Were you raised Christian?
Growing up, my parents always supported me with their love. And they raised me so I could be a good Christian. So I went to church every Sunday, read the Word, and heard stories from the Bible. But the Bible didn’t make full sense to me. There was always something missing. I never really felt like I fully understand what I was learning. On one hand, I grew up believing everything in the Bible and the Word was completely correct. There were no inconsistencies or falsehood in it.
But on the other hand, I couldn’t understand how it didn’t line up with science. It didn’t seem to line up with the way people saw reality. So even though I knew the Bible was true, I didn’t know how to prove it. At that time, I was too afraid to ask questions. Because if I asked, I felt like no one would have answers. So I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to continue believing… That was a really tough time for me. In the end, it made me distance myself from faith.
How did you come to Providence Church?
When I was studying abroad in Japan, I happen to meet these guys who had taken this Bible study. It seems good, so I started learning and what not. And boy was I glad I did. For the first time in decades, I felt like there was real truth in the Bible. I felt like I had a better understanding of the Bible. It wasn’t just me trying to convince myself or others the Bible was true. When people would ask me, “Was it true Adam was really the first human in the whole world, and Eve–his wife–was taken from his rib, and they had incest to make all of humanity?” How was I supposed to answer that? I didn’t know.
But the Bible was never wrong. As I studied from pastors like Jung Myung Seok, I was able to discover the truth. The Bible is not wrong. It’s our perception of what has happened in the Bible that is wrong (e.g., God never stopped the sun). After I realized this, I wanted to correct my misconstrued perspectives. And in the end, I was able to change just that.
Before, I believed, but I didn’t know why. And because of that, I didn’t live a productive life. I just lived how I wanted to live. I thought since I wasn’t going to understand the Bible and no one was going to clearly tell me how to live properly, I might as well live how I want. That’s how I really thought. But after learning properly about the Bible, I was able to change how I lived. I started to live for something I understood and believed in.
Once I had that feeling of really understanding and being able to apply it to my life, I changed. The way I lived turned 180 degrees, and I couldn’t go back. I didn’t want to go back into a life blind from the truth. So that’s why I chose this church, Providence Church.
Why do you respect Jung Myung Seok so much?
The greatest thing about Jung Myung Seok is how much he cares for others. He’s one of the only people I’ve ever met that truly loves and cares for every person he meets. No matter who they are, what they’ve done, he loves them because they are who they are. He expresses his love from the bottom of his heart. He doesn’t care for others looking to receive a favor from them or so that he could look good. And the thing that amazes me the most is how much he has sacrificed to learn the Word and teach us properly.
What do you like about Providence Church compared to other churches?
The greatest thing about Providence Church is how it can really change people’s lives. That sounds kind of vague so I’ll explain a bit more. Before I came to Providence Church, I was very reckless. I grew up believing that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, so no matter what I do, I’m okay. So as long as I believed, I could do whatever I wanted to. But thinking about it now, that was a horribly ignorant and selfish way of living.
After I learned about my spirit, I realized how much harm I was inflicting to myself by living the way I was. When you think, “Oh yeah, Jesus died for my sins, so I’ll do whatever,” you have to think about how that’s affecting your spirit. Just like how our bodies need to be managed with the necessities of life, our spirit needs to be managed as well. But instead of eating physical food or needing to clean ourselves with water, our spirits need to eat the truth and repent in order to cleanse itself. Once I started living while thinking about my spirit, I could no longer be selfish. And that’s when my life changed.
How did your life change?
Me from a year ago is completely different from who I am now. To be honest, I was terrible. I don’t want to go too much into it. But I wasn’t a very religious person a few years ago. I didn’t really even care about my friends. I was so used to my selfish mindset that it seeped into my heart. And because of that, I almost ruined a lot of my friendships.
But when I came to Providence Church and joined this church, I changed. I changed properly because I learned properly. Plus, I was able to meet all these incredible people who have the same heart of wanting to know God properly. We all want to grow well and become people who live involving God in our lives. You can’t find people like these just anywhere in the world. People with this kind of pure heart are rare. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They’re like my family now. They always want to help and show God’s love. That’s more kindness than what I’ve even been able to feel in my life.
If there’s one word of advice you could give, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, then you’ll never know properly. Even in the Bible, there’s a verse that says, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” So that’s basically in the Bible telling you, “Ask, seek, knock. Look for the answers.” But so many people are afraid because if they look for an answer but can’t find one, they won’t know what to do. But don’t give up. Keep searching. Pray in your heart and really search for it. And I have a feeling that you’ll be able to find it.