Interviewers: Sarah & Jamie Kwon
Interviewee: Alex Lee
Location: Hive Café
Sarah & Jamie Kwon: Hi Alex! Thank you for your time! Tell us about yourself.
Alex: Hello! I want people to know I’m approachable even though I don’t look like it. i’m all about good vibes. I’m still pretty new to this church and I don’t really know everyone yet. I definitely want to get to know everyone closer, be more intimate and fellowship but I think there’s a lot of stuff stopping me cause I’m not in school, I’m not working and I live really far away. It’s not easy to do that outside of Sundays.
S & J: How did you stumble upon CPC?
A: I just left college and I decided not to go back. It was the start of a break. But my roommate at the time, Eugene... I met him when I was a kid at Bansuk, my old church. I remember him and Erin were close so through Eugene, I reached out to Erin. The summer retreat before I came to CPC is when I met Christ. I really wanted to supplement my faith by regularly attending an EM service. My parents’ church didn't have one so I reached to Erin and asked her where the church is and when service time was. I kinda put myself out there and even Erin- I didn't really know her, other than her coming to my cousins house a couple times. I’m definitely glad I did that.
Can you tell us more about your encounter with Christ that summer?
Yeah, it was at that retreat...it was actually called Encounter.
OH WHAT?! Wow! (Everyone gasps) Seriously?!
Was it at your church?
It was at a conference hosted by my friend’s church in NJ. Going into it, I really didn’t want to do anything. I didn't even put the money down. The church in Albany was paying for everyone going and I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll get something out of it or just have fun and leave.’ What ended up happening was during prayer time especially, I had a hard time thinking of what to do. I didn't know how to pray for myself so, what I did was, I prayed for two of my friends who were going through a lot of personal struggles. On the last day, the very last prayer session before everyone left, those two friends unexpectedly came to me and I was on the floor. I kneeled cause I felt so weak. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t pray for anything at the time but my two friends who I was praying for throughout those three days, came to me and started praying for me at the same time. I thought that was very powerful and I knew then that the Lord was always there for me, watching over me even when I wasn’t there for Him. That’s basically when Christ saved me and it has been nonstop growth for me ever since.
Do you still keep in touch with these friends?
Mmhmm. One of them I don't actually talk to as much. He’s around the Queens area so it’s kinda hard to hang out and catch up but I'm still praying for him. The other friend is still in Albany and for him there's definitely a lot of things going for him, actually for both of them, a lot of things have been getting better.
So how has your life with Christ been ever since that encounter?
I have been growing a lot and I really only have the Lord to thank for giving me the courage to come out every week cause as a newcomer, I'm sure you remember I started coming out to every event, prayer meeting, bible study...alone.
(Everyone laughs) I remember!
I made it a priority to get closer cause that fellowship and community really helped me to grow as a Christian and grow in my faith. I have no regrets. I was actually really scared cause I'm not the type of person to do that. I would describe myself as an introvert cause I don't like going out, I don't like meeting new people but the Lord gave me courage and He gave me strength to fight my fears.
Amen! So you brought up fellowship in CPC, was there anything else that made you continue to come out to CPC?
Other than the fellowship… How the Lord is using CPC, how the Lord was growing the church itself I thought was pretty amazing. Just a couple months after I joined was when you guys started doing those seasonal outreaches, when you guys started growing your EM ministry making sure that every ministry within has a specific role. Witnessing how the body works together was reassuring to me. Back in my parents church, I wasn't exactly Christian and the atmosphere was hard for me but in the long run, it was necessary for my walk with Christ.
What is your family like?
Very big...we have 10 people in my house.
(Everyone gasps) Wow!
It's a pretty big house. Our house is built with a main unit and we have a separate living area, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The separate living space was for us to lease out to another family but we ended up taking down the dividers and the walls that separated those two places and we had our cousin's family move in. Yeah so it’s pretty chaotic at home. It's really loud.
That's so rare how your extended family lives with you. Funny how God did that.
But because of it, I got really close with my family in a way where I couldn’t have in this kinda situation.
What are some difficulties you face right now?
For me personally, I think I’m really struggling with discipline whether it’s studying, working toward getting a full time job, going out and being active in church or with my friends. It's easy for me to just do whatever I want. I made it a habit to be spontaneous and do whatever I think is right. Now I feel like I’m being tested by the Lord because the circumstances are right and it's the right time with the people the Lord has provided me with. So I really wanna discipline myself to go forward in my education or work.
Would you say that the first step is the hardest for you or the steps after the first?
Definitely the first step. The idea of just committing myself to working is hard for me.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing on your free time?
Recently it’s been sleeping. I haven’t really been doing much but I really wanna go somewhere. It’ll be fun to go halfway across the country like get in the car and don't tell anyone. I'm going to run away and peace out.
Wow, that’s so spontaneous.
Yeah, almost to a fault.
How can you be more balanced?
By looking at my bank account more often. I would think maybe this is a bad idea.
Seriously! When I look at the price of things I'm buying, I think that's nothing but when I look at my bank account, I’ll see how much I have and know that it's a lot more than what I thought it was.
Do you feel like God has placed you with certain people to help you in those areas?
Definitely. In church, I was blessed with older brothers I could honestly rely on for advice on anything and personally I want to use their advice more often. They’re so kind, patient and compassionate that it would be a waste to not take their open offer.
Definitely. There's a saying that wise people heed to advice from others.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
To be honest I don’t know.I want to do something with programming but I’m not too sure what.
Any kind of programming?
I thought I was sure I wanted to do software development or be a software engineer but after talking to some people and seeing my options, I really need to spend my time praying and thinking about where I am led.
Do you enjoy it?
Absolutely! I think programming in general is really cool. The way most people see it is numbers and math but the way I see it is more like an art form and something very practical to the world. It makes people's lives more easier and happier. That’s just amazing.
Wow I never thought of it as an art form. I don't know if you remember but during the conference do you remember the person who was doing computers and programming? Would you be interested in doing something like that?
Yeah, yeah, yeah...I do remember and it opened my eyes. The way I saw myself glorifying God was through serving other people but I never knew there was an option to serve God directly through companies that do missions or funds for missions. It really brought into perspective how I can use my work for God.
So how was the conference?
Pastor Mark said they bought 10 tickets and I was the last one to go so I do think it was meant for me to go there. Even though I didn’t have a super conviction to go to a foreign country to do missions, it did open my eyes to the bigger picture and what the Great Commission is, what it means to be a Christian, and go to missions. I just thought, Oh it’s just an option to directly serve the Lord but after, I realized it's not a choice as a Christian. It doesn't have to be overseas, it doesn't have to be something extravagant but wanting to evangelize and seeing change in people's hearts are things we as Christians should do. It's something we are called to do.
Do you feel like God has been cultivating that heart in you?
Most definitely. I started noticing my environment and the people around me who haven’t been saved. I really felt the pain and burden. There are so many people who are close to me, who I am just scared for now because they’re not saved and they haven’t come to Christ. I realized it before but now...it’s something I want to work towards.
So now you have an urgency.
Are there people that God has placed in your heart to reach out and share the gospel to? If so, how has that been?
I think the first person that comes to mind is my brother. He grew up going to church with me and he does go out and calls himself a Christian but he doesn't go to church or obey God. I really want to reach out to my brother but growing up, we had a strained relationship. So my focus is on building that relationship. Becoming more like a family and a brother before I actually talk about the gospel. Definitely, that weighs the heaviest on my heart.
You talked about a strained relationship with your brother, how did that happen?
I think it really stemmed from me growing up and not being a good brother. It came from my selfishness and immaturity so for the most part it's because of me. Although I don't regret it to start all over again, I just hope that I will be able to make up those times I could have been there for him or could have been a good brother. I just hope that the Lord will use me to directly influence my brother.
Though sin separates us, God’s love is greater than all of our sins. We strongly believe He will bring you guys back together. Is there any way we can pray for you?
I think in general to pray for my family as a whole. My brother just got a full time job so I don't think he wants to focus on his faith and I think that applies to everyone in my family. Everyone in my house, not that they don't believe or have faith, but everyone is busy with their lives and they don’t make time for the Lord.
You said everyone in your family. Do you feel like sometimes you're surrounded and all alone?
Yes, for the most part, I do feel alone in my house. I haven’t been able to talk about the Lord with anyone in the house. But I also don't feel like I'm powerless and weak. In a way I see it as a chance. I am happy where the Lord placed me. If the Lord haven't saved me and put me in the situation I am in right now, then the people in my house might never have a chance to even hear the Word.
Yes, our God is so intentional. It's so encouraging to hear that. We will definitely be praying for you!