I was born in South Korea. When I was 7-years-old, South Korea was affected by the Asian financial crisis and I remember my family had a painful time in finances. We had to move around to find an affordable house, and my parents were always fighting and yelling because of the instability of their circumstances. And so I also witnessed and experienced physical and verbal abuse in my house. But because my mom needed help and spiritual guidance during this time, she introduced my family to church.

When I was 12, I had the privilege to move to Chicago. My family continued to go to church, and I joined the praise band and served the Lord as a leader. Life went on, and I went to college, met a guy, and was raped when I was 21. The relationship continued to build up to the point where I thought the abuse I was receiving was true love. But I felt the emptiness in my heart. I was full of shame and never sought for help. I had a mask on when I went to church, and I felt like I needed to show others that I was doing fine. I even served the Lord as if He didn’t know my situation. I was a hypocrite. And because I hadn’t experienced the true love of Jesus, I wasn’t able to resist feeling shameful, hopeless, and helpless. And so this relationship kept going for three more years.

But I realized that I couldn’t live like this, and so I cried out to God that I needed help because I was hungry for more. I brought my shame, fear, hopeless, and helpless to the cross through repentance and affirmed His truth that I am a beloved child who belongs to Jesus Christ. I began to weep and suddenly felt this heat inside my heart and body. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and felt the heaviness of my shame and fear being lifted away. I truly felt His love for the first time.

His love broke my shame and replaced it with new hope. He is so patient and faithful to me, and I realized He was even there when I felt shameful, hopeless, and helpless. He is the only Father who can satisfy my soul. How can I resist His genuine love? As I fall in love with Him, my heart becomes stirred for those who were going through injustice. And I know that this stirring comes from Him. As Matthew 28:18–20 says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Through His strength, I want to show Jesus’ love to empower the lost ones and show them that there’s hope even in the darkest moments.

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