"He’s Singing in Korean," Lost in Translation, but not in Music

It was a Sunday, just like any other. God was convicting me of not getting to service on time. I come in right as they’re about to sing: “Lord, You Are Welcome in this Place.” Tiffany gestures for me to join in for the next song, and as I was praising, I notice two Asian guys in the congregation. The only Asians at this church are typically me and D. Le, so yea, these guys stood out a little. Later, when asked to introduce themselves, they didn’t speak much English. All I got was that they were from Korea.

Turns out they are on tour with their choir from this musically prolific church in Seoul: World Blessing Korea. They were up north from the others in LA to visit friends. It was obvious they were tourists because they took so many photos/video.

When I found out they were singers, I knew God had them there to connect! Stephanie said that I was being pushy, but I call it encouragement. We asked them, “how did you find this church?” They said, “Sunday… Church?… OH! Church… Beautiful!” They were wandering by looking for a church and saw this one. I said, “oh, so the Holy Spirit told you to come here.” They agreed.

Once I knew they were singers, it was over. They’re names were Jong Ho Kim and Kyung Soo Han: we called them Kim and Han. Kim was the funny outgoing one, and Han was quiet and shy, but when we’d sing, Kim would be shy and Han was outgoing. “Sing something, sing something,” I’d say. Trying to get Reggie, Danielle, and Tiff together after church was like herding cats. I wanted everyone to sing! Danielle said that I always do that…lol. Kim kept insisting that Han sing, but they were both really good, and when they sang, heads would turn.

The first melody out of Han’s mouth was, “Yes, Jesus loves me.” Reggie and I start to harmonize not too long into it. We could hardly communicate with each other. So much was lost in translation, but NOTHING was lost in the music. To think that after service, they would’ve just left and went on back to LA to join the rest of the choir without ever connecting with us. I kept saying to them: “we’ll see you again someday, maybe Santa Cruz, maybe Korea.” We connected on facebook and twitter right there.

One of the last songs we sang at the church was the hymn, “I Love You, Lord.” After one time through, Han says he knew the same song in Korean. Han starts to sing, and I mean, he could really sing. Danielle and I start to harmize, and Tiff goes, “You know the words too?”…”LoL, no.” Reggie was rollin’.

What a statement we were making downtown, Santa Cruz, in front of our church.

So, of course we go out to eat, and I get to buy them burgers. One turkey, one beef, one iced tea, and one lemonade. I say to them, “when I come to Korea, you guys can pay!” We try to communicate over lunch, but what was most enjoyable is when we’d share music. We sang some popular songs, some Christmas carols, we even went through the Sister Act Christmas Medley. We filled up the restaurant, Burger., with a unified harmony of praises in different tongues.

They showed us their money, and then started to give us all 1000 won bills each…. How generous! Regardless, it was an awesome cultural exchange. Reggie busted out some of his original composition to share at restaurant and on the way home. Han and Kim would just jump in and start singing. We were strangers and yet family. When we dropped them off, I knew I wanted to pray over them. I prayed that God would use Kim to bring great joy to the nations, and that Han would show people how to fall in love with God through his music. (I don’t think they understood our prayers though.)

Here’s their recollection of the day, translated by my friends: Josh Chung, Sam Yoon, and Jaeheon Yi

Kim: 흑인교회에서 예배드리고 같이 jam을 했다. 마치 영화같던 시간들
너무 친절하다^^

Kim: “‎We prayed & jammed at the black church. It was like a movie scene, good times. so friendly! ”

Han: 좋은사람들과의 좋은 하루

Santa cruz 에 있는 어느 침례교회에서 주일예배를 드렸다. 예배 후 함께 기념 촬영. 이 분들 한국에 오면 우리 교회에 꼭 초대 해달라고 부탁 하더라. Jesus loves me 를 불렀더니 다음 주일 예배에 특송 까지 부탁 했다. 내일 L.A 로 떠나야 한다고 하고 정중히 거절했다.그랬더니 또 언제 오냐고 물으며 남자 싱어가 필요하다고 자신들의 교회에 계속 다니라고 했다. 우린 앞으로 또 올 일이 없다고 했다. 한국에서 만나자고 했다. 트위터와 페이스북으로 연락하기로 하고 점심으로 왕따시만한 햄버거를 먹으며 두세시간동안 식당에서 노래하고 떠들다가 그들이 우릴 집앞까지 데려다줬고 우리의 두손을 꼭 잡고 약10분간 기돌ㄹ 해줬다. 즐겁고 보람있고 주님의 은혜가 가득한 날이었다. 주님 감사합니다.

Han: “This past sunday I visited the santa cruz church and afterwards we were talkin about inviting the church members to our home church in korea and then we all sang Jesus loves me. They asked us to come back but we told them we are going to LA in 2 days. And then they told us to definitely come back to visit again. I told them we would meet them again in korea. We exchanged twitter and facebook contacts and we went our own separate ways. They went to get lunch at this hamburger joint. And they hung out, talking, singing, exchanging stories. Then they drove us back. To our home and they prayed for us for 10 mins or so. Overall it was a very touching, warm, enjoyable and awesome day. And Gods grace was upon us. Thank the Lord for He is good”

I feel like there’s going to be a huge unifying music movement in the world that will inspire the nations. This was just our glimpse of it. See you again, old friends!

Moral of the story: Don’t just let strangers walk out of your church. You may never see them again, and miss out on your “movie moment.”

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


Also, I’m trying to figure out how I can rip these videos and make them public….




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