Reaching a Turning Point

In Toronto, Suyeon took English classes so that she could apply to social studies programs. At first, she found speaking difficult, since she had few opportunities to practice outside of the classroom. Over a year, however, by pushing herself to listen to English TV and radio, Suyeon was ready to apply to graduate programs. She enrolled at the Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, and, three years later, graduated with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis on social work. At the seminary, Suyeon met her future husband, Chong Nam Kim, and married him after graduation in 1996.

Suyeon wedding day. 1996. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin

Suyeon did not feel lonely in Canada. Her “very optimistic and positive” outlook, the support of her friend, and the fellowship of her fellow Church members, helped her adjust to life in Toronto. The Church has always been an important part of Suyeon’s life, ever since she converted to Christianity from Buddhism in the tenth grade. After graduation, she worked as assistant pastor in the Church, and in 1998, she applied to be the full-time minister. At the time, there were cultural barriers for women becoming ministers in the Korean Canadian community, and she was denied. This event happened at a turning point in her life when Suyeon had to decide which direction to take in her career. This event motivated her to forge her own path.

Suyeon graduation from Tyndale Seminary. 1996. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.

Tyndale Seminary. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.