How I Got to STU: Testimony of Sophia

August 10 2018

I was born in Yanji City, a small city in northeast China. I am Korean Chinese.

After I finished my undergraduate study, I went to Guangzhou to start my career as a translator in an IT company. A year and a half later, I moved to another company in order to do a job related to my journalism major. Nearly two years later, I moved to a TV production company.

In 2005, I met a Christian from the U.S unexpectedly. In a Bible study held in her house, I was introduced to a woman from Hong Kong. She shared Jesus with me. I thought Jesus was nice, but I could not believe the first sentence of the Bible because I believed in evolution. I told her that because I could not believe the first sentence, I could not believe any of the Bible.

In 2006, I moved to another TV job. Soon after, I was told that my mother was diagnosed with a serious disease. For the first time, I felt death was real, like a black hole absorbing not only warmness and hope, but it left me feeling cold and hopeless. There was nothing after death. Everything was meaningless. A sense of futility surrounded me, and I could not find an answer to why I came into this world or why I had to live.

Then, I remembered the sister who shared Jesus and the Bible with me. I wanted to know what the Bible said about these things. So, I began to attend church. It was 2010. At first, I had many questions, and I was surprised that I could find the answers in the sermon or Bible. I felt that God was really alive and was willing to talk to me. And I realized that death was not the end. There will be eternal life. I also learned that the purpose of my life is to glorify the Lord.

Another sister recommended a book to me called Streams in the Desert. I learned later that it is a popular devotional book among Chinese Christians. I read it every day. I found that the words surprisingly matched my situation each day. I felt God touch my heart through the book. Streams in the Desert deeply influenced my spirituality from the beginning of my Christian life.

I began wondering how I could glorify the Lord in my workplace. I started selecting the TV contents according to biblical values, but I had to face the reality of today’s media. I knew Satan worked through it. So, I made a hard decision. I could not continue to work in the media field any longer. I asked the Lord what I should do. I heard the voice of God in my heart, saying: “It’s not important what you do. Just remain in me.” I could not understand that at first. But after several months, while listening to a sermon on the internet, I realized I wanted to serve God and his church, but I didn’t know how. Then, I decided to study theology abroad in order to be a well prepared worker.

I decided to go to Korea because language would not be an obstacle. But I had no information about Korean seminaries or any contact person in Korea. I searched the internet and found there were many seminaries. Because I heard there are many heresies in Korea, I was afraid that I might choose the wrong place. My pastor recommended Seoul Theological University. I had three options: STU and two of the largest seminaries in Korea. I didn’t know what to choose. So, I prayed, “Lord, close all other doors and open the only one that you want me to go through, then I will know it’s your will.”

It became clear through many circumstances that STU was the one that God wanted me to attend. All application procedures were done, and I was just waiting for the visa. But there were hold ups. I was required to send more and more documents. The classes were about to start in Korea, but I could not leave until I had the visa. One day, when I was praying, the Lord told me, “Pack up your things and prepare for departure.” I wiped my eyes and began to pack. My phone rang. It was STU saying that I still could not get my visa. They mentioned that if I applied for a refund of the tuition now I could get all the money back, and that I could apply for the next semester, but if I did not apply for the refund now, I would not get the money back. I said, by faith, I will not apply for the refund. Then, I started to pack because God told me to.

Several days later, I was told to apply for the visa for Korean descendants abroad instead of the student visa. The application went through easily and a week later, I received the visa. Because the classes had already started, I could not waste any time. Four hours later, I received my passport from the Korean consulate and got on the plane to Seoul. I arrived at STU on the deadline day!

It’s a miracle that I am studying at STU.

Recently, I found out that the author of Streams in the Desert is Lettie Cowman, the wife of Charles Cowman who was one of the founders of OMS. When I read the book in China, I never paid attention to the author. When I realized that, I felt God’s hands leading me. I was so touched.

I only have one semester left in STU. I don’t know where I will go after graduation. But I believe God will lead me according to his will as long as I submit my will to him.

Tags: chinese korean testimony, changed life, seoul theological university,