Charter Member: Hwa Park

by Moon Choi

When Hwa first arrived in San Diego after coming from Maryland, there had already been a strong Christian base with believers from KACF (Korean American Christian Fellowship—the precursor to today’s CCM, an parachurch ministry found at UCLA, UCI, and UCSD), of which Peter Lim was a part of. Peter had already been leading a group of guys at the “old Dennison house.” Hwa then met John Yi and Eugene Park. To give a relative idea of how ten years ago felt like, Hwa also met Pastor Patrick Cho as a junior at UCSD and “guys like Mike, Min and Albert were seniors or had just graduated.” The mostly male collegians/singles (note that there is no distinction between the two) were guys who all lived together were like-minded with each, especially when it came to the gray area issues.

“Church was always a priority and Sunday was long and fun. There was no youth and Jenna was the oldest at about 6 years old.” Hwa also recalls that “in no time people started to come out and visit,” but also noted that the families that came to visit did not come back since there was not much of a children’s ministry. That was not the only challenge that the church faced in the early years. Hwa also mentioned how difficult it was for Pastor John as he had a full time job to support his family, on top of being the senior pastor. And though the shortage of ladies at Lighthouse had been a challenge for the men at Lighthouse, Hwa fondly remembered Suzie Jung and Beverly Kang who were still teenagers at the time. “I remember I used to help Suzie pick up and drop off the drum set every Sunday, it was backbreaking work but looking back, it was well worth it.” He could not recall any other challenges as “we had plenty of single men willing to do whatever it took for
the church” and mentioned that they were at church for half of the days of week “and it was great.”

In those early days, everyone in the church family knew each other and all the men were able to have Pastor John as their small group leader. Hwa said, “We were all single, no kids, no mortgage, ready to save the world” with which he quickly followed with, “But the current blessing of having a spouse, kids and even a home is pretty cool too.”

Through it all, Hwa points to God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in bringing the “right people at the right time” and even with the people who stayed at Lighthouse. He pointed out how Lighthouse was able to grow because the Titus 2 principle is actively applied and that when a new need arises, there are trained men and women ready to meet it. “It’s more exciting now than it has ever been,” Hwa said, referring to being able to see the church grow, people getting married and having children.

As for any lingering nostalgia for the good ole days? “The good old days were good but aren’t all that great. Life gets better every year and His blessings abound evermore. Yeah, the small church was great, we played golf every week and played ball without checking with the wife but now I have a foxy wife and all the benefits that come with that, a daughter who thinks her daddy is the kind of the world and now a son that pees all over the place, can’t get much better than this…”

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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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