Dale was born in Seoul, South Korea. He moved to Paraguay when he was 10 and lived there until he was almost 18. He then came to the United States. Hence, he is trilingual in Korean, Spanish and English. Sunny was born in Seoul as well where her US Army family was stationed. She has lived in the states most of her life. She isn't quite fluent in Korean and is currently working on developing her Spanish. So far, Sunny has moved 28 times in her life. While our moves at times were difficult, we believe these life experiences have shaped and prepared us for cross-cultural missions.
What a Goofball The couple first met at church where Dale served as a youth pastor. On that fateful Sunday, Sunny heard loud laughter as she walked toward the church steps. She turned around to see a man in a suit riding a scooter that belonged to a child.
"What a goofball" was her first thought.
Later, in the fellowship room following the service, Dale and Sunny were introduced to each other. Sunny immediately recognized him as the scooter-riding-man from earlier. She also learned that this same man was the youth pastor and was preparing to leave for Mexico as a missionary.
Over the next few months, Dale and Sunny had several casual conversations before he left for Mexico. It wasn't until a few years later that they began dating. After serving in Mexico for three years, the time came about for Dale to renew his visa. Unfortunately (or not), his visa renewal application was denied and he had no choice but to head back to the States. Dale returned to his home church in VA, where the couple had met. He then served there as an interim English Ministry pastor. By this time, Sunny had left northern VA to work on her MA in Counseling at Biblical Seminary, the same seminary Dale had attended and introduced to Sunny before he left for Mexico. Dale decided to take some classes there during the week. That's where their friendship developed and then blossomed into a dating relationship. They dated, got engaged and married all in one year. On September 9, 2006, they exchanged their marriage vows in the church where they first met. The "too serious for her own good" girl married the goofball.
The Call to Cross-Cultural Missions For Dale, this happened while on a short-term missions trip to Kenya and for Sunny at a Wednesday night church service in Seoul, Korea. Upon returning from Kenya, Dale informed the church of his decision to serve as a missionary and a year later left for Mexico. Sunny instead, like Jonah in the Bible, ran from the calling. And by God's grace through various experiences (seminary, short-term mission trips, her marriage to Dale, URBANA and a book), her fears were quieted and her faith was deepened...Sunny was finally ready to take that leap of faith to follow Jesus into the world.
In 2009, Dale and Sunny began their application process with MTW. This period proved to be challenging. Twists and turns kept them from moving forward.
Setbacks, Setback, Setbacks Dale and Sunny started the process for Spain as their mission field that same year. This country was their first choice. They traveled to Madrid on a field visit and met the team while Sunny was pregnant with their oldest child. They returned home with a positive impression of the team and of the ministry. A few months later, life got very busy. Their first miracle baby, Julia, was born; and Dale began a new business. Another year had gone by when they followed up with the Madrid team. Much to their surprise, the team informed Dale and Sunny that they did not fit what they were looking for at the time. This was a huge disappointment, especially for Dale. So much so that they stopped pursuing missions. It took another year before they decided to resume with MTW. In the meantime, Dale and Sunny's second miracle baby, Samantha, was born.
They continued the search for a mission field and considered Mexico, which didn't pan out either. They then experienced another setback. Sunny had a bout of depression and their marriage needed work. Dale and Sunny informed MTW about what was going on and they agreed that their application should be put on hold while the couple got counseling. Talk about being in an uncomfortable position! Who wanted another setback? And then the other issue: how could they afford counseling?
By God's grace, Dale and Sunny humbled ourselves and told their home church of their need for counseling and the finances to pay for it. The church graciously responded and generously paid for the majority of the counseling fees, to which Dale and Sunny are so extremely grateful.
The counseling was very helpful in working through their marital issues and improving their communication. Dale and Sunny came out changed and more resolved to make God first and their marriage second. However, Dale also came out unsure of them as husband and wife in the mission field. Counseling had humbled him. He felt so imperfect to do missions work (not to mention doing cross-cultural missions can be ten times more stressful on the marriage). But God and the Reformed faith with its emphasis on grace helped him to see that God does not call perfect people, but imperfect people to serve Him.
To God be the glory! Dale and Sunny were now ready to resume the search for a mission field. The next country they considered was Uruguay, but after exploring that option, they decided not to go with that field either. Then, soon after they declined Uruguay, the Madrid team contacted them and later extended an invitation for them to join their team. God finally opened the door for the Chos to go to Spain!
Looking back, Dale and Sunny realized that God knew they weren't ready as a family to enter the extraordinary call to cross-cultural missions in Spain eight years ago. Some valuable lessons had to be learned. Dale and Sunny can now see how all things really do work in God's perfect timing. And now they are able to fully trust that God will provide the funds to get them to Spain when the time is right.
"Some may call these setbacks, but we see them as blessings...God's grace at work in us."