Kim (left) receives the handwritten Bible, which was written by members of Rosemead Korean church.
Kim (left) receives the handwritten Bible, which was written by members of Rosemead Korean church.

The first Sabbath in April marked a special day of celebration for the Rosemead Korean church as its congregation commemorated 50 years of ministry. 

“We welcome you with open hearts,” said Choon Soo Kim, pastor of Rosemead Korean church, to those in attendance. “Today you are witnesses to how God led us here.”

A wave of Korean immigrants arrived in Los Angeles between 1950-1970 and started establishing Adventist churches in the area. The Rosemead Korean church began in 1969 with a small group led by Elder Bass and Elder Park. Families from San Gabriel, Monterey Park, and Temple City worshiped together in the Chantry Flat Recreation Area within the Angeles National Forest.

Salazar (left) delivers a message as Lee (right) interprets.
Salazar (left) delivers a message as Lee (right) interprets.

The church and its members moved throughout the San Gabriel Valley, from Monterey Park to Alhambra, and from Rosemead to San Marino, before relocating back to Rosemead at their current building.

To recognize its immigrant history, the church opened with a special ceremony including a commemorative video, a short concert giving glory and thanks to God, and dedication of a handwritten Bible—transcribed by members of the church. Orville Ortiz, SCC treasurer/CFO, then presented the church with a check for $5,000
for evangelism.

Members of the Choi family, who have attended Rosemead Korean church for 49 of the 50 years of the church’s history, were also honored. “Elder Zun-Sik Choi is in his mid-80s,” said Kim. “However, he had been serving God every Sabbath as an organist until February 2019. His wife, Deaconess Soon-Ai Choi, is also in her mid-80s but is still an active Sabbath School teacher.”

SCC President Elder Velino A. Salazar delivered the message, which was translated into Korean by Elder Samuel Lee, SCC Asian-Pacific director, current member and former pastor of Rosemead Korean church (1999-2007).

As a first generation immigrant, Salazar related to the church’s story, reminding the congregation that they have overcome many hardships: learning a new language, adapting to a new lifestyle, and even experiencing embarrassment, yet, “in spite of this, the Lord has been good to us.”

“Paul says we are no longer strangers in this land but citizens of the Kingdom of God,” Salazar continued, sharing Paul’s message in Ephesians 2:19. “He made us citizens because we have accepted Him as our Father, Creator,
and Savior.”

As Rosemead Korean church looked back, Salazar gave members hope for the next 50 years, as they continue to spread God’s word. “We also have a responsibility to be a light in other places and to reach others,” he stated. “We need to let them know there is a place for them in the Kingdom of God. Jesus who died on the cross is ready to accept them.”