Monday, December 19, 2011

Farewell Fall 2011 Nomads

I am sure all of you know by now that I have spent nearly three years working for the non-profit organization, LiNK|Liberty in North Korea. More specifically, I have spent the last 18 months on staff as a Regional Manager, where I work alongside another RM in managing all the Nomads (traveling representatives for LiNK) and booking our tours. I have had the honor of working alongside the most amazing people I have ever met, and have seen Nomads be stretched, grown and completely changed, for the better. I can't think of a more rewarding job, and it's going to be hard leaving LiNK behind, come this Thursday. 

On Sunday, we had a farewell dinner for all of our Fall 2011 Nomads and Interns. It was such a beautiful time to gather together and reflect on this past semester. History was also made last night. While we were all gathered together in one room, we got news that Kim Jong-il passed away. It was a crazy moment, in which I don't think any of us will ever forget. [I'll definitely be blogging about KJI's death in my next blog...]

This was my third farewell dinner, and they're always pretty emotional for me. This one was especially emotional for me. Not only was I saying goodbye to a group of individuals who have radically impacted my life, I was saying goodbye to this season of my life as well. With that being said, I had a strong feeling that I would get emotional when speaking to the Nomads, so I planned ahead and wrote out what I was going to say. I wanted to share it on my blog so that you guys can have a glimpse into what these amazing individuals sacrifice just to do what they believe in. I hope you can be inspired by them, and maybe, just maybe it will challenge you to think about what you're passionate about as well.

To all of the individuals I've had the pleasure of working alongside these last few years, this is for you. May you never forget what you've done for LiNK, this cause and especially for the North Korean people. Be blessed, and keep fighting, always keep fighting.


“I hope that you all love where you work, and love what you do. For me, this is my 15th job, and so far it's the only one that has truly mattered to my heart. Figuring out what you're passionate about, and then finding a job that allows you to pursue that passion, is one of the biggest gifts in life. If you don't have that yet, don't stop searching for it; don't compromise. If you do have this, don't let it get old; don't take it for granted. What you're passionate about is what defines your "good fight" - this is what life is truly about.” [Taken from a blog entry I wrote several weeks ago as I was reflecting on my time ending with LiNK...]

I look around this room and I see the faces of individuals who have loved selflessly and sacrificed greatly. You each put your lives on hold to dive into an experience that did not promise to be easy, or comfortable. You signed up for a semester of unknown outcomes, the open road and a season of constantly being placed outside of what you’ve always known to be home. Each of you fought for something that you believed in, and that is what pushed you through the moments where you wanted to give up. 
Don’t forget that.
The world is full of people that will try and tell you what they think you should and shouldn’t do. They’ll tell you you’re crazy, illogical and outright stupid for fighting for what you’re passionate about. 
Don’t let them.
And, sometimes you yourself will be your own worst critic and enemy. You might make a few mistakes, hit a couple of bumps along the way of trying to fight for what you love. In those moments of what you see as failures, know that they are simply just moments of growth & experience. You have not failed.
Don’t let yourself fall victim of your own insecurities. You are a work in progress, and that is a beautiful thing.
My hope for all of you is that you never live a satisfied life. Because once you are satisfied, you stop trying; you sit still & and you stop thinking about how you can love better and serve more. Instead, I hope that you have monumental moments in life, like the one you just experienced, and allow those moments to push you to be even stronger & more loving towards others. 
No matter where this next season of life takes you, I hope that you continue fighting. Fight for what you believe in, and fight for what you’re passionate about. This life is short, and the time is now. Don’t wait to pursue your passions for when you get a degree, or find that career job. Do it now. Everyday is an opportunity to love selflessly and live passionately. Not only in the big things, but the small ones too.
Each of you have taught me something, and have forever impacted my life. Thank you for being a part of my story with LiNK, and thank you for reminding me that even beyond this chapter of my life, I can and will continue to pursue love and passion as my “good fight”.
I hope that if you have not found what your “good fight” is, that you never stop trying to find it. Your life is a gift, and you have the privilege to live it - don’t lose sight of that. After you leave here, continue to use your life as a means to make this world a better place. Remember what you’ve experienced, and don’t ever let anyone minimize all that you’ve done, not even yourself.
Keep Fighting the Good Fight. 
It will be a struggle, but friends, it is a good fight. 

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