2019 ELDER CANDIDATEs

 
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ERIC CHOI

I was privileged to grow up in a Christian family. However, I struggled to make this faith my own at times. As a youngster, assurance of my own salvation was a real issue; I never felt the Gospel was real in my own life. It was at the age of 16 when I discovered a book called "Spiritual Depression" by Martyn Lloyd-Jones that changed my life. In this book, it talked about the Gospel's power to transform people and to preach the Gospel to one's self. For the first time, my heart felt peace in knowing the truth and power of the Gospel.

God has continued to bless me through the years. I moved to Southern California from the East Coast about 11 years ago. Soon after moving to Southern California, I met my wife Debbie and we were married two years later. We now have 2 kids, Noah and Selah, ages 5 and 3, respectively.

We moved to Christ Central around the time it particularized, and the last 7 years has been an abundant demonstration of His faithfulness. I have served as an ordained deacon for the past 4 years and as Diaconal Board chair for 3 of those years. It has afforded me a wonderful opportunity to see how good God truly is. Despite our sinfulness and personal limitations, He gives abundantly and through both blessings and challenges, He has always led us to better and greater. I see this so clearly at Christ Central, and feel it a wondrous privilege to attend and serve at Christ Central.

 

 
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DENNIS KONg

I was born in Glendale. Both my wife, Jenie, and I grew up in Cerritos. We have known each other since junior high. One would presume we were likely sweethearts. We weren’t. We weren’t even frenemies. We were plain, old enemies. Jenie and I both left California for college and went our separate ways, never intending to return and never expecting to see each other. Eventually, we both did return, met each other again, married, got a mortgage, and became the parents of two wonderful kids, Hannah (7) and Jacob (almost 4). We are proof that God has a sick sense of humor.

My story of grace started a long time ago. Growing up, I attended church with my family and identified myself as Christian. But my faith in God really didn’t take root until long after I became an adult. Along the way, I experienced a tremendous amount of failure, tragedy, and setbacks. And as evidence of my sin, I was supremely confident that I could take control and dictate the course of my life in the face of those challenges, pushing God aside during that time. But, throughout it all, God never left my side. He instead surrounded and blessed me with a loving community of family, teachers, coaches, friends, and my wife – all of whom humbled me to my core with their own humility and compassion when I needed it the most, which I did not deserve.

As further evidence of God’s work in my life, I started to serve not too long after my wife and I started attending Christ Central 10 years ago. It started with serving in the parking ministry. For me, it began simply out of my curiosity to know what it meant to be Christian and serve because I had never done it before. But quickly, I realized that curiosity was proof of God working in my heart, teaching me to serve others with the same compassion and grace I had received throughout my life, but had never shared. To this day, I’m still a work in progress, but now continually blessed and encouraged by the wonderful community here at Christ Central.

 

 
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Being a part of Christ Central has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. The renewal and rebirth in my heart has been a blessing I could never deserve, all beginning about 10 years ago. Harold Kim, one of my closest friends, pastor, and roommate back at UC Berkeley found me at the darkest point in my life and led me to Christ Central…and ultimately before Christ and the Gospel. Since then, through new and old friendships at Christ Central, the Gospel has taken seize of my life and continues to refresh me day by day.

I am gratefully married to my fun and crazy wife, Hong, who challenges me to count less and measure less and give and do more freely. I have an incredible daughter we adopted, Lilien, who continues to grow and thrive at Christ Central. There may be nothing more humbling and stunning in my life than this - her redemptive, gospel journey and our privilege to be a part of her story still marvels me. I often think about how much Christ Central and the community has contributed to her growth and freedom in Christ. I have my Joshie who makes me stop in my tracks and think about God's life-giving grace reflected in his heartwarming smile. I could never deserve to be his dad. I now also have Isaiah, who is adorable and yet seems as spicy as they come, exactly like his mama!

I have met some of the most incredible and amazing people I get to serve at Christ Central and encounter life with. From the staff, to the volunteer leaders, small groups, various ministries, and through our football ministry, I have met people who feel like family in many ways. I feel so emotionally welded to the folks at Christ Central...some of the most joyful moments, painful moments, challenging and triumphant moments are associated with Christ Central. I would not have it any other way. Serving Christ Central has been an unspeakably great honor beyond my imagination.

I pray to grow, serve, care and comfort Christ Central for Christ's sake that we can all know and love him better together. Truly there is nothing better and sweeter than knowing and being known by Jesus. For our King.

 

 
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SAM PYO

Born and raised in Southern California, my family and I found Christ Central after church hunting for months in 2014. I am married to Connie and am a proud father of four kids - London (7.5), Grant (5), Dylan (2.5), and Parker (newbie).

Over time, especially through small groups, we were able to really feel like Christ Central was our church family. During our time here, God has been teaching, growing and sanctifying us through the messages and genuine fellowship with like-minded brother and sisters. God has truly blessed us with a body of believers that love and serve Him. This encourages our family to do the same with a joyful heart and inspires us to depend on Christ all the more. My family and I are so happy to be running the race with Christ Central.

 

 
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When I was in the third grade, my Sunday school teacher shared the gospel message about how I was a sinner separated from God and that salvation could only come by believing in his son Jesus. That day I prayed the sinner’s prayer, confessed my sins and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

After graduating from UCI, I pursued an MA in Biblical Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary followed by an EdD in Education from USC. I currently work as a high school administrator in the Garden Grove Unified School District.

In 2014, my wife Lailah and our two daughters, Olive and Katelyn, started attending Christ Central. We wanted to find a church where we could grow in faith and serve together as a family. What we found at Christ Central was Christ, Compassion and Community through the preaching of the Word of God and fellowship from the members of Christ Central. As I continue to grow, I want to invite people in my life, my neighbors, friends and co-workers to experience the joy I have knowing Jesus and finding community at Christ Central.

Currently, I serve in the Pastoral Care and Counseling Ministry and joyfully welcome families at the Children's Welcoming check-in table.