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Over the past few years a new *volunteer staff member from America has joined our work here in Korea. Sarah Rupe is our
first international full time volunteer director and she has a vision to take the idea of camp and use it as a tool to reach out
to people and countries all over the world. Bellow is a letter from Sarah sharing her vision and how she came to Korea and
to work alongside of us.
In the beginning
My Story, The last three years have been quite the ride, full of new challenges, ups and downs. What holds me steady is
the knowledge that I am where God has lead me. My confidence in Gods directing my life grows with each day. It feels like
a lifetime ago that I was in University and thinking about what internship I should do. At the time there were a large variety
of options and my interests where mostly concerned with what I could afford and what was adventurous. As I was
looking/thinking through my options I remembered that I had given my word to some Korean friends over the summer that
I would try to go to Korea and work with them.
My Internship in Korea ultimately became a reality and It was a summer I will remember for years to come. Towards the
end of the summer things settled down and I had more time for thinking and praying. My head was full of questions for God
about what I should do after graduation and all I was sure of was that I wanted to do only what God lead me to. One
morning I felt God turn the light on in my head and heart. All of the sudden I could see it, my whole life has been preparing
me for a life of ministry but not simply being a “missionary” or pastor but rather as someone who would share “camp” and
all it means with others.
For me camp is more than a few weeks in the summer away from home. Its a place where people can come together
authentically, a place where we interact with one another on a deeper level, a place where God uses his creation and our
time together to open our spirits and speak to us. Camp is a second home for may people and a place where lives are
changed forever, doing camp is another way to spread Gods Kingdom and his love to the world.
After that first summer
I had no intention on returning to Korea at least not for a long stay, I felt God directing me to gain experience where I could
in the US. I returned home, graduated with my Recreation Administration degree and was working full time at Camp Fitch
with Outdoor Education. The next summer I worked at two other camps doing numerous jobs and tasks, meeting many
great people and experiencing camp in new and meaningful ways.
When I was at Camp Fitch working as an outdoor Educator I spent lots of time with Jason Huh and Dajung Chung who
were living and working their with me. Jason spent lots of time sharing his vision for Korea and I enjoyed getting to know
him and his family. Honestly I am not really sure how it happened, but during this time I agreed to return to Korea and work
as a director with ILF for one year. I was anxieties about leaving for a whole year yet, it became clear the God was opening
the door and all that was left was for me to follow.
2013 feels a bit like a blur. It was only last year however, it was far from what I had hoped for or imagined and was a year
with lots of struggles both in my heart and in my surroundings. My struggles where with myself, with God, with co-workers,
with ILF and with Korea in general. I often wanted to just get away from it all and leave Korea altogether. Part of my
problem was not wanting to stay any longer than necessary in Korea and thus not giving God enough time of day or night
to tell me he had more for me to do and that he wanted me to stay. God only knows how he changed my mind, I think a big
part of it was realising I have no desire to walk away from the path God has prepared for me. Thus my choice was simple
and my fervent prayer, that God would help me like it.
For God and His Kingdom
I don’t always like where I am(physically and spiritually), but I do trust and I do know God is faithful and that gives me joy.
When I was considering staying in Korea for another year, I selfishly made a list of conditions and then proceeded to see
God address each item in my list. To be honest, God meeting my conditions was not really what I wanted or the point in
making them, yet God in his patience and goodness did it anyway. One “condition” that was important to me was returning
to Korea with supporters and financial backing that I might be more of a co-worker and give more to the work of ILF. I don't
yet have all the money that I figured would be needed, but I am still receiving donations and my lack or existence of money
is yet another way I can determine what God really wants me to be doing and where he wants me to go.
This year I came to Korea with a few major goals and focuses. If Korea is where God wants me for a while I need to learn
the language and now is the best time to do it. Studying and learning Korean has moved up on my priority list and
thankfully I have been learning faster than last year. The second thing I feel God directing me to do is be open and ready to
build relationships in Korea and anywhere I might be. The idea of having the opportunity to travel to other Asian countries
this year is one part of being here that gets me excited. I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning about other
cultures and planting seeds for Gods kingdom. Its an exciting idea and dream to be able to learn about other peoples, see
their needs and hopefully use camp as a way to introduce them to a loving God and Heavenly Father.
* Intern and Volunteer Program: University students have been and continue to be the main force behind our seasonal
camp and club programs. We have been blessed and great full for the dedication and hard work of many volunteers over
the years. Kuk’s mother in law has been are longest volunteer, she has served with heart and loyalty for the past 20 years
in the Kitchen and is heartily appreciated for every meal. Over the last 20 years ILF has brought in and sent out many
volunteers and we find our work and our programs are for the volunteers as much as they are for the participants and