For the education of children: What I have learned in the United States is that many people want to immigrate to this country. Although the number of immigrants from South Korea has been shrinking, the United States is still one of the most desirable countries for immigration. However, it is true that it is tough to pioneer life in another country regardless of the time. Then, why do people choose an immigrant life which can be compared, in many times, to life in the wilderness? One of the biggest reasons why immigrants from South Korea come to the United States is because of the education for their children. Although parents are struggling with many obstacles such as language, culture, or just any differences from the home country, if their children can study hard, they may enter a famous university in the United States to achieve the “American Dream.”
Maybe because of this reason, it is not hard to find a Korean-American family nearby who has their child in a local school. Parents work day and night; and parents’ hard work becomes a natural motivator which helps the children to study hard. Of course, it is also true that there are some Korean-Americans who went the wrong way because their parents were not home with them very much. That is the other side effect of achieving the “American Dream.”
The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: I know a young Korean-American woman who is perfectly bilingual and smart. For the goal of attending an Ivy League school, she spent 10,000 hours of volunteering during her school days along with good grades. In addition to the piano, she played the first flute at a city orchestra when she was in high school. She is now majoring in a dental specialty course in the East. She went to Dartmouth for her undergraduate studies in the State of New Hampshire. However, she does not know Christ yet.
A year ago, I saw a YouTube clip that Conan O’Brien, a comedian, delivered as the commencement address at Dartmouth College in 2011. He said that the motto of the school was “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” which means “Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness.” He said that this is easily the most pathetic school motto that he has ever heard. Many of the graduates laughed together; also, the school president, Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American, laughed in the back. Sadly, neither Mr. Kim nor the young woman would appreciate, like many others, that the motto of Dartmoth is the crying voice for repentance from John the Baptist who made straight the way of the Lord.
“American style:” One of the concepts that confused me in the United States is the “American style.” I asked Korean-American Christian families why they just let their children become secularized, and I heard many times from them saying that is the “American style.” Obviously, the “American style” they refer to is not the biblical spirit of America when it was originally founded by the Puritans. It would be the Hollywood-style which is American popular culture or simply materialism which is non-biblical love of money.
Dartmouth College was originally founded in 1769 to teach Christian theology and biblical ways of life to Native Americans. Like Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, which were founded to propagate Christian theology but later became secularized, Dartmouth also followed the same path. Now it has become a place where the knowledge of God cannot be found.
In the end, the reason why Korean-American parents suffer the wilderness-like immigration life is for their children to learn the corrupted “American style.” Despite Korea’s uneasy situation due to the provocation of North Korea and many of South Korea’s own problems, I wonder whether it is a good thing that people from South Korea should immigrate (with so many difficulties) to the United States to learn the “American style.”
I pray that I may preach the gospel, with the same mind as John the Baptist, to Korean-Americans who live a wilderness-like, immigrant life. Please pray that God will prepare many Korean-Americans’ hearts to receive the gospel, just as God used the voice of John the Baptist to prepare many Jews to accept Christ. For sure, this crying voice of repentance should reach not only the Korean-Americans, but also all other people of the United States and of the world.
“The sum and substance of the whole is, that they are blessed who apply their hearts to the pursuit of heavenly wisdom; whereas the profane despisers of God, although for a time they may reckon themselves happy, shall at length have a most miserable end.” (From John Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 1)
With love of God and His people,
Rev. Andy Yong