By Julie Chung –
Thirty-eight-year-old Brian Yi took the soldier’s covenant a year ago, yet his path to soldiership deviates from the conventional one. Though he knew upon graduating college that he wanted to be involved in ministry, it was during his yearlong trip overseas in Tibet that Yi’s desire to be in the ministry intensified.
Before he became a soldier, Yi served as a youth pastor for a Vietnamese church and an associate pastor for a Korean church in Fullerton, Calif., for roughly four years. He was also in the process of earning his teaching credentials during this time.
“I wanted to pursue teaching and I wanted to teach middle school history,” Yi said. “I got my credential, taught for a year, but after that year was up I couldn’t find any actual long-term positions…but there were so many doors open for ministry.”
His wife, Joy Yi, was a lifelong Salvationist. He initially asked her to resign at The Salvation Army and come join him at the Korean church where he served, but after merely a week of contemplating that decision, Yi and his wife chose to stay with the Army. Joy Yi currently serves as the territorial creative arts director in the Western Territory.
“I’m still learning about the culture of the Army,” he said. “Initially, it’s a culture shock, it’s weird, we wear uniform…but what I do appreciate and like about it is even though it has its own bubble, at the same time it is its own little community. It’s also a family, so everybody knows everyone. There’s only a few degrees of separation of people and so you could be anywhere in the world and you could be connected to a fellow Salvationist. I thought that was really cool.”
Yi said it’s interesting, but a bit of a challenge to come in to the Army as an older church member. He described the process as one that requires a lot of patience, perseverance and the willingness to learn.