Who am I?



I was born...

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, when my father was doing his graduate school studies at Georgia Tech. Two years after I was born, my family moved to Canada, and there my sister Sarah was born. After moving around in Canada quite a lot, our family settled in a small town called Chatham, which is in Ontario. I don't have much memory of what happened when I was little. After I finished my third grade in Canada, my father got a job in South Korea, which resulted in our whole family moving to Korea. At the time, I knew no Korean, and it was very difficult to adjust to a new culture.


Life in Korea as an elementary and middle school student

When I got to Korea, the size of the classes were so much larger. There were a little over 50 kids in my class jammed into a classroom. The school culture was so different, that everything bascially shocked me a lot. I remember how the teacher would call out kids who were playing around in class, and beat them with a rod in front of the class. Also, the kids were so different than me. They all played these new games I have not seen of, talk of different things, and acted differently. I was always lonely because I was so different.

And then, I went into middle school. Suddenly, I was separated from all the girls (who were, of course, of great interest to me at the time) and there were only boys in my classroom. The teachers got more scary and severe, and it was the norm to get beat with a rod once a day. The schools at the time did not allow students to grow hair longer than an inch or so, and I did not like how I looked with short hair. It was very stressful having to go to middle school in Korea.

However, in grade 8, a turning point in my school life occurred. I was playing soccer with all my classmates against another class, and there happened to be a free kick about 20 yards away. I wanted to take the shot and I was one of the worst kickers in our team. I took the shot and surprisingy the ball jetted as a bullet in the top left corner, leaving all the kids in silent awe. I still don't know how I did it, and I could not do it again in those days, but after that all the kids looked at me differently from that time onward. I started to have a lot of friends and adjust better to the Korean culture.


Back to Canada

Just when I got adjusted enough in Korea and having lots of fun there, although I had classes at school till 10 p.m. from grade 10, my parents decided that it was best for me to go back to Canada. A major reason was that if I continued to stay in Korea, I would have to join the army for 3 years. So I came back to Canada, thinking that I would have no problem adjusting to high school life in North America. Wrong! I quickly found out that I became a different person. I could not understand any of the jokes that people were throwing at me, could not carry a conversation because my interests have changed, and English courses became so difficult.

For those who might be interested in understanding what foreign-born asian students experience in high school, I can tell you, it is really painful and difficult. Whenever someone says something that we don't understand, we pretend that we understand and just laugh. The culture is radically different in how to treat people, the topics of conversation, common interests, etc., that these students feel pain of being different and not being able to associate with others. What I did was try to be like a typical North American student, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not change myself into one of them. I believe this is because my cultural values are already shaped and ingraved into my thoughts, that it was impossible for myself to change.

Anyways, I went to University of Waterloo in September of 2000, and graduated with honors in Actuarial Science and Statistics in May of 2005. I did well in school, but I had a hard time finding a job in the actuarial field. This was because of my lack of confidence and fear toward facing something new, that developed within me while I moved alot and faced many new circumstances in my life, which left many hurts and bitter roots within my heart. Also, I grew up in a very abnormal and distressing family, where I was continually rejected and abused to the point that I lost most of my childhood memory. These family pains caused many deep roots of fear and rejection and rebellion that hampered me from getting a job.


Encounter with God

The time while I was waiting to get a job for a year and a half proved to be very painful, as I found out that my self-esteem lied upon the fact that I did well in school. The fact that i did well in school was my pride and my strength of living my life, and when I could not get a job, I became very unstable. I was very embarassed to meet people, especially I was dreaded to face or talk to my family members, which left me in isolation. I was very unstable to the point that I could not look straight to a person and talk but my head stared toward the feet of others.

Then, by a friend's invitation, I went to a Tuesday Night service by YWAM. Every Tuesday night I would go to this service, because I felt much comfort there. I strayed away from the church about 9 years and I did not know any worship songs. Then, I do not know how and why I decided to, but I joined a discipleship training program in YWAM. I am guessing that one of the compelling reasons was that I could escape this world for a few months and travel overseas through that program.

Even at the YWAM base, I was reluctant to talk to people. I was the only one who was a total novice in faith; everyone had solid faith with much involvment with the church. Every evening, I would go out to a quiet place outside the base, and just sit down and sing some worship songs. I only knew couple of worship songs that I could follow along,and the funny thing is it was so comforting and peaceful.

One night, I decided to stay up the whole night and sit in front of God. I just kept repeating the same song over and over again. And about 3 a.m., while I was singing "How great is our God...", then suddenly I felt someone walking towards me from behind. It was a fearsome force that made me too scared to open my eyes, yet warm and loving. I was too scared to open my eyes and I just continued singing. And the person put his hands on my back and I opened my eyes. The person was gone and I ran back into my residence. I know He was Jesus Christ and I can testify that He really is living, and still goes around searching for those broken hearted and poor spirited people around the earth.


Right now

After spending about two years in mission training, I am aiming to become a missionary. I do not yet know where I am called, but I am studying at the University of Georgia, to obtain a math teacher certificate.


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