Minsoo is a third year political science major! He likes basketball, Kobe Bryant, Brian McKnight and Korean stuff. His favorite thing to do is to sing Brian McKnight songs in a Korean accent while playing basketball like Kobe.
O Father, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
thou hast given me to Jesus, to be his sheep,
O Jesus, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
thou hast accepted, espoused, bound me;
O Holy Spirit, I thank thee that in fullness of
grace thou hast
exhibited Jesus as my salvation,
implanted faith within me,
subdued my stubborn heart,
made me one with him for ever. (The Valley of Vision, The Trinity)
I was born in Korea to a nonbelieving family. When I was around 4, my brother started going to a nearby church to play basketball with his neighborhood friends, and my family naturally started to accompany him. Shortly afterwards in 2001, my parents decided to immigrate to the United States.
As soon as we had moved in to our new home in La Crescenta, we were introduced, via a family friend, to the Youngnak Presbyterian Church of L.A. As newcomers to both the church and the Christian faith, our main purpose for attending was to find a community of fellow Korean immigrants that would help ease our transition into the immigrant life. Our entire family quickly got involved, and I grew up having spent a vast majority of my time at church. Through an amalgam of the various youth ministries of the church, I was saturated with bible stories and verses. The teachings of these ministries coalesced with the firm guidance of my recently-converted parents into a childhood environment demarcated by high “moral” standards. I grew up convinced that drugs, alcohol, and the like were all big no-no’s. I also took as a given the existence of God as well as the veracity of Scripture.
The beginning of middle school marked some big changes in my life. By that time, I had “lost” my ability to communicate in my native language, and as a result, my dear mother deemed it necessary to transfer me over from the English speaking youth ministry at church to the Korean speaking ministry. My young self was devastated at the thought of leaving my friends and entering into a community of “fobs”, whose language, culture, interests, and even dress, all greatly differed from my own. At that stage of my spiritual maturity (or lack thereof), the church was primarily a place of comfort and familiarity, in which my interpersonal relationships were formed and sustained. This move disturbed the very balance of my life, and I turned to skateboarding. My skater friends engaged themselves in the very activities I had come to believe as morally unacceptable, and I began to curse a lot as I joined the basketball team. Thankfully, through my deeply rooted belief (or pride) in the moral standards I had religiously adhered to thus far, God graciously kept me from damaging my body or making any extremely stupid decisions. However, my thoughts began to be dominated by the pervasive sins and sensualities of the world, and any room that I had for Christ in my heart became a shelter for my own desires. As I led this dichotomous life, on the one hand, a morally upright and bright student heavily involved in church activities, but on the other hand, an unrepentant sinner wallowing in his own iniquities, I came to question my identity as well as the church doctrines I had always taken for granted. Did the Apostle’s words that “…our citizenship is in heaven…” (Philippians 3:20), really apply to my life?
By the grace of God I tore myself away from my skater friends, and began serving as the music team leader in high school. I came to love worshipping God through music, but without a firm foundation in the Word, my “worship” soon devolved into a shell of externalities housing only self-love and self-exaltation. My understanding of the Korean language was still shallow, and the preaching of the word was lost on my ears. Also, the emotionally-driven Korean church did not help in establishing first a love for the Word of God. Instead of meditations upon these truths resulting in the Holy Spirit moving my heart to worship in spirit and in truth, the emotions aroused by the music defined my faith.
In my first year at UCLA, I joined and attended a small on-campus fellowship called Korean InterVarsity Fellowship. The fellowship itself was a huge blessing in my life, but since it only consisted of 8-12 people who all lived off campus, I was left without friends to keep me accountable. My pride, which was still recovering from its disappointment with college acceptances, took another blow in my loneliness. As I also struggled with my faith, I tried to console myself and justified my problems with the prideful thought that my peers were lost in their sinful ways and were therefore unfit for me to be around.
At the beginning of my second year in college, I tried out for and was accepted to Road to Damascus Acappella. Through this group, I belatedly realized that there were other Christians on campus who truly strove to shine the light of Christ in their lives. I began searching for a new fellowship, and I was led to Grace on Campus. I started attending 3rd week of winter quarter, and soon got plugged in. I joined a small group and was blessed with discipleship. God started to use these relationships and the faithful preaching of the Word on Friday nights to open my eyes to my fallen state that left me unable to absolve myself of my sins. I also saw my lack of scriptural knowledge, and God graciously allowed me to seek Him more by moving my heart to meditate on His Word.
I am eternally grateful that God would so richly envelop me in His grace and allow such a sinner as myself to come into the presence of one such as Holy as He to worship Him and to grow in love and knowledge. If it were not for the mysterious workings of the Triune God in drawing myself to Him, I would never have accepted Him. Assured of my salvation and found “free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), I am excited to continue in the faith as the Holy Spirit sanctifies me. My hope now is to live confessing the words of the Apostle in Philippians, in which he says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”