So many posts I could do and talk about, but this one I have to get out there. Have you ever had a moment where it was so clear you were exactly where you were supposed to be? I don't think I have really ever had a moment of feeling like God was specifically talking to me. I mean I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and each chapter of our life is very important in each of our stories..
Jake met up for lunch with a mutual friend back in May. He couldn’t wait for me to get to Korea to meet him, and was going to help us be able to do outreach while we are in Korea.. Jake starts telling me about this guy, and his crazy story.. We went to lunch with him again last week (mid July) to get to know him better before we spent the day with him the following Monday, and again wanted him to share his story with me.
Jin Kang is one of those guys you're listening to, and you kind of find your mouth open and have to make sure you're not starring so awkwardly because your kind of speechless…Jin was born and raised in China in a small town named, Yanji, not far at all from North Korea pretty much almost the boarder. He is Korean, but raised in China… His Grandparents fled from the Japanese oppression. Millions of Koreans fled to China out of fear. A missionary lived in China for 5 years and never led anyone to christ until Jin. The only person who was saved was Jin from this missionary in China. He met his wife in high school in china then 10 years later they run into each other in Seoul and are now married. She is brilliant. I still don't even understand what she does exactly.. She translate english medical science books into Korean. She can read english, but can’t speak it. They end up moving back to S. Korea only a few years ago! So Jin gets saved only person from this missionary, and is now heading up 9 countries for FCA (Fellowship Christian Athletes.) I think it’s safe to say he was worth working on and now the impact he has on the world literally! He is the first non American to work for FCA, and has been with them for 10 years. The fastest growing area for FCA is Singapore.
When Jin was saved he was one of 4 people that started this church and none of them knew much about about that bible and 10 years later those 4 people became 100 churches. YOU READ THAT RIGHT….. 4 people turned into 100 churches! I had to have him repeat it 3 times because I didn’t think I was understanding it right, and also all underground churches in China.
Jin then started asking a little about us, and we told him we have been at Lifebridge going on 8 years now, and gone through an adjustment period and right before we left got a new pastor… He asked what is his name? Jake and I both kind of laughed I mean why is he asking us that? lol We said Ralph….. Jin says “as in Ralph Howe” Jake and I both were so shocked, and come to find out he pulled up text messages, and they speak regularly and used to live in the same town in China at one point!! I had goosebumps all over and all of us couldn’t believe the connection from our small church to living in Seoul with 15 million JUST in Seoul not even S. Korea! I had to hold my tears back because we truly wanted to be in Japan and thought where we were supposed to be.. When Korea came about i’m sure most of you were aware what was going on at the time and our news media.. We were very frightened and are we crazy for bringing our 2 kids here?? Honestly since I have been here I have that about NK and everything maybe twice.. I feel a lot safer here than I do back home!
Jin has so many connections here and understood what we were wanting to do with our free time when we get that which isn’t very often. FCA held a camp for local children and was a 3 day long camp. They played sports during the day, broke off in groups, had worship at night and speakers. Jake was the first speaker on day 1 which was really cool to listen to his testimony. I don't think I have ever heard Jake share it. He has been through a lot, and its amazing to see the person I met almost 10 years ago to the man he is today. He speaks so good too (must come from his dad from all those years of preaching!) I was very nervous I felt sick all morning because he didn’t want to practice with me… if that was me i would be practicing for weeks, but he is like no… I'm going to wing this and i was thinking that is a very bad idea! He really did speak amazing, and that night they had over 20 get saved!! Not from Jake’s testimony but from the day at camp, and all the speakers, but still was amazing to be apart of that..
The girls would not stop touching Cope and wouldn’t do any of the sports they were supposed to be doing they just wanted to touch him and play with Stella even the boys just wanted to touch Cope and try to make him laugh. When Cope is around everyone touches him EVERYWHERE WE GO.. yes i bring lots of wipes and have to take deep breaths knowing strangers are constantly wanting to touch him.
The following Monday we had off and got to be apart of another special day and visit a disadvantage children’s home. This was really hard.. I’m not going to lie, I had to block out why they were there or I think I would’ve just cried the entire time and last thing any of them needed. I will never forget that day and was an honor for us to spend a day with them. Jake spoke there as well, and our main goal was just to play and bring some happiness. Again, Cope was a huge hit and made the kids so happy. Most of these children here are from alcoholic families, or mainly abused. The city will take them until the parents can get help or whatever situation it is and 60% will go back, and 40% will grow up in an orphanage… That was the hard part knowing some of these children will never go back home and will be raised not being loved… It killed both of us. The cool thing is the man who started it is a pastor, and being taught when they can about God. That’s huge! We are working right now and figuring out requirements.. laws,etc and hopefully are going to get them to come to a game next weekend and give them a night to just have fun and be kids! If it wasn’t for Jin none of these connections would have been possible. It’s kind of cool because Jake is one the first that has really done outreach (Josh and Aurielle Lindblom have done a great job in their town, Busan doing outreach too.) Jin was telling us they have tried to get many Korean professional athletes to volunteer, but just never have and I don't think its because they don't want to, but not like the states because so many amazing guys on our team and Jake thinks if we came back they would do stuff with us who would be way bigger of an impact than us being Korean!
I will close by saying this…Each year it seems like someone is always on that team or in that city who is exactly what we needed at each time, and have met some amazing people these last 10 years of baseball. Some of my favorite people are from this lifestyle like Dennis Brady in Frisco Texas who took such good care of me I needed him and he made such an impact on my life (Im staying out of that rocker Dennis.) I didn’t get why a complete stranger would be so kind to me and love me not because of what Jake did for a living. Darion Mellon for Jake the first year he signed and Jake was a mess! He never gave up trying and became a huge influence on Jake over the years playing in the states. Shu last year became one of our closest friends both Jake and I and don’t know what we would have done without him. Those are just a few and now Jin. I’m grateful for this crazy journey we call life and the people we have met all over the world who have taken good care of our family.
Cope during Jake's interview he asked Jake to kiss him and Cope hates Jake's whiskers so lost it!! everyone died laughing
Oh yea and baseball.. Jake has had an incredible year. He has pitched in 14 games, 7 wins, 3 losses and 9 quality starts. He had some rough ones in June, but overall has pitched very good! He has been MVP or Hero of the game 7 times I think or around there, and was player of the month for the team in July and will do a ceremony this homestand. I am so proud of him, and how hard he has worked to get adjusted to Korean baseball.