Prerna Balasundaram and group of young adults

“A Three Hair Ties Kind of Summer: Thinking about South Korea”

By the time this fall came around, I realized that I had been wearing three hair ties on my wrist all summer long. Now due to my mother’s genes, I have a lot of heavy black hair that cannot be contained with one or even two hairs ties. Honestly, I am very thankful for my mother’s hair genes but this does mean that in the summer heat, I must always have three hair ties on hand to tie up my hair if need be.

Clearly, the number three was the theme of the summer, as I also spent three weeks in South Korea in July/August attending a Women’s Leadership Seminar conducted by Korean UMW. They were three life-changing weeks. Looking back on this summer, yes I see three hair ties on my wrist, but I also see three of God’s most beautiful treasures evident through three weeks of living in South Korea: I see faith, hope, and love: and the greatest of these—love.

Faith was the first step in my adventure. I’ve traveled out of the country but I was so nervous before traveling to Seoul. I think my journey began purely on a God-given faith; faith that He has complete control. And this faith is what caused me to eventually find myself comfortable in the Korean UMW building in Seoul meeting about thirty other women from all around the world in mid-July.

You’ve probably heard this saying: take a step of faith. When it comes to missions, I would amend that to: take your first step in faith. Make sure that your first step is one that is covered with a confidence that comes from knowing that God will be the foundation beneath every step to come.

Prerna Balasundaram at the UMW seminar

The first half of the Women’s Leadership Seminar focused on peace and conflict resolution. However, before we could discuss peace, we had to discuss cases of conflict around the world through history. At the end of one particularly difficult day, I thought to myself, it’s great that we are becoming more aware about all these horrific situations, but what can we do to change the very ugliness of human nature?

I’ve come to realize that we cannot change the ugliness of human nature in every single person on this Earth; what we can do, however, is spread the Love of Jesus Christ, and through that, create communities that are free of conflict and full of peace.

Ultimately, by the end of my time at the Women’s Leadership Seminar, I found that there was no treasure more precious than the one of Love. For the last week of the seminar, we were asked to be teachers at an English VBS in the countryside. I absolutely love kids but the language barrier (they spoke very little English), the long days, and the general tiredness I felt made it quite easy for me to forget to share love at times.

Prerna Balasundaram and Korean youthBut those last few days reminded me to be like those children; have the pure heart of those children; love openly and unashamedly like those children.

As you go about your day after reading a few of my thoughts, I leave with you a mission. It’s a mission of Love. It is so easy to hate, but not even for a moment, let us not forget that the greatest thing of all is to Love.

By Prerna Balasundaram