In the spring of 1988, God used South Korea to transform my view of others. A missionary friend had convinced me to accompany him on a trip to his country of birth to see how churches were reaching out to the lost with evangelistic films that we helped produce.
As a young father in my twenties, I lived in comfortable ignorance about foreign cultures. That naiveté soon suffered blow after blow. In a taxi, my eyes stung when we passed through a major intersection just after a mob of angry students had been dispersed with tear gas. On an overnight train, a soldier suddenly vomited his beer on my legs and feet. On a busy sidewalk I was propositioned by a girl who was barely a teen. And I met with pastors and ministry leaders to whom all of this was normal.
Then my friend took me through rice paddies to a village near the demilitarized zone that adjoins communist North Korea. I met a destitute woman whose legs were paralyzed. She had to drag herself across the dirt floor of her shanty with her arms. Yet this godly woman was filled with joy. She was thankful for her mobility and “running water”—a hand-powered well pump.
So it was with frayed emotions that I reached my final stop at the end of the week: a Christian adoption agency. My friend had pulled a few strings and arranged for me to escort two infants to the USA. This week as I proofed “Are We Really That Different?” (page 64), our story about adoption, DNA, and family, I relived the experience of caring for those two tiny babies.
What I witnessed when I arrived back home in the San Francisco airport, 14 sleepless hours later, was an excited couple embracing one of the children, a little girl for whom they had prayed for years. Her birth mother had chosen to give her life, and even though she could not raise her personally, she was willing to give her the opportunity of growing up in a loving family.
There was no DNA test that day to prove it, but this emotionally ragged escort could attest that those three humans from two different countries were not really that different. One was cooing, and two were laughing in joy-filled awe. All three were recipients of unmerited blessing from our Heavenly Father. So was I.