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Graduation Reflection | Joana Choi

June 26, 2023

Joana Choi is a recent graduate from the OC PastoraLab cohort. She holds an MA in Justice & Advocacy from Fuller Seminary. She is a pastor at NUMA church, the Director of Marketing & Communications at ISAAC, and podcast producer of When Women Preach.


Years ago, in my 20s, I was desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I had a general suspicion it would be in ministry, but I lacked clarity on what it would look like. I entered into a long period of seeking & received a distinct vision and a word. In my peripheral vision, I noticed a vast mountain in the distance, but all I could see with clarity was my feet & the road right in front of me. I discerned it as an invitation to move forward a step at a time. I remember God sharing that it would be too overwhelming if I saw the whole picture, so I just needed to keep looking in front of me, with the promise in the distance, and move forward. 

The word I received during prayer was that my future plans were unclear because it had not been created yet. The framework for my future was being established. Here I am, graduated from my program as a part of the first cohort of the Master of Arts in Justice and Advocacy. The first Asian American in my program (and as an Asian American woman, nontheless!). Last year, I graduated from the first program of its kind, PastoraLab, created for Asian American women faith leaders. When I look back at the steps, it wasn’t in order. There was a ton wrapped up in the time between back then and now. But to see the fruition of what has unfolded between then and now, and the process, I can see that this graduation was one part of the whole picture that God is continuing to create.