Dear Suamico UMC members and friends,
In June I will turn 60 years old. I am no longer young but I am not too old. It’s a nice age to be a pastor for people of all walks of life. I don’t know how much time I have left on earth. Until God calls my name, I intend to live to the best of my abilities.
Although I have been a pastor at SUMC for 3 years, I have not had much opportunity to share my life story with you. So, I would like to briefly share my life story.
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” My life has been an adventure. I grew up in South Korea. Everyone was poor when I was growing up. When I went to church, I learned about hope, faith, and love.
Although I had no money, I had hope. Poverty was no excuse for me. Dream, determination, and God’s grace opened doors for me. I finished college and seminary and served the Korean Army as an Army chaplain.
After the honorary discharge from the Army, I wanted to have a higher education in the U.S. As Jesus taught, when I knocked on the door, the door was opened to me. The Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology accepted me with a full scholarship in 1992. After finishing my Master of Divinity program at SMU, I worked for Yuma Regional Medical Center, in Yuma, Arizona as a chaplain resident in the Clinical Pastoral Education program.
In 1995 I moved to New York, NY, where I studied Pastoral Care at the Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute. From 1996 to 1998, I studied Pastoral Counseling at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, CA. In
1999 I was appointed to serve Prairie Farm church in Northwest Wisconsin. In addition to Prairie Farm church, I have served churches in Oconto Falls, Eau Claire, Bonduel, and Red-River before I came to SUMC.
Most of my life was spent in church and in school. I did not have real world experience. Before I came to SUMC, I took a voluntary leave of absence from ministry and worked for a cheese factory in Lena while Cindy was teaching in Oconto Falls. It was a most interesting and learning experience for me. As Moses met God in a burning bush at Mt. Horeb, I feel that I had a similar spiritual experience at the cheese factory. After Cindy’s retirement, I returned to ministry.
I lived in South Korea for 30 years and have been living in the U.S. for 30 years. As the Psalmist wrote, “God’s word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” John Wesley’s three simple rules have been my guiding star in my journey: 1. Do no harm. 2. Do good. 3. Stay in love with God.
Thank you for journeying with me as my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Pastor Jerry Cho