Hebrews 11 lists a number of biblical characters who were commended for their faith. And in Hebrews 12, the author reveals that the purpose for publishing these short narratives was for our encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
Likewise, the Eastern Christian community is comprised of countless individuals past and present who have walked by faith, upheld by the promises of God. And so this spring over social media, Eastern Christian School asked our community to tell us about these individuals: the specific people in our midst who inspire others, encourage others, and support others along their journey. Following in this blog series are the results, and the stories of just a few of the people in our great cloud of witnesses.
Minseok (Kevin) Cho
“Minseok serves the community by gathering volunteer students from the National Honor Society and the National Math Honor Society to mentor underprivileged children and help them with their homework. Minseok used his Mathematics skill to tutor and help middle school and high school students with their Math classes and SAT preparation.” – Nominating Quote
Minseok (Kevin) Cho remembers exactly where he was when he had a moment of awakening: 432 Park Avenue in New York City. It was at this street address where he was confronted with two contrasting images simultaneously: a penthouse above him and homeless men on the street below. And in that moment, a passion to reduce polarization in society was birthed.
“When I got back to school, I tried to use my talents to help other people who don’t have opportunities like me. So the first thing I did was I started math tutoring,” he shared. Cho started individually tutoring middle school students, and then led the Math Club tutoring program. After receiving a perfect score in math on his SAT, he also went on to tutor for the SAT. “I started tutoring students here because SAT tutors are so expensive and not everyone can afford it.”
Cho, an international student from South Korea, was originally interested in Eastern Christian School partly because of a desire to learn about God. Yet he shares that his faith has recently grown deeper, and his faith journey, interestingly, is attached to his SAT. During COVID, he spent much of his time studying and enjoying the fruit of his accomplishments—which included 4 perfect AP scores and a 1530 on his SAT. “Every day I worked so hard, and before I went to sleep, I would imagine the scores I wanted. I was very proud of myself. I was really proud—I had the sense that I did it all by myself in my room.”
However, Cho shares that God began to work on his heart and attitude. “I came to realize it wasn’t me at all, but it was God, next to me, giving me strength…Before, I thought leaning on God was a weak thing; I had a sense that I did it all by myself. But now I ask God for strength.”
As a graduating senior, Cho’s desire to help solve polarization has evolved from a passion to help in school to a “whole world perspective.” After learning about the proliferation of food borne illness among the poor in Indonesia, Cho set to work creating an innovative lunch box to address this issue. His design was picked up by international NGO Africa Asia Development Relief Foundation. Understanding his target audience couldn’t afford an expensive solution, Cho also partnered with a vocational school in Indonesia, which enables students to practice valuable skills while also ensuring low-cost production.
The product will be sold at a fair this summer to test the market. Cho adds, “Where do I see myself in the future? I see myself in the far future leading an NGO and continuing the Project Safety Lunch Box. I think if I just keep on taking these little steps, hopefully someday I will be an influential person who tries to provide equality of opportunity.”
Enjoying this blog series? Read more stories in the fall edition of The Herald, publishing late August 2022.
Would you like to celebrate another member of the EC community for being an inspiration? Send your nominations to Herald@easternchristian.org and we may feature your nominating quotes in our final Cloud of Witnesses blog. EC reserves the right to edit/omit submissions.