I was born in Korea into a Shamanistic Buddhist family. I grew up in a poor family surrounded by alcoholism, daily fighting, and verbal abuse. I felt insecure and needed a place to escape where I could feel loved. By the grace of God, I started going to church by myself at the age of seven. I even went there every day after school to play. However, although I had been actively involved in church, I did not personally meet Jesus until my senior year in college.
When I reflect on my past, John 10: 10 explains my life very well: “The thief comes only to steal and destroy: I have come that they may have life and, and have it to the full.” (NIV). Although many painful experiences could have consumed my life with darkness and despair, our Lord has sustained me and even given abundant life. How grateful I am!
I’d like to share my spiritual journey briefly here. From the inception, my life was not smooth. I was an unwanted baby born premature at home. The first words spoken over me by my female relatives were “Let her die.” They thought that I would eventually die because of my condition. I also experienced many traumatic accidents. For example, I was almost drowned at age six. I also grew up hearing daily curses regarding my future at home. Because of unmet needs at home, I sought the place that provided shelter. I was lucky to find church as my refuge.
Although I was saved, I had lots of emotional wounds that hindered the beginning of my rough spiritual journey. My old lifestyle and way of thinking still controlled my decisions and I made many mistakes in my life. I was still a frustrated and depressive person. I even tried to commit suicide in the pit of distress. Twenty years after, I regained my identity in Christ. It was a long, but fruitful process. I gradually began to enjoy the promises in the Bible. I became a different person (1Cor 15: 10a, By the Grace of God I am what I am, NIV). I am so grateful and pray that you also meet Jesus.
When I came to America about 30 years ago, little did I know I would be a professor in this foreign country. I was not well prepared to study in America. But our merciful God helped me whenever needed (2 Cor 12:9). Although I am a tenured professor, I still struggle with feeling inadequate. I wondered why God provided me such a successful teaching career in spite of my lack and weakness. Since I started teaching, I made a consistent effort to pray for all my students. However, because of fear and feeling in inadequate, I was very passive about sharing Jesus. Recently, God has been showing me that He really desires that I boldly share the Gospel.
God is so good to everyone who seeks him! I pray that you also have a relationship with him. He will never fail you. Salvation is an invaluable gift that we cannot imagine. Do you feel lost? Do you need help? Come to Jesus Christ.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
Best advice I ever received
Live and enjoy the “present” every day. You cannot change your past. Don’t waste time worrying about an unknown future.
My undergrad alma mater
Seoul National University
My worst subject in school
Celebration of Discipline (by Richard Foster)
literally any regular hot coffee – in particular, Starbucks and Peets
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