Happy New Year, 2012!

My last blog post of the year of 2011 was written in September, and it is already January 2, 2012. It is one of Korean church traditions that church members gather together on New Year’s Eve to have fellowship and worship. Depending on individual churches, the service(s) starts between 11:00pm and 11:30pm and lasts for an hour or few hours. So, as usual, I started this year during the worship service. The message was on the qualification of a spiritual leader, and God refreshed my mind and allowed me to examine myself as a teacher. And, during the Sunday worship service, He reminded me that I need to trust Him firmly because He is faithful and keeps His promise. He taught me that the biggest blessing that I can ever receive is God’s presence in my life.

I took a moment to reflect upon my last year, 2011. There were several major changes in my life. I started my first ministry at New Orleans Korean United Methodist Church, where I have been loved by so many good people. My family got permanent resident cards in April, 2011, which my family had been praying for over a few years. I got a new on-campus job that I love.  And as you can see from my last blog, I got engaged to the most amazing guy ever! Besides these, God has blessed me with countless things. Although there were times when I felt sad, discouraged, angry, and so forth, all I could remember was the blessings God poured out on me. I could see that God had been in my life, and I believe He will continue to be with me.

Though I cannot see what tomorrow will hold, I can trust my God who has always been with me and given me abundant blessings. Happy New Year, 2012! and I pray that I would always remember that I have received the greatest blessing, the presence of God.

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My New Journey

Yesterday was my last Sunday at Korean Presbyterian Church of New Orleans where I had been serving as a pianist since 2006. Now I am going to be teaching children and probably youth as well in my new church as a minister. Whenever I hear the word “minister” I think about the great pastors and ministers I have encountered in my life whom I normally thought to be much much much better and mature than I am. Pastors and ministers have always been the people, in my mind, who deserve my respect and honor. Now, to many people, I am going to be seen as one of them. Ha… really?! Just thinking about it somewhat scares me because I am very much aware of myself. I don’t deserve any respect or honor.

Just to share little bit about myself .. I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church every Sunday since I was an infant. I was a very good kid, I can confidently say, until I turned to 13. My dad at that time surrendered his life to God’s calling to ministry. O, well, I hated it. I hated so much that I made all kinds of troubles as much as possibly I could make just to show my parents how resentful I was. I became a very wild, so-called, pk. At that time, I was very resentful toward my parents but more toward God. To me, my parents were very devoted to Him, but my family always had to deal with financial problems. I often said to God, “If You are truly loving, if You really care, why is my family always suffering? I hate You. I really hate You that You called my dad to ministry.”

But here I am loving God so much. He is my only hope and reason for my life. God has been working so faithfully in my life that I now understand how blessed my family is and how blessed I am to be able to serve Him. But still, how can I serve as a minister? Other people are much much much better than I am. Am I worthy to be His servant? Well, no. Absolutely No. I am not even worthy to be His servant, yet, by His grace, I am called to be His servant. Whether I am called to be a minister or just Hannah does not really change anything because the names don’t matter. What really matters is that I am serving God. I am just being used by God.

The only Way: Jesus

I was reading through the first few chapters of Exodus where Moses is called by God to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. When God called Moses, he was a murderer and a fugitive. Moses was aware of himself being not worthy of doing God’s work so asked, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exo. 3:11/NIV) The rest of Moses’ response to God’s call shows how Moses thought about himself not being worthy of his call. Yet, as we all know, Moses obeys to God and becomes one of the greatest leaders of the nation of Israel in history. He actually leads the people out of Egypt. No, no, no, no, no. It was not Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt. It was God who brought Israel out of Egypt.  God used Moses to perform His wonderful work for His people.

Notice in Exodus 6:6-8, God says to Moses, “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.

This story taught me several things that I want to remember for the rest of my life as I serve Him. First, I am not called because of who I am but because God is gracious and merciful and loving. Second, God is the LORD of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, and of me. Third, I am only called to be used by God. I can’t do anything but God will work through me to bring out great things for His glory.

I am very excited about my new journey that God is about to unfold before me! Woohoo!

My God Who Is Faithful

On the last blog  I wrote that God spoke to my heart to seek Him and promised me that He will be my stronghold in times of trouble. This time I want to share with you how God has been faithful to His promise in my life.

At that time, I was very anxious about and tired of the growing financial burden in my life. I did not and still do not have a job to meet my daily needs. However, after realizing that I needed to rely on His strength and trust Him that He would meet my financial needs, I repented of being anxious when God had already promised for His provision and had already been faithful in keeping the promise up to that point without failing. Then, I prayed that He would help me rely on Him and focus on the things that He has called me to do and that I would pray when I become worried. And, of course, I prayed for His provision.

That day I sent out emails to various places on campus where I am studying now, looking for any possible openings. I received feedbacks soon, but none of them was hiring at that point. Being little discouraged, I was becoming anxious again. I admit that I am such a weak person. But because I am weak, I prayed, again, for His help. “LORD, I know You are aware of my needs and I know You have already prepared things I need. Help me be patient and be able to wait without becoming anxious. Help me completely trust You. You are my strength.” Peace from God started filling my heart, and, soon, were the anxiety and discouragement removed from my heart.

The next day, I received few more feedbacks from other offices saying there is no opening at that time. But I did not get discouraged this time because I remembered God had been faithful and will be faithful forever. Few hours later, I opened my email again. (Being a student, I check my email pretty often as you can see! ha) There I found emails from few websites that I surf sometimes and an email from one of the campus offices.

The email said that there was no openings in the office; however, the person who wrote the email said that she would like to see me so that if she hear about any new openings she might be able to introduce me to the employers on campus. So, I had an opportunity to talk and get to know her, and she has been helping me greatly ever since then. (I want to thank her every time I think about her) In fact, with her help, I had an opportunity to talk to one of the employers on campus, and I might get a job pretty soon !

Yet, that was not everything.

On the day I sent out emails, when I was so exhausted, on my facebook, I wrote, “NEEDS A JOB!” That night, somebody sent me a message asking if I was interested in working in an international trading company as a translator. With my status, I am not allowed to work off campus. Plus, I did not even know any company that would hire me. I wrote him back a message saying that I can’t work off campus. The next day, I got another message from the same person saying “Let me know if I can help.”

When I read the message, I thought that was somewhat funny because, I thought, anybody who could really help me would be somebody working at my school. I asked him, “How could you help me?” At that time, I did not expect anything to happen. However, I received an unexpected response from him, “Let me know if it is okay to give you a gift. You can pay me back by helping someone else in the future.”

A gift? For a few minutes I did not know what to say or how to respond. I had never been offered any gift like this, and he and I barely knew each other (this is still true).  In response to his message, I told him that I had been praying for God’s provision and that  if He moved his heart to help me in this season I thank Him for using his hands to meet my needs and thank him for helping.  So, the next day, I received the gift that could meet my urgent financial needs at that time. Once again I realized that God is able and powerful and makes things that seem to be impossible possible. After that incident, I received another gift from someone anonymously.

All these happened within the last few weeks.

I just wanted to share how God has been faithful in my life, hoping that this story might encourage people who are going through difficulties in life. Let’s remember that God knows what we need and wants us to depend on Him and take refuge in Him. God is faithful. The faithful God who has been with me will be with you, too!

Thanksgiving week is almost over, but I will not cease to give thanks to Him. And I want to invite everyone to give thanks to our faithful God :)

In Christ,

Hannah