On July 1st, Hyun was given the opportunity to share his testimony at KOSTA (http://chicago.kosta.us/about-kosta/), a gathering of Korean Christians studying in the US. He challenged the 800+ participants who gathered at Wheaton College, to think about who they are and why God has sent them to be where they are. In other words, how do we as Korean Christians live with a missional vision in our current context right here in the US?
Hyun shared that one of the biggest obstacles for living a missional life is recognizing our own internalized racist attitudes which prevent us even as people of color from fully seeing other people of color, as God's full image-bearers. We won't recognize how much internalized racist attitudes and assumptions we have until we intentionally go out of our Korean enclaves, our comfort zone, and risk rubbing shoulders with people who do not look like us or talk like us.
The other obstacle for many Koreans living in America is the fear of not speaking English well. Our insecurity that our English isn't good enough build walls of fear and hostility that prevent us from proactively building relationships with people of other cultures. He reminded them that there will be awkwardness and sometimes even humiliation as we make cultural and linguistic mistakes, but sincerity and genuineness cross cultural boundaries. Trust that God's love will take root in the friendship. When we are willing to cross racial, cultural, and religious boundaries, we will experience the richness of God's kingdom in unexpected ways.
Hyun shared his unlikely friendship with Kevin, an African American Muslim whom he met in prison while training to be a facilitator for Alternative to Violence Project (http://avpusa.org). Their friendship deepened when Kevin came out of prison after doing time for 30 long years. Determined to live nonviolently, Kevin went straight to school, and Hyun attended Kevin's graduation from a trade school. Two years after his graduation, Hyun was invited to Kevin's wedding. When he arrived at the ceremony, Hyun found out that he was the only guest from Kevin's side. Hyun felt truly honored to be present as a friend. This unlikely brotherhood between an African American Muslim ex-convict and a Korean Christian pastor - this is a true gift in the journey towards racial reconciliation.