Angela Baerg – Collegedale, Tennessee … Alice Ju has been plugged into her church community since she could walk. Her father, Gitack Ju, is currently the pastor of two Korean churches–Rocky Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Korean Church, and Denver Seventh-day Adventist Korean Church. Alice has lived all around the United States with her family, volunteering in church with everything from song service to children’s activities. Over the years, she attended mostly public schools, where she struggled to find friends with whom she would feel a strong connection.
“I always knew I wanted to attend an Adventist college,” Alice says. “I’m so glad I ended up choosing Southern Adventist University.”
Being part of Southern’s LifeGroups helped Alice build friendships like she had never known before. In these spiritual small group communities, the goal is for students to behold God personally and intimately, and to become empowered as disciple-makers of Jesus Christ. During Alice’s freshman year, she joined her sister’s LifeGroup, which was all about gratitude, and they read C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters together. In her sophomore year, she attended her roommate’s LifeGroup, where they focused on acquiring new skills, such as crocheting and crafting.
During this time, Alice struggled to discover God’s calling for her career. She knew she wanted to work in the medical field, but she wasn’t sure where. To gain experience and additional insight, she volunteered over the summer at Porter Adventist Hospital in the surgery waiting room. There she welcomed people who were waiting for loved ones, gave directions, and helped them feel comfortable.
Around the same time, she began reading Ellen G. White’s A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education. She found the book very inspirational. When she returned to Southern for her junior year, she mentioned the book to a friend, Eric Suh, who was also studying to enter the medical field. They discussed the book’s theme, which emphasized how so many people are physically and spiritually ill and in desperate need of medical evangelism.
Alice and Eric both are both passionate about building careers that will help the sick heal physically and be revitalized spiritually with God’s Word. They decided to lead a LifeGroup that semester centered around White’s work. Before they knew it, they had 15 members, all Korean origin and all studying in preparation for the health field. Every week, Alice and Eric would pre-read the text and select a passage. Then the group would meet, pray, read the section together, and discuss it. They also participated in activities together such as cooking ratatouille, writing gratitude journals, and making crafts. Midyear, after much prayer and deliberation, Alice was excited to tell her LifeGroup that she had finally decided – she would become a doctor.
“I loved getting to know my new friends,” said Alice, now a senior health science major. “Although we were all so different, we were all passionate about medicine. It was beautiful to see how God calls so many different types of people to do His work.”
–Angela Baerg is a student at Southern Adventist University. Photo by Alice Ju. Pictured: Alice’s co-leader Eric is on the very left, and Alice is on the bottom right.