“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” (1Samuel 7:12)
I am happy to serve God in the Upper St. Croix Parish United Methodist Church (UMC). Serving God in the Upper St. Croix Parish UMC is not an accidental event in my life. I believe that it is one of God’s plans. I hope that God will use me freely in God’s will through the Upper St. Croix Parish UMC.
I am from Chicago, but originally from South Korea. Since 2007, I have been in the United States studying theology and serving God. I have received a Master of Arts (M.A., 2009), a Master of Theology (Th.M., 2011), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Social Ethics (Ph.D., 2016) from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Also, I have received a Master of Divinity from the Garrett Evangelical-Theological Seminary (2018). While I was studying, I have joined to plant a new church, and served the church as a director of young adult’s ministry for 11 years. I have also served a hospital as a chaplain for 1 year. I want to introduce how God works for me and how God came to me, rather than whom I am.
When I cried, no one was around me. It was dark, cold, and horrible. No, honestly, it was too horrific for me to cry. I gave up all hope in my life because my entire situation pushed me to hell. I knew that many people who were around me, including my friends, my family, and my medical doctors were trying to help me. However, everything felt useless to me at that time because my doctor said, “You do not have any hope of walking again properly.” In the middle of this depression, I saw a light which was shining. A hand approached me from the center of the shining light. Suddenly, the hand lifted me to heaven from hell. God gave me God’s hand to walk again. God said to me, “Little girl! Talitha koum, I say to you get up! (Mark 5:41)”
I remember that I first met God at that time. When I had a terrible traffic accident in 1990, my life changed drastically. It was when I was 25 years old. My spine was broken. I couldn’t walk or sit. My right leg was paralyzed for almost two years. I had to stay at the hospital for three years. The doctors told me that there was little hope of complete recovery. I was hopeless. There were times that I felt very depressed. In the middle of this depression, I met a pastor.
He had come to visit a girl with whom I was sharing the hospital room. The pastor prayed for her. The girl had also been involved in an accident. Her condition was even worse than mine. She had several broken bones, and her facial skin was ripped off. She looked horrible. However, she always had a smile on her face. First I couldn’t understand her. However, then I realized that she was a firm believer. I asked the pastor if he could pray for me, too. He prayed for me, putting his hand on my head. He prayed for the healing of my body and soul. He visited me several times during my stay in the hospital, preaching, and counseling me.
Meanwhile, my doctor suggested surgery, but he said, “Do not think that you can recover one hundred percent.” However, I had confidence that I would recover totally. I believed that God would heal me through my doctor’s hands. I had surgery on my spine in February in 1992. However, after the surgery, I did not wake up from the anesthesia for a while.
I met God in the coma. I shouted to God in the shining light, “Please help me. If you save me, whatever you ask me I will do it, and wherever you send me, I will go there.” As soon as I finished my words, a big hand approached me and recovered totally.
Before this time, I rejected God. However, God came to me as a God of healing and as a God of hope. I was even against my family and friends who believed in God already. I believe that God revealed Godself to me and invited me to confess my sin and ask God for forgiveness. God just embraced me.
After this, I believed that God was and continues to be with me whenever I am joyful or sad. God lifted me from hell, where there was no hope and only horrible suffering to heaven, where there is hope, joy, and I am with God always. I believe that God wants to heal the world, which is suffering in horrible affliction and gives hope to all people in the world who are the oppressed without any hope as God did for me. God sent me to the world as God sent the pastor to me as a testifier, who knows God as the healer of love.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
God gave us the good news, which is to free the prisoners, to recover the sight of the blind, and to release the oppressed. The good news is Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of liberation, the Lord of Healing. Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was resurrected, lifted to heaven, and sent us the Holy Spirit. It is good news. God sent me “to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” and to proclaim the kingdom of God.
It is impossible to measure and calculate how much God loves me and the world because of the impossibility of measuring love, but I trust that God loves me and the world. I understand that the love of God should be spread everywhere through the people who know it. I learned that the glory of God is revealed by how I live. Therefore, God is always at the center of my life. I pray that God brings healing to everyone who is suffering or feeling hopeless through me, just as God brought healing to me through a pastor. I hope that I could to be a channel of God’s grace for the Upper St. Croix Parish United Methodist Church.