Interview with a Catalyst: Hope Lee

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Hope Lee. I was born and raised in South Korea. I spent two years of my high school years in Guam. Then I moved and graduated in Oklahoma, where I still live now. I studied Elementary Education and am currently teaching 3rd grade. I am serving Stillwater Korean Baptist Church and the Stillwater community.

How did you first get connected to Proskuneo?
There was the united revival for churches in Oklahoma and I heard about making friends with people from different cultural backgrounds. Back then, I was seriously thinking about my identity as a Korean living in the United States. That was about a time when our church was starting to have an international ministry. Although I lived in America for a long time, I’d spent my time in only Korean churches. Jaewoo’s experience really spoke loud how he found his identity in God and found his role. He suggested that I attend PWI and I did that very summer.

What events were you involved with Proskuneo so far? PWI TCC PSOTA
I attended PWI in 2016. Then, together with my church friends, I attended the Third Cultural Creatives Retreat in the spring of 2017. I was so thankful to have some friends in my church who could experience what I’ve experienced. While I was joining PWI and TCC, we were able to visit PSOTA on Saturdays and see how Proskuneo served the community with art and music.

Tell us about the Worship Together events in Stillwater. How did it begin, what were some challenges you faced? hope1After I went to Proskuneo during summer 2016, I went back to Oklahoma. Although Oklahoma does not have as diverse population as Georgia, I really wanted to see everyone worshiping together here in Oklahoma. My pastor allowed me to share my experience in Proskuneo at church and I had a hope God would do that in this area too. We were able to connect with an American church in our local area and I started to visit other churches in this area sharing the vision of worshiping together. There were lots of challenges I faced. The most difficult challenge was to share a vision that no one else had seen.  No one had ever seen, heard, or experienced worshiping together with people from different cultures, styles, and languages. The second challenge I faced was working with people who have different expectations. Everyone has different thoughts, styles, and ways to plan, work, communicate, and worship. Another challenge I faced was, all of sudden, I planned to do the ‘event,’ not ‘worship.’ I tended to work with people rather than getting to really know them and having friendship.

What do you hope to see in the future there in Oklahoma?
I want to see churches connecting together in Oklahoma. I want to see churches welcome others, regardless of cultural differences. I want churches in Oklahoma to be places where everyone feels welcomed and valued. I want to see and live God’s Kingdom right here where we are.

My next hope is that churches would gather together more often to create songs together, meditate on God’s Word together, and have dinner together. I want to see God’s churches, not churches only for Koreans, Americans, or Indians. Churches should be open for all. Because Christ redeemed us all and we all became brothers and sisters with our one and only Father.

hope2How is this journey of multicultural worship shaping you as a disciple of Christ? What are you learning the most? Multicultural worship has caused me to wrestle with the questions, “What is real worship?” and “What does it mean to really follow Jesus?” I have discovered that what I considered to be good “Christian” behavior is highly influenced by my Korean culture, and also sometimes by American culture. But worshiping with believers who have different cultures, backgrounds, and styles has led me to ponder the core essence of what real Christianity truly is. Unnecessary disputes and condemnations are not really important. I believe that truly following Jesus should result in being more accepting and understanding of our brothers and sisters. I now ask and desire to see what God is doing in His plan and picture rather than simply to live out my own life. Seeing the vision that I could not see before and experiencing what God is doing in His Kingdom really thrills me every day!

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