Rev. Yohan Hong, PhD and his wife Jenny You (Korean women do not take the last name of their husbands) were both born and raised in South Korea and both graduated from seminary. They married in 2007, and they have one daughter, Esther. They were missionaries in the Philippines when Esther was born, but she has lived her whole life, since age 4 months old, in America and is bilingual.
They lived in Kentucky for four years while Yohan worked on his PhD at Asbury Theological Seminary. In 2019, Yohan completed his PhD in Intercultural Studies. Yohan does research on Diaspora Missiology, sociological religious studies (a theology of power), and transformational development.
Prior to serving in Oxford, Yohan served the First United Methodist Church at Red Bay and Madison Alabama. While at Madison, the couple was charged with helping restore a Korean church in connection with Asbury United Methodist Church.
In the spring of 2019, Yohan was ordained an Elder in Full Connection with the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Jenny is also a United Methodist pastor currently serving the Ironaton United Methodist Church in Talladega. In the summer of 2019, Jenny earned her theological degree online through Asbury Theological Seminary.
Faith is an important part of the family’s heritage. Yohan’s great-grandfather was one of the earliest Koreans to convert to Christianity. “He was evangelized by one of the American missionaries, so that kind of spiritual tradition has been handed down to my generation,” Yohan said. “I grew up listening to missionary stories in my childhood, and I feel like I am indebted by the American missionaries and American churches, so I have to pay that back to American churches. That is one of many reasons I wanted to serve in English-speaking settings.”