My name is Johnny Hyun, I am 21 years old and have been going to Bethel my entire life. I grew up in the youth ministry and learned and grew so much every year. One of the things that has stuck with me from my time in the youth ministry is something that Teacher Kenny, my sophomore year Sunday school teacher, told our class. He told our class, “You can’t just date Jesus; you need to be married to Him”. His explanation was that you can’t just spend time with Jesus here and there and talk to Him here and there, but rather when you wake up, Jesus would be the first thing that you think about. And he would also be the first thing that you see in the morning. Hearing that made me really think about my own relationship with Him and that quote keeps me accountable for my life today.
Havng that quote stick with me six years later is the impact I would want to have on kids today. In my sophomore year, I decided to serve in upper elementary with the sixth graders. I now teach those same kids who are now in eighth grade. Serving these kids, I have learned so much about God’s patience and love that He has for us. Even though my eighth-grade boys frustrate me so much sometimes, I know that I need to keep loving them unconditionally because God first loved us.
Every week, God teaches me so much about myself through these kids. They taught me about the plan that God has set out for me. My entire college career at UC-Irvine, I always had questions on why I chose UC-Irvine. I have lived my first two years thinking, “What would my life be like if I went to this other college?” And it wasn’t till the end of my sophomore year that I really found the reason as to why I went to UC-Irvine. I was serving at a summer retreat that year when I got a note from a student that said, “Thank you for showing me love and serving us. You have shown me a glimpse of what God’s love is like. You have truly touched my life.” Reading that note from my student was God telling me that I wasn’t at UC-Irvine to play golf, but instead I was at UC-Irvine to serve and love on the kids at Bethel.
Serving these kids, they never fail to encourage me. This past winter break, I served at the BYM Winter Retreat where it was combined with both high school and junior high students. The theme of the retreat was “Reign”. The entire retreat, the guest speaker spoke on what is Reigning in their life. A common theme within my students was that they were so worried of what other people think of them. When they told me this, I had time to reflect on their previous actions and it made complete sense. Many of them would act differently with their team and when their friends would be around, their behavior changed because they wanted to be the “cool” person. However, by the end of the week, many of those who wanted to be the “cool” person for their friends, stopped caring of what their friends thought of them realizing that the only approval they need is God’s.
It’s small situations such as those that I mentioned… that gets me excited every Sunday and Friday to serve the junior high kids. Not only am I excited every Sunday and Friday, but I am excited to do life with these kids when they go onto college and more.