Before they arrived in New Haven in August, “Arman” and his wife, “Sholpan,” active participants in OMSC’s community life with their children, were living and working in China with Kazakh people along The Silk Road.
When they depart in June they will continue their ministry from a new home, in Kazakhstan.
By government decree, the family (who do not use their actual names in print for security reasons) were required to live in a Chinese city, while the people they served live in rural areas.
With several colleagues, the Korean couple ministered among unreached people, writing books, conducting training sessions, and helping start churches.
Educated as a sociologist and a pastor, Arman has a vision to see mission agencies understand a sociological perspective more deeply than they do. To accomplish this, he has been spending a considerable amount of time at the Yale Divinity Library researching mission methods and theology.
He also read as widely as time allowed in preparation to teach a three-day seminar in March at OMSC on “Korean Church, Korean Mission: A Sociological Analysis,” which showed “how characteristics of churches in Korea have shaped Korean missions and, by extension, how to understand similar church-mission dynamics that occur worldwide.”
When in China, Sholpan, who trained as a pharmacist, stayed busy homeschooling their children, participating as a leader of ministries with women, and managing the pharmaceutical needs of their missionary community. While in the university, she joined the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, the international umbrella for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Reflecting on their OMSC residency, Arman says he and Sholpan benefited most by being exposed to a wide diversity of perspectives about Christianity from many different cultures, by new ideas they encountered about mission strategy that will be of value when they move to Kazakhstan, and by the time that the sabbatical provided for research.
Two daughters, ages fourteen and five, and a twelve-year-old son, accompanied their parents to New Haven. The older children were students at Worthington Hooker School in New Haven, which they particularly enjoyed because they will attend an English-language school in Kazakhstan.
Although their parents are partial to Korean food, the children have developed a distinct taste for the cuisine of their host region.