I was born to non-believing parents. But my grandmother, who lived with us, was a sincere Christian. She loved me and invited me to her church. When I was in elementary school, I loved going to church, but as I became a teenager, I gradually withdrew. I also knew that my parents were not happy that I was following my grandma to the church.
As an adult, when I asked Mill to marry me, she said yes under one condition; she said I must become a Christian. While I said yes, I did not take it seriously. After marriage, both of us wanted to go abroad for further study. I wanted to continue studying Theater Arts, and Mill wished to study the English language. We wanted to go to the USA eventually but decided to go to the Philippines first to prepare our English.
We landed in a pastor’s house in the Taytay, Rizal area, and met some Korean students studying at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS). This pleasant group of people wanted to invite us to the International Nazarene Fellowship (INF). We loved going to church and meeting new friends there. At the same time, we also attended the Korean students’ evening worship service at APNTS. After some weeks of visiting there, I remember a particular service when the Holy Spirit touched my heart, causing me to realize that I had been a wretch without any hope. While singing “Amazing Grace,” my heart was broken because of my sin and yet filled with gratefulness that I was finally free. As a Theater Arts major, I was always seeking the ‘true freedom’ that would free me from unexplainable bondage in my life. In the book of John, it is written, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” After repenting of my sin, I experienced true freedom. It was both a tearful and joyful experience.
After this, we were guided to attend a membership class at INF, and then we joined the church as official members. Later I served as one of the board members of the church.
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After my repentance, I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit over that period of our lives. Mill and I cried with joy for the work of the Holy Spirit in our marriage. I knew that the ownership of my life was no longer with me, but with the Lord. I knew I must love, worship, and praise Him.
Starting as a baby Christian, I began to learn the Bible and was involved in church activities. Being a natural reader, I studied my Bible and understood that my whole worldview was no longer the same as before. Later, I enrolled at APNTS to study Christian Communication. After graduation, I applied and was accepted to several graduate schools in the U.S. and U.K. At the same time, I was offered a faculty development scholarship at APNTS. It was a hard decision. We prayed about it for some time and God confirmed that He was calling us to APNTS.
While teaching, I was involved in ministry; I was doing many good things, but my heart was troubled and felt empty. I started to wake up early, and I would go down to the chapel to pray, what I called “dawn prayers.” After several months of constant prayer, others began to gather with me, and it became an excellent morning prayer time in the community. Then, one morning, I felt the strong presence of the Spirit teaching me what He wants me to be– not “to do” but “to be.” He wanted me to be in a close relationship with Christ. The Lord revealed again to me that He alone is Lord of my life. I was clothed in the strong presence of the Holy Spirit and in His Word. When I shared my testimony, the work of the Holy Spirit did not stop with me but also led one of the disciples from the local community through a similar experience. He is now the senior pastor of River of Life Church of the Nazarene, the Church we planted in the community next to the seminary.
Contributed by Dr. Donghwan “Bill” Kwon