Pastor Hyung-Suk Joe….
Pastor Hyung-Suk Joe was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in a very Christian atmosphere in which his parents had sincere faith. He had been a faithful attender as well as an active member in the church activities during his childhood. Nevertheless, his church life had just been a type of habit until he began to struggle with his Christian life more deeply in his college years.
Spent at SungKwunKwan University in Korea, his college years allowed him to discuss such topics as the nature and meaning of life with his intellectual peers.
During that time, he got involved in the Democratization Movement that swept across South Korea during the 1980s. He was one of many college students and citizens participating in the movement. While struggling with who he was in his life in the period of such a social transition, He found his life unfulfilled and was very much disappointed with himself. He kept finding that he was not sincere in his life. The more he tried to find self-fulfillment, the more he failed to accomplish it and the more empty he felt. He felt that he lost something important in life and felt he was a loser.
He tried to renew himself over and over, but it was in vain. He could not get out of such a feeling of loss at the time. He did not know what to do, so he prayed and prayed.
In the end, he found the enlightenment while visiting his parents. Sitting in his family’s living room, he was overcome with the realization that he was the most miserable sinner against God, his parents and himself. But he found solace from that in an unlikely place: a poem that had been hanging, framed on the wall. The title of the poem was “Foot-Prints.” While reading the poem, he deeply realized that God’s great love until giving up his only son had been always with him and never left me. Yes, it was the moment that what he understood about God’s love for him in his mind descended into the depth of my heart and gave him inner peace. He was born again on that day as recognizing who he is as God’s beloved child no matter who he is—whether he succeed or failed.
After his “born-again” experience, his faith in God became strong. This renewed passion for the Christian faith eventually let him to begin saving money after graduating from college to attend Drew Theo-logical School in New Jersey. After graduating from Drew, he began to serve the United Methodist Church in 2003, eventually becoming an ordained minister in 2008.
During his time in America, he has served several different churches, including Carnegie United Methodist, Calvary United Methodist in Windber, and St. Paul’s United Methodist (Epworth and Millvale United Methodist) in Allison Park. He is now currently serving Port Vue United Methodist and is very excited to begin his new ministry.