Written by Charles Zimmerman
Friday, 27 December 2013 00:00
Where have they gone & where are they now?
Alumni Update – Paul Chi, class of 1999
This month I continue with updates on some graduates of Biblical Seminary and this entry fills us in on the whereabouts of Paul Chi.
Believe it or not, I am in contact with Paul more than most alums. The main reason for our regular communication is that Paul is the point person for the OIL conferences and I have spoken at OIL more years than I can count. I always enjoy my interactions with Paul because he has a great sense of humor and a real passion for the gospel. Paul is one of our many graduates involved in church-planting; putting into practice what he learned at Biblical Seminary.
What years did you attend at Biblical?
I attended Biblical from 1996 to 1999 and received my Master of Divinity degree. I am currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Biblical.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
After graduating from Biblical, I served as an assistant pastor in two different churches, pastored by Biblical alumni, over the span of 9 years. These were precious years that God used to train and mature me as a young pastor. It was a time when the invaluable lessons learned at Biblical were put to use in daily life and ministry through both successes and failures. With each passing year, I grew in my love and conviction regarding the Scriptures, the necessity of prayer, and the centrality of the cross. I also fell in love with the church and its importance in the mission of God.
In June of 2008, after being married for less than a year, my wife Sojin and I followed God's call to move to Madison, WI to plant a church targeting Asian-American college students and working professionals. We did not have a core team or a budget as we began this journey, but we did have a strong sense of mission and calling (as well as a baby on the way!)
Harvest Church of Madison recently celebrated our fifth anniversary, and it was a great time to remember and acknowledge all the ways in which God has been faithful - especially His work and far-reaching impact through our transient congregation of college students and young professionals. It's been a joy to witness God bless our church, as well as our family, as we now have 2 beautiful children, Daniel (5) and Karis (2).
Tell a favorite memory from your Biblical days.
One of the most impactful moments of my life was during my first year at Biblical, when my close friend and roommate, Sung Choi, died in a car accident. Sung and I were part of a group of college friends from Illinois that had all come to Biblical, and we had been renting a house together on Bergey Road, affectionately nicknamed, “The Chicago House” - it was like a fraternity house where we substituted intense prayer meetings for wild parties.
Sung was finishing his second year at Biblical while serving as a youth pastor. I vividly recall the Tuesday afternoon when Sung left to watch one of his youth group students play lacrosse in Cherry Hill, NJ. On his way back home, a small metal object fell from a semi-truck and flew through his windshield like a bullet.
That night, many of us were huddled together in the hospital ICU when we got the news that Sung had gone to be with the Lord. I remember a roller coaster of emotions, including anger, sadness, confusion, and hope.
During my final two years at Biblical, I drove past the site of Sung's accident at least twice a week.
I was struggling with my Hebrew class, youth ministry, finances, loneliness, and future uncertainty - Was being at Biblical worth it? Am I really called to ministry? Should I pursue something else?
As I struggled with these questions one night, I found myself driving by the accident site. God began ministering to my heart on that highway. God allowed me to hear Sung's voice in my heart as if he was a part of the cloud of witnesses cheering me on.
I’ll never forget the words I heard in my heart that night: “Paul, if you could see what I see. If you could hear what I hear. If you could dance like I’m dancing. You would know that it’s so worth it; it’s so worth it when you get here!”
Whenever I think about Biblical, I am not only reminded of the godly professors and late night Greek cram sessions, but also of the Gospel camaraderie shared with Biblical alumni who are now laboring around the world.
Contact information: email, facebook, etc.
If you haven’t checked the faculty blog to catch up with your old Profs or former classmates, scroll back and take a look. I asked each to provide contact information, so reconnect!
The purpose of this blog will be to expand the influence of our faculty, maintain contact with our graduates, and invite other friends to think with us about important biblical and theological ideas.