Wednesday, September 1

Back to Asia

Cheryl & Kent at the
Diamondbacks game last night
Kent, our #2 son, who has been visiting with us for about two weeks, heads back to Asia tonight.

Kent's next English teaching gig is at the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) which is opening its doors in North Korea this fall.

However, the first stop is Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST) in the Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture in China (Korean speaking region). YUST is the sister institution to PUST -- the model upon which the new school in North Korea is being established. The PUST faculty will have about three weeks of orientation at YUST before moving over to North Korea.

PUST is being started by evangelical Christians from South Korea and the US and will have an international faculty. It is not a "Christian college" -- even though many of the movers and shakers are Christians. The idea is to love on North Korea without a religious agenda and to equip North Koreans for the future. It's the old "teach a man to fish" adage.

Given the amount of negative press that North Korea seems to stir up for itself, we're all amazed that they're allowing (and even encouraging) the emergence of this new university. It's such a hopeful sign for the people of North Korea. It's also an indicator of just how creative and venturesome things can get when you have a bunch of Asian Christians leading the charge. They know how to get things done in that part of the world.

The North Koreans formally approached the leadership of YUST to ask them about the possibility of establishing a school in their country. So they are invested in the idea and need to be given credit for their willingness to seek help from outside.

There is a Wikipedia article about PUST. Also, Dr David Kim, the vice president of the new university, gave a "TechTalk" for Google employees that has been posted online. The school's website is This is all very exciting -- but also very venturesome.

Obviously, this is a sensitive area of the world and we would appreciate your prayers for Kent and all those who will be going there. The leadership of the school is fully aware of the high risk nature of this project. But they are confident of their calling.

After Kent graduated from UC Irvine, where he studied political science, he joined us on Guam and taught English as a second language through PIU, as a volunteer. He then got a contract with the public schools in rural South Korea to teach elementary school students. From there he went to teach English
 at Chinju National University of Education in Jinju, South Korea. So, he has some experience in that part of the world.

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