I was born and raised in a Christian family. I was baptized as a baby and went to church every Sunday because my parents told me to do so. Sunday school and Bible study built the shallow foundation of my knowledge of the Word. I was also very involved in church through praise team, tech team, volunteering for VBS, and so forth.
However, as I got a bit older, going to church became a routine and I started going through the motions. It hit hardest in high school and in the early years of university where I was exposed to worldly pleasures and became more distant from God.
As a child growing up in a Catholic household, going to church on Sundays, and attending a Catholic elementary and high school, I believed and learned about God and Jesus. I learned of how we are born with sin and how Jesus died for our sins and saved us from eternal damnation. I was taught some Biblical theology, the parables, the commandments, the beatitudes, and taught it was good to pray before sleeping. I would volunteer for Sunday school and teach younger children about God. However, all of these actions felt like they were a routine, similar to how a chore needs to be done.
When I attended university, I wanted to explore and make my own choices in life. As I joined several clubs on campus, I stumbled upon the Korean Christian Fellowship club. First, I thought that this club would be a great way to meet Korean people on campus, but as I kept attending the weekly meetings, I felt a sense of fellowship and this fellowship was centered on God. Listening to the guest speakers talk about the Gospel and Jesus and conversing with other followers of Christ, I came to understand that Jesus is my one and only Saviour. I came to understand that He is waiting for us to turn away from our sinful nature and turn to Him and be with Him. This fueled the drive in me to want to build a more intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. I felt more love and security than I had ever felt prior.
It all started when my friend, golf buddy, and colleague, Kelly, asked me the simple question that would change my life forever: “Where are you on your journey with God?” Before I answer this question I must start from the beginning.
My older sister, younger sister, and I were baptized in a Greek Orthodox Church. However, we didn’t go to Catholic Church and I didn’t grow up knowing God. I also didn’t have a typical childhood, or the teenage rebellion years because I grew up taking care of my little sister who suffers from autism and seizures. Because of her, I learned early in life about responsibility, sacrifice, being patient, caring, loving and compassionate. It also meant I didn’t play with the neighborhood kids or with my friends after school because I had to take care of my sister. So, I grew up feeling lonely and unworthy.
I did not look forward to church growing up. The early mornings and the long sermons were annoying, to say the least and on most days, worship felt like giving lip-service to a God who seemed distant and uncaring. I began to think that there was really no way of knowing if Christianity was true or not and as I got older, I decided it was all just nonsense, a waste of time, and I left the church altogether.
In high school, I was always looking for new source of entertainment to alleviate my boredom, satisfy my desire for pleasure, and distract me from difficult situations. I thought I would be happy if I could just have fun, be comfortable, do relatively well in school, and in that process, be liked and approved by others. Although none of these things proved to be deeply satisfying, they provided the spurts of excitement on which I grew to depend. So, I went about my days looking forward to the next event circled on my calendar. As I went to university, I had more freedom and access to money (OSAP) than I ever had before, which resulted in me indulging in new and more excessive things than I had previously. I thought I was having a lot of fun, and to some extent I was, but many nights after coming home from whatever I had been up to, I couldn’t help but feel a bit empty inside.