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Expanding our Horizons

There is a sign posted frequently around Jeju Island and its slogan instantly grabs the reader’s attention.

“The world comes to Jeju and Jeju goes to the world”

After living here for two months, I believe the students realize how accurate that statement is. One glance around is all it takes to see the variety of cultures and ethnicities represented on the island. While some people are here to teach English and others are studying at University, there are also vast amounts of visitors who come to vacation on the Island.

With the influx of foreigners on the island, Youngnak English Service has a lot of ministry opportunities to reach out to these people. Seven years ago Youngnak English Service started and through the years numerous amounts of people have come through the doors. Currently, YES is comprised of over 8 different nationalities including individuals from Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, China, United States, and Taiwan.

In October YES church hosted an “Olle Walk” event where the church members had the opportunity to interact and build relationships with the WOLBI students. Jeju is known for its Olle trails, the pathways around the coast of the island. There are 26 different routes and each one allows you to see the diversity of Jeju’s natural beauty. Trekking twelve kilometers in four hours certainly brought unity in the body of Christ and we were able to witness God’s beautiful creation while enjoying the company of new friends.

Our students have an amazing opportunity to study abroad for an entire year and walk through this time developing relationships with people from a variety of nationalities. Cynthia Eichelberger, a WOLBI student from America, thought the Olle walk was a practical way to interact with the church members saying, “It was super encouraging to know their pasts and see how God has impacted their lives.” Since arriving to WOLBI in September Cynthia sees that, “the love of God isn’t restricted to one culture…God reaches out to every nation and His love is seen through all His children.”

We all come from different backgrounds. Different experiences. Different traditions. Different lifestyles. Even though there are many differences, it’s our love for God and one another that binds us together in unity and we sincerely cherish the diversity because it gives us the opportunity to learn and grow from a new perspective.

Colossians 3:14-16

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God”.

{Photo by Sachith Udara Wickramasinghe}

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