Meet Scholarship Recipient: Sam Ha

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The Multiracial Student Scholarship Fund is one of the strategies employed by the Office of Race Relations (ORR) to develop multiracial congregational leadership in the CRCNA. Recipients attend one of the higher learning institutions affiliated with the denomination -- Calvin University, Dordt University, The King’s University College, Redeemer University College, Kuyper College, Trinity Christian College, and Calvin Theological Seminary. They have also expressed a strong desire to train for and to engage in the ministry of racial reconciliation in church and/or in community.

Through bountiful gifts given last year, the ORR was able to award scholarships to ten students for the 2021/22 school year. It’s our privilege to introduce you to Neulsaem Ha, one of these ten recipients. Read his brief biography below and some of his thoughts on the importance of social justice.

“Hello, my name is Neulsaem (Sam) Ha. I was born and raised in South Korea, spent my college years in England, and am now studying at Calvin Theological Seminary as a PhD student, specializing in History of Christianity and Systematic Theology. 

I was born as a pastor’s kid and that is precisely why I kept running away from God’s calling. Everyone I knew expected me to become a minister and even told me that it was my fate. I kept running away from ministry because I did not want to do it just because it was other people’s anticipation. However, God had his way with me, as he does with everyone else. He continued to take me to places where my spiritual gifts were needed and introduced me to people who were in need of pastoral care. It became clear to me that he was calling me to serve him in a special way.

This context is precisely one of the reasons why I am very interested in racial justice and diversity. I have almost always been an outsider without my intentions; I just thought, looked, and sounded different wherever I went. I was able to identify with the patriarchs who were always on the road and the Israelites who were living as sojourners. However, I saw that Christ was breaking the cultural, racial, linguistic, and national barriers. As I was helping people who needed Christ in their lives, I could see that Christ was getting rid of all these fences. In him, I saw our only hope of achieving uniquely authentic racial justice, because he makes the impossible possible. I saw people getting together in Christ and fighting against each other without Christ.
My hope in my future ministry is to teach that we ought to fight against racial injustice if we claim to be in Christ and also that we must trust Christ and him alone if we seek to achieve true racial justice.

Whenever I read Luke 4:18-19, I am more sure of my hope and vision:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

This passage is packed with so much deep theology, but one of the things that I take away from these verses is that Christ came to earth to be one of us and among us to save us from damnation but also to turn his followers into justice bringers. As I am a follower of Christ, I want to do more to bring racial justice into our church, nation, and world.

If you feel led to support this valuable scholarship fund and students like Sam, please give online at this link. Your gift today will bless future students as they train for and prepare to engage in the ministry of racial reconciliation in church and in society.

For those who wish to be considered for a scholarship from the Office of Race Relations, information and an application are found at this link.

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