That’s right. In everything you do, put full effort into it. Give it everything you got. I need to share this story because it made my day, and I am sure that it made other people’s day as well.
So, Eunkyung, my wife, is in her last semester in the BSN program at Mount Aloysius College. It is demanding, exhausting, and time consuming. But I am proud that she has done so well and has so much enthusiasm to one day be a nurse and hopefully work at UPMC Altoona. So today she had her clinical day at UPMC Altoona. She arrives at 6:45am and comes home around 7:30pm. Today, was an exciting day… let me explain.
So apparently when she arrived, she was told that they are practicing a drill in the case that a mass tragedy has occurred. She will be acting as one of the many patients coming in for medical help. The scene is that a mass shooting has occurred, and she is a victim of a head trauma. She is elected to go first.
And she hams it up! She walks into the room and scream, “Ahh!! My head, my neck!” Causing a scene. Apparently other people decided not to act out like her. However, she realized that the nurses were having a good time and laugh over her performance. I am proud of her in going 110% in that activity and everything she is doing.
The story made me laugh and made my day and I am sure it made other people’s day as well. I am sure they probably never seen anything like that before. Working in health care is tough. It is stressful and sometimes it can feel unappreciated. I hope Eunkyung helped these workers relax, even if it only temporary.
Go all out on everything you do, even if it feels embarrassing. Make every effort to do any task well and put your heart into it. Faith is as such. Jesus never told us to go 50% or 75%. He wanted 100%. Faith is not about picking up the stuff in the Bible that you like and forget about the challenging stuff. It isn’t about picking and choosing. Faith and all matters of faith is supposed to be challenging. Christian life of faith is about all things. It is about reading the Bible and praying, going to church, practicing love and kindness, and showing compassion and mercy, and always asking and accepting forgiveness. None of these are easy, and most likely for most of us, we are lacking in one, two, or three of these categories. Putting in 100% takes practice, it takes time, it even takes sacrifice of time, emotions, comfort, and pride. But by applying all these things, doing 100% is going to be like clockwork, a new sense of normal, and becomes routine.
So, football season has started. Ohio State Buckeyes look a bit suspect. Some of you may know, that’s my team and I have to admit, they look overrated. Penn State has a tough schedule, but they look like they can compete. My hometown, Cincinnati Bearcats look like a force and shouldn’t be slept on. My Cincinnati Bengals are well, young. The Pittsburgh Steelers will win because of their toughness, I think they need to rely on Najee Harris big time.
So normally, I talk up my Buckeyes, Bengals, and Bearcats and I trash talk the Steelers, Nittany Lions, and anything PA. But this year, I think their has been a change of feelings. I’m trying to root for Penn State, just because their QB is from my hometown. And I currently really enjoy watching the Steelers play. So I decided that I will cheer on any PA sports team, unless they are playing my favorite teams or that I need them to lose in order for my favorite teams to get ahead in their respective leagues.
It makes me wonder if I am starting to see PA as my home away from home. Well, in a way it is! There is a ton of love about PA. The people are friendly, the church is amazing, the fishing is great. I mean I live in a place I can literally fish all year around. Late March to November I can fish for largemouth bass, and December to March I can fish the creeks for trout. It can’t get any better.
I am mostly writing this blog to say thank you for all the people of PA. You have helped make my family and myself feel a part of your family. The church I work at, is incredible. I cannot imagine a better place that God has called me to serve. I still think I am learning, day in and day out in how to be a better leader. This is truly a church that acts as one body with many parts. Not all of us are the same, we are all different, but at the end of the day we are a family. I give special thanks to the Altoona School district for educating my children well and making them feel safe and confident.
Since we have moved to Altoona, my wife received her US citizenship, my daughter has gone from 2 to almost 7 and my son Ben was born, now three. My wife is now one semester away finishing her BSN to work as a nurse in what we hope to be UPMC Altoona. As a pastor at Ward Ave Presbyterian Church I have done funerals, weddings, baptisms, communion, made a new website, developed new activities and revitalized some old ones, and have seen the hearts of people grow in the congregation. We have been through a lot. We have gone through COVID, and still going through it and doing our best to be safe, yet stay active, and serve. We have done works in local missions and international.
Now I have come to the point in which I couldn’t imagine ten years ago. Cheering for any PA sports team. It’s crazy how God works to change hearts.
God bless you all
We all dream at night. Sometimes we remember them,, sometimes we forget them. Sometimes we have happy dreams, and sometimes we have nightmares. Sometimes we have realistic dreams and sometimes we have unrealistic dreams. Sometimes our dreams are so realistic that they feel like it just happened and sometimes those unrealistic dreams are just off the wall, bonkers. But regardless of the dream we have, do they mean anything? If you read the book Daniel in the bible, dreams could mean something right? Can dreams tell you about the future, a warning, or maybe nothing at all? Or is it that some dreams mean something and other dreams are just meaningless.
So, I had a dream last night and it was one of those weird dreams. Let me tell you about it. But first a little background story about myself.
Some people know this, but other’s don’t. I am a huge UFC fan. I really enjoy it, a lot. Also I like listening to Joe Rogen’s pod cast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” I have to tell you this before I tell you my dream, or it might not make any sense.
Also, readers, you need to know (to understand my dream) Joe Rogan is also a commentator in the UFC. Dana White is the president of the UFC.
Ok, let’s begin with my dream. In my dream I find myself on a stage surrounded by a ton of people. We are having a good time and I don’t see any recognizable faces. Suddenily, a man grabs my arm and says, “You have to come with me, Dana White needs to talk to you.” I go, as if, in my dream, I know Dana White.” So then I see Dana White, and he looks serious. Dana White tells me, “Hey man, listen, I just heard that Joe Rogan is COVID positive. So that means you have to quarantine for two weeks since you had had close contact with him recently.” In my dream, I was shocked, not shocked that I knew Dana White or Joe Rogan, but shocked that I could have COVID-19. Then I felt angry at Joe Rogan. Then I wondered how this will effect my family, my church, and my friends. Now continuing in the dream, I am worried about what symptoms I am going to get, and as I get ready to quarantine, I see Joe Rogan chatting with some guys. I couldn’t believe he isn’t quarantining himself. I was furious. I decided I would confront Joe Rogan, and then I woke up from my dream. I woke up still angry at Joe Rogan. Until I realized everything was just a dream.
Yeah, pretty weird dream. But all the elements in the dream made sense to who I am and what I have been feeling. Every time my children go to school, I fear how safe they are from COVID-19. Every now and then we get emails telling us that a child in the school was COVID-19 positive and all the direct contact people have been notified and are quarantined. So far, my children have stayed safe, thank God! So the dream obviously had my worries about COVID included in what I feel and experience daily nowadays. Also the dream included my love for the UFC and Joe Rogan Experience. But does this dream mean anything?
Is this dream supposed to be a warning? That warning be stay away from Joe Rogan if you see him? No. Is it telling me that my children or myself or Eunkyung will get COVID? No. I don’t think this dream is telling about the future at all. However, in Korean culture, if you see a famous person in your dream, doesn’t matter the context of the dream, it means you will have good luck coming your way. That’s kinda cool to think about, and I saw two famous people… oh yeah, double the luck!
But I do think that this dream and maybe most or some dreams may tell us how we are feeling. I think it interprets our consciousness into certain pictures. It is obvious that COVID has been part of all of our lives for a very long time. It affects all of us and even at times worries us. But what good is it to fear? We can be precautious, but we don’t have to fear or worry. I shouldn’t let me fears get to the best of me and I think after thinking about this dream, I think I shouldn’t fear any of this. The dream was ridiculous and well sometimes what we worry about can be so consuming that it debilitates us and makes us powerless, that too is ridiculous.
This weekend I recommend everyone to visit the United Flight 93 memorial that is near Indian Lake. It is only about an hour away from Altoona. Coming Saturday, will be the 20th year anniversary of the Sept 11th Attack.
I will not say much about this, but have prepared a worship service and message regarding this event on Sunday, Sept. 12th. Visit that site. The site that 40 passengers gave their life to prevent an attack on our nations Capitol Building. 37 US citizens, 1 German, 1 Kiwi, and 1 Japanese sacrificed their life after hearing those other attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These passengers prevented and stopped the terrorist’s plan.
Pray for the victims of the crash and pray that their families found peace. Honor Flight 93, and look at each name. Never forget wheat these people represent. That is the tough decision of survival. This may have been their only option for survival. So if you find yourself with your backs against the wall, never give up.
I wished the outcome could have been different for Flight 93. They had to make a tough decision. Their efforts will not be forgotten. But their heroism, sacrifice, and altruistic decision will be a learning lesson for my life and something I can pass on to my children. Act collectively, show unity, and never think that you have no options in this world. Regardless of the outcome, live your life well to the very end.
I learned a couple thing about being sunburned, thanks to my mistake of getting sunburned at Ocean City. Funny enough, as painfully and itchy my week has been dealing with a sunburn, it also taught me a little bit about faith. It’s funny how God can take something horrible and make it as a point of encouragement in other aspects of life.
First what I learned is the sun is hot enough to burn the skin even with an application of strong sunscreen. So, always remember to re-apply it, so you don’t have to suffer the agonizing pains of being sunburned. Also, it was really weird though. The only parts that got sunburned are the parts that never were exposed to the sun. So basically, it looks like I have a bright red t-shirt on right now. But my arms and legs and face, and neck that were tanned from going out fishing, never got sunburned. So, it brings me to the second thing I learned.
Thanks to Judy Werner, she made me realize that getting a little tan might have been helpful in order to not get burned. I should have talked to her before I left for Ocean City. Not too sure what the science behind that is, but possibly the tan on the skin allows the skin to get used to the sun, so it doesn’t feel the sun as something traumatic. Or possibly the tan gives the skin a natural sunblock. I really don’t know. But all I know is that the tanned skin never got sunburned, while the parts that stayed covered up from the sun, suddenly exposed to the sun’s rays got burned.
So, this is the metaphor I will use to talk about faith. Number one, always re-apply. Faith isn’t something that you just get, and the world will suddenly all make sense. Learning about God, and how God operates in our world today isn’t something that just happens when we are young and we went to Sunday School, learn Jesus Loves Me song, and other warm fuzzy things about God’s love. We have to keep learning about God, because life is full of situations that can give us headaches and the world is full of complicated issues. Without, understanding the Bible throughout your life, you will feel stress when life’s rollercoaster ride begins. Without, going to church, going to Sunday School, or even joining in on fellowship events, we will feel lost in a complex world. You must always re-apply those things that help you understand faith more, and how every life situation is not just coincidental, but has possible real meaning that can bring you closer to God. Don’t just go to church once a week, don’t stop coming to Sunday School, don’t just come to event now and then, or when it fits in with your crazy life schedule. Do these things as a habit in your life; always re-apply.
Second metaphor is that getting tanned is ok. Life will leave you with bruises, scrapes, cuts, scars, and burns. That doesn’t mean that life is meaningless, pointless, or always full of pain and sorrow. It is true; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We all carry burdens, but we should never think those burdens mean nothing, or that those burdens are going to always weigh you down. Those burdens can make you stronger. Sometimes in life we need to get tanned so that when we really face the heat, we will not be burned by it.
Now that doesn’t mean that we need to go out looking for trouble! Well, we really shouldn’t because sometimes trouble is just looking for us anyways. We don’t have perfect lives, but we should think that in those moment of imperfection will help us in the future during another stressful time. Getting a tan can offer protection for the future.
So, remember, re-apply, and don’t sweat the scrapes and burdens in life. And it is possible that through re-applying knowledge of the Bible, companionship with fellow congregation members, and Sunday worship, will help you not get burned, but just give you a nice tanning, so that future stressful situations will feel less traumatic. God bless you all, I gotta get more aloe, it’s killing me sitting in this office chair.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).