So, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I can say that I had a memorable one. It was first frustrating then it became hilarious, then it was thankfulness. I will share with you all my journey towards Christmas.
It all started on Christmas Eve. I got the kids to bed, which took a while, since they were so excited about Christmas and the presents that Santa would get them. The anticipation kept them up. But they went to bed peacefully, and I made sure that they were sound asleep. I crept downstairs and started to get all the gifts read to be wrapped.
I get all the presents that Eunkyung and I hid down in the basement, scattered them all around the tree. I went up the attic to get all the gift wrapping material, scissors, tape, and bows. I am trying my best not to make any noise, because I don’t want to wake up the kids. I got downstairs, with no issue, until my foot caught itself on the floor. I lost my balance and I tried to regain my balance by making a quick step, but that step proved to be a disaster.
I stepped directly on top of my iPhone. Yeah, my phone was on the ground, and of all the places I could step on the floor, just happened to be the one place that my poor phone was occupying. All I heard next was the sound of snow crunching, which was odd, because there is no snow inside the house. But that wasn’t snow, it was my phone getting crushed in millions of glass pieces.
I stepped down so hard on my phone that it not only broke the entire front of the phone, but also the back. It was shattered, front and back. I was furious at myself! But I couldn’t yell or scream, so I just bottled it all up, and with nothing I could do, just wraps the gifts in grief!
Christmas morning, and I got zero sleep, still feeling sad about the incident that my lead foot met a fragile iPhone. Kids opened up the gifts and I tell Eunkyung that I am done with cell phones. 2021 was a rotten year with me and electronics. I had broken my other phone, then my computer broke and no once again, I broke another phone. I told Eunkyung no more cell phones for me, I am obviously not responsible enough to handle any kind of electronical device.
Eunkyung just stared at me and said, you are going to have to open your Christmas present, I think you might just lose it. What could it be?
She gave me a wireless iPhone charger. Nice. I stared at it, and started to cry with laughter. I felt this feeling of joy suddenly. I laughed and laughed and laughed. She gave me a wireless charger because she knew how much I always complain about those darn, annoying cell phone charging wires, which always get tangled and just keep getting in the way or just get’s lost.
So, I guess I am getting yet another iPhone!
This story for me is all abut how God has a sense of humor and how God can really transform rage into joy. It is all about how funny life circumstances could really be. I am so thankful for this strange experience. And yeah it still hurts I have to spend an insane amount of money on a new phone, but that’s OK, I made peace with that. God has given me a Christmas to remember.
Honestly, iPhone is just stuff anyways, it’s a material item that is useful on earth, but can’t take it with me to heaven. Money spent on items, is just money, it doesn’t mean much and spending it, using it, or sometimes feel like wasting it won’t give you any more or less joy. Joy is found in the experiences we have, regardless of it being an experience of pain or happiness, and sometimes those life experiences hold both pain and happiness simultaneously; you just have to realize it, believe it, and actualize it.
“There is no such thing as a perfect human being, but this guy comes close.” -Mike Sarraille
What have you done, or what do you think you have accomplished at the age of 34? I know that at the age of 34 I can consider myself a stable, happy, successful person. I accomplished what I wanted to do, but for the most part, nothing compares to wat this guy has accomplished at a young age.
Can you image at the age of 34 having been a navy SEAL, combat medic, sniper, navigator, and point man, deployed twice in the Middle East, served in over 100 combat missions, awarded the silver star during the battle of Ramadi for bravery above and beyond by saving several Iraqi soldiers during combat and a bronze star. Graduated Summa Cum Laude at San Diego State in Mathematic, attend and finished medical school at Harvard University, became a doctor in the ER, and then top it off becoming an astronaut? Yes, all that at 34 years old. This is not a movie character, this is a real person. And every time I hear about this guy, I can’t believe it. His name is Jonny Kim.
Jonny Kim was born and raised in Los Angeles California. He is Korean American, and at a young age he lost his father in a tragic way. Hid father was abusive and violent. One day, his father pulls out a gun and threatens to kill Jonny’s mother. Jonny was 9 years old, and with all his strength tried to overpower his father, but couldn’t. As a last resort, Jonny begs his father not to do it. Telling his father that he still loves him, and there’s still a chance, just leave. His father, leaves the presence of the family, and Jonny calls 911. Police arrive, and Jonny noticed something was off in the house. He realized that it is possible that his father is hiding in the attic. Jonny tells the police, and the police and Jonny’s father had a confrontation. Jonny’s father was shot and killed that day.
Jonny grew up as what he called himself was a “scared little boy.” All he ever wanted to do was protect his brother and mother. He got in trouble a lot until one day in high school he heard about the Navy SEALS. At 16 years old, Jonny went to SEAL training. A skinny, “unassuming” boy (Jocko Willink) complete SEAL training and becomes part of SEAL Team 3. While being a solider he went to San Diego State where he graduated with a 3.98 GPA. After losing two friends in combat, he decided to go to Harvard Medical School to become a doctor. Soon after, he applied to NASA to become an astronaut. In a field of 18,000 applicants, 12 were chosen, and he was one of the 12to become an astronaut and is now planning to make a trip to the moon.
I encourage everyone to go on YouTube and check this guy out. It’s crazy unbelievable and incredibly inspiring. Apparently, while in SEAL training, nobody gave Jonny a chance. Everyone thought that he would never make it through the rigorous training, only because he was unassuming, he was quiet, kept to himself, never boastful. All the SEALs that served with Jonny Kim said he is one of the most humble guys you will ever meet. It crazy, because all the accolades you think you may have heard of him more often, but Jonny, true to his character, stayed unassuming.
Imagine, all the people that we may dismiss, or consider to be unassuming, consider to be a nobody, nothing special. Just because a person isn’t the loudest, or have a bigger than life personality, doesn’t mean that they can’t be a part of something special.
Nor if we learned anything from Jonny Kim, it is that, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, location, or social environment, you always have a chance, not just a chance to live a good life, or a life that just gets by, but a life that is excellent. You don’t have to act like anyone special, you just have to be motivated. You don’t need to live on handouts, you just need to do it yourself. You don’t need to praise of men and women to be someone, you just need yourself.
It is Done
The past two weeks in our household have been bonkers. At church we are getting ready for Christmas, Advent, choir, kids handbell practices, Sunday School lesson making, event planning, and everything that the kids have to do with school. I can totally say that it’s a ton of work, a lot of restlessness, but also all so very exciting! I am so thankful to be this busy! Well on most days, hehe! But another huge change in our household is also the fact that my wife, Eunkyung Kim has finally graduated!
Eunkyung graduated in the BSN program at Mount Aloysius. She ended up graduating Cum Laude! What an honor! All that hard work, studying, maintaining home life, being a mother, and our church organist, and she succeeded and done well in her studies.
I am so super proud of her, and super proud of the kids as well. Honestly, they did such a good job understanding that Mommy did not have much time with them for the past 17 months. At times she had to work in the hospital overnight, at times she had to spend all day and night to study, and the kids could have easily gotten frustrated, stressed, and put of a fit, but they stayed patient during this whole process! Their attitude really helped her not worry about them too much.
So thankful to God for such a wonderful opportunity and the success of a job well done! Very thankful to Ward Ave. Presbyterian Church for the scholarships every semester and thankful to Huntingdon Presbytery for financial assistance as well.
This coming Friday, she will be ceremoniously “pinned.” It’s kind of like getting ordained as a pastor. She is on her way to make the world a better place for all of us. This dream come true, this mission completed is all due to the countless of support from the church, the church members, our families, and the kindness of random people. All this is possible because God has provided each day, every moment to fulfill our needs.
Every challenge that came up was met with His amazing grace. I do fully believe that the people that God placed in our lives had an essential part in helping her to graduate and find success.
Thank you all for your support and prayers! It means everything to us! God bless you all!
It Starts with You
A lot going on around us. 3 things I will briefly mention. The Oxford High School shooting, the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, and Ahmaud Arbery verdict. These are my thoughts, and the facts that I can dig up for the past weeks or so.
Oxford school shooting. Yet our nation faces yet another school shooting. A 15-year-old brings a handgun to school and kills 4 people, and injuring many others, leaving a community in horror and a nation in shock.
I can’t believe that I have to write about another mass shooting incident, it’s getting absurd and ridiculous. I don’t care what side you are on with the gun issue, but this type of violence is horrific. Other nations around the world that allow citizens to lawfully carry firearms do not seem to have this issue. Canada has more guns than the United States, and yet we don’t see this from them. European nations, like Switzerland has some of the most open carry laws in the world, and we don’t see this. But in the United States, we see this. It’s getting disappointing. Is this a mental health issue? If it is, then what more can be done to help people who feel mentally compromised and lost? Or is this an education issue? According to school peers this kid was not bullied, but teachers saw red flag signs. Was he just a loner; maybe the quiet kid that people just didn’t seem to recognize? If so, what can be done to change the culture in school social groups to help all students feel safe and welcome? Or maybe this is a parenting issue? Was he having issues at home? And even if anyone one of the reason that I wrote are true, then why the decision to shoot up the school?
Again, in other countries there are kids who are loners, kids who feel unappreciated, or even bullied. In other countries kids find themselves in abusive households,or feeling like they are in a broken home. But nobody in the world sems to have school shootings as a yearly norm like we do in the United States.
Have our nations citizen become so mentally fragile, that we feel violence is the way to be heard? We can’t mentally overcome any hardships within our very lives? Are we lacking community support when we feel overcomes with feelings of stress and depression? I leaves these questions open to you all reading to find your answer.
Now, Kyle Rittenhouse is a case that so many factual information got lost in the media. I am not praising this kid for what he done. But also I do think he was left with no other options to the time of the fatal shootings. As a Christian, it is MY belief that taking another person’s life is terrible. I’d rather be sacrificed than kill, but again, that is me. Rittenhouse, had every right to open carry at that time. Rittenhouse was abiding by the law. He even ran to the police line, before he was attacked. He shot two people fearing for his own life, and hence took other’s lives.
It is a terrible situation to be in. But the question remains for me, is why in the world would he go there in the first place? He said his intention was to help businesses, but that’s why we have police or maybe the reason why we need police. Maybe he felt that the police were ineffective because of the protesting and rioting. Was he going there to be a vigilante? Or going there to act in justice? Those are two things I honestly do not understand. It’s not because I am a coward, but it is because vigilante justice are stuff that I leave it to God. Everyone will be judged by God ultimately. I also don’t understand why he is choosing to make headlines by being more public on social media and meeting Donald Trump. In my opinion, if I took two people’s lives, regardless of it was because I was defending myself, I would be a nervous wreck, I would feel trauma from taking people’s lives. Death is never to be praised. Sometimes death happens, but it is unfortunate, even if it was necessary.
I feel horrible about this outcome, but I feel worse that it has become a political issue. I feel depressed that it has become a media sensation. The facts are that a teenage boy had to take 2 peoples lives because he was helpless. Lord help all that was involved.
Amaud Arbery is another heart breaking case. Three men decided that he did not belong and “looked” suspicion. They run him down in a truck to confront him to ask questions. I don’t know about you, but usually when a stranger wants me to stop to ask a questions, I usually like to keep my distance, I would be feared about getting mugged. These three men decided to take it upon themselves to evoke vigilante justice. Three men are in jail and one person’s life is lost.
Goodness gracious, what in the world is going on in our world, in our community. In every one of these cases all I see is how fragilely minded we all are. All I see is fear. There is a reason why the most used commandment in the Bible is “do not fear.” All these cases only fuels the necessity to fear all human beings. That is heartbreaking.
We should never fear one another. We should never feel that we need to be suspicious of another person, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or orientation. As Americans, we are above fear. As Christians we are called not to fear. On the day I am writing this is December 7th. Who knows what significant event happened on this day? Don’t google it! We should all know!
December 7th is the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. The day that marked the United States to enter into World War 2. Americans entered the war, not out of fear, but out of duty. We chose to fight, to sacrifice, to protect. Even though many lives were lost in the war, and death is always saddening, it was something necessary at the time. People back then were brave, mentally strong.
What we are seeing in the United States is unnecessary violence. This must change. Be mentally strong. Just because your home life is not ideal, or that your social life in school feels isolated, or that you see someone strange, be better than our fears. Always have hope for the future, don’t ever think that violence is the right answer to anything. If you feel wronged, let God handle it, that is what He is for. I urge everyone to think about how strong you really can be. Think about the future and how amazing it can be, because it really can be! Thinking has power. If you think negatively, your world will continue to be dark, no matter what circumstance you are in. But if you think positively, then your world will be brighter. When you are positive then people around you are positive. Everyone keep your head up and remember politeness, friendliness, and a good attitude goes a long way; not just for yourself but for the people you come across.
It is said that in an average human life we will meet 10,000 people. 10,000 people! And if you can change the lives of just ten people you meet, that mean those ten people, each one of them will effect another 10,000 lives. In as little as 5 generations, you yourself has the potential to change, 500,000 lives. It all starts with you.
End of Watch
So many things that I want to write about. Two days ago we had another school shooting, and we are about a week removed from the verdicts concerning Kyle RIttenhouse and Ahmaud Arbery. I will cover these two subjects in the next two posts, but I do want to share my thoughts on what is happening locally in our community.
Last week here in Altoona, PA we remember correctional facility officer Rhonda J. Russell. She was accidentally shot by another police officer who was aiming at the criminal that had Rhonda’s firearm. Even though it saddens my heart to hear of a law enforcement officer fallen in the line of duty, I was happy to see how this city and county rallied in support to mourn in her passing. Last week we had a big funeral procession that was accompanied by any offices in vehicles, motorbikes, with ambulance and firetrucks. Flags around town were put on half-mast the day of the shooting and also on the day of the funeral.
This tragic death in an officer on duty is just a reminder how difficult and stressful it is to serve as a law enforcement officer. I won’t keep this article long, because the only thing I have to say is simply that we should all remember that serving as a police officer is never easy and they put their life on the line every time they put on that uniform.
They are here among us to watch over and protect us. Many times, that have to make quick acting decisions that test their courage, constitution, and analysis of risk. So do your best to treat them with dignity and respect. And remember, you may not be working on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but they are working, away from their family, out on the road, investigating crimes, and doing their best to protect the peace.
So when you have a chance and opportunity to see a police officer, smile, shake their hand, and just tell them thank you for their service. Sometimes these small gestures can mean a lot to someone’s day. Yeah, even if a police officer pulls you over, tell them thank you and let them do their job well.
So, to all police officers reading this, stay safe out there, thank you for all that you do, stay safe, healthy, and find ways to responsibly relieve your stress. God bless you all, men and women who serve.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).