Friday, February 24, 2012

Beauty & the Beast: Answered Prayer (Chapter 3)

KIM UPDATE: I'm sitting in Kim's room at U of Chicago and she's getting a methotrexate injection via spinal tap (like an epidural) any minute now. This is the first time she's getting it and she needs to lie perfectly still for 4 hours to avoid getting severe headaches. This is not a fun one. That said, she's been taking the Rituxan since last night and doing great. Thank you Lord! Please continue to pray with us. Thank you!

As most of you know by now, by the grace of God, Andrew Park is, at the moment, CANCER FREE! This is a minor miracle in itself and surprised even the world-class oncologists involved. (See Joe's blog HERE to get the latest update and prayer requests.) He will continue to undergo chemo to keep the cancer at bay and in the meantime he and his family are  nowdesperately looking for a bone marrow match. If you are in the Chicagoland area please note that there will be a drive at Canaan Presbyterian Church (1424 Greenwood Ave, Glenview, IL) this Sunday, Feb 26th from 6-8pm and another at Univ of Illinois Circle Campus (UIC) on the First Floor of Student Center East outside of the bookstore at 750 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL on Tues and Wed, March 6 & 7 from 9am-4pm. (UIC students please get the word out!).

I heard yesterday that Open Door Presbyterian Church in D.C. area had a great drive recently with over 250 new registrants and New Song Church (David Gibbons) in the L.A. area is running a drive this Sunday at their church as well (please spread the word if you're in LA).  If you are not near any of these locations please go to to get your own easy kit (totally free). It takes 10 minutes to join the registry and 5 minutes to swab your cheeks when you get the kit. Literally 15 minutes to potentially save a life! Please do this ASAP! A colleague of mine at GE sent me a long email yesterday on a number of initiatives GE is running with including raising awareness and running local drives on a national level with the first there being held in the Chicagoland area (between March 20-22). It's breathtaking to see things happening so quickly literally from coast to coast! Our good God is hearing the prayers of His children!! Kim and I finally had the privilege of meeting Connor and his parents (Steve & Steph) in person at their home last week and I know they are so thankful for all our prayers and efforts. We WILL find a match for Andrew and Connor and many others through these efforts - I KNOW IT! Please continue to pray in faith.
It's Friday! Which means another chapter of our modern-day “Romeo & Juliet” epic. If you're joining in late - go HERE. Well, before I go on, I feel obligated to show you something...

BEAUTY & THE BEAST: An Answered Prayer (Chapter 3)
The picture posted to the left is of me and my cousin (Jared Park). We are 9 years old. As you can see my mom bought us matching striped shirts when she visited Seoul, Korea that summer, and thought it would be cute if we wore them together and hugged. Yes. How cute indeed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, Peter was really a good-looking 9 year old! And a real trend-setter for fashion! How did he know wearing tight clothes on an emaciated frame, combined with a Justin Bieber haircut and Harry Potter glasses would be so cool? And decades before its current explosion in American pop culture?”
Yes, you have a great point…but let’s be honest here…I’m a geek-boy in a Korean polyester bowling shirt, with over-sized glasses and a gummy smile.
I’m not showing you this picture because it’s something I’m proud of. I’m only showing this to you because I want you to see first-hand the power of prayer and the mighty God we serve. With those looks, how could I have won the heart of the most desired woman on the U of Illinois campus circa 1994-1998? One word…PRAYER. And that’s what this chapter is about….an answered prayer.
 …the saga continues.
My sister Lydia's statement “You need someone like Kim.” continued to ring in my ears - much like a pesky mosquito incessantly buzzing around your ear when you’re trying to fall asleep. And so for a time I hid it within the deep recesses of my heart. Much like Mary hid Jesus’ teachings and “treasured…and pondered them in her heart”. Yeah, just like that - but maybe not quite that same level of purity. Point being, I never told a soul that I was even remotely thinking about her – not even my sister.
So by now, two years have passed since the Tom Cruise scooter incident, and it’s October of 1996, my super-senior year (don’t judge me for staying 5 years). The fact was, I really didn’t know much about Kim at all, other than the few times I ran into her and the nice things my sister shared about her. And sadly, at this point I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to find that special someone in college. But strangely, I felt like I shouldn’t close every door – there was a glimmer of hope. I remember one night while studying in my dorm room, I started thinking about Kim and I remember praying this simple prayer:
“Lord, I really don’t know this girl, but if it’s Your will – please give me an opportunity to get to know her.”  
We didn’t live in the same dorm. We had no classes together. We didn’t even go to the same church. And worst of all, I was graduating that coming spring.  I had no idea how God was going to answer that prayer, but in faith I prayed it anyways. And I kid you not. Within 5 minutes of uttering that exact prayer I get the most incredible phone call in my entire life. It’s Papa John’s and my ham and pineapple pizza is downstairs. But then, not 5 minutes after that, I get another call, it’s my sister Lydia and she tells me Bernie Shim, Kim’s cousin, wants to teach some people how to ballroom dance and so he’s asking some other brother/sisters if they want to learn. Apparently, there were like four other brother/sister pairs that he had asked and Kim, was going to be his partner and help him teach.

Wow. I don’t ever remember receiving such an immediate and blatant answer to prayer. I think that’s the one thing that kept me going when things got rough. Papa John’s pizza…nah…just kidding…that answered prayer. I always felt like ultimately God had a will in this and that small answered prayer was just enough to help me step out in faith.

Okay, enough of the sappy stuff - I’ll skip to the exciting part - our first ballroom dance lesson. The night of the first lesson quickly arrives, and I’m more nervous than a stray dog who has accidentally wandered into a Korean butcher shop. To top it all off, like all princesses going to the ball, I have no idea what I’m going to wear. So I ask myself, “Self, what would Rico Suave wear?” And then in my mind’s ear I could hear Rico’s unmistakable voice:
“Pedro, nothing impresses the moochacha’s like a well-designed, color-coordinated outfit. Now vamoose and capture the woman of your dreams!!”
I smiled and nodded my head in agreement. How could I be so stupid? In this type of occasion there is only one thing I can wear. I take a deep breath, walk over to my dorm room closet and slowly and carefully pull out my most well-designed, color-coordinated outfit: my navy blue “Champion” nylon warm-up suit. This moment had “Champion” written all over it.
So after putting on my "game-suit" and my "game-face" I get to the stage at Lincoln Hall and there are four other couples there and Bernie is about to teach us how to waltz. Now, despite having the lean muscular body type of a jaguar and the nimble agility of a gazelle – the truth is when it comes to dancing – I have all the sophisticated grace of a drunken elephant. All three of my sisters were pom captains in high school and I probably could have been the first male to make the pom team on the basis of my sister’s reputations alone – but seriously don’t ask what happened to me. When God created me he left out the “dance” gene and replaced it with the “clap and jump” gene. The truth is, unless there’s a predictable techno beat (e.g. Night at the Roxbury) when I’m dancing – I’m more lost than a Mandarin Chinese person trying to learn Cantonese. Dang near impossible!
I digress – back to the dancing class.  Bernie and Kim demonstrate the first few basic moves and suddenly, I’m beginning to wonder if this was truly an answer to prayer…or a lesson in humility. I am trying to “ballroom dance” – in the most liberal sense of the word, but my warm-up suit coupled with my nervousness is causing me to sweat profusely. And then Bernie, suggests that we all switch partners to enhance our learning. *Gasp* I didn’t know we were going to switch...I would have opted for my nicer Russell Athletic warm-up suit! My heart begins to race. Kim is only two rotations away. Again, we dance. Stop. Rotate. Oh boy, here comes my moment of truth. Dance. Stop. Rotate. And there she is – my “answered prayer”. I’m literally shaking. But then it happened. I don’t know how to explain it. Our eyes met and as soon as Kim’s delicate left hand touched my broad and muscular shoulder – everything clicks for me, a thousand light bulbs go off, the room is spinning and I am suddenly gliding across the moonlit floor, moving effortlessly and elegantly with a confident purpose, seemingly at one with the enchanting music, everyone else has disappeared…except her…a vision of beauty appearing as an angel floating in the air in perfect unison with me…as if our hearts, mind, body and soul had coalesced in that one magical moment in time. At least that’s how I remember it.
Kim might tell you I looked nervous, my hands were clammy, my warm-ups were loud and I stepped on her feet a lot. But don’t believe her for a second. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
For single women:
  • Be open to being friends with guys. Nothing wrong with friendships - especially in group settings. Just don’t try to learn how to ballroom dance with guys that dance like “drunken elephants”. 
  • It’s never too early to pray for your future spouse…conversely, it’s also never too early to pray that God will make “that heebie guy” stop praying for a relationship with you.
For single men:
  • Learn how to ballroom dance. Girls love sleek jaguars NOT drunken elephants.
  • It’s never too early to pray for your future spouse…and the occasional Papa John’s ham and pineapple pizza
In His Grace,
Peter & Kim


  1. Awesome. Praise God for Papa John's pizza... and the other stuff too.

  2. Kim, praying for this round.

    Lord, thank you that Andrew's cancer free.

    Peter, you're hysterical. LOL!!!

  3. Hilarious! God is amazing and so funny sometimes. Reminds me of the mike d and jess story... Hee hee. Very heebie...

  4. Peter, I hope you aren't reading Beauty & Beast writings to Kim as she is trying to stay still for 4 hours!! Your writings crack me up! Kim, hope your morning went smoothly! Praying for you both.

  5. Pineapple and ham pizza is the best!

  6. Peter, I think you could actually make a living as a writer! Your stories can be funny, meaningful, informative, and more. I'll be continuing to pray...and impatiently waiting for the next installment of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite Disney fairy tale, by the way).

  7. Peter,

    I am very happy that you gave props to my mother tongue, Cantonese. Mainlanders ain't got nothing on us. And you are so right when they try to make the switch, they sound like FOB learning English for the first time.

  8. LOL. I appreciate these stories. Laughter is indeed good for the soul.