Wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome here. Come grow with us!
Our Pastor: Jee Sook Gill
I have served the congregation of the Paola United Methodist Church since July 1st, 2021. It is my joy and honor to serve my congregation as a full-time pastor. I am also serving as a director of the Program and Evaluation Committee in the United Methodist Health Foundation since August 2021. I believe that it will help me extend my ministry to connect with people in need.
I have been married for fifteen years, and I have a fourteen years old daughter. She is a freshman in high school and working hard for her future study. My husband works at LG in South Korea as a senior program manager in their IT Department. He occasionally visits us whenever his projects are finished. Thus, we try to have a family conversation time via cellphone or Face time during the weekend. It is challenging for our family to live in a different country due to my calling. However, he understands my calling and ministry. I believe that God will help us to live together here soon. My sister is a full-time pastor in Osawatomie and Lane UMC.
Regarding my life’s journey, it could be varied and diverse compared to other people. When I was a junior high school student, my parents decided to immigrate to Australia for our education and a new vision, and we lived there for seven years. It was one of the challenging moments in my life: facing language and cultural difficulties in a foreign country. It made our family rely on God more, and we experienced God’s providence and guidance through faithful Christian families at the church. Thus, my faith matured, and I experienced God’s grace and love in various ways. It made me decide to dedicate my life to God and serve the people suffering from hunger, disease, and surrounding circumstances.
Before I came to America, I worked as a senior marketing manager for more than three years in an international food company in Seoul, Korea. I also worked as a researcher at KIST (Korean Institute of Science Technology) as well as Korean Food Company after completing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Food Nutrition. When I worked as a marketing manager, God allowed me to go overseas to present my work in Korea, such as clinical studies and market research, or to participate in various conferences. Through this opportunity, I could meet the people who work in multiple fields, which helped me broaden my knowledge and understanding of various areas of work and people.
I came to America with my daughter and my sister because my sister and I were accepted to study at Emory University. My sister studied in her Master of Divinity program at Candler School of Theology, and I studied a Master of Public Health degree at Rollings. Due to this, we lived in Atlanta, Georgia. My elder sister, an American citizen, also invited my parents later to live together with us in the same house.
While I studied at Emory University, I got involved in the Korean Student Association as a vice president for one year. I coordinated the career night, connecting current students with Alumni professionals from various fields. It was an excellent opportunity to meet people from different working environments. I also helped the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare team when they had a special meeting with the disaster and response team of DCD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) at Emory University. It was a valuable time to learn how the disaster and response team supports their people and other nations whenever an emergency occurs. I too volunteered at a TPS summer camp to help teachers and staff in the various activities during the summer break for two years.
Since I am serving the church as a pastor, I have the opportunity to get involved in community events to help the people in need. It makes me engage with many local pastors from different denominations. I participated in the Community 5th Sunday worship service and food distribution during a special occasion. I also visited an assisted living home or senior center to lead the worship service monthly. I sometimes volunteer to help with the food distribution and food pantry arrangement with people.
I accepted God’s calling as a pastor after my father passed away in Atlanta Georgia in 2015. God opened the door to serve the people at the church in Kansas when I studied at the seminary. I graduated with a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology in May 2021.
I have never expected to come to Kansas because it was an unknown world, without any acquaintance with people and lifestyles. However, I realized that it would be one way of training me to trust God in the new world full of uncertainty. I believe God uses my life experiences to enable me serve and lead people to seek God through reconciliation, and to ultimately have blessed and eternal lives. I believe that God is calling me to be a pastor who cares about the congregation at church and will lead the congregation to participate in God’s mission by engaging with the community’s people as a witness of Jesus Christ. God calls the church to listen to our neighbor’s agony and sorrow with a genuine heart and connect them with the right person and place to help them overcome their hardship. I believe this is my mission and vocation with the congregation for God’s glory.
I joined as the Paola United Methodist Church Administrative Assistant after 17 years in education and 6 years helping out at the Paola Free Library. I have been married to my husband Verlin for 48 years. We have 3 children, Morgan, Wes, and Amanda – and three equally loved children-in-laws. We have been blessed with four grandchildren, Lily, Verlin, Hazel and Anna.
Verlin was in the Air Force so our family enjoyed moving every 18 months to a new state or country on each new deployment. After leaving the Air Force community, we settled in Paola, Ks to be near Verlin’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and lots of cousins and to be able to spend summer days on the family farm.
We started attending the Paola United Methodist Church in 1985. Our children were involved with the Children/Youth groups. Verlin and I didn’t get involved with Sunday School until later. We now share teaching the different bible studies for our Friends in Faith Sunday school class. We transferred our membership to PUMC in 2016 and have gotten more involved with church ministries and groups.
I took the position of Administrative Assistant in 2020 just as Covid became more widespread. My job has certainly had many changes, many “thinking outside the box” moments and many opportunities to learn and discover, as we navigated through the changing needs and found new ways to ways to stay in touch with and support the congregation.
I am thankful for this opportunity to be a part of PUMC and the opportunity to reach out to people.