Every Life is a Journey: Here's a Bit of Mine

Every Life is a Journey: Here's a Bit of Mine

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A New Position as the Youth Minister of Joyful Community Church

Sometimes people ask me how I came to be at Joyful. Someone asked just a few days ago, and I thought a more proper response than a few sentences would be better for him and for others who have wondered the same thing.

Dr. Jim Rudisill is a man that I met through my dad. He ministers to the homeless, as I documented with a partner in this short film. How Jim & I met was that Jim told my dad that part of his ministry to the homeless included overnight stays with the homeless. My dad said that Jim was the first person that he had ever met besides me who had ministered to the homeless in that way. As you can see from this picture, when I did it, I dressed the part:

With that unusual form of ministry in common (that I don't advise for most, I might add, due to the danger inherent, despite the fact that I don't regret it, grew through it, saw God moving through it, saw others grow through it, & discerned a clear call to it), my dad thought to connect us. If you think such an action by anyone to be wrong or foolish, as some have told me, I invite you to read my blog post on that very issue, "I AM HOMELESS: Introducing a Culturally Proposterous Notion When Executed in a Voluntary Fashion"

Since we've connected, we've done homeless ministry locally together in addition to plenty of other things. He & Mary are such a joy to be around.

Jim got connected to Joyful Community Church because of a homeless Korean woman who didn't speak much English who lived on a boat. Jim tried to help her, and asked if Joyful might be able to help. Joyful's pastor, Pastor Cho, and some ladies came and blessed that woman, welcoming them into the community and helping with some of her needs. The response was very different than most churches in their concern for the homeless, and Jim thought it would be good to develop a relationship with Joyful.

One day, Jim invited me to have lunch with Joyful after my church at the time had finished the service. There I met Pastor Cho, who told me about the need for a youth minister. There I also got to hear about the heart of the people and of Pastor Cho. On another occasion when I was spending time with Jim after that lunch, I asked Jim, who has a PHD from a seminary, a masters from Regent, has taught the Bible extensively, and is an ordained minister, if he might like to be a youth minister. He did not feel called to it.

I felt called to missions before I was 5. God has given me the privilege of actively serving on the mission field since then. While the call on my life remains, right now I feel led to be in the US in order to build the funds for most of future missions work and also build the assets to support a family. While in the US, it seems only natural that God would lead me to a cross-cultural church where most of the people were born in another nation, bringing the mission field home, even though I know that much of South Korea is Christian. One aspect of being in a cross cultural context, whether at home or abroad, whether with the homeless or with the Koreans at Joyful Community Church, is that when you immerse yourself in a different culture, it is not only a unique opportunity to minister to people, but a unique opportunity to learn & grow as you allow God to use a different context and people with a different frame of reference to help shape your own. I know of no pastor on the planet that is more humble than Pastor Cho. If that was the only thing I ever learned from my time at Joyful, it would absolutely be worth it from the learning side of things. I have a long way to go to be like Pastor Cho, so prayers in that regard would be greatly appreciated! From the ministry side of things, Pastor Cho told me about the need for a youth minister, as they hadn't had one in years. I have had ministry experience including ministry to children since I was 11 on my first mission trip with a missionary friend of my dad's to 4 nations in South East Asia.

I also have a degree in Christian Education and minor in Bible from Wheaton College, and at the time that Pastor Cho told me about the need, I was just under half-way through my MDiv at Regent University.

I asked Pastor Cho about the job and submitted my resume. Sometime later, he asked me to preach one Sunday. Pastor Cho & the elders saw me preach on the day of Pentacost in 2014, and the next Sunday, I was a minister at Joyful, where I've been ever since.

It has been such a blessing to spend time with the church ever since! I love the community!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

El Salvador Mission Trip 2014: Blog 1 - Unforeseen Costs, Disappoints, and Future Dreams

5 8 The trip is getting close and I am so excited!!! I praise God for what I know He's going to do, and am readily awaiting the unexpected blessings as well! I discovered at the last minute that we had not budgeted in and planned in Maria Fernandez, who will be joining us in El Salvador. She found me online after helping with Orphan Helpers in the past. She regularly attended the "Hungry" Bible study that I hosted in person and online via webcam through Google Hangouts. By not budgeting her in, it caused over 300$ in unforeseen additional expenses. A generous long-time supporter provided this entire expense. He has been such a blessing to my life and ministry in the many years that I've known him. I also remembered that there would be a baggage fee, and asked another supporter who had pledged money to give 100$. He did so. It is so wonderful to have people who have supported me in the past who I can count on. Though I was only able to raise pledges for around half of what I needed to go to the Harvest School of Missions in Africa for a few months in the summer, prohibiting me from going unless I had accepted my parents' willingness to cover the rest (which I determined was not a sustainable approach to long term missions), it was a tremendous blessing that friends and family gave me enough money in addition to those African pledges to go to El Salvador. Even if I could only go on one mission trip in my life, it would all be worth it. God has blessed me so much with the privilege of going on more. I believe this was the 6th team that I led on a mission trip with Orphan Helpers out of over a dozen total trips with Orphan Helpers. Missions has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.
Even before Orphan Helpers existed, I loved missions, wanting to be a missionary since I was four and a half, feeling called to be one. By the grace of God, I went on my first trip to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Nepal when I was 11 with a missionary friend of my dad's Tim Blanarik, based out of Singapore.
While I know that full time missions isn't ahead of me in the near future, since the inability to go for just a summer due to funding is indicative of the fact that I can't do it longer term either right now, short term missions is an absolute blessing in the meantime. It is also a blessing to know that I live in a country where there is so much more opportunity for me to make money to help supplement support raising. The number one reason why missionaries never reach the field is costs, but I have been given the resources to work, and hope to do that for decades so that I can build up the assets where passive income could supplement support raising in the future. I am and will be forever grateful for those who have supported me in the past, since my first mission trip, for those who support me today, and for those who will support me in the future. With their help, I won't have to work for nearly as long before getting onto the field long term.