Where Business Meets Ministry: Jun-Ki’s Story
Entrepreneur. Missionary. Father. JBU Student.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Jun-Ki Lee grew up in a rural town in South Korea. When he was 27-years-old, he picked up and moved to Cambodia to start a fair-trade company. He had a heart for helping the hungry, poverty-stricken community members develop sustainable incomes for their families. While in Cambodia, Jun-Ki had a life-changing experience.
“I met God personally at 27 years old when I traveled to Cambodia for my business. After spending a year there, I committed myself as a Christian missionary and spent two years of mission training in my country.”
After his mission training, Jun-Ki prepared to return to Cambodia to continue his fair-trade business. God had other plans for Jun-Ki. His mission organization leader introduced Jun-Ki to Dr. Young-Gurl Kim, who was the leader of the Institute for Biblical Community Development and a former JBU engineering professor. Dr. Kim suggested that Jun-Ki earn his MBA at John Brown University before he restarted his business in Cambodia.
“I struggled a lot [with my business before] and felt that I needed more understanding, insight, and practice. I heard that JBU is characterized by its Christian business teachings and provides opportunities to communicate with globalized people in their professional areas, so I decided to spend my time learning here.”
Supported by his mission organization and church, Jun-Ki and his wife, EunSil, moved to the U.S. to start his MBA program at John Brown University. They live and teach at the Institute for Biblical Community Development (IBCD) where training courses are offered for world missionaries, JBU undergraduate students, Korean teenagers, and young adults. He works closely with a mission community in Cambodia that teaches locals how to raise pigs and fish for a sustainable income. The mission community also builds simple, solar-power systems for rural households without electricity and employs locals in dyeing and weaving materials for textile companies.
Jun-Ki has to work diligently at balancing all the responsibilities in his life, especially since he is now a father! His son, Ruha, is four months old. When not in class, Jun-Ki’s days consist of working with his wife at IBCD and spending time with his son. He spends his evenings doing schoolwork for his Master’s program.
“For me, a foreigner whose mother tongue is not English, it is not easy to catch up in class. So I have to spend my evenings understanding what I learned in class and what I’m going to learn in the next class.”
Although balancing his responsibilities can be tiring, Jun-Ki is thankful that he has a strong support system at JBU.
“I have met friends at JBU who are in similar situations in life and from several different companies. We feel sympathy for, encourage, and help each other.”
When he graduates, Jun-Ki plans to return to Cambodia and refocus his fair-trade business as a Christian mission. He believes that JBU’s Christ-centered business education will provide him and other students in the program with the tools they need to make a global impact.
“I am experiencing significant growth in my relationship with God here at JBU. . .You can gain knowledge and bright insights from great speakers and best-selling books, but these things will not give you what you receive from a sincere relationship with God.”