Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's been an amazing few months and I cannot believe how blessed I am to have been a part of Onetribe this past year. I have made amazing friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and I can say without a doubt that I am not the same person I was before having come out to AZ. I have so much more to say about everything I've experienced, but I'll save it for another time...

Since most students from Onetribe are on their summer break, I was given the opportunity to venture out of Flagstaff during the summer and stay for a month in Many Farms, AZ and a month in Whiteriver, AZ. Currently, I'm in Many Farms and am staying in a house next to a small Baptist church on the Navajo reservation under the mentorship of Pastor Al and Charlotte Campsen. The three weeks that I have been here have been so heartwarming. I am learning a lot about, well, a lot of things. And again, I have so much more to say about what I've learned within just the three weeks that I've been here, but I'll save it for another time.

Already, I'll be changing up my place of stay in the next week and a half and I cannot help but feel this deep pull in my heart wishing to stay here a bit more. I've met some amazing kids and I just want to be around a while longer to continue building relationships. But I trust that God knows in full omniscience where I should to be. My frustration to this "nomadic" lifestyle makes me excited, though, for when I will find a place and community that I can commit my life to, where I can live and love like Jesus lives and loves.

This one boy (who is SO DARN CUTE) asked me with some heartbreaking puppy dog eyes, "Uno, when are you leaving?" GAH!!! I wanted to pull his head into my stomach and hold him tight and scream, "NEVER!" Sigh. I made a video of some of the things that I've have been up to with the church and kids here and I want to share it with you all so you can see a glimpse of why I love this place so much!!!

Nancyana is that first girl you see with the messy pizza sauce hands. She is too precious for words. Last week she sat by me and was hanging on my arm and pulled her face up to me and said, "Last night, I was so scared I couldn't sleep. Then I prayed to God and HE GAVE ME JESUS!" lkfjals;dkfja;lskdjfaldskjf Another time she asked Pastor Al to bring her to church and he said, "Nobody is there right now. What're you gonna do when you get there?" And she replied, "Smile."

(click on smiley to view video)

Here's a verse that I have been meditating on since I first arrived in Many Farms: "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." - Matthew 9:37-38

God is God, God is good.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

Pastor Paul was preaching. My thoughts turned to a friend. I had high hopes of really getting to know her this semester. In fact, when the semester first started we had a pretty good heart to heart and even made plans to get together every week to figure out who Jesus really is. But the following week I asked her when she wanted to talk again and she never got back to me. When I asked again the next week, no response. Which is ok. I thought it better to back off and let her know that whenever she wanted to start up the convo again we could. So instead of having face to face interaction I decided I would take to actively praying for her.

NAU's spring break was approaching and she was gonna leave early to get as much home-time in. She's told me that when she's home there are certain people that she cannot say no to. When they ask her to drink this, smoke this, she'll do it to let them know she's right there with them. So I prayed, "God, please just let her be so bored by all these other things that she'll crave You. Let the things that she finds so much comfort in crumble till there can only be You." Honestly, I just want to see her Love God more than anything else and that's where these prayers stemmed from.

Then the earthquake happened in Japan, and tsunami warnings were sent to where she lives. In the end, thankfully she was not affected by a tsunami.

That following Sunday I was in church and listening, but when the pastor mentioned the earthquake my mind kinda drifted. Which brings us back to the top, where my thoughts turned to a friend. Here's what I wrote in my journal/diary after church about some of my thoughts:

Pastor Paul was preaching. My thoughts turn to this friend and the tsunami scare. I wonder if it has affected her? Has it caused her to become serious about her life and about God? I thought about words I could use about the tsunami warning as a tool for in a way scaring faith into her. Then I heard in my heart, "The gospel isn't about fear - it's about hope and life. Light in darkness." I realized suddenly fear and manipulation should never be the tools of ministry. Yeah, sometimes bad circumstances are what awaken us to new life, but Christianity isn't a twisting of the knife of our human condition, Christianity is a restoring, redeeming and healing of our wounded condition. God's kindness is meant to draw us to repentance - Romans 2:4.

And then for some reason I cried. HAHA, ohhhh of course I did. I'm not exactly sure why, if it was for shame or joy, cos in that moment I think I felt a little of both. But man, in my own life, fear and manipulation have played such a big role. First of all, I am Korean. Second of all, I grew up in the Korean Church. I recognize that I have been both the inflictor and inflicted of fear tactics used for manipulation to attain specific results. I feel a little sick to my stomach when I recall some of the moments where I've done this and am thankful God allowed me to recognize this specific area of fear and manipulation this past Sunday in such a real and tangible way. God, continually release these tools of folly from my own hands and further me along on the path of FREEEEEEEDOM! [end journal entry]

To close, as I was writing all this down, I got a movie flashback: Ben.freaking.Hur. If you haven't seen this movie, please do. In the movie, a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend and once attaining freedom only lives for revenge. The Kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power, and the Gospel is not fear and manipulation but is itself life and light. Here are the last lines of the movie, after Ben-Hur witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus:

Judah Ben-Hur: "Almost at the moment He died, I heard Him say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Even then. And I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How It's Been

Hello Friends,

So, I found it really hard to write anything here the first few months of being in Flagstaff because I think the newness of everything made it really hard to get a grasp on anything. In fact, I can honestly say that during my first few weeks I felt pretty out-of-body and disconnected. Also, personally in my life I was in a state of kind of being an inward person (even more so than I already am) and wanted time to strengthen and rebuild my inner-person with just me and God. Here's the short version: it's been pretty dang good.

Here's the somewhat less shorter version (since the long version would be like... a book):

Before coming to AZ, I tried to make a list of expectations about what I would like to see happen/change in me during my time here. A few of my things got stolen in November, including my journal, so I don’t have that entire list with me, which is alright because honestly most of what I wrote were things i thought would be nice rather than things I genuinely sought after. Fortunately, I do remember the one thing on the list that I was really serious about: to be certain of the things I believe. I think that God has allowed me to get to that point, or at least get further along in that point. Throughout my time in AZ, all these experiences meshed together to bring me to a place where I can simply be certain of the things I believe.

Just to name of a few of these experiences:
- Going out to the rez and experiencing what I believe to be an encounter with a demonic spirit, which re-instilled in me in a different way than before the belief that the spiritual realm does exist and that I can choose to be either in the dark or the light. It's that simple.
- Meeting people who have just completely given themselves as servants of God, namely Pastor Al and Charlotte. They are an old southern couple who have been serving on the reservation for 30+ years. I got to hang out with just them for a weekend and they were just so fun to talk to and hang out with. And geez-louise, they are so humble and obedient to God. I hope God continues to bless them.
- My upper-classmen girls' small group. Sometimes we'd be reading a passage and they would actually moan and say "STOP, STOP READING. I CAN'T HANDLE IT!" That has been really refreshing and encouraging to experience.

Well, certainty has manifested itself outwardly in my everyday actions as surrender and obedience to God. I find that now I really try my best to be accountable to at least what I know is what God wants from me, even in the littlest and dumbest ways. For example, I don’t speed anymore on freeways. And I don’t illegally download music or movies. Like I said, dumb and little ways, but it’s a big change for me as someone who did these things for years without a second thought. This goes deeper within as well, it has changed the way I choose to react and respond outwardly and internally to various situations. What I love most, and recognize as God’s activity in my own life is the fact that I do these things not because I want to be a “moral” person, but because I want to honor God through ways that I know, especially in the things people can’t see. And it makes me so happy that I can do these things in the secret of my own heart (I guess it's not so secret now that I'm putting it out on the internet...heh). I don't usually do things unless it makes sense to me or I find the desire within myself, just ask my parents... they know this about me. So believe me when I say that It wasn't easy to get to this point of surrender. I mean, geez, streaming movies online was so harmlessly convenient and so... FREE (for me), you know?! I know there's so much more work with my flawed and fallen self that needs to be done, but I'm so grateful to be at this point. I hope the connection can be made between a lifestyle of integrity and my having become certain of the things I believe.

Like I said, I could write a book. But I'll leave it with this "less shorter version." I know that I came to AZ to serve and pour myself out in whatever ways I could, but I can't help feeling that God led me here a little bit just for me as well. God is God, God is good.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010



I know it has been a long time since I have updated. I know.

There have been different experiences during these past two months where I have thought, "Blog about this!" But thoughts never had enough momentum to turn into action and I cannot explain why. Probably a big factor was the fact that I myself was still kind of in this state of shock that I was in Flagstaff. Honestly, I didn't feel settled into Flag until maybe a few weeks ago and while things felt unsettled it was hard to get a grasp on reality. And do you ever get the feeling that sometimes silence and stillness is a necessity for sanity?

Well, this Thanksgiving break I was determined to write an update! And in fact on the day of Black Friday I was at the mall, not shopping, oh no no, but sitting in a cafe writing an entry. I was halfway through with the entry I had written with lots of emotion and occasional teariness in remembering God's grace shown to me when I decided it was time to take a break. I packed up my backpack and moved deeper into the mall to those couches where all the men sit while they wait for their loved ones to finish shopping. I just sat there and read a little. In the part of the book I was reading the author talks about his interaction with this girl. Girl asks guy where his backpack is. He responds by saying he doesn't know. Girl asks, "Well, aren't you worried about losing it?" Guy responds with, "No, maybe in losing my possessions I'll find true freedom." Or something like that. And I sat there in the middle of the mall on Black Friday reading that while looking up at all the shoppers and thinking, "Yea, you people and your possessions... puh." Well, A few hours after that my backpack got stolen!

Have you seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction? This event would definitely fall under the "comedy" category. I don't even ever use my backpack, but for that weekend I decided to. What are the chances...

I just wanted to write about this event cos I genuinely find it a bit funny and also to let you know that an entry of what's been going on is still on its way. Honestly, I wasn't too sad about the loss of backpack and contents (laptop, books, journal). Yes, it is a big inconvenience, and I am a little disappointed about documentation I lost. My journal/calendar was in there and I am the type of psycho person that writes down the events and emotions of everyday on the calendar. But maybe the person who stole my backpack will read the honest content and testimony of my struggles and God's working in my heart and life over the past year and be caused to question if they are living a life that shows that God is working and moving. Wouldn't that be amazing?

As for me, I'll take this as a fresh start. I'm writing on a new computer that God hooked me up with through my aunt. I am going to invest in a new calendar/journal for this new year. And now that I feel a bit more settled in with this new community here in Flag, I'll serve strategically to the needs I see.

God is God, God is good.

Look for an update soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ya'at'eeh! (Hello)

Maybe this is a stretch, or maybe I’m dead on.

Sometime a year and a half ago during a picnic at the arboretum at UCDavis I came across Psalm 84:11b for the first time. And for some reason the words kinda just stuck in my heart and mind:
“No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

So, one thing you may not know about me… I’m on Craig’s List, like, everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. I don’t know for what purpose God has put such a scavenger heart within me, but it’s an unquenchable passion of mine. So sometime last week I was being true to myself and on Craig’s List searching under the For Sale – Musical Instruments tab and I saw a posting labeled “Yamaha Keyboard - $50.” No fancier title or attention getting icons. I click. I view. I gasp. Inner monologue goes off, “Why is this crazy person selling a Portable Grand Yamaha Keyboard for $50?? $50?? I want.” So I email that crazy person and engage in a week-long emotional rollercoaster of that crazy person stringing me along with ambiguous responses of the keyboards availability. I thought about all the possibilities of creative outlet if I had that keyboard in my possession and was devastated that I couldn’t just secure it immediately. Embarrassingly enough, during that week of pending possession of the keyboard, I found myself in my room genuinely crying out to God, “God, I just really want that keyboard. Am I relying too much on material possessions? I promise I’ll use it for Your Kingdom!” Such a childish prayer, I know, I know. But God already knew what was in my heart, so I might as well let it out, right? Long story short, I got it this past Tuesday! And have been true to using it for His Kingdom in prayer meetings, band practices, and personal moments of praise and worship.

A few days after having the keyboard, I was just sitting at my desk emailing my parents and sister about my miraculous purchase and typing how I genuinely thought God gave that keyboard to me, and then I just thought about that for a moment. God gave that keyboard to me – no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. For some reason that gave me so much comfort. I felt God was comforting me by letting me know where I am is uprightly where I am supposed to be. No no, I’m not preaching that prosperity trash. All I’m saying is that God happened to show favor upon His daughter in this particular way, and His daughter has been so comforted as a result. Be it an over-spiritualized stretch, or an accurate interpretation of God’s provision and message to me, I am comforted with the assurance that, truly, no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this last, but I’ll justify that hiatus by saying I’ve been BUSY. But it’s been great. Even though it’s been a month in Flagstaff, everything is still new and fresh so it’s hard to express what’s been going on both externally and internally. I’ve been trying to build relationships with the students, which is my primary desire, and am grateful to God for the interactions that He has given thus far. I have met nothing but genuine hearts with a longing and yearning for God, and that is the most wonderful type of heart to be around.

Some of my prayer requests:
- Busy is not something I’m used to especially after my lifestyle from last year, plus it’s the type of busy where there is no set schedule, there’s just a long list of things to do – so I have to schedule my time wisely with remembering that intimacy with God is first priority. So my request is for wisdom to realize that this list of things to do should first be done with a heart that is completely surrendered and in tune with God, which only happens when I am in that state of intimacy with God (just like Jesus).
- To know more deeply and intimately the things God is teaching me with every day that passes. I know that God is helping me deal with certain things of my past by putting me in this environment. Pray that I can let go of what I think is safe, and allow myself to go deeper into where God wants me to go. Eesh.
- Finance is a new area of life that I have to trust God with. I have people over daily, and for some reason I have this desire to feed them! Which I love to do, but I’m realizing the cost of feeding/driving people adds up. Currently with monthly financial support I’m not too sure how I am faring since it’s only been a month, but I know that God will provide. Before I thought I’d just get a part-time job if I was having financial shortcomings, but I’m realizing based on these two weeks that my commitment keeps me a little busier than I thought. This is a time where I am trying to not be anxious when I look at the numbers in my bank account, but to see it as an opportunity to trust in Jehovah Jirah.
- One Tribe praise team has officially been activated! I’m working with/training 8 people divided into 2 teams. For all but 2, this is the first time they have ever been on a team. And for some it’s the first time ever picking up the instrument they are playing… so it’s just going to take a lot of time and attention to each individual in order to get a comfortable feel with playing together. Please pray for quick and retentive learners with (most importantly) humble and attentive hearts.
- I’m co-leading a small group bible study. Man, the girls are so beautiful. We had our first real bible study this past Wednesday on 1 John 1:1-4, and it was powerful. God was convicting each one of us to uphold the truth and testify of who Jesus is to the world and to us as individuals. Pray for the seed of truth to take root downward and bear fruit upward, with nothing else but zeal of the Lord burning in our hearts. (Isaiah 37:31-32)

That’s it for now. Now it’s your turn to update me with a message of how you’re doing! God is God, God is good.

With much Love,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

dear friend,

dear friend,
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

That very Apostle Paul-like intro felt a little overly official for me to say to you, but I think I can now understand what affections and confidence in Paul’s heart would move him to begin his letters with such an introduction. Truly do I think of you, my friend, with all gratefulness to God for the relationship that we share, and pray and speak those blessings over you with whatever authority God has given to me to do so. If Apostle Paul knew of emoticons I’m sure he would have included a few of these, too: <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

God is God, God is good, and He loves His children. This is something that I have been learning pretty much all my life! It’s a simple yet powerful truth that can and will change the world for the glory of God. I believe that by the grace of God people of any vocation, age, gender, or race are invited to live their lives as a testament to this living and active truth in whatever ways they are called.

As most of you know, I graduated from UC Davis in the fall of 2009 (PRAISE THE LORD!) with a B.S. in International Agricultural Development. Having graduated, I was faced with that ever-looming question: “Now what?” I had a few options lined up as far as what I could do, but through prayer and God’s lead, the option that seemed to secure itself to reality is the one I now write about.

Going back to that statement I have in bold a few paragraphs above, I said that everyone is invited and given the choice to live as a testament to it. How am I choosing to do so? For the upcoming year, starting mid-August 2010, I will move to Flagstaff, Arizona. I will be a mid-term missionary, serving a Native American college campus ministry at Northern Arizona University called One Tribe. And to be honest, I am extremely, very, majorly excited. :)

Here are a few statistics that give you a sense of the more negative conditions of Native American life. In the southwest region, the suicide rate for Native American teens is 5 times greater than those in America. Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent on Reservations where Christianity is still under 5%. We could all sit together analyzing and coming up with details on who to blame, and how to trace back through history to show the specific wounds that have affected Natives – but amidst the many reasons why, our single and true remedy stands, waiting to silence every screaming injustice of Natives and the world. That remedy is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Flagstaff, I will be joining John and Lana Lee, a missionary couple commissioned by Davis Korean Church. I’ll work under them helping pursue the goal that God has put in their hearts: natives reaching natives. By joining the Native leadership team of One Tribe, I will devote most of my time and energy discipling younger students, equipping them towards a stronger awareness and understanding of God, and of themselves so that they can, in turn, go back to their homes and reservations and do the same. I will also receive cross-cultural and spiritual training under the watch of John and Lana by going out to reservations.

I think that God has blessed the Korean-American Christian community, of which I have been a benefiting member. Yes, we are a minority in America. But simultaneously, we, for the most part, have been blessed with successful socio-economic standing that has allowed our community to flourish. I see that my life, the particular insights and understanding I have come to gain through all the good and bad aspects, draw from this situation that God has well-orchestrated throughout history for His kingdom purposes. In short, all that I am is all that God has made me to be, and I think that it is a tremendous honor that I can give it all back to God and His people of whatever race in this way.

It’s really (for lack of a better word) amazingly cool for me to see how God has been preparing me for this next step in my life. I don’t know what’s more exciting to consider—how God has prepared me thus far, or what God is going to do with me in the time to come. One thing I know for sure, I cannot go this journey alone. Nor do I want to! I confess that I got a little emotional sitting at my desk writing the introduction to this letter as I thought about the relationship God has gifted to us. It’s overwhelming to think of how blessed we are to have each other. I know that relationships where there can be openness, support, and trust are not always available, so for your relationship I am truly grateful.

And so, I am opening up this portion of my life to you, in hopes that you will partner in faith with me in this journey through your support. Support manifests itself in many ways, and one of the ways that I will need your support is in the area of finance to help cover the cost of a few necessities this coming year.

Housing in Flagstaff can be expensive, especially since I will be living near the university. I have found a sister in Christ that I will share an apartment with, but even so it looks like rent per month for me will be around $550-650. Another expense will be gas, as I’ll be driving out to reservations often. I’ll also need finances for ministry, reaching out to students of One Tribe by taking them out to meals as a way of getting to know the students and showing I care for them.

If you find a conviction or a desire to help financially, whether with a one time contribution or with a monthly commitment, please contact me through email. Your financial support is greatly appreciated. :)

I’ll also need some major prayer support. Honestly, I think about being in the field and I just think in a moment of honesty… “God, seriously, it’s gonna have to be ALL YOU.” So please check this blog often to read my updates as well as my prayer requests!

To close, thank you for being a friend, a support, and a minister to me of God’s goodness and provision. Let us continue seeking FIRST the kingdom.

With Love,

Andrea Uno Choi