I’m a little Teacup

I am not perfect. I am terrible at writing blogs. I am terrible at Korean. And, in fact, I’ll go one step further and say I am sometimes a terrible person. I know, this is extremely harsh and seems like a horrible way to begin my update of living in Korea. (I tried to warn you, I’m bad at the whole blog thing). But, it’s the truth.

As I try to express how this journey thus far has been for me, I feel like it is necessary for me to be honest with you. The world needs a little more honesty, doesn’t it? I say all of these blunt assertions about myself not to shock or scare you but rather to be a little honest about my brokenness. I am not perfect, but in Korea I’m beginning to learn that not being perfect is perfectly okay. I’ll get into this more a little later but first, I’ll give you a taste of what Korea has been like for me.

The first month in Korea for me has been a non-stop, blur. A normal week for me involves Korean language classes Monday- Friday from 9am to 1, I then have a quick lunch before I head to one of my various volunteer work sites. Most days it’s a local children’s center. I say that I am a volunteer at these places but the truth is most days I go, sit with children and struggle to communicate while the children take pity on me and teach me Korea or basic Korean social norms. I then go home and the studying of Korean begins, I do this all before I go to sleep, only to wake up and do it all again the following day. My weekends often look similar only to have the Korean class replaced with more volunteering or more studying.

Often I find myself frustrated, I feel like I have no time and am constantly being rushed from one place to the next. I feel I never have enough time to learn the Korean or enough time to study. I get frustrated when I cannot communicate. And sometimes I get so frustrated I feel like I should give up. I see all the ways I continue to fail and begin to see myself as a failure.

During one of my weekends here I had the honor of being hosted by a Korean family for Chuseok, a Korean harvest holiday.   During the stay my host Father made me a cup of tea and served it in traditional Korean teacups. I was admiring the beauty of the teacup when my host father pointed out the fine lines inside the cup. Like a work of art, the inside of the cup had dozens of cracks that connected and broke off from one another. My host father saw that I was fascinated with this little teacup and it’s cracks so he explained, the teacup cracks because of the pressure of the boiling water but despite the tea cup being full of cracks, it doesn’t break. The cracks do not make the teacup weaker, but rather more beautiful.

I am not perfect; I am broken and full of cracks. I get frustrated, I forget to write blogs and I forget to study, and sometimes I even fail. I am not perfect. But God teaches me I am like the teacup; full of cracks that do not break me but rather make me more beautiful. I am not perfect and that’s perfectly okay.




God’s Grace is Sufficient

I am about to leave. This isn’t the first time I’ve left home for a far away place (although right now going to school in Alabama hardly seems to count) nor do I expect this to be the last time. However, this time seem so incredibly different. As I attempt to mentally prepare for my year as a young adult volunteer in South Korea I continue to find myself trying to justify why I deserve to be going on this journey or why I am even worthy of this mission. Because in so many ways I feel extremely unqualified, I feel like they picked the wrong person and I don’t belong on the plane I am about to board (sorry I really didn’t realize my first true blog post would get so real so quickly).

I guess in many ways I have always had this inner battle of worth inside myself. I could sit here and try to examine exactly why I sometimes feel the way  I do about myself. But I don’t because I guess deep down inside even I know that feeling worthy of a call, it doesn’t matter or change the fact you are called.

Someone once told me, “God’s grace is sufficient” and although I don’t know really any of the answers right now I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t need to. God’s grace in my life has made me sufficient to where I don’t need to be worthy of God’s call because that’s not what grace is. Grace is not being worthy, but rather being unworthy, knowing it, yet going anyway.

Tomorrow I leave and now my tune has changed. I am almost proud of my unworthiness; I’ll wear it as a badge, showing the presence of God’s grace within my life.

Who Am I?

My name is Rachel Crilley, I am a 22 year old from Grapevine, Texas. I studied American Studies and Sociology at the University of Alabama (“Roll Tide!”). At Alabama, I was very involved in Ukirk the PCUSA campus ministry. There I served as an intern and helped build relationships between the students on campus connecting them with the surrounding community.  I am so looking forward to my Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Year in South Korea. In college I studied American culture and the impact the rest of the world has on the United States, so I am very much looking forward to expanding this scope and learning how the United States makes an impact on the world. I hope to spend this year of service expanding my world view and furthering my walk with God. Currently, I am planning to attend Princeton Theological Seminary and anticipate to start my studies there after my YAV year. I cannot wait to start this year of discernment and exploration!YAV Picture