Andrew Lee
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Hi, my name is Andrew Lee, and I am the new youth director at Nelson Avenue Community Church, just starting this year.

Get to know Andrew and Irene

Let me introduce myself and my wife a little bit:

I grew up in South Korea, and I went to the United States to study abroad when I was 15 years old. I grew up in a Christian home, but God met me deeply during my college years, so that's when I realized Jesus is my Saviour and Lord in my heart. And several years after that I sensed God calling me into pastoral ministry, so I went to a seminary, but I ended up coming to Canada to finish my education at Regent College which has been an amazing blessing.

I've been in Canada for 5 years and a half now, and I met Irene 4 years ago at UBC campus at an international student ministry gathering. We got married last year, so we celebrated our first anniversary recently in June.

And here's Irene's introduction:

"Hi, my name is Irene Choi, and I came to Canada to study when I was 18 and ended up settling down here, and now I call this country home. I met God when I was in middle school in Korea, and I was the first one to become Christian in my family and have been the only one until 7 years ago when God led my mom and dad to faith.

During the week, I work since I started working at an immigration consulting firm. On weekends I enjoy doing things at home, sometimes baking, gardening on our small patio (sesame plants)."

So, for both of us, a significant part of our lives has been living as international students, living as foreigners, so it has shaped a big part of who we are, and also affected our journey of faith, and God has always been faithful. But we're kind of on our own in Canada, all our family and relatives are in Korea, except for my brother who lives in the US with his wife and two little kids. So we're looking forward to doing life together with you and becoming family in Christ.

And I'm so excited and feel thankful and honored to be able to serve the youths and their families in Nelson Ave Community Church. I'm aware that I can't do this by myself. First, I need to be rooted in and constantly in union with Jesus apart from whom I can do nothing. And then, I need your help. As an African proverb goes, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." And I believe that it takes the whole church to raise a child of God. So I'd like to encourage you from the very beginning to join me in joining God for His work in the youths of our church family.

Relationship Is the End Goal

I believe that relationship is not a means to ministry but its end goal. I have no interest in being relational so that I can win your interests or put your youths in a program. Rather, programs exist for relationship, indwelling each other, sharing and listening to each other's stories that make us us, brokenness and all, and embracing each other with empathy.

It is in this context of genuine relationships that we encounter Jesus. As we share our persons, not just our interests or possessions but our very personhood, we are called to be loved and to love, and these tangible experiences of love with others through the empowering of the Holy Spirit become our experience of God's love. You can see why I believe that discipleship apart from community is impossible.

So, I want to get to know you and your youths; to love you and be loved by you, and thereby experience God's love together. Would you join me on this journey to God's love?

Starting this week, I'll reach out to each family. I'd love to meet your family with your youth(s) in a casual setting, maybe a chat in your backyard over some snacks or lunch together at a nearby park or whatever setting you find to be most comfortable and convenient to you. Maybe we could do some activities that your youth(s) enjoy doing together. Whatever it is, I'd like to meet you soon!

And I want to listen to you, definitely the stories that make you you and also your desires and visions about our youth ministry. I love the quote by Alan Roxburgh, "The Spirit of God is among the people of God." God is already at work in you and in your children. My hope is to join Him in His work in you. I don't know what it is until I listen to you and get to know you. And I look forward to joining God in His work in me through you as well. I pray that we will grow together to the fullness of Christ as one body (Eph. 4:11-16).