I was born in Daegu, South Korea. When I was 8 years old, my family immigrated to the United States.
Ever since I can remember, I went to church with my family. I heard about Jesus and believed in Him at a young age. My parents had family devotions every day.
So, I followed their example and had my own worship and time with God from a young age. I would sing a hymn, read a chapter in my Bible, and then pray. I said the same prayers every day.
When I was about 16 years old, the youth pastor at my church named Moses stopped me one Sunday morning and asked me, “Susan, are you a born-again Christian?” His question stumped me.
I remember thinking, “Of course, I’m a Christian. I come to church every Sunday, don’t I? I teach Sunday school, don’t I?”
Although I tried to justify it, his question haunted me for a long time because the truth was I really didn’t know whether I was “born-again” or not.
God also used a children’s song we used to sing during our Sunday school time to think about my spiritual state. It was a song with the lyrics, “You can’t get to heaven by being rich, you can’t get to heaven by being pretty, you can’t get to heaven by being good.”
What? You can’t get to heaven by being good? This line stumped me too. I thought if I can’t get to heaven by being good, how do I get to heaven?
You see, I always thought that I just had to be a good person to go to heaven. And I thought that I was a pretty good person. But I didn’t understand God’s holy and righteous standard.
God’s holy and righteous standard is perfect. Sinless. If you even commit one sin, you’ve failed to meet His perfect standard.
Well, what is sin? Sin is anything that is offensive to God in thought, word, or deed. So, have you ever thought a bad thought? If your answer is yes, then you are guilty before God. In fact, the Bible teaches that we are all sinners.
God is so holy, so perfect, and so pure that none of us, not one person in the entire world is good enough to satisfy His holy standard. We all fall short and deserve Hell and eternal punishment because of our sin nature.
However, God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son who was perfect and sinless to come into the world and die on the cross for our sins. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus Christ came and took all our sins upon Himself on the cross so that whoever believes in Him might go to heaven and receive eternal life. God loves us so much.
And Jesus offered up his body on our behalf. He shed his blood to satisfy God’s holy requirement. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God’s holy anger toward sin was satisfied. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Because I believe in Jesus and His atoning work on the cross, I am saved. I am declared righteous and justified by God. I have the promise of eternal life because I believe!
And that’s it. It’s that simple to be saved and considered a child of God. You don’t have to be good, and you definitely don’t have to be rich or pretty or handsome.
When you believe, you are acknowledging that you are a sinner before a holy God in need of salvation. Your desires will become new. You will want to only do what is right and good before God.
You will hate your sin and will want to change. You will want to only do what pleases and honors God. You will not desire the things of this world that is passing away.
All these new desires are there because now you are a child of God. You have been adopted into the family of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come!”
Well, let me get back to what God did in my life. When my youth pastor asked me that question, God didn’t lead me to the answer until a few years later.
In my senior year of high school, I first visited Grace Community Church. And then when I was attending college, I started attending regularly. God used our pastor’s preaching on sin and grace to help me gain the assurance of my salvation.
It was at this time that I finally understood God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
In 1994, there was a major earthquake in Los Angeles. God used that earthquake to really shake me up. I don’t remember what exactly was going on in my head except that I felt the power of God. And then, I experienced absolute peace and joy in my heart. In the midst of utter chaos, I experienced joy and the peace of God.
The earthquake was devastating, but I was the happiest person alive because of what Jesus did in my heart. God used me to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others during that time. He continued to give me the desires to know Him better and understand His word better. I took classes that were available to me at my church and read and memorized my Bible diligently.
As I got more involved at church, I also met my husband. We were both part of the same fellowship group at church, Working Disciples. He was leading a monthly meeting to pray for our church’s missionaries. God was growing my interest and desires to know more about missions and how I could serve in missions.
In 1997, I attended a program called Quest through Wycliffe Bible Translators. I wanted to see if God was leading me to join the mission organization. At the end of the Quest program, the answer was to wait. So, I did. And in the meantime, back at my home church, I spent more time with Aaron. We began to talk more and spend more time together.
In January 1998, Aaron proposed, and I accepted. We were married on October 10, 1998. Four years later, in 2002, we were commissioned as missionaries by our church and sent out.
It was a privilege to serve the Lord in Cameroon for the years that we were on the field. I can only praise Him for all the great things He has shown me by allowing our family to serve Him!
And now we’re looking forward to even greater things that He will show us as we begin our new chapter in missionary service with unfoldingWord.