July Blog - Pastor Taegyu Shin
July 1, 2020, 12:53 PM

With the peace of the Lord, I greet the families of Big Rapids First UMC.  My name is Taegyu Shin (first name pronounced: Tag U and last name pronounced: Sheen), I have been appointed to this church beginning in July.  I will make my first blog an introduction.

I was born and raised as a pastor's son in Korea.  I became a pastor not only because of my father's influence, but because Sunday school education was most impactful to me.  I was impressed that while David was the most powerful king in Israel's history, he still loved God and wanted to built a temple for God. I was thinking how I loved God.

There was a time when I entered school and boasted of my future career with my friends, because I wanted to be a pastor.  As an eight-year old boy, I thought that a pastor could serve God even in heaven without retiring.  At that time, I was close with one of my friends who also wanted to be a pastor.  It was childish play, but the confession at that time became the foundation for my life.  For a while, we reaffirmed with a friend who confessed to becoming a pastor in their dreams.

Of course, there were ordeals.  At that time, the friend who confessed to wanting to become a pastor moved far away so I lost my running mate.  I became alone.  Meanwhile, my grandfather who was a non-believer at that time didn't understand my vision.  My grandfather persuaded me to change my vision and get a job other than being a pastor.  However, my grandfather's opposition added urgency to my mind, which had been lacking because of my friend that had moved away.  Later, when my grandfather went to church and stopped opposing my becoming a pastor, I was convinced that God had helped me.

When I applied to seminary, I had a question of whether it was God or me who made the decision.  I wanted to make sure it wasn't my unilateral decision.  I started praying earnestly.  For many days and months, God had no answer for me.  One time, I made a grumbling prayer and said, "How long should I pray, God?" without any expectation, because I was tired at heart, at that moment, I saw a symbol while my eyes were closed.  There was no one around, and the lights were out, so I couldn't see anything.  However, I saw a symbol.  The symbol was the number eight lying sideways.  At first I thought it was just an image, I could not recognize it.  After a second, I realized what the symbol was.  It was infinity.  As soon as I realized the meaning of the symbol, I laughed because I knew God gave me the most appropriate answer to my prayers.  Because I had questioned how long I should keep praying, God answered infinitely, which is the same as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "pray continually."  The symbol convinced me that my determination to go to seminary was not my own idea, but God's calling.

Another important prayer was the prayer for my spouse.  When I was in Junior High School, my Youth Director taught me to pray for my spouse.  From that moment on I kept praying through my being 28 years old.  That would be one year before my graduation from seminary.  I was nervous about why God had not responded to my prayer so I decided to partake in a special prayer at the church for 100 days while fasting breakfast.

After praying for a month, I was introduced to my wife Eunjeong (pronounced Un Jong) through my father.  On the first date with Eunjeong, she asked me a random question.  She asked if I was regularly eating breakfast. Instantly, I answered that I don't eat breakfast because I was fasting breakfast during the 100-day prayer.

Later, my wife told me why she had asked me that question.  She said that it was a test.  She thought that if I was eating breakfast, I would not be her spouse.  I didn't know what she was thinking, but I passed her test without any problem because I wasn't eating breakfast at that time.  After marriage, of course, I always eat breakfast.  I knew that God had helped me to pass Eunjeong's test.

Eunjeong majored in Korean music as the daughter of a pastor.  I found out later that her brother and I were classmates at the seminary.  She was God's perfect choice for me.

Since I promised God that I would pray for 100 days, although God responded in a month, I kept praying for the remainder of the 100 days and married the wife He had prepared for me.  Now, God has blessed me with two sturdy and wonderful sons, Mark (19 years old) and Steven (17 years old).

Through this introduction I wanted to share with you how precious prayer is.  When we pray, God is in charge of our lives.  More than our expectations, God wants to be with us in our lives.  Prayer makes our lives God's response.  I give thanks to God for meeting you, and pray for you.

Pastor Taegyu Shin

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