Jon & Kat Kim
I was born in Athens, GA, but grew up in Korea until I was 16. As an ambitious kid, I came back to America by myself to go to a good American college so I can be more successful. I grew up in Christian household but didn't give much thought to the gospel.
I transferred to UC Berkeley my junior year of college, but on my road to success, I had actually reached the lowest moment in my life. I could no longer ignore some very hurtful consequences of my selfishness, maliciousness, lust, and deceit. Around that time, I met a graduate student who was a bi-vocational staff at our church. And when I reached that lowest moment, he called me to check up on me. I saw him to be a lifeline and shared all my burden of shame and guilt. After hearing me out, instead of condemning or giving life advice, he preached the gospel to me, which convicted me of my sin as well as my need for God's grace.
I started to study the Bible in earnest and during passion week of 2012, I finally understood the love of God on the cross for such a sinner like me, to deliver me from the domain of darkness of sin into His kingdom, not as a stranger, but as his child. So I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and decided to live a life aligned with God’s will.
Right away I wanted to serve God in the church and tell others about the Gospel. After graduation, I decided to stay and keep serving, reaching out to college students and sharing the good news that changed my life.
In 2019, my wife and I started full-time ministry. Our personal conviction is that the gospel-centered church is the hope of the world. That's what took us to plant a church in Stony Brook, NY in 2021. God sustained my life during my unexpected illness in 2022, and now we're ministering to college students at Rutgers University!
Growing up, God was there, like a frame hung on the wall, but pretty irrelevant to my day to day life. I attended Catholic church with my family until high school when I decided that this faith was not my own and church was boring. I thought that money, prestige and power was going to be the answer to my family’s issues and that is what I poured my energy and time into - padding my college application so that I could get where I wanted and seeking control in the area of my future. When I was 11, I drafted a life plan, plotting out what I would do each year, down to how many kids I wanted to have and what their names would be. And things worked out nicely for the most part until college. I came to UC Berkeley dissatisfied with where my life was going. Jesus had been pursuing me toward the end of high school through a church that I started going to, and more and more I began to see the reality that no matter how hard I worked or tried, that I would never be satisfied.
During my freshman year of college I experienced faith and belief like I had never before when I saw the Bible being lived out with open homes, open lives, with truth and grace all blended together in deep, committed relationships. I also began to see my own sin through my selfishness, my addictions, and the control I wanted over my life that shut God out. The gospel slowly became the good news of salvation and I gave my life to the Lord after my freshman year. Since then, God has been changing the vision of my life - transforming it from something small and self-focused to something so much larger encompassing His kingdom work and the salvation of souls. I have been mentoring college students since I graduated, hoping to bring to them the same knowledge of God’s love and grace that changed my life.