TESTIMONY

 

My familyís Christian background goes back to the dawn of 20th century, which was started when my great grandfather on my father side, from the north Korea, before the communist invasion, became a Christian through a missionary from the United States. Since then all of his children had no choice but to become 'a Christian'.

This was the way my familyís religious tradition had been established in Korea. Although Iím convinced my great grandfatherís conversion was genuine, when it came down to my generation, personal belief wasnít a big issue for anybody in our extended family since we were all assumed to be Christian.

When I was growing up, from south Korea, since, both of my parents' families, migrated down to south, away from the communist regime, when Korea had its civil war right after the second world war ended, church was a big part of my life as well as a part of the family tradition but this wasn't because of my personal relationship with Christ. As far as I can remember, I never really had any recognition, to be a sinner. No one even from church talked to me about this issue, so I never really had the need to receive Jesus as my Savior or my Lord. For thirty some years starting from my motherís womb Iíve attended church but I never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

However, in my spiritual ignorance, I, without any doubt, believed, that I was a Christian. And the basis of my belief were, after all I was born in a Christian family of 4th generation (this is rare in Korea) and I attended church every Sunday.

After high school I left Korea to go to France to pursue my study and I remember, my life style wasnít any better than none church-goers. My heart was prideful, filled with greed and full of selfish ambitions. And unfortunately, my move to France made all worse. I enjoyed very much the European liberalism, socialism and all other man centered ideas. And as I succeeded in my study, my selfish ambition grew more and more.

During my ten years stay in France, I went as far away as possible from God by trying everything to satisfy myself in my own ways. However, toward the end of my stay, I started to realize that nothing could truly satisfy me permanently.

After the study, I came to United States and got married with my wife Amy and through a series of trials and hardships, (yes! It thought my easy life ended after I got married), God started to make me realize how small and incapable I was. He also let me realize that I had no control over my life. As a result, first time in my life, I felt very helpless and lost. At one point, as an example, even the thought of 'how am I going to be the father of my two kids' scared me to death and depressed me.

I believe this was the lowest point of my life but Our Heavenly Father didnít just leave me there.

On July 30, 1996 through a faithful Christian friend, I was led to a local Christian church. I later found out that this church was spiritually revitalized only couple of weeks before I started to attend. Starting with their senior pastor the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit was extended to the rest of the staffs and to the whole congregation. Then the church was led to start a Friday night revival service to extend the leading of the Holy Spirit to as many as possible. This is when I first attended the church.

Witnessing their sincere praise and worship, my heart was first moved. Iíve never seen people praising and worshiping God with this much of sincerity and peace on their appearance with an such an orderly manner. And I immediately felt that they had something that I didnít have, then I had a strong desire to find out what it was. with my yearning to have the same thing for myself.

I was totally convicted by the time the teaching of the Word of God was shared, and by the time, the alter call was given, I went forward. I didn't hesitate. I was ready.

I first repented all of my sins, as far as I could remember, and then I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and take control of my life for the first time in my life. This was an easy choice for me because I already knew the result of following my own way. I was MISERABLE! And I was convinced that following God's way is much better than following my own way.

This was the most awesome day of my life!

How grateful I felt that God forgave all my sins and saved me. I can never forget the joy and the peace that I have received that day and I still remember just as though it happened yesterday. I have realize later that this joy and peace were the very things that Christians of the church where I got saved had in their hearts, which I initially had no understanding how they could have such a joy and peace on their faces when I first stepped in into the church.

They had Jesus in their hearts. They had personal relationship with our Lord Jesus. The joy and the peace of God that only people who have a true relationship with God can have. Only those who have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior can experience. This is the reason why I could not understand.

That same day, God also blessed me with many spiritual gifts. He opened up the eyes of my heart so when I read the Word of God, first time in my life, I could UNDERSTAND the meaning. Until then reading the Bible was a hardship because I could not make sense out of anything. And God also imparted strong desire to study the Bible.

Few years later, God led me to go to Calvary Chapel School of Ministry as a confirmation, to the desires that He imparted in my heart with the financial blessing, since I had to quit my job to attend the school and  I was the only bread winner of my family back then.

After I graduated from school,  my family and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona area following the leading of the Holy Spirit where I started Calvary Chapel in Christ Fellowship, a Korean-American fellowship where I serve until present time.

Iím ever grateful that God saw me worthy to be a part of His work!

Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 11:25-26; "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."

Sincerely,

Joseph Choi