“People encouraged me to take the path of a pastor, but I wanted to do something that would push me to challenge myself even more.”
Pastor Kye-Chang Lee, who is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, led the first U.S. military chaplain seminar for Koreans and Korean Americans at Los Angeles Onnuri Church on Jan. 26, at which about 30 people were present.
Lee followed his father, who is also a pastor, to the U.S. at the age of 13, and has pastored English ministries (EM) and discipled younger soldiers in the U.S. military. Despite the difficult training process, the life-threatening circumstances, and the loneliness of being apart from family for long periods of time, Lee shared that he was confident that the Lord was calling him to go to the military. He further shared in detail the roles of the chaplain in worship, Bible study, and community service, and as the aide to the commanding officer spiritually and morally, by sharing his own stories and experiences. During his seven years of service, Lee spent most of his time on battleships and out at sea, and he shared the ways that he encountered God, and the ways that God spoke to him during those times.
Pastor Joseph Choi, who is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve Forces and also serves as a chaplain at a hospital in Torrance, explained the process of applying to become a military chaplain. He also shared his own journey of deciding to obey the call of military and hospital chaplaincy, and showed that this ministry is not only financially stable, but also allows chaplains to serve and minister to many who need spiritual help.
Pastor Young-Il Chae, who has served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 20 years as a chaplain and even was involved in the war in Iraq, was also present at the seminar. Chae explained the qualifications to become an officer, and introduced the ministry of Stephen Feinstein, another U.S. Army Reserves chaplain. Joon-Suh Kim, an immigration lawyer, also attended the seminar to explain any concerns attendees may have regarding their immigration status and how it may affect the application process for chaplaincy.
Meanwhile, four men and one woman committed to apply for military chaplaincy through the seminar.