Monday & Tuesday are our days off. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are our normal days at church. Saturday we don’t go in until after lunch. Sundays are our crazy days. I guess that makes sense, I mean, it is a church.
The morning starts off with an 11:00 service in Korean. There are a rotation of Korean girls who speak fairly good English that translate the sermons. We sit in the “foreigner section”: three small pews directly in front of a glass booth, and wear headphones so we can listen to the translated sermon. The church is massive. There’s something like 5,000 members, this huge choir and a full orchestra during every Sunday morning service. It’s been a while since we’ve regularly gone to church, so I try to keep myself entertained with sketching during the service. These sisters sat in front of us this past Sunday:
After church it’s a mad exodus downstairs (the main sanctuary is on the third floor of the main building; our office is on the ground floor of this same building. Then we make our way out the back door of the main building and into another building, down some more stairs into the basement where the cafeteria is. Here they serve very basic Korean food (rice, kimchi, some kind of soup, some kind of vegetable that might also be pickled like kimchi, maybe some kind of meat) for every meal, every day. Eric & I eat here for lunch also on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday with the rest of the church staff. On Sundays though the cafeteria is packed with church-goers. Eric & I get to eat for free, but even if we had to pay, they only charge 2,000 ₩ per meal (about $2).
After lunch we head upstairs in the same building to the ground floor, which is swarming with yelling children. There is a small jungle gym/play place in the main lobby, plus a fully functioning cafe, and a snack bar. There is also an entire room off the lobby filled with a massive McDonald’s-style play place, complete with slides, tubes, and ball pits. It’s unreal. Another door leads to a large empty room with a stage, and this is the “Promise Land” room, where they hold a huge afternoon Sunday School for kids.
Eric and I are in charge of leading that. I know, right? The first day was crazy intimidating, but as soon as we got on stage we both remembered how easy and natural it can be to entertain, especially kids. I’m guessing there’s about 100 kids present for each lesson. The lesson starts out with a team of young adult Koreans on stage teaching kids some crazy choreographed dance moves to some praise and worship song. I am seriously no good at these dances, and I don’t understand how insanely awesome everyone else seems to be at picking up these moves (eh, more on that later).
Eric and I’s part involves him dramatically telling some Bible story (and editing it down so it’s safe for kids…) while I do drawings on-stage of what he’s talking about (basically, a Pocket Vinyl show). Kids who do well at listening and answering questions get to take home the drawings, then we break up into small groups and help the kids reevaluate what was talked about. (Sorry if a lot of this is super dull, but you know, I’m not forcing you to read this blog.)
By now it’s about 3:00 and Eric is done for the afternoon, but I have to go to drama practice in preparation for VBS. (Which is a perfect example of the differences between the United States and Korea: When I’ve done drama at a VBS in the States we typically know the outline of the story, and then ad lib the whole thing. Here in Korea we need to memorize all our lines, timing, spots to hit on the stage. It’s a bit insane. Plus, any VBS I’ve done in the States has been a week long, and this one’s only 3 days. And it doesn’t start for another month. This is some crazy preparation work!) I’m the narrator for each play, and as you might have seen from a previous post, it can get a little stressful.
By dinnertime (5 or 6) drama practice is over, I meet up with Eric, and we grab dinner. Then at 7:30 we go back to church for the evening service! Crazy amounts of church, right?? And this church is fairly… no, extremely conservative. More on that in another post as well though. But yeah, going from sitting in a single church service possibly once a month to spending all day most days at church is a little much for me. Anyways. More church services though mean more sketching. This is the Korean Methodist Bishop, who spoke during this past Sunday evening service and told us that he started going to church as a kid because a missionary gave him candy if he showed up. Also, he looks like the Korean version of my grandfather. Except he has hair.