5 Clever ways Koreans ask if you know Jesus Christ

Photo credits: [HERE]
Let’s face it, any non-Christian foreigner living in Korea will have picked up the bible, read a few sentences and made a shit load of misinterpretations of it at some point of their prolonged stay. They could have done so out of pure curiosity but for most individuals, including this blogger, it’s an involuntary affair. Some people go on to like what they read and some end up being very bored indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong; I do have a lot of close individuals who are devout Christians. I have spent time with their families, gone to church and celebrated Christmas and Chusak together. That’s all well and good.

However, the once being stated here are the weird guys who follow you around the street asking if you know Jesus Christ. But since foreigners are not stupid and guess where that’s all heading to, these “messengers of God” sent from God and no one but the God himself have devised clever ways to stay one step ahead of the game. And they are really good at it.

The “Element of Surprise”

Often when you see some stranger smiling at you for no apparent reason and coming straight at you, you know what to expect. While most Koreans shy away without ever making an eye contact, these guys are just the opposite. They approach you with such swagger that it’s really hard to ignore them and walk away.

Usually these guys are fluent in English. They are well trained to what to say and how to say it. This is quite the most direct approach they can take but sometimes they bring out the element of surprise to spice things a bit.

This one time, while I was minding my own business, a twosome came and started saying something in Korean. Since the word Jesus was apparent, I politely interrupted them and said that I couldn’t speak a word of Korean at all. I thought that would do the job but instead I got “Oh great! We were hoping you would say that! Now where were we?”

And that was not the last time. Next time someone started to come near and preach about the almighty, I just acted plain dumb and used some sign language to ask him if he can use that language instead. Works like a charm.

The “Thesis”

“Excuse me? Can you help me with this experiment?”
“Oh sure. What’s it about?”

“My graduate thesis. You see, I need some foreigners. Would you please mind helping?”
“Great.. What can I do?”
“Lets sit down for a while, shall we?”

Its only after a while that you realize you have just done yourself no favors by reading out the first line of the bible from a printed A4 paper.

The “Dropping the bomb”

Freshman year in Korea, especially the first semester, was as confusing and problematic as it could possibly get. In one of the community based programs I attended, I met this women who took a liking of me and we started talking. She said she finished her Master’s in the US and so forth, understood how it felt to be in another country studying in a language you don’t get shit.

So she started inviting over for dinners where she would be this really good listener and give these advice on to solve the issues at stake. It was all going smooth at this point and she asks me if I could meet her once a week. I had nothing better to do so I said yes.

It was perhaps in the third week that she dropped the bomb.
“I want you to read the bible with me”

“I said, I want you to read the bible with me”

“I am sorry but I can’t”

“After all I have done for you?”
“Come one, give it a try,” she adds, “If you like it you can continue, if not you can just drop it”
Classic you have a choice but you don’t have a choice situation.

But she did have a point. She had been very helpful for the past month or so and I just couldn’t say no. So I said yes.

“Call me sister. I will call you brother”

After three weeks of intensive bible misinterpretations which included she telling me that the bible time and our time scale were different (which made everything else messy and even more confusing), I dropped the bomb on her. But not in person.
“I can’t do this”

“You can’t quit now”

A plethora of useless discussions followed which ended by her telling me to never see her again, to which I gladly complied.

The “Knock on the door”

When people come knocking at your door asking if you have time to discuss issues that need to be discussed immediately, it’s hard to say no. Especially when you come from a culture where you respect people who come in front of your doorstep asking for something.

But cultures change and I have grown accustomed to asking people to come the next day for the next 30 days.

The “Are you HAPPY?”

One of the most difficult questions people ask themselves is the question of happiness. It’s not something quantifiable but some individuals who call themselves messengers of god have found a way to somehow rate them on a scale of 10.

“8” I wrote on the survey paper they had just provided me and after giving a answers to quite a number of questions, I handed them the paper back.
“Wow excellent. You seem to be content. Now what do you think you should do to make it 10?”

“I really don’t know. Maybe Arsenal needs to win a cup (they hadn’t at that point)”

“Don’t be silly, come one, give me something”

“Don’t know”

“Maybe, just maybe reading the bible might help”

I pretended to get a phone call, excused myself and off I ran. I was later sharing this story to a friend of mine, who also had a similar story to share. But instead of 8, he wrote down 10/10 under the heading “Happy”

“Wow, 10! That’s perfect, would you mind sharing your story with our church members on how to become as happy as you. They would love you!”

There you go again. 


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