Monday, December 15, 2008


So things have been much better since that first couple days. I haven't really been here that long, but it feels like is been a month or two already. The weeks go by so slow and the weekends just zip by. I may have mentioned before but some classes more than others have managed to get under my skin much quicker than others. I found myself scolding kids and raising my voice, a lot, and in some cases kicking kids out of my class for short periods at a time. Although, my job is not always something I look forward to, sometimes I have to stop....take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The main reason for my coming to Korea was to take the opportunity that God gave me. Along with that is the idea that I am to love these people like my family. When I stepped back, I realized that what I was doing with these kids was not love. I need to SHOW love to these kids all the time. I need to allow them to see that I am loving and that I care about them. Though things have been a little less than ideal, I know that God has a purpose for me here, and that is why this is the door that He chose to open to me. This IS where He wants me and I need to remember that.

Anyway, while walking in the streets, simple smiles at people as I passed by has proved to make an impact. People often smile back, or sometimes offer an english "Hi" to me. Stephen commented that people always say hi to me and not to him. He has been here for 5 months and nobody says hi to him. I told him, "Ya just gotta smile at people!" He said he didn't want to and I told him that is why they say hi to me. Anyway, I am learning what SHOWING love can actually look like. For too long, I have loved people, but that love was only known by God and me. If you love someone, you prove it to them. You SHOW them. I have learned in life, what little of it that I have been around for, is that it is not our words, but our actions that convince people what is real. And if we want our deepest feelings and thoughts to be known, then we need harmonize them with our actions.

This is what my post is all about tonight. I was writing someone a message and these thoughts came out. I wasn't planning for them, but I guess that is proof that God can and will use anything to reach us, even ourselves:) I have somehow turned my update blog into a challenge board for you, but I want to challenge you all today. Really SHOW someone that you love them this week:) It's a great time for it all with Christmas coming up!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Things are looking up:)

So last Thursday, my second day on the job, I went in a little earlier and Stanley explained some things to me. He explained the difference in the two sets of books they use. The kids start off in the Phonics set which is basically words, sounds, and such. I'm not positive, but I think there are like 6 or 7 books in that set. After they work their way through the Phonics books, they go into the second series of books called Face to Face. This set is more geared toward actual conversational things. During each 50 min session, I will visit two classrooms for 25 min each. Every class has two teachers, a Korean teacher as well as a foreign teacher. It was explained that the foreign teachers (aka Steven and I) are supposed to focus on listening and speaking. We are supposed to speak everything how it is supposed to be said obviously. And then we listen to the kids to make sure they are saying it all correctly. There is a lot of repetition, especially in the Phonics classes. Basically I had to stop and think about it and I realized that I was making it harder than it was. Anyway, so I will start in one classroom on the hour, do my thing for 25 min, and then switch with a Korean teacher. The Korean teachers focus on translations and what the words actually mean. So I will teach a Phonics 3 class focusing on correct pronunciation and such, while the Korean teacher is in a Phonics 5 class focusing on translations and such. After 25 min we switch sections and do the same thing. I feel like what I am typing is confusing. Sorry if you are getting confused reading this. It is really quite simple.

So after Stanley explained a what I was expected to do, and how each series of books works things went much better. Fridays are different than the rest of the week, however. On Fridays we also teach some "big kid classes" which is essentially an essay class. The students are in the age range of 13-15. Last Friday I just went through an example essay and explained how I want the essay's to be written. I explained the format I expected and wrote an example on the board. Oh yeah, we have black boards (green boards) with chalk and everything. No white marker boards here. So my clothes often get chalk dust on them:( So this Friday, I will assign a topic for the essay's, go through another example essay on the board and then the following Friday they will turn in their essays, and I will assign another.

Everyday after class, which is about 8:30 (except Fridays, my last essay class goes from 8:00 to 8:50) Steven and I go out to eat together. Steven is a very wordy individual. I don't have to worry about what to talk about or trying to keep a conversation going. He always has something to talk about. However, the surprising thing about Steven is even though he talks all the time, he is actually a pretty good listener. When I have something to say, he never interrupts me. It is enjoyable to be around Steven most of the time. I have discovered that he is very knowledgeable about movies. He has seen so many and enjoys movies of all genres. It is nice to be able to talk about movies with him.

I was chatting with Brad earlier tonight and he asked about the politeness of the people here. Stanley is very polite and helpful and Mufu, the pottery guy (that's a whole new post...probably tomorrow) is very polite and genuine. Other than that, outside of the school, most people seem to be very quiet and keep to themselves a lot. Not just from me, but from each other too. Walking around on the streets and in elevators, I have especially noticed the lack of small talk. Brad, told me I am a light in the darkness and that I need to keep shinning. I really needed to hear that, and I ask that you all pray that I can continue to be that light. It is so easy and tempting for me to keep to myself, be quiet, and blend in (essentially being invisible to those around me). I need to break that mold and reach was a good visual reminder to me that I am that light. This is a dark place. I need to let God shine through me. The whole reason why I came here was to "faithfully administer God's grace" through teaching and just through love in general. A friend that I met in China from South Africa says, "Love God, Love People, Nothing Else Matters"! I like that. It is simple, clear, and easy.

I challenge you to LOVE today! Be a light in the darkness that you are living in. You can't let the fear of what might happen cause you to miss an opportunity. Be alert for the opportunities God gives you, and take full advantage of them. I love you all, and I thank you for taking time to read my blog. I will be praying for you to be the light of God in your darkness's and I ask that you pray the same for me!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Finally made it to South Korea

Hello people in other countries. I have succesfully made it to South Korea, despite a few set backs...both little and really big. Most of you know that I had two jobs fall through and finally my third job was a success. When I got off the plane in Seoul, the guy with the sign that said "Mr. Brock Jensen" bought me a bus ticket and sent me on my way to Cheongju City. Just as the bus was ready to leave, the driver asked for the tickets...and apparently I only had half of mine...just the stub. He didnt speak english at all and was yelling at me and making gestures like i needed more of a ticket using the only other passenger's ticket as an example. So I got off the bus went to the ticket booth and then the driver came over and very intensely talked with the ticket guy...about 30 secondes later the driver told me "Sorry" about 6 times and then we were on our way.

After the 2 hour bus ride, I got off at the station in Cheongju. There was supposed to be someone there to meet me...couldn't find him! So I wandered around the station with all my bags and tried to get a payphone to work. I had no Korean Money, and my debit card wouldn't work cuz it wasnt domestic. Finally after about a hour of waiting I found a young man who let me borrow his cell phone. I called Jay, my contact in Seoul, and he said he would call the director and have him get there asap. Well, about 20 min later Stanely, my director, showed up. He took me to my apptment and showed me how to work my heat and water and stuff. First look at the bathroom and I was puzzled. No least no designated spot for a shower. Here is a picture of my bathroom:
Yes, I just stand in the middle of my 5x6 bathroom and shower right on the floor. The drain is under the sink and thats what thats all about;) My appartment is bigger than what I need, but it is nice to have the space. Just makes it feel more like a home I guess. Here are a couple more pictures: From the door...

From the fridge...

So after Stanley showed me my place...he took me down to the first floor (I live on the 13th floor) where there is a mini-grocery store. He bought me some water and some toilet paper. Then he lent me 50,000 Won, which is essentially $50. Then since it was kinda late, I hit the sack on my very hard matress with my pink sheets left for me by the last guy who was here, and I'm assuming he inherited them as well. Here is my bed:

The next morning, Stanley came to my appartment at 10:30 and we walked a couple blocks to the school. We went over my contract and some basic rules and such and then I was done for the day. Stanley called the Internet people for me and they said that it should work by 2:00 that afternoon. I went back to my room...did some more unpacking/arranging stuff, got my internet working and checked some stuff, before I knew it I was asleep by 5:00 in the afternoon.

The next day, Stanley came in the morning again and took me to the hospital to get a simple physical to make sure I was healthy. Once my "results" come back, we have to go the immigration office and get me registered. When we got back from the hospital, we went to school. My third day in the country and I was expected to teach a full day. I haven't had any training, and I was given very little explanation of what I was supposed to do. The first class came time to start, they said this is the book you need for this class, this is what pages you should do...and then I went to it. IT WAS NOT A GOOD FIRST DAY. I was really wondering how I was going to get through it. Nevertheless, I did make it and I am not looking forward to today. Please pray for me!!! This is all I really have for now. I left my camera in Stanley's car so I dont have many pics yet. I will post more of them later. See ya.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Still in Correctionville

Well, I am still in the states...Correctionville to be exact. I just set up this blog page, so I figured I would post a blog. As the blog page's title hints, I Brock Jensen (aka "Spiderman" to some people) am going to be traveling to South Korea. I am going to teach English there but as of now any further details are....well, I just dont know a whole lot of details yet;) However some of you may be excited to know that my alter ego will not be staying in America. I can't seem to find my spiderman costume...having a mind of it's own, it may have hidden itself among my packed clothing. I hope to regularly post blogs of my experiences so I won't me sending many mass emails. That way if you don't know whats going on with me, you dont have to, but if you do, then you can just visit my blog page. Feel free to post comments and things cuz that would make me feel kinda cool! I will not post again until I am in South Korea. Thanks for listening....and thats the way the cookie crumbles;)