When I had a place of my own, I loved having people over; especially girls who needed some time out from studies, girls who felt like didn’t have a place they belonged, girls who needed a place to stay, or anyone actually. I loved opening my home and doing my best to make them feel at home. The more guests I had, the more I developed a knack for knowing how to make them feel comfortable. I rejoiced when my guests were comfortable enough to sleep a nap in my living room or when they grabbed themselves things from the fridge or tea table without asking permission.
For some reason, there is one anecdote that sums up how happy I was with how comfortable people were in coming to my house. One time, I got home and discovered chocolate and ice-cream cone crumbs on my floor. I looked in the trash can and I found chocolate ice-cream wrappings. I looked in the freezer and saw two ice-cream cones. I called out to see if my roommate was home, but she wasn’t. What a mystery. My roommate wasn’t the type to buy that kind of chocolate ice-cream. When she came home, I asked her about it. She said she hadn’t bought it.
Later on, we found out that a dear dongseng R (girl who is younger than me) came over to my house when my roommate and I were not there. So, she let herself in (I let many girls know the password to my house), and waited for us a bit. She had brought three chocolate ice-cream cones to share with us. Since we weren’t coming, she sat on our easy chair and ate her ice-cream by herself. When she was done, she left our ice-creams in the freezer and left.
The image that stuck in my head was cute little R sitting in my living room, peacefully finishing her ice-cream as she waited for us, and I was glad she could just come and do her thing in my house even though I wasn’t physically there.
These and many other stories made me think that I was a channel of blessing to them. But, as I was doing the dishes today, I realized what a huge blessing they were to me! Allowing me to share into their lives meant they were sharing their lives with me! Now-a-days I do a lot of housework by myself; there is no one to converse with or to listen to. I miss doing the dishes or sweeping my floor as I listen to laughter and conversations, or girls lining up asking how they can help clean up, or girls being comfortable in the silence as they wait for me to finish whatever chores were at hand.
Conclusion: They were a blessing to me for coming and sharing, opening up, eating, cooking, washing dishes, sitting on my cushions and bed, relaxing, crying, and laughing. They shared parts of their precious lives with me, and I will forever be grateful and humbled for having had such wonderful visitors in my home.
Cuando tenía mi propio apartamento en Corea, me encantaba ser anfitriona. Venían chicas que necesitaban un descanso de los estudios, chicas que no tenían donde ir, chicas que necesitaban hospedaje, o cualquier persona que quería un tiempo y espacio de descanso. Me encantaba abrir las puertas de mi casa y hacer todo lo que podía para hacerlos sentirse como en casa. Cuando mis huéspedes se sentían tan cómodos como para dormirse una siesta en mi sala, o cuando se agarraban cosas de la mesa de té o de la heladera sin preguntarme, me alegraba el día porque sabía que realmente se sentían como en casa.
Hay una anécdota que resume lo mucho que me gustaba que la gente se sintiera como en casa en mi casa. Una vez, llegué a casa y pisé migajas de cucurucho y pedacitos de chocolate. Me fijé en el tacho de basura y vi que había papelitos del helado. Me fijé en el freezer y había dos helados iguales que el del tacho. Que misterio. Mi compañera de piso no compraba ese tipo de helado. Cuando vino a casa, le pregunto si fue ella quien lo compro. Me dijo que no.
Después de un tiempo, dongseng R (quiere decir chica que es más joven que yo) vino a casa cuando nosotras no estábamos en casa. Se dejó entrar por si misma (les había dada la contraseña a varias chicas), y nos esperó un rato. Había traído tres helados para comer con nosotras. Ya que no veníamos, se sentó en mi silla cómoda y se comió su helado. Cuando terminó, dejó nuestros helados en el freezer y se fue.
Y esa es la imagen que se me quedó en la mente. Mi querida R sentada en mi living, cómodamente comiendo su helado mientras nos esperaba. Me hizo muy feliz saber que podía venir a mi casa, hacer lo suyo cómodamente hasta cuando no estaba yo presente allí.
Por medio de anécdotas como éstas y muchas otras, yo pensé que era un canal de bendición a esas personas que pasaron por mi casa. Pero, mientras lavo los platos hoy, me doy cuenta de que ellos fueron un gigantesco canal de bendición para mí. Permitirme abrir mis puertas hacia sus vidas quiere decir que ellos estaban compartiendo sus vidas conmigo. Hoy en día, hago quehaceres de la casa sola y no hay nadie con quien hablar o a quien escuchar. Extraño lavar platos o limpiar el piso mientras escucho conversaciones y risas, o tener chicas que me preguntan de buenas ganas cómo pueden ayudarme, o cuando están cómodas en el silencio mientras esperan a que termine.
Conclusión: Ellos fueron una fuente de bendición a mí por venir y compartir, por abrirse conmigo, comer, cocinar, lavar los platos, sentarse en mis almohadones y mi cama, relajarse, llorar, y reír. Ellos compartieron partes de sus preciosas vidas conmigo, y para siempre estaré agradecida y humilde por haber tenido tanta gente maravillosa en mi hogar.
Last year, during my English Communication class, the boys and girls started a heated debate.
The topic? Showering.
It started when a girl claimed that girls liked to put on make-up, dress nicely, and be clean just for the sake of looking nice; not for the sake of someone else.
A boy proclaimed that was false. He introduced a hypothetical scene: It’s a long weekend. You don’t need to go out to meet anyone. Will you shower? Will you put on make up?
The girl defiantly replied: Of course! I will shower every day even if I don’t go out, and don make up on for myself.
The boy kept arguing that unless you have to go out, there is no need for showering every day.
Since both sides weren’t going anywhere, in a desperate attempt for support, the girl looked at me and asked, “Profe Eli, would you shower in that scenario?”
I looked at her hopeful eyes and said honestly, “No. I hate showering.”
The whole class roared with laughter; including myself.
If you know me well, you know I hate showering. It’s not so much the act of showering that I hate, but getting up enough guts to go to the bathroom. I had a housemate who lovingly made a post-it that said ‘Shower for Jesus!’ which I pasted on my journal. Great reminder.
But it’s not like I’m an overall nasty, dirty person. There is certain dirtiness that I enjoy getting rid of: mold. Because I mind mold so much, I have been an avid bathroom cleaner and ventilation advocate. I throw food trash diligently so that it doesn’t smell or mold, open windows to let the air in constantly, and use a lot of bleach-based liquids to clean every corner of the bathroom (especially the drain).
However, I rarely clean things like the top of furniture, where a lot of dust gathers, am an average floor sweeper, and rarely mop my floors. The truth is, I don’t think anyone can keep themselves and their house c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y clean. All Cleaners have a blind spot and a forte. Everyone has what we shall call a Cleaning Personality. My cleaning personality is anti-mold. With everything else, I am pretty liberal.
Thus, in cleaning terms, my kryptonite is showering, I am a Superman against mold, and I am unmindful about dust gathering.
Since all of us have different cleaning personalities, we might be super clean in certain areas while neglectful of others. So we end up having clean selves or homes in certain aspects and dirty ones in other aspects.
Spiritually speaking, we might notice some people haven’t cleaned up their ‘mold’, and judge them for not being a true/good Christian. Instead of judging, it is better if we get down on our knees to serve them in their weak area, which for us might be a strength. And while we are on our knees, we might notice an area in their home that is squeaky clean. Then, we can ask them to teach us to clean that part of our homes as well, as we will realize that had been a weak spot for us.
I will forever need someone next to me who encourages me to take showers. And spiritually, I will forever need someone/something to keep me accountable on my judging tendencies. I can help people notice and clean out mold as a mold-removal-enthusiast. And spiritually, I can help people with discernment through my logical and analytical thinking skills. And just as I don’t notice dust to be something dirty, I would appreciate someone helping me notice the dusty areas of my home. In a similar way, through many different Feeling friends, I appreciate learning to get in touch with my emotions and the emotions of others.
Ah, cleaning. So many thoughts have sprung from this mundane word and action.
Throughout 2017, numerous people kept asking me why I was back and how long I was going to stay in Argentina. I would tell them I wasn’t sure how long I would be here because it would depend on God and tell them I was back “because God called me back”. With this reply, I usually got three types of reactions:
They look at me expecting a longer answer; a more ‘plausible’ reason.
They look at me like I’m telling them the most impractical answer in the world
They say something along the lines of “Right… so you came back to get settled with the family and to get married!”
It seems like my answer is too broad and non-satisfactory to most people. The thing is, that there’s no other logical explanation as to why I came back other than a strong conviction that this was God’s will.
I left a stable job where I was loved and respected, my circles of intimate friends, a rent that was getting cheaper by the year, the only church I ever felt I belonged to, and threw or gave more than half of my belongings. I had seriously no logical reason for leaving. But I did leave. All of this because of the assurance that God was telling me to pack up and leave. I’m pretty sure that had I ignored that small voice, I wasn’t going to be struck dead by lightning, but I just know it was kairos time to leave. It’s funny I have this assurance because there are so many days when I miss my independence, diversity of fellowship and ministry, and so much more.
The assurance that I left in kairos timing came not because everything is great here in Argentina, but because I am experiencing a complete desert here, and in this desert, God is teaching me to depend on Him for my daily manna and quail (many people say ‘manna’ only… but I cannot leave quail out as a meat lover. ahem).
As I was leaving Carasucias (a children’s home), I saw R, M, A, Am, E, and C hunched over together.
I approached them and they all talked at the same time:
“R and E killed this snail!”
“The snail was pregnant!”
“C told me to kill it! C, tell her how you told me to kill it!”
“But it wasn’t me who killed it! R and E killed her!”
“Look at the poor baby snails… all dead.”
And so forth they showed me and told me about the dead snail.
It seemed that they regretted doing this, and couldn’t stop looking at what they had done.
I looked at it for some time too and suggested that we have a proper burial for it. I didn’t want to touch the scattered remains of the poor snail, so I asked the girls to bring some leaves so that we can gather all its parts and head towards the dirt.
Thus, after scooping up the snail in all its gooeyness and shells, all of us headed towards the dirt, where we started digging up the dirt. As soon as we finished, I suggested saying our last words to the snail.
R, one of the ones accused of killing it, went first. She said, “Sorry for killing you. And I didn’t know you were pregnant. Sorry for that too.”
And A told R, “You should be really sorry; especially to the little babies that died. Imagine just being in the womb, and they weren’t even born, and BAM. They died.”
R looked like she was truly sorry. After this E said similar words as R.
Then, I asked, “Is there something we can sing for the snail?”
The girls couldn’t think of anything else but ‘Happy birthday to you’, so they sang this but stopped midway as they thought it wasn’t the most appropriate song in the face of death.
Then R asked, “Will it go to heaven?”
I was honest with what I thought. I said, “I don’t think so… because it has no soul like you and me. It doesn’t know right from wrong.”
“Will I go to heaven if I die?” R asked.
“If you believe in Jesus, you will.”
I don’t know to what extent she believes what she says or whether she does know Jesus, but it was amazing to see conscience at work. After killing the snail, the girls were feeling guilty and sad about it. With a bit of guidance, I showed them we could at least give it a dignified death to show we were sorry for what we did. Also, by not brushing this off as meaningless child play, we were able to dig a bit deeper into life and death.