Hi, I’m Chan. I grew up in a Christian family so I’ve been going to church my whole life (sometimes not by my own will). My family went to many churches as we moved around, and church became a routine wherever I went. That changed when I came to the seed, or exit, as it was known then. The first retreat was really hyped up by my noonas and hyungs as this spiritual and life changing experience, so I went to my first retreat with high expectations. Needless to say, my first retreat with exit met all expectations. It was the time that I realized how close God was. Up until then, God was a figure that was supposedly up there in the heavens, who created everything, who played a big role in the bible stories of old, but the retreat was the first time that I felt that I understood how personal and how close God is. And being surrounded by people who were so strong in faith really helped me to understand. The prayer after the second night’s sermon was when I feel like I was closest to God that retreat, it was the first time that I had felt God trying to say something to me, and that showed me that God is personal, and he is trying to have a conversation with us–and that changed my perspective on God, church, and on life.
That was only the beginning of my christian journey. Up until a few years ago, I was still struggling with how God applied to my life in a practical sense. I believed that life would be good if I tried hard enough, and I would get everything I wanted if I lived smart, and that I didn’t *need* God to live a happy life. I saw God as an alternative. This was a pretty stressful time in my life because I started to plan my whole life, and what I needed to achieve in order to get there. This quickly became overburdening, as the list of things I needed to get done by a certain time grew. One day, I was presented the opportunity to attend an evangelism seminar. I didn’t have a specific desire to evangelize, as I wasn’t that strong in faith myself, but I decided to sign up for the seminar with Pastor Jay Lee. I didn’t have any expectations for the seminar. During his presentation he explained how Christianity is not about us as individuals, but was about people and relationships with people, because they are the only things we can bring into heaven. This really resonated with me and began to change my perspective on life, and I think made me worry less about the perishable things we can get in this life, and more on people. But I also realized my relationships with people weren’t the best.
But this changed through pastor Caleb’s sermons. Every sermon was somehow relevant to me–often not the whole sermon, but every week, a sentence would stand out to me, and I knew that was what God wanted me to hear. But I found that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change. But looking back, I think I’ve changed as a person, and I think it’s from the sermons simply changing the way I see things, and changing the way I live. I started to surprise myself when I talked to other people, and how I treated them, how I saw them. Eventually, my relationships with people flourished, and I am truly, simply happy. I really believe this is God’s work, because without him, I don’t think I would have changed through will alone.
I know that I was not alone on this journey, and all of my fellow graduates have had similar experiences, being changed through God. I am thankful to have had these people by my side, even from before EM, and moving on, I know God will be always with them. I thank our great leaders along the way, even if they may not be here today, they have had such an impact on our time as youth here. I’d also like to thank Pastor caleb, for building this ministry to what it is today, and God for allowing everyone of us to be here today. Thank you all for being here today, and throughout our journey. You all have helped us through this journey in some way.