Biking Tour from SF to LA 2015

Bike tour from San Francisco to Los Angeles
June 8-13, 2015

70 years have passed since Korea has been divided. We believe that the peace and reconciliation between the North and South is the task that God has given to the Korean Christians for this generation. This is the ministry of reconciliation that God has entrusted us.

A small group of Korean Americans have committed to this 530 mile challenge biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Their goal is to raise money to send winter boots to North Korean orphans. Like using two feet to pedal a bike towards a destination, we envision the two Koreas to collaborate in building a peaceful future together.

With just $10, you can help one orphan to have warm feet during the harsh winter.

ReconciliAsian, in collaboration with Sunyanghana, a non-profit organization, is supporting this fundraising bike tour from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The goal is to send boots for orphans in North Korea.
How you can HELP:
  • Donate funds to help pay for the purchase of the boots.  You can click the Paypal button:  Please note on the memo: BOOTS
  • You can also make a check out to ReconciliAsian and mail it to P.O.Box 70466  Pasadena, CA 91117.  Please note on the memo:  BOOTS
  • You can purchase the cool t-shirt for $10 designed by Alex Her. Supply is limited.

Please also pray for the safety of all the participants! Thank you.

70년이 흘렀습니다, 조국 산천 허리가 끊어지고 우리 마음도 끊어진지. 남과 북의 평화와 화해는 이 시대 우리 한국 그리스도인들에게 하나님께서 맡겨주신 숙제라고 믿습니다. 주님은 우리에게 화목케 하는 직분을 맡겨주셨기 때문입니다. 북녘 땅에 살아가는 어린 고아들에게 추운 겨울을 날 수 있는 신발을 보내고자 미주에 거주하는 목회자들을 중심으로 제 2회 SF-LA 자전거 타기를 합니다. 2015년 6월 8일부터 13일까지 6일동안 샌프란시스코에서 로스엔젤레스까지 530마일의 여정입니다. 두 발로 페달을 힘차게 밟을 때 자전거의 두 바퀴가 같은 목적지를 향해 나아가듯, 남과 북이 서로를 향한 적대감에서 해방되어 하나님의 나라를 함께 꿈꾸는 평화의 한반도가 되길 기도합니다. 여러분의 많은 성원 부탁드립니다. 겨울 털 신발은 <선양하나>라는 북한 지원 단체를 통해 함경북도 라진에 있는 신발공장에서 북한의 현지인들에 의해 제작됩니다. $10이면 따뜻한 겨울 털신발 한켤레가 만들어져 한 아이가 추운 겨울을 떨지 않고 따뜻하게 지낼 수 있습니다. 주님께서 잡히시기 전날 밤, 제자들의 발을 씻겨주신 것을 기억하며 우리도 그들의 발에 따뜻한 신발을 신겨주고자 합니다. 그들을 섬김의 대상으로 보기 때문입니다. <선양하나>의 가치관과 활동내용 및 신발 프로젝트에 관한 자세한 내용은 웹사이트 sunyanghana.com에 가시면 보실 수 있습니다. (또는 페이스북 검색란에 “선양하나”라고 치셔도 됩니다.) 성금은 남가주에서 정의/평화 사역을 하고 있는 ReconciliAsian(허현 목사)이라는 단체를 통해 <선양하나>에 전달될 것입니다. 따라서, 지원하실 분들은 Check를 Payable to 이라고 쓰시고 메모란에 성함과 “북한 신발 보내기”라고 반드시 적으셔서 아래 주소로 보내주시기 바랍니다.  -Sungwhan Kim, Sunyanghana board member

Imagining a “new WE” in Northeast Asia

2015 04 22_15-04-22_2425

From April 20th-25th, Sue attended the 2nd annual Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia hosted in Nagasaki, Japan. This event was co-sponsored by Duke Center for Reconciliation and Mennonite Central Committee inviting 58 representatives from Japan, Korea, China, and the US. We gathered to discuss how we as Christian pastors, scholars, and activists can come together to seriously engage in the ministry of reconciliation in the region.

The location of the forum was very significant for this year marks the 70th anniversary of the US dropping the atomic bomb in Nagasaki which was impetus in Japan surrendering and ending World War II. But if we look at the story of the bombing in Nagasaki just a little closer, it is more complex.

Nagasaki is the center of Japanese Catholicism that dates back to 1582. In spite of the heavy persecution and outlawing of Christianity, “hidden Christians” kept their faith for over 250 years. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the “discovery of the Christians” in Nagasaki. The irony of an American Catholic pilot dropping the atomic bomb on this historical Christian city populated by Japanese Catholics and beautiful churches raise the question of defining who is “the enemy”.

In addition, the Forum participants were reminded that the Japanese were not the only people who were killed by the atomic bomb. Thousands of Korean and Chinese laborers working in Nagasaki were doubly victimized, unable to receive compensation from Japan when they needed medical treatment from the exposure of A-bomb. As forced laborers with no power, their needs were neglected. We lamented at the layers of pain experienced by the violence of war and the many unseen and nameless victims of who suffered in the name of nationalism.

IMG_8944(collage photo includes photos from 26 Martyrs Museum, Oura Cathedral, Peace Park, Urakami Cathedral, Ground Zero of A-Bomb, Takashi Nagai Museum, Oka Masaharu Nagasaki Peace Museum)

The “new we”
How then, can we move towards a “new we” when there is so much brokenness and hurt in our history? Can we truly see each other as brothers and sisters when we also carry the trauma and the pain of our parents and grandparents?

Through our week together, worshiping, studying, eating, biking, bathing (public bath!), and walking together, I was able to see glimmer of hope towards a “new we”:

  •  we wept together at Oka Masaharu Memorial Nagasaki Peace Museum, a small and independent museum run by a Japanese pastor that tells the hidden stories of the Korean and Chinese victims of war and bring justice for them.
  • we laid hands on the Japanese Christian leaders and blessed them as a minority in their country. For some of the Korean and Chinese leaders, they commented that this was the first time they touched a Japanese person or blessed the Japanese people.
  • I saw a Japanese photographer dreaming with a Korean American resident of North Korea of making a pilgrimage to North Korea and capturing photos of the people there through the eyes of a Japanese Christian.
  •  A registered church leader and unregistered church leader from China spent the whole week together talking, eating, and even laughing- something that people said was impossible to do.
  • Catholics and Protestants came together to work together for peace; several Korean Protestants shared that this was the first time that they interacted so closely with Catholics and their respect has grown deeper for the other.
  • Two Japanese pastors rolled my luggage all the way to the bus station wanting to make sure that I would not get lost. They carried my load, my burden. By the time we got to the station, I called them my brothers.IMG_8891(Mennonite photo op: Sue Park-Hur, Jennifer Deibert, Myrrl Byler, Joe Manickam, Kyungjung Kim, Hongtao Yin)

We still have a long way to go in this journey towards reconciliation, but I sensed a commitment that we will not abandon the gift of reconciliation God has given to us, for we have seen Christ in one another through our time together. 

If You Don’t Give You Can’t Lose / Gureombi, The Wind is Blowing Film and Speech Tour 2015

When:  March 31, 2015 at 7pm

Where: Casa Robles Community 6355 Oak Ave. Temple City, CA 91780

Join us on March 31st at 7pm to see discuss the activities on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Join Hee Eun “Silver” Park and Paco Michelson, peace activists from the Jeju Island Anti-Naval Base struggle, who will be traveling across the US in March and April to share the story of the struggle through the screening of a new full-length documentary, and speaking about their personal experiences on Jeju Island, Korea.

In addition, Tim Nafziger from Christian Peacemaker Teams will share many stories about Christian activism around the world. We hope you can come to this important gathering.

For more info:

Podcast: The tri-union God is holding the church

From January 25-29th, Hyun Hur attended 2015 Pastors Week at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.  200 pastors and leaders attended from across the US and Canada.  Hyun had the privilege to preach on the last day of the week.

Hyun called the church to view unity as an essential part of its identity and witness and to trust God. Using a text from I Corinthians 3, he emphasized, “God lives in community, and this Father, Son and Holy Spirit are holding this church.” When you are struggling with division or issues of morality, he said, “Still the tri-union God is holding this church.” (you may need to clip and paste the link here) (1)

Or visit to download reflections on the topic, “Where Culture Blurs Theology: What is an Anabaptist Christian?” by Janet Plenert, Meghan Good, Greg Boyd, Malinda Berry, Drew Hart, Elisabeth Soto Albrecht, Hyun Hur, and David B. Miller.

Race in the parking lot

I need to vent.  It’s about racism, I think. It’s complicated.  It’s going to be a long rant, but oddly anger sometimes gives me the energy to unleash the frustrations that have been in me with more clarity.

youngdong2We just returned from encountering the police in front of a restaurant we frequent.  Hyun had been away for several days, and to celebrate his return, the family went out for dinner. We were forty minutes into our meal when two strangers approached our table and asked if we owned a red van.  When Hyun said yes, the man said that Hyun had hit his car in the parking lot.  Immediately, Hyun went out with the couple while I sat with the kids trying to finish dinner calmly, but I could barely swallow my food trying to figure what was going on.

A little later Hyun called me out and asked me to call the police to make a report. Clearly there was no damage to their car and Hyun opened our driver’s side door to show that there was no way for the door to hit the side of their door (it doesn’t touch their door because of their side mirror). Then they changed the story and said that they now saw a scratch on their side mirror, but wouldn’t let us see the scratch.  It was getting ridiculous so we said that it would be best to call the police to help resolve this situation.  They both looked wild-eyed and said if that’s what we wanted, to call them.  We asked what they wanted.  What do they want us to do? They said they already told us what they wanted and didn’t  want to repeat it.  See how ridiculous this was getting?

The police didn’t come until 50 minutes later.  Shift change.  Those 50 minutes felt like forever.  We had three worried kids so we called our neighbor to come and take them home.  While waiting, we heard many taunting remarks to provoke us, to hurt us. They were making racial slurs about us to each other- how we don’t understanding the culture, this is America, we need to learn the culture and show a little respect.  I wanted to react to their offensive remarks, but Hyun sensed my anger and told me to stay away.  Later, I heard from Hyun that they made many other very violent and offensive remarks to each other for Hyun to hear like how if there were guns, this would have been easily solved;  that my coughing is probably due to AIDS or herpes and Hyun should be careful.  See how they were trying to get us to fight?

Finally the police came- a male and a female officer.  The male officer took the couple aside and heard their story.  Then he came to us and heard ours.  He basically told us that the man wanted an apology and that no report needed to be written out since that was all they were asking for.  We could make a civil report but then that meant we would have to exchange information and they would get all of ours.  He told Hyun to be the bigger man and apologize for possibly bumping the car.  My big man did.  I was proud of him.

It would have been good if it ended there.  But the story didn’t stop there.  This was the part that really got me angry.  Another police car came to the scene.  One male officer.  The officer approached the man that provoked us.  The guy said to the officer, “all I wanted was some respect and apology.”  Then the officer commented, “You know,  some cultures don’t know how to apologize.You just have to understand.” And hearing that last comment, the couple drove away.

I immediately turned to the police officer who was speaking to the couple and confronted him.  I repeated the comment he made to confirm if what I heard was correct and he said yes but the comment wasn’t towards us.  I told him that his comment to the couple  who taunted us was very inappropriate, that he just validated the perpetual foreigner mentality that people have of Asians.  He said that wasn’t his intent.  He was trying to de-escalate the situation.  I told the police officer that he never came to hear our side and making such comments in no way de-escalated the situation now and situations to come.  In fact, the officer affirmed the stereotype the couple have of Asian Americans- that we don’t know how to apologize, that we are culturally unassimilated and so different that we don’t know how to apologize civilly in an American manner.  The couple, when they encounter other Asian Americans in their community in the future, will express their words of hate and anger with the confirmation that they received from the officer. In my opinion, he did not de-escalate the situation.

The police officer apologized to me saying that it wasn’t his intention and that he was aware of the diversity in the community having grown up in the community.  I responded that although his intent may have been good, the impact of his comment was hurtful and in no way helpful.  I validated the first team of officers who came and that I appreciated the professional way they handled the situation.  Then I faced the other officer and told him that I was sure that he is a wonderful person but how he handled the situation was partial and unprofessional, and that I hope he will be more aware of the impact he makes with his words.

raceI am not sure how important the last piece of information would be to some people, but it is important to me as a person living in Los Angeles. The couple that accused us of “hitting” their car were African Americans.  The woman may have been a Latina.  The officers who came to the scene were Latinos presiding over a city that was predominantly Asian.  What we experienced tonight was complex. How do we go about naming such experiences?  How can we address the complexities in a community that involves so many people of different ethnicities?  Did we experience racism or did we just have an encounter with ignorant people?  Am I racist for calling this African American couple ignorant?  Would I have been so bold to share my anger to the officers if they were white?  Was I more bold because the officers were Latinos?  How much does race place into this encounter in the parking lot?  

Iris de Leon-Hartshorn, the director of Transformative Peacemaking of Mennonite USA commented that we cannot ignore the dynamics of internalized racism.  People of color hear the same messages about themselves and other groups.  They then internalize them and act out on those messages.  She also pointed out people of color may be bi-cultural but they are not necessarily inter-cultural.  One of the proactive action we can take is to address to the need for more intercultural competency training, not diversity training for the police.  I can pursue this.  This I can do.  This I will do.

Mennonite World Fellowship Sunday highlights ReconciliAsian

Yay! Mennonite World Conference has highlighted ReconciliAsian for the Mennonite World Fellowship Sunday which is observed around the world on January 21, 2015. We are humbled to know that Mennonites around the world will be reading our story and interceding for the ministry of ReconciliAsian! Our story starts on page 7.