“If someone had asked me the question, ‘where is God leading you?’, fifteen years ago, my answered would have been ‘what God?’”, reflected Andy Oh, a Central Diploma in Theological Studies student. Andy was born in Seoul, Korea, to a pharmacist father and a mother who was a high school chemistry teacher. His mother came from a Christian family while his father was Buddhist. When he was 10 his family moved to Schaumburg, Il, where his parents hoped to find a better life for their children. It was there that his father first attended church. Andy said, “Looking back, I now believe it was God who led our family to the States. We became members of PCUSA church. Eventually my father would go on to become an elder at the church and my mother an ordained deacon.”
Andy recalled the difficulty of growing up in a new culture where he did not know the language or have any friends, but he tried hard to live up to the standards his father set for him. Unfortunately, in his own eyes his accomplishments were never enough. He began to act out and was even asked not to come to the church the family attended because of his intimidating behavior.
It was the 9/11 event that marked a new beginning for his life. Thinking he might finally achieve his ambition of making something of himself, he accepted an invitation from his older brother, stationed in Afghanistan, to meet with civilian contractors from Korea. In preparation for what he saw as the answer to his dreams, he began to attend morning prayer services. “I needed God to bless me,” he said. Instead, everything fell apart.
“For the first time in my life, I prayed a genuine prayer. Always before, I had prayed about what God could give me or do for me. Now, I was angry and disappointed and I let God know how I truly felt. I said, ‘What do you want from me? Why do you always block everything I do?’”
Andy continued attending daily morning prayer and was introduced to a women pastor, Young Ja Lee, who offered to pray for him. She quoted Isaiah 41:10, Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. “I completely broke down in tears. Those were the exact words that I needed to hear. I was trying to hide my pain and fear by putting on a tough guy persona. I started asking God to show me a way and that I would be obedient.”
Andy started at Moody Bible Institute, but was drawn to the mission field. His former senior pastor contacted him to lead the youth group for the church where he was now pastoring. At first, because of his own experience as a youth and his desire to go the mission field, he said no; but he soon realized he was doing the opposite of being obedient to the path God was showing him. He reconsidered and told his former pastor yes. He became the youth pastor at the church. While there, he led Friday worship for the youth, preached weekly sermons, was in charge of VBS, and led youth winter and summer retreats. He said, “It was the best two years of my life.”
After serving two years as a youth pastor, Andy was offered an opportunity to serve overseas in India. He served in many churches and orphanages there, and used his own savings to fund the building of 3 churches in Bangalore. He reflected on those experiences, “I learned a valuable lesson – I had the passion, but I need to be more educated.”
Andy believes he will benefit tremendously from the teaching and the guidance of his professors at Central. He said, “I am longing for strong biblical foundation. I believe I will one day become the man God wants me to become, and as a follower of Christ, I will follow. He believes his next steps may be as a missionary somewhere, Africa or North Korea possibly. Wherever God sends me I will go”
“I finally realized God had my life all planned out all along. God has been leading me the whole time. “