This year our 'middlers' (as we call them) signed up for the Tae Kwan Do classes at school. We were thrilled! This class would give them exercise and discipline, as long as they don't walk in on ballerina tip toes. Esther's class (first photo) is for the little kids. Their performance in hopes of a belt change won't be until late Spring. Annika is in the older class, and she proudly received her yellow belt this week (as seen in the third photo). Their instructor is Mr. Ibo Park (seated next to Ross in the group photo, with Annika and Esther in front of them). The video link on the bottom shows Esther's class performing (she's the blonde in the middle).
When we moved to Turkey in 2003, we were the first to arrive associated with our company. There were people who helped us, but no team already on the ground to officially orient us. As we muddled through those first days, the following incident became all the more important to us. During our first week here, we were riding the elevator in our apartment, and the door opened to reveal Mr. Park and his wife. They smiled at us, we smiled at them. We began to communicate in broken English and Turkish. It is hard for me to describe this (and some details I am forced to leave out as this is a public blog), but it was a very clear confirmation to me that God had directed us to Turkey. We had just left Asia, and our hearts were still sore from that. The first family we met was Asian with smiles and dispositions that showed us that we love the same God. We have since become very good friends. Their daughter graduated from Oasis, and Mr. Park has faithfully taught our students Tae Kwan Do for years now. Sometimes we feel a closeness to others because we share the same cultural backgrounds and are from the same country. But there is a much deeper closeness that can be found when we share the same God.