Seoul, thank you for existing.
Story by Taylor Haff.
The Abante team has been in South Korea for three months with their main focus in Pohang City. Although the heart of our mission has been primarily in this small and beautiful city, we did venture out to a place with far more internationals, taller buildings, and busier streets.
The team, along with our temporary new addition and friend Ms. Rachel Gwak, traveled six hours by car to the capital and largest metropolis of the country Seoul. In our time there, we partnered with the Chang Gog Church where we were asked to preach, sing, and share testimonies with the adults and young people of the church. Our hosts for our time of ministry in Seoul were Pastor Koh, Byung Soo, and his daughter Ko, Eunick. We were blessed to meet Church of God Super-Intendent of South East Asia, Rev. Marc Morris, who was in town for a visit with Pastor Ko. As always, there were powerful moments and value found in each story, message and conversation shared during ministry and outside of ministry. We especially found our time and meal shared with the youngsters of the church meaningful. Pastor Ko and his staff were gracious to us, and we are grateful that we were able to connect.
While in Seoul, we took advantage of the free time outside of ministry opportunities to visit the famous Namsan Tower, one of the representative landmarks and multi-cultural venues in Seoul. Abante left its mark there by leaving a heart (literally) lock that read “2019 Abante Season 8 We love South Korea!” As a result of thousands of people from all over the world coming to visit the Namsan Seoul Tower, its trees, railings, and fences have become overspread with these heart shaped padlocks. Of course, we had to join the fun.
We also visited Gangnam district, where PSY’s famous song Gangnam style was inspired and filmed. Gangnam-gu is Seoul’s upscale, modern center, home to skyscrapers and designer brands, but what we found most memorable about this part of town was not what we saw, but rather what we did. As we stood in Gangnam square, the very place made famous by the hit song, we felt it was only necessary to dance like fools as Gangnam style played in the background. Needless to say, it resulted in a lot of laughs and sweet memories.
We walked through the popular Insadong-gil shops and visited the Largest of the five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty in South Korea many decades ago, the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace. If you ever want to feel like a prince or a princess, dress up in Hanbok, and stroll around the palace (and take tons of selfies!)-even strangers asked to take our photos! Needless to say, we played dressed up and are not ashamed about it! It is the thing to do in South Korea by locals and tourists alike. Our time in Seoul strengthened our team’s bond even more, and we left Seoul having made new relationships, and more knowledgeable about Korea’s rich history and beautiful culture.