I first met John & Lydia Yoon a couple years ago while studying at Alliance Theological Seminary in NY. Through different classes and interactions, we developed a friendship. Since then I’ve personally been blessed and challenged by their hearts for the nations. They have lived out their faith by willing to go beyond their comfort zones and into the unknown simply because God was calling them. (Also they have the cutest little girl named Addy!) I am so excited to be able to share their story and their journey as our first feature ever on Pursuit: Frontier.
Briefly describe your calling
My wife, Lydia, felt the call to missions much earlier than I had. During my last semester of seminary, I felt the Lord calling me out of the church that I was currently serving (New Covenant Church in Little Neck, NY). I assumed it would be another pastoral position at another church and hoped it would be full-time. In October of 2013, our family visited some friends in Canada who were planning on going to Haiti long-term. During our conversation, I felt a new excitement for missions stirring in my heart. That night, past dreams and convictions were brought to mind as Lydia and I talked and prayed together. Everything aligned to God’s calling for our family to make disciples of all nations as full-time missionaries.
Briefly describe your mission field
We are part of a new breed of missionaries now being classified as ‘glocal’ missionaries. The term, ‘glocal’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘global’ and ‘local.’ As implied, we see ourselves as missionaries called to minister the gospel both overseas as well as in our own backyard – the United States of America.
What is your vision for your mission field?
Our vision is to see God’s Kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We believe that God is raising up a generation of movers and shakers who will know God and do great exploits for His name. We would love to see international missionaries and the indigenous church work together to advance the Kingdom throughout the entire world.
What does your mission consist of?
Our mission consists of travelling throughout the United States and the rest of the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We partner with the local body, be it a local church or an organization, to preach, train, encourage, and equip.
What are some challenges missionary families face that single missionaries not necessarily have to deal with?
One of the biggest challenges to being a missionary family is travelling. It’s much easier to pack a suitcase, hop on a plane (if you think airport security is already annoying, try going through it with a stroller and a kid who wants to run around), sit in long bumpy car rides, and eat exotic foods when you aren’t with your 2-year old daughter and (now) pregnant wife. In addition to health issues, travelling with a family definitely requires considering many more safety issues.
Additionally, making trips out with children also means not being able to dictate your own rest and sleep schedules. While singles may be able to ‘rest’ during meals, between scheduled time blocks, and while in transit, parents are always in the business of taking care of their children (and taking care of each other) so rest is a luxury that is extremely cherished yet often hard to come by.
What are some advantages of being a missionary family vs. being a single missionary?
Travelling with a family, you tend to receive a lot more warmth – even customs officials will smile at you! Additionally, it is much easier to naturally strike up conversations with others as a family. Lastly, having a child automatically draws people to you in the field – you don’t have to look for the crowd, the crowd comes to you.
How has your mission field changed your outlook on life?
People have become more important. There are so many people who do not know Jesus in this world. It’s easy for us to identify and minister to those who do not know Jesus overseas. We go to other nations and are gripped by their need for Jesus yet we pass by hundreds of people who do not have the joy of Jesus in their lives and have no problem with that. Being a glocal missionary has taught me that all people without Jesus are the same. Rich ones in the States, poor ones overseas, rich ones overseas, poor ones in the States – we all need Jesus – but how will they believe if they do not hear and how will they hear unless someone preaches to them?
What is revival?
Revival, in general, describes a returning to consciousness or restoration of health. Revival, in the context of God’s kingdom, is a returning to consciousness of God’s people as they realign themselves to God’s will and say yes to His plan. This, in effect, leads to God’s people partnering with Him to bring about the restoration of all things to the way that God originally intended them to be before sin entered the world.
What would revival in your context look like?
In our context, revival would take the form of three things: missional families, discipleship, and renewed relationship with Jesus Christ.
Children were intended to grow in the love and knowledge of God through their parents. Today, it’s more convenient for parents to focus on providing physically while depending on others (i.e. youth group pastors and bible study teachers) to develop their children spiritually. Youth pastors and bible study teachers are extremely important but should be supplemental to the spiritual health of the children rather than their sole source of spiritual growth.
Beyond just families, older people in the faith ought to encourage and enable the younger generation to love Jesus even more, even better, than they have. Rather than growing proud with age, we ought to grow more humble. When we humbly pour out our knowledge and experiences (both triumphs and mistakes) to the next generation, they can accomplish more than we have. Revival happens when we desire for our ceiling to be the next generation’s floor.
Lastly, revival will happen when we stop doing things for the sake of tradition and contend for relationship and intimacy with Jesus.
How can people find out more about you & your ministry?
You can find out more about our ministry in a number of ways. The simplest, is our website: www.theyoonfamily.com. Through our website you can follow us via our blog, check out some of our media, support us, subscribe to our newsletters (and read up on our old ones), or send us an email. If you would like a phone call or a text, you can simply request us to contact you via phone/text in an email.
Of course, we also have a Facebook account! Search ‘Lydia John Adelyn Yoon’ on Facebook.
How can we contribute/help?
Our hope is that this generation will rise up with us in contending for God’s glory and the worship of His name in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our country, and in all the nations. Those who are working full-time and are not granted the time and travel freedoms that we have could help by partnering with our vision and becoming monthly partners.
Here is the link to our support page.