Tonight, a friend who's serving as a Mission Partner in Korea as a chaplain with Hanshin University in Seoul, returned with some students as part of a "mission trip". The group led a worship service in Mandaumin, a village on the outskirts of Sarnia, where he had served as a minister.
The worship outlined some of the country's painful history and the ongoing struggle for justice among a separated people. We sang Korean hymns and marvelled at the bravery of the students to present a drama in English, a very foreign tongue.
During the reception that followed, no fewer than 3 different people approached me with comments like "You've come a long way" or "You must be tired" or "Thank you" suggesting that they assumed I was one of the students. *Sigh*, I guess I wasn't surprised that happened. Disappointed, certainly. Did they not realize the only Asian guy with a shaved head was sitting in the pews and not leading up front?
I began to wonder if I should have collared up for the occasion or at least, put on my Lambton Presbytery nametag. My attempts to speak clearly and loudly about coming from Arkona, were for naught, because someone else wondered if I joined their troupe for tonight only. (At least I didn't get the ol' "your English is so good!").
I did not, however, think it helpful to declare my Japanese heritage, given that empire had oppressed Korea for 35 years until World War II.