Shepherd Appointment Testimony—Joy Kim

Shepherd Appointment Testimony—Joy Kim

Hi everyone! I’m here today to tell you about how God has led me to make the decision to become a shepherd. Some of you know this already, but this decision has been a long time in the making and so there have been many blessings and lessons I’ve received along the way. I tried my best to organize my thoughts, but I apologize in advance if it seems like I’m rambling. I’m just really thankful to be here. 

So for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Joy. I’m 26 years old. I’m a nurse and i’ve been a part of The Seed since I was in grade 6. I joined Chiang Rai (then called Lampang) house church in 2014 in my first year of uni. Since then, I’ve been faithfully served week after week by Pastor Caleb and Jen. They have seen me through many tough choices and ugly moments through the years. There have been many a time when I called Jen in a panic because I needed to make a decision about a job offer, or fought with my boyfriend or someone was in the hospital. They were there for me every time to listen to me, encourage me and most importantly pray for me. 

I’ve learnt a lot from them, but I think the most important way that they helped me to grow was in the very beginning – one day when Pastor Caleb was driving me home after house church. At the time, I was in my first year of university at McMaster. I was trying to make friends and trying to find a new church there but also coming home maybe every other weekend or so, not for any other reason except being homesick and feeling out of place in Hamilton. It was at that time that Pastor Caleb challenged me to consider committing to coming back every weekend to serve at The Seed. 

I was pretty surprised at what he asked. At first, it seemed too unrealistic – I worried about whether I would be able to keep up with my schoolwork or really fit in at school if I was coming back home every weekend. But after praying about it, I started to feel a nudge in my heart to do it. After a lot of humming and hahing, I still wasn’t sure. But I made the decision to say yes, and said to God “I’ll say yes, but I need you to make this work for me.” 

And over the course of the next four years, I witnessed time and time again as God would make it work. I would get classes ending early on Fridays, starting late on mondays, clinical placements in Toronto. And if not that, I know that God was making it work because my grades came out okay!  And so, I want to say that I am thankful to you Pastor Caleb for challenging me back then, because it allowed me to experience what happens when you say to God, even when things seem scary or impossible. He comes through and prepares the way ahead of you. I have experienced so many blessings and the joy of serving at our church because of it.

With that being said, I want to share a bit about how I finally decided to say yes to becoming a shepherd. I love our church and I love the people here and I love serving here. I also love house church ministry and over the years, I’ve grown to learn and appreciate how God has worked through this ministry at our church. So years ago, I decided that I would become a shepherd, some day, when the time was right. 

And then in the last couple years or so, I noticed that our house church has been growing and growing and I think everyone was really started to feeling the pressure of needing to multiply. 

I felt the tension and nudging in my heart to step up, but I put it off while I waited for the circumstances to be right – to have a steady job that lets me have every Friday off, to be done youth shepherding, to have a husband and a home, and to feel like I was mature enough or wise enough. The biggest thing I was worried about was the fact that I had been hired to Public Health for the pandemic on a temporary contract that was set to expire at any time. And if I couldn’t find another job in public health, then I’d have to go back to working in the hospital, meaning I’d be busy all the time with an irregular schedule and not being able to attend, nevermind host house church meetings. 

It was at the height of this brooding and spiralling that Pastor Caleb gave a sermon about excuses. He spoke about the paralytic lying on his mat by the pool of water, talking about how he could never be healed because he could never get down to the water in time. He said that this mat represents the excuses we’ve been sitting on all these years, and challenged us to pick up our mat and how we have no reason not to if we have experienced God’s faithfulness in our lives so far. 

This is what finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed. I looked back at how faithful God has always been and I realized that I had no reason not to say yes. Yes I was still living at home with kinda questionable job security and no husband, but I gave that to God and asked Him to make it work and talked to Caleb and Jen in August of last year.

Since then, I’ve experienced grace after grace. I committed in August, and then got a job offer to stay in Public Health in September. I even got moved to an office just 10 minutes from home in April. My family helped me renovate our basement so that I could host at our house. My friends offered to help cook and open up their own homes for house church. I’ve experienced once more how God makes a way for us when we trust Him and obey.

That being said to be honest, there are still lots of times that I have found myself struggling with nervousness, fear and doubt coming to today. I find myself comparing myself to the people around me and thinking – these friends of mine are so much wiser, more caring and kind than I am. Who am I to be their shepherd? The audacity!!! I get scared that I’ll let people down. I feel like I’m not faithful enough or christian enough. 

I know I’m lacking in so many ways. But I’m encouraged by what it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

So I’m holding onto the fact that it might not matter so much who I am or what I can do, because it is God who does the work, not us. I’ll end this testimony by asking you all to pray that I and the rest of Papua New Guinea House Church will start our ministry with humble and prayerful hearts, and that we would always be sensitive to notice and thank God as He does his work through our house church. 

Thank you all for listening!