The Dongshin English Service June 2012 Scavenger Hunt (by Leana Wion)

This year’s Scavenger Hunt led it’s participants to downtown Daegu. With roughly 30 people we were divided into 6 teams.  Then we were required to complete as many of the 24 tasks as possible in 3 hours. The tasks involved very RANDOM requirements. Such as having your group find and take a picture with a Korean with facial hair, or riding the Tambourine (the ride that spins you in circles and bounces you around until you’re sick). For three hours, my group (사 친구 Sah Chingu or The 4 Friends) ran around approaching random people and completing all of the tasks. In the end, we all met back at the stage to share our pictures and videos with the judges and also share our experiences with the other groups.

I only knew one person in my group before this event started, but by the end I am happy to say that I have now developed a friendship with the other two people! This event was great in giving us the opportunity to meet new people and act a little sillier than normal! I really enjoyed the whole experience!
Here are some comments from some of my fellow ‘Sah Chingu’ people!

” I had so much fun with my team doing a lot of really interesting tasks… I loved taking random photos with different items/kinds of people. I also got my hair cut as part of it as well (and our group won for most EXTREME haircut)!!! I definitely had a great time, and want to thank Dongshin for organizing it!! It was a great time had by all!” ~Jodi

“It was a fun day filled with adventure and well spent with new and old Chingus …The highlight was doing the Macarena on the side of the stage (during someone’s concert) and having a bigger audience than the people performing in the actual stage. ~Afia

“I think my favorite moment was the photo booth. Doing all the poses and making all the faces was just way too much fun!” ~Joe

Another successful hunt and memories made, thanks to all the people that helped to organise the clues and tally the points at the end.

Leader’s Retreat June 16th (by Eric Jimenez)

A 30 minute drive into the deep country side of Daegu is Chimsan Village where the 2012 Dongshin Leader’s Retreat was held. The month of July is bringing in a big change as many people are heading back home. Many of these people have served faithfully at the church for years. Pastor Andy Gilman will be leaving with his family and Pastor Leon will take the torch. Because of this transition of leadership, including many other leaders in other ministries, the church leadership came together to determine it’s future vision. Each ministry came together as a team to discuss things that they should continue and change. Afterwards each ministry spoke to the group on these continuations and changes. Pastor Leon also spoke giving his thoughts for the next year which were summarized in this one-liner:

“To see English speaking people in Daegu connected to Christ, built up in His ways, and equipped for service in His kingdom.”

We are so thankful for the people that have stepped up into new ministries and it’s obvious that God always provides for his church. We even had hamburgers for lunch! It was a memorable occasion and everyone there got a chance to have their say so that the way forward would be shared.  It is an opportunity like this for the Dongshin community to connect more, pour into each others lives and build the church for God and also enhance  the future leaders that will come to Korea as English teachers but leave as laborers for the kingdom.

April Dinner Deal “It’s a big D.E.A.L” (Dongshin Eating at Locations) by Eric Jimenez 2012

To round up the community of Dongshin into smaller groups, last Sunday, April 22, was Dongshin’s Dinner Deal. After the Korean service people went to a host’s house. Depending on their location whether they lived near DongDaegu, Gyeongsan, Chilgok or anywhere else in between there was a host ready to break bread with them.

The host could be anyone who was willing to open their house for others and prepare a home cooked meal. Some hosts were married couples or families with kids living in nice sized space or a single person living in a one room. Either way it was a great time of fellowship and food at every location.

To share my experience I signed up for Gyeongsan. In Gyeongsan the Prodger family hosted. Before the meal was ready our group went to the nearby park and threw some ball. As we finished our activity we went back in, blessed the meal and enjoyed a three course meal. The first round was a handed-down family recipe of carrot soup that did not disappoint. Second was the bulk of the meal consisting of roast chicken, roast potatoes and pumpkin and cous cous salad. And for the finale was a large apple pie served along with ice cream. Not only was the evening full of great food and activities, but enjoying the time of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Daegu.

2011 Christmas Party – Dongshin Style (by Eric Jimenez)

On December 25th the Dongshin English church service celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ.  After the service there was some fun with Christmas jeopardy presented by Nate Tipton. Topics ranged from ‘What’s in the Manger?’ ‘Name that Bible verse’ to ‘Guess that song’. The winning team was awarded small yummy chocolates which are ideal at Christmas.

Once kitchen preparations were finished, the Dongshin Korean leadership served a Korean Christmas dinner for the English service. The Christmas dinner included salad, kimbab, bulgogi, fruits and other fine delicacies. With over a hundred people in attendance there was still food to spare.

After dinner everyone made their way back up to the service room. Forming a large circle of chairs the Fruit Basket game commenced. One person would stand in the middle of the group and would have to say something like. For example, “I like people who are wearing blue jeans.” Everyone wearing blue jeans would have to leave their seat and find a new seat, although there was minus one chair from the number of people there. The one left standing would go to the middle and have to state something they liked.

To end the Christmas evening there was an optional white elephant gift exchange. Numbers were drawn to allow people to either open a gift on the table or to steal someone else’s gift. To prevent unfairness, items were only allowed to be stolen a maximum of three times before becoming ‘safe’. Regardless to say the hot items such as a huge container of peanut butter, home baked cinnamon rolls and fuzzy house slippers were quickly maxed out. It was a great time to celebrate the birth of our Savior with everyone and thank you to all who participated. Merry Christmas for He is born! Amen

“One Last Transmission” 28th Aug 2011 (by Chris Whetsell)

My time here in Korea has been a really challenging season for me in many ways. Despite sometimes feeling isolated, lonely, and far away from many of you, the Lord has really shown Himself to me in my life here.  He is faithful and He has provided for me in so many ways that I can’t count them all. When I look back at my stay in Korea, I know I’ll be amazed at how much God has been with me, even when I feel He had abandoned me. He has shown me that He is much larger than even my own idea of who He is. He is doing a work no matter my struggles and doubts.  I wanted to write one last blog to thank all of you at Dongshin for blessing me with your friendship. It’s really amazing to think about how God can surround me with such encouraging people on the other side of the world! Thank you so much for being real with me and for your prayers. I will tell my church back home of the great things God is doing through His Church in Korea.  Keep me in your thoughts and prayers, as I will continue to pray for you all. Thank you for reminding me that we serve a great God under a great banner of grace that is capable of covering every one of our sins. May the Lord’s blessing be upon you Dongshin, and may many seekers find the life-giving water only found in our Savior.

God bless you all, Chris

“Compassion Over Comfort: Showing Love With Everything You Have” 6th Aug 2011 (by Chris Whetsell)

As the Church we are called to care for widows and orphans, and that can be really difficult to do. I think our modern perspective of society has transformed our idea of widows and orphans. As a modern society we have also become complacent with our surroundings and we find too much comfort in them.

It seems this mindset has subconsciously been adopted by many Christians, and it has kept us from truly caring for widows and orphans who are in need and in close proximity.

Visiting the Shinsaengwon orphanage opened my eyes to the oftentimes very bleak world of orphans. I can’t say I was extensively involved in relating to a lot of the children there, but I believe that God was easing me into a new perspective of the world during my time with the kids.

Honestly, I can’t say my heart was in the right place when I went to see the orphans. I had heard about Dongshin’s ministry through the church, but I never really felt compelled to look into it. When I did decided to visit the orphanage my heart wasn’t entirely in it. My overall experience may have been affected by how I was feeling, and my general attitude probably made me feel less connected to the kids there.

God was at work despite how I was feeling, and ultimately, I really did have a good time with everyone at the orphanage. They were very generous and friendly, they served us all kinds of food and we did some swimming—albeit in freezing water. It was quite the experience for someone like me. Someone who has had everything dealt with and handed over by parents or friends.

To see children, who have been sent away from their loved ones, smiling and having fun, convicted me.

God has shown me that my heart needs to be worked on, and that my capacity for compassion needs to be examined before visiting the orphanage again.

Reaching out isn’t always easy, but it can help us see past our own reality and into someone’s dark situation. We can be a light to those people but we first need to learn how to be overcome the superficial comfort of our world.

When we have surrendered to the comfort of our little world we forget how important compassion for others is. We forget that Jesus purposefully stepped out of his comfort zone to feel compassion towards those less fortunate. Also that He never felt compassion out of guilt or duty, but He felt it from the depths of His soul. That’s how we should show compassion to others.

“Party On, Dongshin…” 3rd July 2011 (by Chris Whetsell)

One thing I’ve learned out here in Korea is to never pass up an opportunity to eat a bunch of food and hang out with friends. At least unless I’m passed out from a previous food coma (mostly sugar coma, in my case) or just plain tired. Renee and Richard were hosting a party at their place last Sunday, and at first I didn’t plan on attending. I didn’t have any of the required bright neon clothing and I’m a big planner to begin with, but when I heard a lot of people were going, I figured it was a good idea. When the worship squad arrived at Richard’s pad we found the place already packed with Dongshin people and some of them dressed to impress in their neon chic. I almost failed to mention, the party was to celebrate Renee’s birthday and to say farewell to some old Dongshin friends. This whole blog entry wouldn’t have a point without explaining that. Being the greatly generous people they are, Renee and Richard prepared a massive amount of food for everyone to enjoy. There was everything from hot dog bites to some excellent salad with cherry tomatoes and basil. I’m surprised my tongue can still taste anything after it experienced that deliciousness. What followed up the snacking and desserts was a good time of fellowship and chilling. I’m actually not so great in social situations, but since I’m in Korea and pretty much deprived of interaction during the week, I try. Other highlights of the night included: Stephen’s free flow poetry to the guitar styling of Nate and the passing out of gifts to the best dressed.

We had a really fun time with the people from Dongshin and there were some new people in attendance as well, it’ll be cool to see if they come to church on Sunday. This past weekend was a good time—but you really can’t go wrong with Renee and Richard throwing a party. Good job guys!

“Constructive Criticism Meets the Work of the Spirit: Dongshin’s Ministry Leaders Retreat” June 11 2011 (by Chris Whetsell)

Finally, I was able to rest and relax with my friends at Dongshin at the ministry leaders retreat… wait… what am I talking about?!  The previous weekend, a group of the many ministry leaders traveled to some place (Chimsan Village) east of Daegu to a really cool secluded area. The funny part about the whole retreat is that I didn’t get much rest! I was prepared to get up early enough in the morning to hit up the bus to get down to church, but somehow I ended up running a bit late—that never happens! Eventually I showed up at Dongshin not really knowing what to expect from my first leaders’ retreat. We crowded into a few vans and headed out to a mountainous region past Daegu, it was really nice to finally be away from buildings and civilization for a while. Really, it was my first time being in the “great wide open” of Korea—I liked it.  After showing up late to the retreat site, we started things off with a message from Andy about God working in us despite our weaknesses. It was really cool to see Andy open up and be real with us. Sometimes I feel like some pastors don’t take the time to level with their congregation, so I appreciated hearing his message.  The rest of our retreat was generally focused on receiving input from the ministry leaders on how we can improve and stabilize the structure of leadership at Dongshin for future generations.  There was some really constructive conversations going on and it was exciting to see God working through the leaders. Balancing worship and service while maintaining a Christ-centered church can be nerve-wracking, but The Lord showed up that day to help smooth the process out.  After our meetings, we had a great lunch prepared by Richard and Renee. They worked hard to feed all of us and I was happy about being able to eat some spaghetti in Korea!  Once we had all finished our lunch, we participated in some whacky camp style games. Picking out your team members’ shoes–that was dangerous and the human knot–that was… interesting.  We gathered again in the main cabin to hear a message from Dash, and then we proceeded to dinner at Restaurant. I guess they couldn’t come up with a catchy name for it—I thought “Restaurant” flowed off the tongue nicely.  Near the end of the retreat we all met separately in our respective ministry groups. I enjoyed being able to sit down with the worship team members and throw around ideas for next year—that doesn’t happen everyday.

Being a part of the worship ministry at a few churches, I’ve realized that teamwork and compromise are important to leading God’s people into worship.  A lot of my ministry’s conversation focused on sharing the load of responsibility and being prepared for Sunday.  I ended up feeling really tired by the end of the retreat, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy myself. I’m very thankful for Dongshin and the humble ministry leaders who work hard to strengthen God’s people here in Korea.

Bus Tour 6th May 2011, Remembering the Christian sacrifice in Korea
It was an early morning for most of us. We had to be at the church by 7:30am. For those of us who work in the majority of hagwons, 7:30am is the stuff of legend. Does it really exist? So, we all met at the church and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of McDonald’s before getting on the bus and heading up to Seoul.

I didn’t know what to expect on this trip. Wasn’t sure of the feelings or emotions. Our first stop was the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery (양화진외국인선교사묘원). About 145 foreign missionaries are buried here. We walked into the sanctuary and were given a short video on a handful of the missionaries who had come to Korea. During this, all I could think of is what kind of faith must one have to give up EVERYTHING! Unlike today, where even in the remotest jungle there we have access to e-mail, to phones, and pretty much anywhere in the world is just a plane ride or two away. But when the first missionaries came to Korea, there was none of this. It was a journey by ship. When they said “good-bye” to their families, it was more than likely the last time they would see them face to face. And mail! It took months for letters to reach their destination. Many times I do not believe I would be willing to take that leap of faith. To truly go out of my comfort zone and leave everything I knew behind.

When we went into the cemetery and looked at the gravemarkers, there were many families. Mothers and fathers buried with their children who had stayed. It was incredible to see this. That many had chosen to stay. The markers themselves were so old. I am amazed that they had survived the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. On one of the markers was this: “If I had a thousand lives to give, Korea should have them all.”~Ruby Kendrick
The passion that the missionaries had for this country and the impact on not just spreading the Gospel, but in creating social changes.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Martyrs’ Memorial. I was shocked to learn at the sheer number of martyrs Korea has had in its short history with Christianity. We arrived at the memorial and entered. Fortunately for us, we had Pastor Kim and other Korean speakers with us who could help with translation. Inside the memorial there are many, many paintings. Some of them showed Christianity being practiced, while many others showed the persecution and what happened to those who professed faith in Christ. It again made me think. Would I be able to not deny Christ while being crushed to death? Would I be able to not deny Him while being tortured? I still do not know and it makes you realize that God has to be the one giving the strength and it is evidenced by the paintings of individual martyrs lining the walls of the memorial. So, I ask myself again, would I willingly die for Christ?

As we left, as well as throughout the day, several started singing. But, as we left, most of the bus joined in. It was special.

So many things to think about. So many things to question. So many things to make you reflect on your relationship with God.

Was it worth it? Absolutely!
(Written by Christi Coker)

“Worship Night: Remembering the Ultimate Sacrifice” 16th April 2011

This past weekend at Dongshin we had our very first all praise and worship night.
Going into the event, I didn’t know what to expect. In all honesty my heart wasn’t entirely set on worship, I was more worried about the overall structure of the service. I had no idea what God had in store for our church—He really had some surprises for us that evening.
I’m very thankful to be a part of a church that is open to what the Spirit is doing and how He is leading. The worship night was just one example of how the Lord has showed up and how He has been opening our hearts to Him in Korea. That openness to the Spirit will turn the floor over to the work that God has for us. It’s very exciting to witness the moving of the Spirit with all of you at Dongshin.
Being involved in the worship band made worship night an interesting experience for me. As a musician I find it difficult to balance the performance aspect of playing with the worship and praise side of service. Even going into the worship night I was worried about how I would play, but eventually the Lord settled my heart down and reminded me that this night isn’t about my performance at all.
This week we remember Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I pray that it is a time for all of us to reflect on how God paid the greatest price to save us from eternal separation from Him.
Personally, my time with the Lord this week has really humbled me. Patience and peace are two things that God has blessed me with this week, in the midst of tension and frustration at work. Just when my mind starts to think that He turned His back to me, Jesus comes and comforts me and tells me that He’s been with me all along.
Praise God for His faithfulness and for his willingness to send His son to set the captives free.
(Written by Chris Whetsell)
Board Games and Learning to Pay Attention

Dongshin Church has many members and lots of different experiences that can be shared. If you have any stories about what God has been doing in your life that you want to share, please send them to

“Board Games and the Learning to Pay Attention” 20th March 2011

One thing I’ve really come to enjoy at Dongshin is the opportunity to interact with so many different kinds of people. Our community is a very unique mix of people from all over the world, and it’s eye opening to a Christian—like myself—who was raised in a more exclusive community of believers.

This past weekend was board game night and a great time to extend the hand of friendship to new faces.

I’m not too much into playing board games, but I know that they are a good way to connect with others. It’s also a really fun way to experience a different—and crazy—side of someone when they’re wrapped up in the tension of a game of Catch Phrase! Even if you don’t know someone very well, playing games together really breaks the ice well—more Ice Breakers please.

Coming into church this week I was feeling really sullen from the workweek, but I had a feeling God had something to tell me. Sure enough, the message easily thwarted my uncaring perspective and I began to relax. Sundays have really been a blessing to me, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. God is always able to blow away my defenses and then have me take a look in the mirror.

Living all the way out in Chilgok has given me a lot of time to reflect on myself, and while it’s been beneficial, it sometimes makes me apathetic to what God’s doing with me out here.  After a bad day of work I usually take out of anger on myself and place the blame squarely on my shoulders. I’m end up staring at the brick wall in my face instead of looking up and over at what God’s up to. It’s really sobering to realize that when I fail or feel discouraged, the Lord will strive after me to set me back on the right path.

I was very pleased with the board game gathering and thankful to know that God is still faithful to me. The reassurance of knowing that He is still bringing His plans to fruition helped me to relax that night, and to enjoy myself.

It’s comforting to know that even after the long hours and tested patience at work, the Lord is always leading me to a new challenge of growth and maturity.

Our resident blogger (Chris Whetsell) has the first contribution

“Choosing to Embrace the Awkwardness: Coming to Dongshin”

Before coming to Korea my life was full of uncertainties and despairing moments. Despite the gloomy cloud overhead, I could hear God telling me to take the risk and venture out of my comfort zone. I knew that this would be a frightening experience for me because I had never done something like this before.

Making new friends, learning to abide in Christ by myself, and learning how to trust in my own decisions were all very daunting tasks.

I wasn’t sure how I would survive on my own—it all overwhelmed me—and as soon as I had arrived, I retreated into my personal comfort zone that I established earlier at home.

Having heard about Dongshin through the Internet, I knew the international Church was nearby, but I was just unwilling to step out into the awkwardness of meeting new people.

I was having a bad time in Korea and I was fearful that venturing into more unknown territory would result in failure. I felt to experience the failure of rejection would only take me deeper into my hole I was content staying in.

Even as I sat in my dark bedroom with the blinds closed, God reminded me about what I had learned from my friends back home. I can’t be alone—I wasn’t created for that.

With that reminder, I set out to find the body of Christ here in Korea—deep in my sin and still feeling guilty—I caught a taxi to the nearest station. I had no idea how to get back to my apartment, but I knew that God was with me.

I told myself if He had provided for me thus far; He would definitely bring me into community out here as well.

It’s been a few months since I’ve become a part of Dongshin and it really has been a stretching experience for me. Relationally and spiritually, the international Church has been teaching me how to be honest and intentional with people. I’m allowing God’s message to sink in deeper now, and He’s showing me that His love for me really has no limits.

I pray that I will continue for the willingness to reach a new level of connectivity with the people of Dongshin, and to continue partnering with the Lord during my stay in Korea.