My original thoughts on my encounter with Mr. Cho were pecked out on my iphone to my brother after walking back to the hotel. This happened 2 weeks ago while in the Korean countryside.
Sometimes Father has other plans for us. We have to be open to receive those plans, because when we give over to Father’s plan then the fuller our lives will be.
Father truly works wonders for us. I couldn’t spend my usual Shabbat cooking for my family but I was to find out that Father has other plans for me this hot shabbat day.
I decided i needed to be out in the nature that surrounded myself at the JIMFF and see what I could in this lovely land. I Went for a walk in late morning near the hotel. At first I walked over to where the outdoor venue was setup to discover that there was noting open and no one was around at this early hour.
Before I reached the site I noticed an official brown sign in Korean and English that said ruins 600 meters. I thought to myself 600 meters, to see some ancient Korean ruins sounded like a pretty good idea for a Shabbat hike. Let me see were the road would take me.
The paved road quickly gave way to gravel. I Passed tow older Korean hikers coming on down from the trail and greeted them with a Anyahaseiyo (Hello). I should have known but the trekkers were decked out in boots, backs, and walking sticks.
I then Came to a home and was greeted by an older gentle Korean man. He warned me in good English that the trail was rough ahead. Thinking to myself It can’t be that Bad. I have hiked in the Rocky Mountains. I decided to keep walking and see what there was to be seen.
I probably didn’t get more that 200 meter or so up the path till it became a watery bog. It was not a hike that I was going to be able to make in my low top Sauconys.
I knew that the right thing to do was to head back down the path feeling defeated by not being properly prepared for my journey.
I told the man I would have needed a good pair of hiking boots and that my tennis shoes just weren’t going to be able to take me where I wanted to go.
He then offered me some coffee. I instinctively knew I shouldn’t refuse. He next offered me a seat on a low bench in the shade. The bench had a cardboard box of grapes, a good had for the sun a pack of smokes and a lighter.
As we sip on the hot sweet coffee he began to tell about his life. His name was Cho and he ran a wedding hall business in Jecheon and he was only visiting these friends for a quick weekend getaway. He was 71 years old but explained that Koreans count the first year in the womb so actually he was still 69.
He has 5 children all of whom had graduated from US universities. They were top class schools: UCLA USC, NYU, and Brown. Most of his children still live in the US and he goes and visits them when he can.
He knows that he needs to give back to his community; therefore, he feeds the needy every Wednesday. He also, helps young people get scholarships for high school. I didn’t know but in Korea junior high school is payed for by the state but high school is payed by the parents.
He is truly doing works for Father. It was a meeting that did not happen by accident. I had to learn from a wet pair of sneakers that meeting Mr. Cho had been arranged by the Most High on a hot and humid Shabbat hike.
The last thing that Mr. Cho taught me before I left was the buddhist word in Korean, inyoen, which Minju later told me meant everything is connected. Which I thought was completely fitting our non-random Shabbat reasoning session.