Esther Ji-Eun Kim is a mission intern with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, initially serving with Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ).
Mission interns serve half of their three-year terms in international assignments and half in their home countries. Esther, as she likes to be called, was commissioned in August 2012. Young adult mission service through Global Ministries expands participants’ mission vision and offers faith contexts for the use of skills.
Zambia is a developing nation with a population that is more than 80 percent Christian. The churches play major roles in the areas of education, health, social development, and poverty alleviation. TEEZ is an ecumenical network providing theological training aimed at involving the laity in issues of social justice, democracy, and economic development. Esther works as a gender-support advocate, dealing with issues involving women’s roles in education and service.
Esther is from Seoul, South Korea, where she is a member of Chungdong First Methodist Church, a congregation of the Korean Methodist Church. She has a degree in Christian education from the Methodist Theological University in Seoul, and studied English as a second language at Vancouver Community College in Canada. She worked in Vancouver as a pastoral assistant in youth ministry at a Korean Methodist Church. Earlier, she held internships at the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc., a church-related social-ministry center in Manila, and at the Scranton Women’s Leadership Center, a Korea-based educational outreach to Asian women with historical ties to what is today United Methodist Women.
Esther cannot remember a time in her life when she was without God. She considers her introduction to faith in Jesus Christ the greatest gift of her family, one that has seen her through difficult relationships and times of uncertainty. “I am constantly dependent on God and looking to what God will do,” she says. She has a special interest in peace and justice, and in issues of globalization. She spent many years in school and now wants to apply her studies to the real world.
On her call to mission, she says: “I think that mission is the same as life. It means life is mission and mission is life. Mission is not only going to undeveloped countries and helping, teaching, or preaching and spreading the gospel but also OUR lives, words, acts, and points of view. I as a disciple of Jesus am a mission and my life is mission.”
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