Interviewers: Elva Choi and Chloe Lee
Interviewee: Jamie Kwon
Location: Browny Cafe
Elva: Hi what’s your name?
Jamie: My name’s Jamie Jeehyun Kwon.
Chloe: How old are you?
J: I’m 29.
E: Tell me what you’ve been doing these days.
J: (laughs) What am I doing these days? Hm, well I teach for a living and I teach on Sundays too. So i guess I’m all about teaching!
E: Oh, where do you teach?
J: I teach at P.S. 32.
E: What grade?
C: Ooo.. difficult.. (laughs) But what have you learned as a teacher?
J: Umm the biggest take-away is that God is really trying to open my eyes to learn what it really means to be a child... being helpless, being dependent. But I’m learning so much on having a child-like faith. What does that mean? A tangible, realistic example is that my kindergarteners cry when someone hurts them, someone makes fun of them and I think as adults, we are more mindful of our emotions so we suppress them instead of letting them show. But God doesn’t want that, He wants us to come to him when we are hurt, when we are happy. Like my kindergarteners come up to me whenever they do something well, they want to show it. And that’s the Father’s heart for us too, we can come up to him when we’re joyful and hurt… so I'm learning to be more honest and vulnerable with my emotions with God.
E: Wow that’s good... where do you teach on Sundays?
J: I serve for youth group... I teach 8th graders.
E: Oh how has that been?
J: It's a whole new ballpark… but the 8th graders in a lot of ways are the same but they’ve grown up more so they’re more like adults because they don’t really show their true selves. They learned the social norm of what it means to hmm.. hide themselves. Like for example when we share prayer requests, they don’t go as deep whereas one of my kindergarteners would just share out loud “my mom and dad fought and were screaming and I was hurt.” But my 8th graders are more reluctant to share... they share only when they feel safe.
E: Yeah and I feel like in terms of that, the atmosphere can also hinder them. Like if their friends don’t share then it’s like “I don’t want to share either” so I feel like we just need that one person who would not follow that “trend” I guess...
J: Yeah I really learn a lot from my kindergarteners like being unfiltered before God because God knows your heart so why put up a facade in front of him? He wants the real you, not the fake you.
C: How did you start coming out to CPC?
J: Well before CPC, I was going to my parents church upon their request. They wanted our family to go to the same church, one family, one church. But the church didn’t have an EM and I was going to my parents' Korean service but I really didn’t understand everything. (not to say that God can't speak to me through Korean) but I think I was very fixated on the Korean hymns and it became distracting for me. But I was very hopeful and prayerful that God would lead me to a church where my parents would be okay with and I would grow in my faith. And honestly, I had a lot of doubt in God at that time because my parents were really against the notion “one family, multiple churches” so I just prayed that God would break that desire in their hearts. Then I drove by Joongbu so I decided to give it a try. But our first experience wasn’t that great but I do recall two EM members coming up to me and talking, Joshua and Hyerim. And I felt very welcomed by them, but when I went home I was scared to approach my parents and tell them I went to this church. But, Joongbu was the church where my dad's closest friend’s daughter (Minerva) went to so I kind of went in that direction. So I shared it with my parents and my dad asked if I liked it and I said yeah. And, to my surprise, my parents approved and that was definitely God’s answer that He wanted me to go there.
C: Oh wow.. That’s awesome! So after coming here, what does the church mean to you?
J: Well when I think about church, each member has gifts, abilities, and a purpose. And I think it’s beautiful when a church utilizes that member’s gifts, talents, or abilities - not just becoming a well-rounded person but what they were made to be, what they were created to be. Some are more gifted in hospitality, some are more gifted in administration, some are more gifted in pastoring. I think a healthy church calls those members who are gifted in different areas to grow.
E: So what are your hopes for the church?
J: For the church, I think just to never be complacent or think we’re good. Just to always be humble and poor in Spirit. Having a desperation for God and if that means, rainy days then yeah… having rainy days so that we can pray all the more for sunny days. And when we have sunny days, we can be thankful because we had rainy days.
E: And I know you’re serving as hospitality team leader, what made you go into hospitality?
J: So in high school, this was at my lowest point of my life. I was very anti-social, I hated the world, I grilled people like don’t you dare stare at me (LOL). At that point, people talked crap about me and so I prayed to God, “God can I have some friends? Can a girl have some friends?” *giggles* And I was introduced to God through my mom and I’ve been going to church but I think out of my brokenness, I was so desperate that I just cried out to God just to change me. That’s when I promised to God that if you make me more outgoing then I would use that for His kingdom. And I think it came full circle now :)
E: Wow... that's crazy. What does hospitality team mean to you?
J: I think hospitality team exists so that we can be more intentional about just loving on people. Even for me, whenever you go to an unfamiliar environment, your first reaction is to run away and never come back. But it only takes like one person to really change that. I feel like it’s the same with teaching. Any child who grows up in a broken home, it only takes one teacher to change their heart or mind about something. It’s ultimately God working through you and HT really aims on being intentional in loving the community.
E: So how can we pray for you?
J: I’ve been very thankful that God has commanded us to walk a certain way. But He didn’t just command us but He gave us His own son, Jesus to show us how he wants us to walk. So right now I've been really praying whenever I read the Bible, that He would open my eyes to see how Jesus talked, how He walked, even His heart behind everything. So just opening my eyes to who Jesus is so I would see the Father’s heart.
E&C: Thanks for meeting with us Jamie! We’ll be praying for you :)