One of the things I’m very grateful for is that I came to Canada when I was 18. I used to wish I came to Canada at an earlier age because I still feel the limitation in speaking English fluently. I find it much easier to translate English into Korean because I learned English by translating it in Korean first. My reading in Korean is significantly faster. However, ever since I came to Mokmin Church as a pastor, I began to realize that God has brought me to Canada at perfect timing.
Since I almost finished high school in Korea when I came, I was able to retain my cultural heritage while being able to understand Canadian culture. From time to time, I feel that I’m not good at either language. But I appreciate the fact that I can speak both languages and connect with both cultures, which I found to be very valuable in a Korean immigrant church context.
One of the most common reasons why English speaking congregation (ESC) separates from the Korean speaking congregation (KSC) in a sour term is the lack of communication and understanding among leadership. Often, KSC wants to keep ESC under control because they consider ESC as their children. It arises from Korean culture that cherishes blood-relationship. But ESC desires more freedom because of its cultural value of autonomy. So, to maintain unity while creating healthy autonomy, there has to be a trusting relationship between the leadership of two congregations. I feel very fortunate that we have that relationship in our church, thanks to our senior pastor, who has a great understanding of this dynamic.
In the Korean Immigration Church context, it is difficult for ESC to grow healthy without spiritual heritage and support from the KSC. A child can grow and become an independent individual, but without a continual relationship, he or she is losing the opportunity to inherit the wonderful heritage and wisdom from the parents.
KSC has pioneered this church, and they have demonstrated blazing zeal and commitment to the Great Commission of Jesus through the house church ministry. Despite the language difference, I believe their passion, sacrifice and prayer support are a beautiful spiritual heritage that is vital for our congregation’s healthy growth. Even when we become financially independent, I believe we must strive to maintain unity with KSC at Mokmin.