Nate Kwak

by Kevin Au

There’s a good chance you may know Nate Kwak, as you can often seeing him making his rounds, greeting almost everybody at church on any given Sunday. We may not be seeing as much of him in the near future, as he will be graduating UCSD this June, and heading home to La Palma, California to be a part of his home church and family. But before that time comes, I got the chance to pull Nate aside, and find out some things you may not know.

“I was a troublemaker growing up,” admits Nate. “A lot of the older people in the church had known me as ‘the demon child.’” But with Taekwondo as an outlet, some of that energy was funneled elsewhere, and by the time he reached 4th or 5th grade, Nate fit the “quiet and obedient kid” mold better.

Though he grew up in a Christian household, with an older sister who persistently pushed him to examine himself beyond his outward personality, Nate did not come to understand the gospel or acknowledge Christ as Lord until the summer before he came to college. “I’d say my experience of college was my experience of the Christian life,” says Nate. “I didn’t hear the gospel in its entirety until I transitioned out of youth group.”

After this, Nate found himself in San Diego, coming to LBC on Sundays as Ju-im faithfully called him and picked up the collegians. He has been coming ever since. “I really have been influenced a lot by Pastor John,” says Nate, when asked who has influenced his faith. “His unwavering example, boldness, and his messages spoken with the authority of Scripture have changed the way that I share the gospel. I struggled a lot with making sure people felt comfortable, but by coming to LBC, I’ve really learned the importance of the Bible, and whatever the Bible says is what matters. It has changed my perspective on where authority comes from, and I’m not as swayed by men as I was before.”

Nate will be finishing up his Urban Studies and Planning major this year, having switched to it from Structural Engineering his first two years. “I’m hoping to do something with housing and development, hopefully something that can help immigrant families find housing.”

As he looks back on his college career, several moments stand out in particular: “My second year,” Nate reminisces, “Andy Shin, Chris Katsura, Paul Molina and I were playing with fire with a lighter and an aerosol can. We lit it and the fire started coming back up towards the can. I jerked my head back in reaction, but at the same time Andy put his head forward. The back of my head collided with his and I blacked out for about 10 seconds. When I came back, I remember that the last thing I heard was a crack, so I thought I had broken Andy’s glasses. I looked up and his glasses were fine, but he was holding his nose, saying ‘This isn’t good, guys.’ I had broken his nose…that memory stands out the most.”

Nate’s words of wisdom to the younger collegians: “Talk to everyone you can. Wherever you are, just talk to people. Encourage Christians, evangelize to non-Christians. For the guys, talk to the older guys at church, don’t spend all your conversation on video games and sports, talk about God…and don’t make it a weird thing to pray with others. Pray honestly. Pray genuinely.”

“I love LBC,” Nate concludes, “I’m going to miss it a lot, but God can use His children wherever they go, and right now, I think its time to go. Don’t be afraid to go and do.”

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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