Milo Student Journeys from Korea to Jesus
When Mark Oh left Seoul, South Korea, to attend school in the United States, he thought he was embarking on an academic journey. But this trip led him all the way to his heavenly home.
Oh’s hosts were the Duncans, residents of Medford, Ore. “Out of all the applications, Mrs. Duncan picked me,” Oh said. “I saw that she had written Rogue Valley Adventist School (RVAS) on the form. I didn’t know what Adventist meant.”
The Duncan home was very different from the environment in which Oh had grown up. Born into a non-practicing Buddhist home, Oh had gone to the temple several times a year with his family. But he had remained confused about his purpose in life.
Oh observed some strange behaviors done by the Duncan family. “They would pray all the time, for everything. In the morning, at night, before meals they would thank God and ask for His blessing. Every Saturday they would go to church, and they would bring me too. They were very righteous people.”
At the time, RVAS only went up to 10th grade, so Oh took the advice of his teacher and principal, David Davies, and entered Milo Adventist Academy for his junior year. At Milo he became immersed in the friendly and spiritual atmosphere. “They didn’t tell me or ask me to be a Christian. They just lived it, and I liked what I saw,” he explained.
One of the biggest influences on his life was friend and fellow student Kevin Van Tassel. When Oh said that he was starting to read the Bible and was curious as to what Christianity was about, Van Tassel asked him if he were a Christian. Oh said he wasn’t. When asked about his own beliefs, Van Tassel replied, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist, and I have accepted Christ because Christianity makes sense. The Bible shows us why everything works together in this world so perfectly. I can’t imagine it without a Creator.”
Oh also began to talk with Carl Wilkens, Milo pastor. “He had a genuine, honest, seeking attitude. I could tell that Mark was wrestling with so many issues,” Wilkens said. At the same time, Wilkens appreciated Oh’s take on what looked to other students like normal activities. “Mark could see inconsistencies that the rest of us weren’t aware of," Wilkens said. "It helped us all in our walk with God.”
During spring week of prayer this year, Oh publicly announced that he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior. “Christ changed my point of view and gave me a reason to live," he said. "All of my questions about the pain in this world got answered with Christianity. It changed my actions as well.”
The culmination of all of Oh’s seeking came during family weekend in May. In the chilly waters of the South Umpqua River, surrounded by many friends and their families, Oh was baptized.
“Mark wasn’t quick in making his decision. He was thinking through a lot of different implications to his commitment. The depth of his preparation added a special joy to the event,” Wilkens said.
Oh still has a long journey ahead of him. Next year he plans to attend the University of Oregon, where he will face career decisions and other challenges. But he has Jesus there with him to help him through everything. “I want to contribute my life to the mission of God," Oh said.