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. 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 Yohan Lee, one of these ten recipients. Read his biography below and some of his thoughts on the importance of social justice.
Hello, I am Yohan Lee from South Korea.
I was born to a family of several pastors. My father and my grandfather were pastors. So, my parents taught me about God and his kingdom from when I was a baby. My brother, who is also a pastor, is studying in Israel for the culture and geography of the Bible. Naturally, I decided to be a pastor. That is why I entered Chongshin University.
At Chongshin University, I met many faithful friends. We talked a lot about God and His kingdom. They confessed how God works in their life, and what Jesus did for them. Also, we visited famous churches in Seoul regularly. One of those days, while the pastor preached, I felt something different. Before the service, I thought I knew everything about church and salvation. However, after the service, everything I knew was changed. I was changed. Metaphorically speaking, it was the time Jesus changed water into wine.
After my second year of Chongshin University, I joined the army. In the army, I preached. However, the preaching was not interesting, and everybody dozed off. I was frustrated with the feeling that I did not have a great skill for preaching. When I was discharged from military service, I decided not to be a pastor. I prayed, “God, if you have any plan, teach me whether I should be a pastor or not.” Then I went to Australia for a year.
Even though I forgot what I had prayed about and my decision not to be a pastor, God was working on me in Australia. Specifically through a housing issue I encountered. Although I had enough money and had a contract to rent a room, I ended up having to stay in a hostel several times. Also, I experienced sleeping outside the airport on a rainy night. But then God led me into a house where once again I had to serve the church. These events throughout the year revealed the plan of God that I had to serve His house. Now I have worked as a preacher for nearly a decade, and I still remember this memory. Whenever I faced challenges at church, this memory convinced me again. Also, there were other moments that I felt the calling as a pastor. I will never lose my identity for the ministry of God.
I studied at Chongshin University (Theology) and Chongshin Theological Seminary (MDiv), one of the most famous seminaries in Korea. I have also studied at Singapore Bible College (MA, Biblical Studies). Both Chongshin Theological Seminary and Singapore Bible College are known for their conservative and academic status. Singapore Bible College is a kind of international school. There are students from more than 25 countries. There, I learned a cosmopolitan mindset and how to communicate with people from other countries. We hung out together and traveled to many countries together. Mostly the countries we traveled to needed to be told the gospel. I met many missionaries, and I learned about what a missional church is.
Now, here I am a first-year (ThM) student at Calvin Theological Seminary. There are two reasons why I came to study at Calvin Theological Seminary.
First, the congregation in Korea has questions in many areas. Before I came to CTS, I served as a youth pastor for 8 years in Korea and Singapore. There, I found that children and young adults want to know what the Bible says on the issues they are concerned about. They are eager to find out the answers from the Bible, and somehow, pastors failed to answer to their younger generation. That’s why I planned to study systematic theology.
Second, I want to equip the churches in Korea to have mercy on other people from other countries while the culture of Korea is becoming multi-cultural. To explain, Korean culture used to be “unity in uniformity”, and is now adopting “unity in diversity.” However, in this process, Korean churches are experiencing trial and error. There is still ongoing racial discrimination among Christians in Korea and they do not realize it. I believe oneness in Christ is valuable, and churches in Korea also need to adopt this truth in them. I also believe, people in the USA have already experienced unity in diversity. If I learn the culture of unity in diversity from Calvin Theological Seminary, I can utilize it in Korea.
These are the reasons why I came to Calvin Theological Seminary, and I am sure that the school can equip me to be a better servant of God to the churches in Korea.
If you feel led to support this valuable scholarship fund and students like Yohan, 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.