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Paul the Evangelist
“Chaplain Paul, you’re too evangelical,” another chaplain complained to my commanding officer.

Paul the Evangelist

Lt. Paul Brian Kim, Chaplain, United States Navy

“Chaplain Paul, you’re too evangelical,” another chaplain complained to my commanding officer.

You can fire me now, I thought.

The United States Military respects the faith background of its members. No one is required to see a chaplain. But when people are faced with their mortality, they need someone who can answer their questions. Depending on their background and styles, chaplains approach their work differently.

“I know that my life is short, and I know I need to live my life for something that will last forever,” I often explain.

I was born and raised as a strong Buddhist in South Korea. Becoming a Christian was the farthest thing from my mind when my family came to America. My great-grandmother was the only Christian in my family. She prayed for me, but I rejected her over and over. Then one day I was driving past a church.

The thought, Paul, why don’t you pray? suddenly entered my mind.

I didn’t know how to pray or respond to what I now know was the voice of God.

“I don’t know who you are, but thank you for a good day,” I replied.

I started praying every day, especially when I caught a glimpse of the cross on that church’s steeple. My heart became softened by those prayers. One day my mom and I agreed to go to church with my great grandmother. My dad and two sisters decided to attend another church that day.

At the end of the sermon I was crying uncontrollably. I felt God’s presence. It was a package deal. That same week, my mom, dad, two sisters, and I all came to Christ.

I went on to attend Georgia Tech. Instead of becoming an engineer, I attended seminary. After that, I served as a missionary for fifteen years in Africa and the Middle East. Then I became a chaplain.

“Bless me, yet the Lord loves me so much he sent me to Iraq and not Hawaii. He sent me to Fallujah and Ramadi,” This is what I tell people about my six-month deployment.

“My goal and vision is clear Jesus Christ didn’t die for things, he died for people. Chaplains are there to help those Marines and sailors realize there’s something deeper than what they’re experiencing,” I explain.

My commanding officer respected my perspective that day. “Chaplain Kim is doing a great job” he told the other chaplain. The matter over methods was settled.

Prayer:

Thank you God for being my commanding officer, one who knows me intimately and understands my gifts and abilities.


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