My family and I came to Korea 6 years ago in 2004, living in Busan and teaching English at Kosin University. (Kosin is a university in Busan, a general university which has its roots in seminary, Christian theology, and education). Our first contact with Handong was when our eldest daughter started attending Handong International School (HIS). When our son was also accepted to HIS, we felt it was time for the whole family to move here as well. God graciously opened up an opportunity to teach in the Department of Language Education (DLE) as well as providing Little Handong for our youngest daughter, so we moved to Handong Global University in 2009.
In answering the title’s question, the first thing I’d say is that Handong has given us a further opportunity to serve His purposes. My wife and I came to Korea with OMF International to mobilize and help Korean Christians prepare for cross-cultural missions. For better (or some would say worse), English has become the global language and Koreans working in international mission teams need to be able to communicate with their colleagues. In addition to this, Korea’s strong mono-cultural identity is a great strength, but means that they need skills to be able to work with missionaries from other cultures and indigenous Church workers in the countries where they are ministering. Handong’s global perspective gives us great opportunities to achieve our mission, not only with Korean students, but with students from around the globe.
A feature of life at Handong and indeed throughout Korea is that there are only a few Australians around. When I welcome students to my classes at the beginning of semester, you can see many of their eyes widen in disbelief at this strange sounding teacher. Some of them never get over having to attend my “clarrhhses” and spelling words with an extra letter (honour / neighbour etc.) and working out whether Professor Banks means the next test is in April or May when he writes 5/4/2010 (Australians use day/month/year format). Even the other western faculty often have no clue what you are talking about if you say for example, “Stone the crows, Daniel Chang was mad as a cut snake when I invited him to supper the other day and he turned up expecting to get a meal and we only gave him a cuppa and bikkie!”
However, in spite of our southern hemisphere idiosyncrasies, God has graciously established us here and we feel very privileged to be part of what He is doing at Handong and, through its staff, faculty and students, in the wider world. To be a Christian means to confront the challenges of living in the world, but not being part of its ways (Romans 12:2). Our prayer is that God can use us to encourage and help staff and students become cross-cultural ambassadors for Christ