HoonSik, Harry Jo, graduated from Martin Luther College a few weeks ago with a degree in elementary education. He was fully qualified to serve anywhere, and he made himself available to serve anywhere.
His connection to WELS began in 2008 when Mr. Jay Wendland, the principal of Immanuel Lutheran School in Salem, Ore., came to Seoul, Korea, to tell people about the Christian education that his school offered. HoonSik’s mom decided her son should attend. He was in fifth grade at the time.
At Immanuel Lutheran School, HoonSik, better known as Harry, learned about Jesus, was baptized, and eventually confirmed. His faith continued to grow at his time at Evergreen Lutheran High School in Tacoma, Wash. Then, in his senior year, Harry decided to pursue public ministry at Martin Luther College, a decision supported by his parents and his Oregon host family, the Wassers.
While in the United States, Harry embraced some of the American lifestyle and interests. He loves American sports and culture. He played on the MLC football team. He took a cross-country trek to further explore this place he calls home. “Montana took forever,” he always says.
But Harry still stayed in touch with his Korean roots. He cheered for the Korean soccer team in the World Cup. He remains fluent in both Korean and English. And his fiancé, who he is marrying this month, is also Korean.
With all of those interests and abilities, what would be the best place for Harry Jo to serve? His assignment, his very first call, is to serve as the 5th-6th grade teacher at Jerusalem Lutheran School in Morton Grove, Ill., where there are many Korean immigrant parents who have enrolled their children.
Jerusalem’s principal is Chiseon Kim, who came from Korea himself to train for service in WELS. “Our dream is to have a vibrant Korean ministry here at Jerusalem,” says Chiseon. And with the blessing of the Lord, Jerusalem is well on their way to seeing the fulfillment of that dream.
Written by Rev. Paul Prange, Administrator for Ministerial Education and Chairman of the Joint Mission Council.
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