by Miriam Capada
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
This simple verse serves as my daily bread and strength while I’m still doing the task that God had entrusted to me. Being a missionary and a teacher at the same time in this foreign land is not easy. This task is quite heavy, but I know that He is always there for me no matter what happens.
It has been 20 months since I first arrived in this land of the morning calm. It was Friday when I got to the assigned church in East Seoul. The church looked big to me and the members were kind. I was exhausted from the long flight from the Philippines, but I could not sleep that night. Something unknown and uncertain made me stay awake. The weather was a little chilly and it confirmed the reality that I was in another country. The next morning came and all the worries and cares were gone when the senior and assistant pastors gave me some advices and oriented me about the task that I was going to do. At that time, I was so nervous and I was not quite sure if I could meet their expectations. But the verse in Isaiah 43:5 that says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” gave me a lot of strength and inspired me a lot to put my trust in God and believe that He would be there for me always.
After a few days of staying in Korea, I was challenged by my new set of routines. From the lifestyle, culture, transportation, food, and especially in language that is 110% different from my own. These things stressed me a lot. Overcoming these new challenges was a burden. Everything was new and strange to me–very different from my own country. After that, the greatest challenge came when I started to teach the children. It was the first English teaching experience in my life. Even though I was informed in my home country about it, the reality was very challenging during the first class. Frankly speaking, I didn’t know where to start. I was not a professional teacher. I didn’t know how to teach them. When all the dark innocent eyes focused on me from everywhere, the words on my mouth were all lost. When I greeted them with a “Hi,” there was silence. My mind said, “Nice talking to myself.” When I asked them to do something, many of them didn’t understand me. I wanted to hit my head on the wall because I was hopeless. I wished I had learned Korean before I came to Seoul.
As time went by and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we began to understand one another despite the language barrier. Now many of my students don’t have much trouble in communicating with me and vice versa. I could speak “Konglish” now and they could understand me little by little. For students, the best way to learn English is to become friends with their English teachers. In class, my relationship with my students is more of like friends than teacher-student. And I learned that the teacher should not just teach English to them, he/she should also show them good examples in words.
Everything is not easy to fulfill without courage, patience, determination and trust in God. With these, I’ve realized that I can do everything whether it is a hard or an easy task. There would always be difficulties to overcome no matter where we are. But life in a foreign country is more challenging. Without God’s help and guidance every time I face a difficulty, it is impossible to survive in Korea. He lifts and holds me up with His right hand every moment. Only by faith can we be victorious over all the hardships. As time goes by, we would realize that these are just stepping stones. There are no obstacles that we can’t overcome. I believe that with the strength of the Lord we can do everything.