We arrived safely in Jeju Island, South Korea, for the first mission we have ventured out on since 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. We are here to teach English to a group called the Mayflower Church, a group of 60+ persecuted Chinese Christians who have left China seeking religious freedom. They got as far as Jeju Island, South Korea, before immigration laws halted them. Now they are seeking asylum in the US. They have been here for two and a half years waiting. We will tell you more in later posts.

It was a long and interesting trip getting here. Now we face signs in Korean, only a few also with English subtitles – so many questions to ask! However, our hosts are Chinese, not Korean, so we all are using Google Translator constantly. Do you know that you can turn on the camera in the Google Translator app, and it will change the language you focus the lens on into English right in front of your eyes, right on the sign or page in the picture…? I sure didn’t (quit rolling your eyes, please). But we’re now reading everything from the labels on the microwave to food package contents, to signs. Sometimes the translations even make sense!

Mimosa Tree
We walk up the mountain from our lodging every morning at 5:30 before it gets hot and humid. This morning we found this beautiful mimosa tree.

We flew from DFW to Seattle and from there to Seoul, South Korea. Then we searched for the bus counter to take a bus from the airport to another airport 45 minutes away. The bus ticket office was outside the terminal. It was a nice bus ride across Seoul, a whole enormous new city to see. We crossed a bridge over the ocean that seemed a mile long.  When we got to Gimpo airport, we found another airline to take us to Jeju Island. It turns out when we finally looked at a map finally on about our fourth day here that Gimpo Airport is rock-chucking distance from the North Korean border.

Our flight from Seoul was on a smaller island-hopper plane and had strict rules about the weight of our bags. We had 2 suitcases each, and they were full to the brim of things we would be needing for our stay. The international flight to Seoul allowed 50 pounds per bag and two bags each, so we brought lots of extra supplies to give to the church people – 200 pounds total. The island-hopper to Jeju only allowed 33 pounds per person! So we had about 135 pounds of extra weight they charged us extra for. We just made our 8:30 p.m. flight and fell into our seats for the one-hour crossing to the island. We were last off the plane and very tired. When we reached the luggage carousel, our four heavy (expensive!) bags were the only ones remaining! I guess most of the people on these hopper flights are tourists with just a little luggage, like sandals and socks, etc. It turns out Jeju Island is the Hawaii of Korea.

Coastal View
Yes, that dark band on the horizon is the Pacific Ocean. Our lodging overlooks the coastline.

We waited for our host and some people from his church, and our American friend who sponsored us to come here, to find us and take us to our “home” for the next month. We left our door in Texas at 6:00 a.m. on July 1st Texas time and arrived at our hotel at 10:30 p.m. on July 2nd  Korean time after about 25 hours actual travel time…Whew!!

Somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean, we crossed the International Date Line and, going west, lost a day (?). We are still trying to figure out what effect that had on our actual time and date here in S.Korea, and what effect it will have going home a month from now. All we’ve figured out so far is that our home is 14 hours earlier than us, and the jet lag we experienced was significant.

So, you must be wondering, what are Bob and Gail doing in S. Korea. I thought they ministered in Africa. What’s the story here?? Tune in to our next post!!!