At last, I am back in Korea, my home country. I returned in March 2019 and threw myself into the surging waves of work awaiting me as the new Columban Lay Missionary (CLM) Coordinator. To be honest, coming back to Kore, brought lots of questions to my mind. As a Korean, as a woman and as a Columban Lay Missionary, what can I do here? How can I be challenged, and how can I challenge the rest in the Region and the Society itself? Have I overestimated myself? Have I underestimated the challenges? What is the will of God for me and what does He really want me to do for His Kingdom? How can I fulfill the vision of the Columban mission as a lay missionary? How can I present it to the younger generation and inspire them?
At the same time, I must confess that I was somewhat confident since I was born and raised in Korea. I have also spent the last eight years on mission overseas. But, during my first three months in Seoul, I got lost a number of times. I missed the subway station, where I was supposed to get off. There were also instances when I took the wrong direction on the subway or bus. Moreover, I got comments from people saying that I kept comparing things around me in Korea to things in the Philippines. I also recognized the same tendency of comparing the Philippines to Korea during my early months working on mission there. Furthermore, everything was new to me in the Region of Korea; the responsibilities given to me, the relationship with the ordained, students,
fellow lay missionaries and co-workers and the style of communications. Indeed, I became a newcomer to the Region even though it is my home Region.
While trying to feel God’s presence in me, I am aware that I can encounter Him through my fellow missionaries and those whom I meet in my daily life. Also, I continue to learn my limitations and weaknesses. I am still afraid to make mistakes. However, I know that I do not walk this road alone. Many lay missionaries started 30 years ago, and there will be others who will follow. I am just an in-between, wanting to bridge the past and the future.
I am still on my journey to God as when I started 12 years ago. I feel the same way now as when I first entered the door of the Columban Lay Mission Center in Korea. God called me first and prepared me for mission. It is such a noble and meaningful job to help and guide those who are called by God. As a lay missionary in the Korean Church, I would like to walk peacefully with my heart open to serve those whom I would meet here. I ask God to give me enough wisdom to make the right decisions, understand my limitations, and be considerate of others. Furthermore, I ask Him to allow me to have enough courage to apologize without reserve and to speak the truth at all times. Believing that somehow I can pave the way for others coming after me, is enough for me.
Hyein "Anna" Noh is a Columban lay missionary living and working in Korea.