Meet John Lee, FOL Pastoral Intern
Some faithful disciples have desks where they seek the Lord. Others have a favorite chair or a nice spot in the park. For a season, John Lee’s special place of intimacy with God was the Corner Bakery in La Habra, California. The aroma of coffee and bread couldn’t distract him from his appointments with God.
In November 2012, John moved to La Habra from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his hometown. “God had put on my heart to move to a new city, to a new place,” he says. “It’s been a journey since then.” In Louisiana, he focused on developing his career. After searching for a job in California for around six months, he found an accounting job, but things did not work out.
After that experience, he wasn’t sure what to do next but he was led to seek God. One of the things he did during this time was read Bobby Clinton’s book, The Making of a Leader, which Pastor John had given him. For the next month, John spent a lot of time at the Corner Bakery and God put on his heart a desire for God to be his direction for his life and his future. “I wanted to devote my life to him,” he says.
One day, God led John to Pasadena to visit Fuller Theological Seminary, although he wasn’t interested in seminary at the time. He began to talk to people and look through brochures. Eventually, God opened many doors and made it clear that Fuller was a key to finding the direction that God had promised.
Now, two years later, John is in his final quarter of the master of divinity program at Fuller. “It has been a rich experience,” he says. “It’s been tough writing papers, but overall, it’s been an amazing journey. Fuller has taught me that all of life is about God, not just church. For me, it’s not only been about learning particular topics (like church history, languages, etc.), but about seeing God’s beauty through these things. It brings you a sense of wonder.”
All students in the Fuller program have an internship in a church, a nonprofit, or a hospital. John felt that FOL would be the best place for the internship. “God is on a mission in this world and that includes Long Beach,” he says. “Being an intern in our church has allowed me to join God in what he’s doing, whether it’s through serving kids at the Family Center, being a Life Group leader, and trying to offer support wherever I can on Sundays.” He also has regular meetings with his FOL mentor, Dan Palomino, director of member care. “Obviously, you don’t have to be on staff to serve, but being able to have this opportunity has given me more joy and excitement,” says John.
John has a special heart for the FOL youth, whether it’s laying down a beat for Keenan Uyematsu to freestyle to at Youth Group, playing basketball, or serving at CrossWalk. “I love the kids,” he says. “they are so fun and they are so energetic. There’s a dynamism in CrossWalk.” The ministries of the church demonstrate God’s love for people. “You don’t just love people by verbally telling them the gospel, but you do it by practically serving people’s needs,” he says. At 5000 Pies, for example, “we want people to know God, but we want them to have jobs, learn skills, and to succeed in life,” he says. “That’s also how we share love with people.”
At the end of this quarter, John’s internship at FOL and his time at Fuller will come to an end, and he is not sure what will happen next. “Going deeper in my relationship with God is really what this whole experience is about,” says John. “I don’t know specifically what God has planned, but I know he will be faithful. It’s really my relationship with God—and my love for him, and his love for me—that inspires me to do things like move to California.”