Alumni Profiles: Kim and Yoo

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.
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When Rev. Kook Ho Kim (G-ETS 2015) and Rev. Ran Yoo (G-ETS 2016) graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, they knew they wanted to support their alma mater right away. To begin with, they both received scholarships from Garrett-Evangelical and were grateful for the opportunity to attend seminary. Second, they wanted others to have that same opportunity.

“Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary was a meaningful place for me,” Kim said. “I met my wife there, and I had the opportunity to start my ordination journey there.”

“Because Garrett-Evangelical had a strong scholarship program, we were able to study there,” Yoo said. “By giving back, we want to give someone else this great opportunity.”

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.

Soon after Kim graduated and Kim and Yoo married in 2015, they talked about their financial situation, including their offerings to the church and other donations. “We knew that seminaries do not have enough money, and seminarians don’t have enough money,” Kim said. “We wanted to help.” Although they had car payments and loans to pay on pastors’ salaries, the two decided that they wanted to start donating monthly to Garrett-Evangelical.

“The amount was not important, we thought,” said Kim. “We decided to start giving and increase it as we go. It was hard, but we knew we just had to start.”

“Many people think they will donate when they have the money,” Yoo said. “But that time never comes. So, we decided to give what we could and just get started.”

Both Kim and Yoo enjoyed their time at Garrett-Evangelical. Kim loved that Garrett-Evangelical focused on both the academic and the practical.

During his field education, Kim worked as a student pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in East Troy, Wisconsin. “That started my ordination journey in Wisconsin,” he said. After graduation, he served as an associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Kenosha for a year. The two married that same year.

When Yoo graduated the next year, she asked the Conference to appoint her to a church near Kim. The Bishop asked them to serve together in the Upper Saint Croix Parish in northwest Wisconsin near the border of Minnesota. They served as co-pastors to three churches there until 2019, when Kim became a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain and the pastor of Brodhead United Methodist Church in Brodhead, Wisconsin. Yoo became senior pastor at New Horizon United Methodist Church, located in nearby Orfordville. The couple now has two children, Caleb, 3, and Christine, 6 months.

The COVID-19 crisis caused both churches to close and shift their services online and on cable TV. Both congregations are elderly, but most people have access to the services, Kim said.

Kim and Yoo credit much of their success in ministry to Garrett-Evangelical, another reason they feel so strongly about supporting their seminary. “We never took our education or scholarships for granted,” Yoo said. “Someone donated to the school because they believed that was one way to serve God and help others. We want to do the same thing.”

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary website, Evanston, IL

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Ministerial Education Fund is at the heart of preparing people for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The 13 United Methodist seminaries help students to discover their calling through the challenging curriculum. The fund enables the church to increase financial support for recruiting and educating ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip annual conferences to meet increased demands. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment at 100 percent.