What led you to Wesminster?
My family emigrated from Korea to the USA in June 1980 when I was 15 years old. An introverted and sensitive teenager, I struggled tremendously to cope with harsh realities surrounding my life, especially overcoming language and cultural barriers, going through the teenage years in a foreign land, and coping with my father’s unexpected death in April 1982. In the midst of utter confusion and brokenness, I became a born-again Christian in the summer of 1982. Since my teenager years, I longed to find out what God wanted to do with my life. I majored in religion and minored in philosophy at Boston University. After college I worked in Los Angeles, CA as a social service worker and community organizer, serving immigrants, refugees, and economically and mentally challenged persons. However, I realized that my social service only alleviated temporary sufferings of those I worked with/for; it did not address issues of the eternal. Then, as I prayed and fasted for my future at a retreat center, God called me into His ministry.
I chose to attend Westminster Seminary California because of its academic reputation and Reformed teaching. In July 1996, one month before I began my program at WSC, I attended the 3rd Korean World Mission Conference (KWMC) held on the Wheaton College campus. On the last night of the conference, with tears flowing down my cheeks, I knelt on the hardwood floor of Edman Chapel and made a commitment to become a missionary if that was God’s plan for my future. During my time at WSC, I prayed and searched for a mission field.
Twelve years later, I returned to Wheaton College to attend the 6th KWMC, this time as a Billy Graham Center (BGC) staff member. As I write these words from my office on the third floor of the BGC building on the Wheaton College campus, I am amazed by how the Lord has trained and stretched me beyond my wildest dreams over the last 15 years to make me a missionary to all the people groups (ethne) in North America.
Since July 2008, I have been serving with Billy Graham Center as director of Ethnic Ministries while overseeing Ethnic America Network (EAN) as its director. I am a support-raising missionary, which means I do not receive a salary from either BGC or EAN.
EAN is a catalytic coalition of over 70 evangelical denominations, mission agencies, academic institutions, and churches. EAN is the largest multi-ethnic ministry coalition in North America, at least in evangelical circles. EAN’s vision is to glorify God by encouraging and equipping ministries and churches of all cultures for cross-cultural advancement of the Gospel and intercultural unity in Jesus Christ.
One highlight of my ministry in the last three years has been my involvement in the Global Lausanne Movement. Approximately 4,200 evangelical leaders (400 from the USA) from 198 countries gathered for the Third Lausanne Congress, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2010. It was the most globally represented Christian gathering in history. I served as one of the 40 U.S. Advisory Committee members.
What particular truths or experiences that you gained from WSC do you find most important and valuable now? What, in hindsight, do you appreciate most from the time you spent at WSC?
When I reminisce about my WSC years, the number one lesson that I remember the most from my brilliant and caring professors is this: preach and teach Christ from the Bible! I have not forgotten that Christ-centered focus in my ministries. For the Christocentric emphasis and teaching, I am ever grateful to WSC. One fond memory I have of WSC took place in a preaching class in 1998. To demonstrate the importance of pacing oneself during preaching, Dr. Edmund P. Clowney, 81 years old back then, got on his belly on the classroom floor, and proceeded to “swim” with his arms and legs! Dr. Clowney, among several WSC professors, passionately taught me never to make compromises on the supremacy, centrality, and uniqueness of Jesus Christ as our only Savior and Lord (Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:12).
I am continually convicted of our need to share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ with those around us: our unbelieving friends, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, immigrants, migrant laborers, international students, “strangers among us,” etc. A popular quote we Billy Graham Center staff use frequently to remind ourselves of the importance of evangelism is from Scottish theologian James Denney (1856-1917): “If evangelists were our theologians or theologians our evangelists, we should be nearer the ideal.”