A calling to be a Missionary-Part 1

This is the first part of the interview with Grace Lee, a young South Korean missionary about her journey and experiences.

Could you give some background information about yourself? For example, how long have you been a missionary and in which countries did you visit as one?

My name is Grace Lee, and I’m from Gwangju, one of the main cities in South Korea. I was raised in a Christian family, and we all attended a Presbyterian church, which is one of the dominant denominations in Korea. However, when I encountered the Holy Spirit and got to know Jesus more intimately, I was attending a non-denominational church in Vancouver. Although I was baptized as a child in the Presbyterian church, following tradition, I had my water baptism in that non-denominational church. I still remember that day vividly. Some friends from the church came to celebrate, and they said it was my ‘new’ birthday.

My journey as a missionary started right before I was born again through that water baptism. Before I went to Canada, I went to China, visiting Chinese minority groups for a month at my mother’s request. That time I was not happy though, now I am thankful to my mom. So after leaving Canada, I returned to Xinjiang in China, as a student missionary. Five and a half months later, I went to Istanbul, Turkey, for another six months because I had promised God a year of mission work. I also returned to Turkey several times for short-term missions.

After that, I spent another six months in Wales. During that time, I visited Poland and Ukraine after the war between Ukraine and Russia began. I returned to Korea and finished my MA this January. Earlier this year, I also went to Israel for about three weeks. It’s been a continuous journey of going back and forth, but each experience has been incredibly meaningful.

How did you manage to combine university and young adult life with the missions?

I think the best time to do missions is when you’re in college. Most of my short-term missions have been during summer or winter breaks. I also took several years off while I was a college student because I wanted to do longer missions. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I went to grad school. Thankfully, I received a monthly scholarship from my department, and they even offered me a part-time job, allowing me to work and study at the same time. During grad school, I was able to live independently and save money for missions. God led me perfectly!

However, my friends who are the same age as me have already been working for three to five years, and I am just starting my career now. Some of them are well-prepared to start a home, to get married, and even parenting. But I have no regrets. I’ve been to many countries in my 20s, and most importantly, I’ve experienced the incredible diversity of God and the people from different nations I’ve met!

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