Interviewers: Chloe Lee and Sarah Lee
Interviewee: Elva Choi
Sarah/Chloe: Tell us a little about yourself-- what makes you Elva?
Elva: My name is Elva Choi and I am 19 years old, which is VERY surprising when I tell people my age. I’m an only child, so I really enjoy being with others. Right now, I attend NYU, initially for occupational therapy but I’m actually planning to change my major to event management and hospitality! I think what makes me myself is my laugh and my monotone voice.
Chloe: Why? What about your laugh?
Elva: Well, my laugh is apparently unique and people have told me that when I laugh, I sound like a broken record. It’s also really easy to make me laugh so I guess I’m just a laughable person but at the same time, I also have a very monotone voice so it doesn’t really sound like I have emotions when I speak.
Sarah/Chloe: So, what drew you into event management from occupational therapy?
Elva: Well, initially I wanted to pursue occupational therapy because it sounded interesting. But I soon realized that it was just something my mom wanted me to do. She wasn’t forcing me but she placed this idea in me. I realized that I wanted to do it to satisfy my mom, and not for myself. And so recently, after joining Koinonia and Hospitality Team in church, I realized that I was a planner-- I love to organize things and plan events. I am praying into this and I believe the Lord is cultivating this heart in me to go into event planning. Right now, I am not sure what specific field of event planning I want to go into, but I’m definitely seeing more clarity. All I know is, I really love doing this.
Sarah/Chloe: I see- so would you say that Koinonia and Hospitality Team (HT) played a big part in this decision?
Elva: Definitely, I mean after joining Koinonia, I saw the effort and the time it takes to make these events happen. I’ve come to appreciate that and I genuinely find joy in doing everything. Even in HT, being intentional about building relationships and making our English Ministry feel more comfortable for others is a skill that the Lord has been developing in most of us. I’m actually very shy and quiet so stepping out of my comfort zone to talk to newcomers was definitely a challenge, and still is. But, being an event planner requires connections and relationships. So, HT helped me to be more outgoing and purposeful within the community. It wasn't exactly Koinonia or Hospitality Team that directly influenced my decision, but I would definitely say that they both played a part.
Sarah/Chloe: How do you think you can glorify the Lord through event planning, especially since In today’s society, it is difficult to find Godliness in parties or events-- can you share your thoughts on that?
Elva: This is something that I have also been praying for- what field God wants me to be in within event planning. Something that I have been convicted of is being proactive in the sex and human trafficking industry. After praying, I believe the Lord confirmed that through a dream I had a few months ago. Ever since then, I asked God “How do you want me to serve in this industry? What can I do to expand your kingdom in this field?” Whether it means joining a team to actually rescue these victims or even fundraising, I really want to serve. I don't know exactly what He wants me to do but I am hoping that God can use this gift of event planning to do something for the human trafficking industry. Maybe it will be organizing fundraisers or holding conferences to raise awareness-- these are just small things I am praying into. Simply, I don’t want to use this desire if it won’t be edifying to the Church and glorifying to God.
Sarah/Chloe: I see, thank you so much for sharing your passions with us. We can’t wait to see how God uses them in His kingdom! Now, what is one God-given characteristic/trait that you really appreciate?
Elva: Well, I’ve been told that I’m a loyal person. I think it’s something that God really built in me and I’ve been trying to cultivate it more by investing into relationships with people. But, it’s still definitely a struggle because even in relationships with those who are difficult to love, I think the Lord teaches me unconditional love/loyalty.
Sarah/Chloe: What is the most joyful part about serving the Lord in and out of the church?
Elva: This might sound like another cliche answer but it’s coming from a truthful heart! But when I think about myself and my own heart, I really don’t have the capacity to serve in all of this because I’m not the most perfect person and I lack in a lot of ways. But the fact that God brought me to these areas and that He still uses me to serve even though I have nothing is so honoring. It’s not my own ability but He puts the Spirit in me to serve and I think that drives me to continuously serve because like I said before, it’s not me, it’s God. Seeing how God uses not only just me but all the teams like praise team, F&F, etc. to bring the whole body together is something I am always blessed by and makes serving really rewarding. Not just because we gain anything for our own selves but because we see how the church comes together to worship the Lord and I think that’s really beautiful.
Sarah/Chloe: Now, do you mind sharing a short testimony about your life? Emphasis on the “short”!
Elva: *monotone laugh* I’ll try to make it as concise as possible. Long story short, I was born into a Christian home. My family and I have been attending CPC ever since I was born. My family actually has a lot to do with my testimony. Two summers ago, my family entered a very difficult season. There was a lot of darkness being exposed in my parent’s marriage. It really took a toll on my mom’s mental and physical health. Because I am an only child, I felt like I was responsible for my family and it was my job to patch them together. And, I was struggling because I was believing in the lie that if I tell my church about this, my family won’t be looked the same way and I actually felt ashamed about what was going on back home. It was difficult for me to open this part of my heart to others. However, through God’s grace, He allowed me to open up my heart to my old youth group pastor’s wife, Dahee. She interceded for me and in due timing, I was able to open up to the other sisters in the church. As the summer came to an end, I saw God working and bringing my family back together. Even until today, God is restoring my parent’s marriage. It’s not perfect yet, but I see how the Lord is bringing us to a place of redemption. After that summer, I learned that it’s not my “burden” to “fix” my family. I felt like I had to do everything that I possibly can to take care of my family-- if I didn’t, then my parents would go back to the way they were before. But, God taught me to surrender my family to Him and that it’s not in my own doing, but God has my family in His hands. He will do what He wants to do in His timing. And all I needed to do was to trust and submit to His sovereign will.
Sarah/Chloe: It is so amazing to see just how much God loves you and your family, thank you for sharing that. Lastly, how can we pray for you today Elva?
Elva: My prayer request would be to continue to joyfully submit to the Lord's will. If that means to sacrifice things, then I would sacrifice it with a content heart. And, always just choosing the better portion in everything that I do.