For those familiar with the author Anne Lamott, one of her more recent books is entitled, Help, Thanks, Wow: the Three Essential Prayers summarizing that these three simple words capture the heart of our prayers to God. In trying to succinctly capture the right words about October 25th, these words also seem appropriately fitting.
On October 25th, over 100 guests gathered at Pritchard Hall in Sierra Madre Congregational Church for our second annual ReconciliAsian fundraising dinner. Although we began planning this event to share the vision of ReconciliAsian and the financial needs for the next year, we wanted it to be more than that. We wanted it to be a night of truly giving thanks for the incredible year we have had and also celebrating the unexpected doors that have opened for us for next year. And what better ways to do that than through personal stories of ReconciliAsian from our amazing friends and partners?
Here are some of the highlights from their stories:
• Kyunglan Suh, a professor of intercultural studies at Fuller Seminary, shared about the countless obstacles she has faced as a female pastor in a Korean immigrant church. However, through her journey with ReconciliAsian, she has delved into the field of restorative justice which has helped her to reframe her theology, ministry, and personal faith.
• Jeeho Park, the director of Center for Conflict Transformation, joined us via video from Korea. Jeeho is also the representative of ReconciliAsian in Korea who encouraged the guests to “keep creating more conflict” to emphasize that conflict is a normal part of our daily life.
• Gilberto Perez Jr., the director for Intercultural Development and Educational Partnership at Goshen College flew in from Indiana to announce the new partnership between Goshen College and ReconciliAsian as we find creative ways to promote higher education to urban Asian youth. We were also honored to have Jim Brenneman, the President of Goshen College join us for the evening with his wife, Terri.
• Father Jun Nakai, a Japanese Jesuit priest who is committed to the work of reconciliation between Korea and Japan, powerfully shared about the courage of the Korean comfort women he has met (these women were used as sex slaves to “comfort” Japanese soldiers during World War 2). The surviving and living comfort women have sought justice and formal apology from the Japanese government for the atrocities done to them by demonstrating in front of the Japanese embassy in Korea every Wednesday since 1992. When Japan was devastated by the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and the nuclear reactor disaster, the comfort women offered words of healing and strength during their Wednesday demonstration, “Stand up, Japan. Stand up!” These halmoni, or grandmothers, were bringing words of hope and restoration, not destruction of Japan.
• We laid hands and prayed for Daniel and Haruka Lee as they prepare to return to Japan after studying in the United States. They plan to begin the ministry of ReconciliAsian in Japan as they see the distrust and tension growing between the Japanese and Korean Japanese. They hope to plant seeds of peace as they seek God’s guidance upon their return.
• The evening ended with fun raffle prizes and silent auction items donated from friends and supporters of ReconciliAsian including David Augsburger, Christine Chang, Al and Anne Dueck, Mike and Wendy Gabelman, Gyedo Jeon, Heekyung Kim, Jeehye and Sunghwan Kim, Karen Kim, Lisa Paek Kim, Frank Lee, Kirk and Bea Lee, Debora Meoljono, and Connie Park. Thank you!
Through the fundraising event, we raised over $11,000! We are so grateful for the generous and sacrificial gifts the guests have donated to ReconciliAsian.
If you were unable to attend but would also like to help us reach our goal of $20,000, it is not too late. You can send your tax-deductible donation to:
P.O. Box 70466
Pasadena, CA 91117
Or give online at:
and hit the Paypal button.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.