ‘gloomy’, ‘enduring’, ‘selfish’, and ‘grinding’.

I was going into my third season of soccer for Calvin College and I had set higher expectations and goals to achieve for myself. With all the work and commitment I had executed during the off-season, I was determined to having a ‘great’ year. Other things were going on in my life besides soccer, I began to take higher level courses in accounting and I took on 3 different part-time jobs. Also, I was also the treasurer for a business organization. On top of that, I had to make myself marketable for the best internship I could ever get to sugar coat my resume. A LOT was going on. TOO MUCH was on my plate. On my first day of school, I came back physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually DRAINED. On my first day.

When you have too much on your plate and you are trying to juggle all these things for your favor, you slowly realize that you are actually losing all that was on the plate. I became a very SELF-ORIENTED and COMPETETIVE person. I didn’t need God. Just in my personality, I had to work harder and show strong work ethic to prove people that I CAN juggle all these things. I had no room for God. I had no room for time alone and rest. I was onto something constantly with no break. Church was one of weekly tasks that was on my check list. There was no SABBATH in my life.

Senior year came around; I got rid of almost anything I could on my plate. No soccer. No internship. Just one job. Just enough classes. I wanted my last semester to be a time of reevaluation and restoration. I wanted SABBATH in my life. But… My spirituality was already lost in the ocean. I did not know what to do with my faith. The Bible was always so difficult to open and confusing to understand. Praying was never genuine. Sunday church service was just one of the things on the checklist. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to go to church because of my lack of loyalty to God. It was more for God that I wanted to deviate from faith. God doesn’t need me and I don’t deserve to be called His child.

I still knew it in my head, but it never transferred into my heart. I knew I had to pray for my faith because I knew I had to be spiritually in tune with God before facing the huge transition post-graduation. But… I never felt it in my heart. The prayer didn’t seem like a prayer.

Days kept passing, school was just going, and life was pretty lonely… My stress level mounted as I kept thinking about the uncertainties in my near future. The symptoms that follow from worrying about uncertain future were NOT GREAT to handle with my mixed emotions.

For Thanksgiving break, I really wanted to be away from GR. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere I could just be alone and struggle with more thoughts… But I knew I was selling my car before then. It was going to be difficult to make a trip for myself.

At this time, my friend in Indiana insisted me to come to Indiana for the break. I never planned on going because I knew I wouldn’t have my car. But… due to my physical therapy for my knee, I had to delay my sale for one more month which made it possible to make the trip.

My time in Indiana was a blessing. *Through many many many deep, meaningful conversations I had with my friends, I was healed in many many many different ways.* I was able to shift my gear to ask what my true purpose in life was. God truly blessed me through the conversations. I saw a change in my life when I returned home.

First Sunday back in GR, the image of our ALMIGHTY God was shown clear to me. ‘The galaxies listened to Him, the stars, the mountains, and even the ocean listened to Him. God asked me and I said NO.’ To our GREAT God who’s beyond our imagination, I stood in front of Him in selfishness. This BROKE me into tears. Up until then, I was living that selfish life shunning my God away. I prayed that my tears would wash away my sins. Amazed. I truly felt His forgiveness. I have countlessly lifted my burdens in my prayer, but for the first time in my life, I truly truly felt my burdens be lifted to God. I finally began TRUSTING HIM.

Since then on, everything made sense. The prayer that didn’t seem like a prayer… God still listened and He provided a way for me turn my face to Him. God wanted me to keep the car for one more month and made sure I made that trip to Indiana. (And many more I wish I could share…) I started seeing God’s omnipresence. I’m still amazed at how He has always been so close to me all the time and every moment. He was protecting me, He was grieving when I made wrong decisions… He just wanted to spend time with me. It’s wonderful seeing God’s presence in your life. I’m walking down the same street. I’m going through my exact same schedule that I had before. I’m meeting the same people… but I start to notice little things that brings joy.

November and December of 2015 will be remembered as my rebirth in Christ. I continue to pray for His guidance because I’m a human being and I’ll fall again. But get this. My faith will not be based on how little I can sin but it will be how much I’ll get to know who God is and unveiling what He is doing in my life. I pray I’ll continue to find the WORD as I’m starting to find the WORD as my daily bread. The healing process begins now!

My last few weeks here in the states is going to be tough because of many goodbyes. I’m especially sad that I won’t be able to see particular people for a very long time. Also, I’m emotionally distracted at some of the ‘decisions’ I made recently, but deep inside of me, there is peace of mind. (A POWERFUL FEELING) I think it’s because I am fully trusting Him now. The work of God is real. I’m experiencing a Sovereign God.

Lastly, I THANK GOD so much for administering through prayers of so many people. Praying has been a difficult matter for me in college, but wow, I’ve witnessed the power of prayer. Also I THANK GOD for speaking through different people. I’m blessed to have them in my life.

The journey begins now! There is still brokenness everywhere in me, community, school, countries, etc… But,

Stewardship, Love, and Justice.

Calvin sends me with these three words as I head out into a bigger transition. IN ALL, TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

Number 6: 24-26 has never felt this STRONG before. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Amen.

I promise to stay accountable for my words. Keep me in touch!

열정은 도전하는마음과실천에서 생긴다! -박치수-

열정은 도전하는마음과실천에서 생긴다! -박치수-

열정이라는 뜨거운단어에 대해 생각을하게되서 글을 써본다.

열정이란 단어를 너무 쉽게쓰지말자.

내가 알고 생각하는 열정은이렇다… 내가 취미로 무척좋아하는것을 하는것과 그리고 지금나에게 없는것에 도전한다는것은 무척다르다.

이제 대학시절 3개월, 한학기, 남았다. 누군가 나에게 대학교시절을 돌이켜보며 제일 기억나는게 뭐냐고하면 난 바로 ‘축구’라고 말할것이다. 왜냐 축구로 얻은게 너무나도 많다. 축구에대한 세상을 넓히고 나만의 철학을 생각하고 늘 도전하는삶을 준게 바로 축구다. 공부도 신앙도 모두 축구로 통해 더 깊게 파고들고 생각하게됬다.

모든남자가 좋다고 말하는 축구는 나에게도 너무 특별한것이다. 하지만 좋아하는만큼 축구를 잘하지못하고 어린시절에 제대로 못배운것은 내가 살아가면서 늘 아쉬워할부분이다.

미국에서 내가 좋아하는것에 도전을 할수있어서 너무 감사하다. 1군으로 들어가고 매일매일 팀전체가 함께 운동하고 도전하는 하루하루가 나에게 자율속에 규율 그리고 ‘나’가아닌 ‘우리’를 생각하고 실천하는 멋진걸얻었다.

나가아닌 우리를 위해 생각하고 열심히뛰다보면 항상 나에게만 좋은일이오는게아니다. 오히려 항상 힘들수도있다. 솔직히말하면 팀에서난 힘든날들이 더 많았다. 그래도 난 팀을 위해서 열심히 준비하고 뛰고 경쟁하면서 늘 하루하루를 도전했다.

이제 마지막 시즌에들어간다. 또한번 땀흘리고싶고 훈련하고싶고 팀안에서 생활하고싶지만 부상으로인해 나에겐 이제 선수로서의 시간이 끝이났다. 난 다시도 이러한 환경에서 축구를 못할수도있다… 그래서 너무너무 아쉽다. 축구를 더 잘했다면… 더 잘배웠다면… 더 체격이좋았다면… 더 운동을 일찍 했다면… 이러한 선수로서의 아쉬움이 너무 크기때문에 난 더욱더 축구에 관련된일을하고싶은거고 더욱더 축구를 배우고싶고 내걸로 만들고싶다.

“축구전문가가되고싶다.” 

이지구상에서 축구좋아하고열정있는사람 셀수없이 많다. 맞다, 난 그중에서 제일 축구를 좋아하고싶다. 크리스티아노 호날두가 세계에서 제일 축구를잘하고싶은것처럼 난 축구를 제일 좋아하고싶다. 그뜻은 최고 축구전문가가 되고싶다는얘기다. 그래서 이바닥에서는 욕심이많고 승부욕이강하다. 가끔 사람들이보면 내가 어리석어보일수도있다 왜냐 나도 가끔그렇게 생각하기때문이다 하지만 난 호날두를 보면서 내모습이 후회스럽거나 창피하지않는다. 난 그처럼 최고가 되야하기때문이다. 더 욕심내고 노력해서 내거로만들어야된다.

학교 축구부에서 일할수있는 기회가생겨 인턴십을 그만둔다.

팀 분석가로 상대편분석과 그리고 경기후 우리팀분석을 맡게될여정이다. 그리고 더불어 학교 축구해설자로도 일하게되었다. 정말 중요한 포지션도아니고 엄청 필요한 포지션도아니지만 난 정말정말 잘하고싶다. 축구에대한것들은 많이 경험하고싶고 잘하고싶다. 예상했던것보다 더 뛰어넘고싶다. 꼭 그리 잘하지안해도 되는거여도 난 최고로 준비하고싶다.

매일매일 하루하루 생각하는것인데 선수로서 부족한면들을 축구장밖에서 채우고싶다. 축구장밖에서 일어나는 것엔 최고가되고싶다. 글로표현해서 항상최고가되길위한 노력을한다…

열정은 도전하는마음과실천에서 생긴다!

나를포함해서 내주변사람들도 내 열정은 입과머리에서만 나오는게아니라 나에 도전하는 실천적인삶에서 생긴것이라는걸 알았으면좋겠다. 입은 도구일뿐… 말에서만 믿지말자.

See you again Greg!

Today my friend, Greg Kim, leaves to Korea. Inspiring and influencing me in many many areas of my life including football, I dedicate this post to him writing how he’s encouraged me to broaden my skills, knowledge, and vision in football.

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Greg and I are obsessive football fans who spend our free afternoons naming potential Arsenal and Man United transfer targets as if we are the head of the respective clubs.

Taking over the minds of LVG and Wenger, we hold our own press conference, listing and analyzing key points to every United and Arsenal game during pre-match, half-time, and post-match. We are constantly sharing our opinions to the game.

Sometimes, raising our voices, we dispute over a pass some player makes for hours even ignoring Eunsung (E is silent) yelling across the apartment to shut up. Every negative comment to each other’s favorite team kickoffs a game of football war.

Besides the rivalry, he shares and tips on my game as well before I head off to football training/game. Always asking me what I’m going to focus on that day, he’s helped me be intentional about my growth as a player.

To many, Greg is known for his intelligence in school who enjoys reading books on variety of topics. Having him as one of my housemates really inspired me to challenge higher for my academics as well.

Feeling doubtful of this blog because of my lack of writing skills and audience, I didn’t see the point of blogging until he showed his support to read (or, proof read) all my posts. Now, I thoroughly enjoy learning to write better (which is to read).

I hope he doesn’t find my words overly flattering as they hold true and honest to me.

Thanks Greg for your friendship! I wish you ALL THE BEST on your next journey.