(Off to China)
Yesterday was my last day at work. So I had to give a short speech to all the middle and high school students. The closing ceremony was held at a local church. The students are now officially on summer break. There were about three hundred people in attendance.
The middle school director said some nice words about me. He told the kids that I had been with the institution for nearly seven years. He also said that he's going to miss me. Then he called me to the stage.
Standing behind the pulpit, I soon realized that being a pastor must be daunting work. You'd certainly have to be comfortable speaking in front of large crowds. I felt quite nervous and jittery. But I had to say something. Standing there like a wooden statue simply wasn't an option.
I cleared my throat. "I came to Korea in 2009 with my family, and my goal was to make a lot of money. As many of you know, English is a billion dollar industry here in your country. I wanted to deliver private lessons to young kids and get rich in the process. By 2011, I had an apartment picked out in Daejeon. It was the perfect location... building after building after building. I was well on my way to making a fortune."
I had their attention.
"Alas, my strategy failed. Life had other plans for me. My oldest child sucked at Korean and was falling behind in school. Meanwhile, my youngest kid could barely speak a word of English. So I really needed this job so that my children could get a bilingual education. But the first year was tough. I was a chain-smoker, and I had to quit or risk getting fired. It was a hard deal. I smoked two packs a day at the time. Thankfully, with the power of God, I managed to conquer my filthy habit. I'm no longer a drug addict."
"And the Christian education my sons received was first-class. My children succeeded academically as they grew spiritually. My oldest son is currently in the States, and he's doing great. He just made a B in honors geometry--which is a heck of a lot better than I ever did. He learned his good habits right here. He plans on becoming a registered nurse. Furthermore, my youngest child is now fluent in two languages. He speaks both English and Korean like a native. Nevertheless, it's time for me to move along."
I then gave the reasons for my departure.
"Some of you might be curious as to why I'm leaving. So let me be completely honest. First, I'm 48-years-old, and I want a new adventure before I die. I don't have much time left. Secondly, I've always wanted to live in China. I hear the food is excellent. Shanghai specializes in crawfish. My mouth is watering as I think about it. Third, the job pays a little more than I'm currently earning--which certainly doesn't hurt. So I want to wish you the best of luck in the future. And I certainly hope that God will bless you all."
The middle school director prayed for me. Then I left the stage and walked back to my chair. I felt great. My plane to Shanghai leaves on August 21st.