by Hyeyoung Lee, Korea YAV Site Co-Coordinator
My 17-month-old son, Sahn, and I like to go for a walk during the day. The other day when we were walking he decided to lead me to a place, so I just followed him. He stopped in front of the YAV house which is about 100 steps away from our house and pointed at the gate as if he is saying that he wants to hang out with the YAVs. It would have been no problem if it was two weeks ago, but it is not possible now because they all left as of July 22nd. I did not know how to explain to my son that they are not there.
So, they are gone. It was very strange feeling mixed with sadness and excitement to send them from their home in Korea to their first home in the US. Since it was our first year being site coordinators in Korea, it meant a lot for us to have four young adults in our lives who became our friends and family throughout the year. We often told them that they were our guinea pigs since we were also trying to adjust and figure things out. It turns out that they were pretty good guinea pigs. We tried many new things together; we failed together; we challenged ourselves together; and we learned together.
Kurt and I prepared to teach them about Korean history, culture, faith practice, and many other aspects of Korea by taking trips together, having them placed in their sites, arranging many meetings with other Koreans. I hope that they have learned many aspects about Korean society as well as how to deal with themselves when they are in completely new environments. I don’t know how much influence we had on them. However, I can tell you how much influence they had on me and my family. Now that I look back on our time together, they have taught me so many things. For example, Tisha taught me how to care for people beyond their comfort zone. Molly taught me how to be flexible in a situation that is not comfortable for you. Bennett taught me to how to be funny at times when you are stressed out. Eric taught me how to take things seriously. As much as we tried to be their guides and mentors, they also have been great teachers for us.
Yes, I’m sad that they left Korea because we have shared so many memories together and I cherish every single moment we had together. However, I’m very excited for them as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. Some will go to seminaries and some will serve as national YAVs next year. How exciting to follow their journey! (Thanks to God for Facebook and blogs.) They all are placed in a special place in my heart. Whenever I miss them I will go back to that place to search for the good memories we had together. I will also pray for them to be in God’s shalom wherever they go.