Campus Director—Douglas College (Vancouver)
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I feel it is impossible for me to describe my ministry apart from my journey with God and how He started His mission and is continuing it in and through my life. So please allow me to introduce my ministry by sharing my story that is located in God’s Story:
Created with Purpose, but…
God created the world. And He created us, human beings, to bear his image and to manage his created world as his co-workers, to foster peace and justice, prosperity and care; shalom. But we have failed Him. We have not only broken shalom of the earth but also rebelled against our creator and claimed the crown of our own created lives.
Growing up in a Christian family in Korea, I have heard and been taught The Creation and The Fall countless times; and also about Jesus. ‘Jesus must be important,’ I thought because out of all the things and people I learned about in church, Jesus was mentioned the most. And because I learned everything taught in the church diligently and attended worship services and gatherings faithfully, I thought I was a good Christian.
Challenges of an International Student
When I went to the United States to study abroad by myself as a 15-year-old boy, I faced many challenges. My English was poor, and so many basic things in life were completely new and foreign to me. There was no one, no parents or relatives, no teachers or peers, who could walk through the basics of life with me step by step. Soon, I started experiencing depression. And when I became a university student, the depression grew worse and worse as other kinds of struggled were added on top of already burdened heart of mine.
Guilt and Shame
Attending a competitive university, I experienced academic failures for the first time in my life. Also, I started hanging out with “wrong” kinds of people, engaging in drinking, smoking, and sexual sins. I had always thought I was a good Christian, but looking at my life, I was deeply disappointed at myself. During my college days, I developed a deep sense of guilt and shame.
Head to Heart
At one point of my college years, the sense of shame in me was so severe that I could not even sleep for days in a row. The accusation in my heart against myself was more than I could bear, so I decided naively that I would start living an authentic life, no longer as a Christian. And when I sheepishly declared it to my pastor, he started to give me the real definition of Christian, an immensely comforting words that I deeply desired from the bottom of my heart; that faith is something that grows and that a righteous person is not someone who never falls but one who stands back up after having fallen. I wept for half an hour. It was a moment when I realized that I needed a savour to rescue me for the first time in my life. And that saviour was the Jesus that I had heard so much about. Jesus became real to me. Looking back, it was the moment when I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord.
God’s Story, my story, and mission
Creation and Fall, it was my story. And now Jesus, He came to save me, to bring me back and restore me into the image of God. God sent-the original meaning of the word mission-Jesus the Son, and together they sent the Holy Spirit. And now God sends His missionary people, the church, who are in Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit, into the world to participate in the on-going work of His mission; the restoration of all creation into shalom.
Every Christian is a missionary because he or she is sent by God, is on mission in his or her own context with the purpose of restoring all areas of life and creation into shalom that God had intended in the beginning of his creation; fostering peace and justice, prosperity and care, worship and love. And having been an international student for 18 years, I could not help but realize that the context into which God has called me as I join Him in His mission is serving and loving international students.
Douglas College FOCUS Club
I serve international students at Douglas College FOCUS Club (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dsufocusclub/) in New Westminster, BC, Canada as the campus director. I try to follow and serve God as He calls students into Himself and encounters them. It is always one of my greatest joys to see God’s work being done in students. At Douglas College FOCUS Club, we share God’s love to international students by providing delicious home-cooked meals (through partner churches) and by introducing the gospel of Jesus Christ through video series such as Alpha. And as God leads, we connect interested students to local churches.
The Whole Gospel
Yet, we do not stop there. Joining God in restoring all aspects of the lives of international students include much more than feeding, telling one part of the gospel, and bringing them to churches. It includes creating safe and loving community where they can belong, helping them with their challenges of settling into their life in Canada, empowering them by teaching English and by giving opportunities to maximize their potential, supporting their mental health, and more! I would like to learn from others many different and tangible ways in which we can serve and love international students. Would you join me in joining God in his mission for international students?
The Future, a dream
God has put in my heart a dream of starting an ESL school and doing it in the spirit of Business As Mission. I am currently taking Teaching English as a Second Language program at UBC, and doing my practicum at Douglas College. Some ESL students in the class in which I am doing practicum come to FOCUS Club. After gaining some experience as an ESL teacher, I would like to start an ESL school and provide a quality English service to international students. Also, God willing, I dream that I could expand the business into housing services, counselling services, and other areas of life in Canada that international students need help with. I hope that the school can be the light and the salt in the field of ESL school business by existing truly for international students rather than taking advantage of them or exploiting them as many do.
New Heaven and New Earth, All Nations
The last part of the grand story of God’s redemption is the new heavens and the new earth in which people of all nations commune with God and with each other forever in shalom. That is the ultimate vision of all ministry. I believe that is the vision of ISMC. And that is also the vision of my ministry. (I live in an intentional community house for international students, called RISEN House: http://www.facebook.com/RISENHouse)
Come, Lord Jesus! Glory to God!