Charlie Chun is an ethnic Korean. He responded to God’s call to serve in the English ministry of South Vancouver Pacific Grace MB Church four and a half years ago. This article is based on the speech he made at his ordination service, Oct. 19, 2014.
A little girl changed my life. I met her during a short-term mission trip to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where she attended one of our Bible camps.
After our speaker gave his message, we encouraged everyone to pray. She started weeping, crying out to God.
Following the prayer time, we handed out gifts to everyone and I went to her first. I had toys, a beautiful pencil case, cute t-shirts, etc., in my hands. Thinking to cheer her up, I offered her to pick what she wanted.
Instead, she pointed at a young boy standing in the corner. That was her brother, she said. Could I pray so that he could come to know Jesus the way she had come to know him? Curious, I asked why she was crying so desperately during our prayer time. She told me she understood God’s love for her and felt so ashamed of her sinfulness.
What could she have done at age eight that could make her so painfully aware and mourn for her sinfulness? Had I ever been aware of my sinfulness and brokenness as she was?
God convicted me through this young girl and opened my heart.
For the first time since I believed, I felt deeply concerned for the well-being of another person. I was compelled to say in tears, “God please listen to her prayer and grant her wish. Please take all the blessings you have planned for me and give them to her.”
I could not cease praying for this girl and her brother even after my return.
Months later, I heard God’s call to go and help. I went to Russia to assist a missionary couple who had planted a church. I have been serving the Lord in ministry since then.
God used this eight year-old girl to open my heart and gave me a vision for what my life was meant to be. I saw that there was no greater reward in life than to share God’s love with those who do not know him and watch them transform to love God themselves.
Nurtured in community
It has been over 20 years since my ministry journey began. The Lord has used many different groups of people to help me to grow and become more mature.
I had never been away from Korean church and culture, but about four and half years ago, I filled out an application for English Ministry pastoral duties with South Vancouver Pacific Grace Church.
I believe the Lord wants me to be with the Chinese congregation to learn and grow through experiencing Christianity through a new perspective.
I see premium emphasis on learning and understanding Scripture. I experience gentleness in our dealings with each other, including in board meetings.
I’m also learning with great gratitude how patient you are in giving pastors every opportunity to overcome their shortcomings and grow. I am treated as a brother, not as a boss nor an employee.
At first, the cultural difference was difficult to adapt to, but over time, through encouragement, love and guidance, I am settling in and growing as a Christian leader. And the church has helped raise my children, including one with a disability.
Following into the future
My hope as we head toward the future is that we would grow more in trust of one another that we may embrace each other’s healthy differences and bring positive changes to our spirituality. I want to not only carry on the legacy of the past but move forward to envision the future with you. We will do this slowly but surely because that’s the way we do it in our community.
My goal for our church is to fulfill Jesus’ mandate to make disciples. I hope to empower our church members to engage in important ministries in the spirit of the priesthood of all believers.
As a second-generation congregation, we are expected to take up the torch from the first, making their ceiling our floor, and continue to fight the good fight so the name of Jesus may be known and worshipped in our community and beyond.
I pray that, like the little girl I met in the former Soviet Union, we would truly hear God’s truth speaking to our hearts, and that the flame of our love for God would ignite those around us.
This ordination is just as much for my family as it is for me. In closing, I want to thank my wife Naomi. The more we grow old with each other, the more I become astounded by how God knew precisely what kind of person I was for him to provide exactly the wife I need. Our home is my sanctuary and refuge from all that happens in life and ministry.
And thank you, everyone in the church, for being my spiritual family.