Get To Know Lynn Pak

Lynn Pak is our National Administrator and has been with Australian Navigators for 15 years. For our Winter 2024 issue of Compass, we asked her a few questions to help us get to know her better. While the printed newsletter gave us a snippet, we get a deeper insight into her heart for the ministry and for people in this full interview.

How did you come into relationship with Jesus?

Even as a child back in Korea, I always knew there was a higher being than humans – “something” higher than us that knows everything, and after we die, all things that have gone wrong will be put right. But I didn’t know anything about Jesus or Christianity.

My family left Korea and migrated to Australia when I was nine. When I was 11, we started going to a Korean church, not really because we were Christians, but it was a way to get involved with the Korean community. I was going to church every Sunday more for the social aspect. I went to a Catholic school as well, and so I thought I was a Christian. I also went to revival meetings and had the opportunity to confess I was a sinner and accept Jesus. I can’t remember exactly when that happened, and it wasn’t an immediate assurance of salvation, not until years later. I probably prayed the “acceptance” prayer over and over because I wasn’t sure. Having gone to a religious school didn’t help in terms of really trusting in the Bible; I was taught I couldn’t believe everything in it, that it had been changed many times. Later, when I was at uni, I met a woman who really challenged me with 2 Timothy 3:16 – that the Bible was inspired by God. It was a point of realisation – the Bible is the Word of God. While I never doubted that God created the world, the depth of my relationship with Him didn’t come until much later, until after university, and until I married.

How did you become involved with Australian Navigators?

My husband, Jason, and I were never really directly involved with Australian Navigators at uni, but we were connected with Tom Park, who is a Navs associate and my husband’s best friend since uni days. This is going back 30-35 years ago. We also knew Armen Gakavian, who worked with Navs at that time. We may have attended a meeting or two, but we were not really involved. Our Korean congregation had been using Navigator materials for our Bible studies, such as the Topical Memory System, so we were already aware of Navigators’ work.

When Grant Dibden, who was based in Sydney at that time, became the National Director of Australian Navigators about 15 years ago, the head office moved from Canberra to Sydney. At that time, I didn’t have a job and was a stay-at-home mum, supporting my husband with his business. My youngest had started high school, and I longed to get back to work, specifically applying my skillsets to a Christian organisation. Tom had heard that Australian Navigators was looking for a National Administrator and mentioned it to me. I applied for the role, and I truly feel that God had been preparing me for this role over my years as a stay-at-home mum.

How do you think God prepared you for this role?

Both my husband and I did Economics at uni where we met. With my background in finance, and experience working for a Korean merchant bank before I had children, I felt this was where I could really use my talents, especially in something that I believed in. It was also a part-time role, which is what I was looking for.

Working for my husband’s business prior to this helped me acquire the administrative knowledge and skills I would later need. I learnt how to run a business, did accounting courses to complement my degree, and got more hands-on experience. However, working with a non-profit was a big learning curve as well because it was different, and that has since increased my skills. It’s a very different industry than the for-profit sector.

My role has changed over time. When I first started, I looked after the financial things only, accounting and distribution of moneys that we receive. Over the years, we’ve had some restructure, and with my role now as National Administrator I look after the whole of Head Office and closely support the National Director. My role now involves not just finances but also compliance plus running the Office, including managing staff.

Why do you think this role is important?

It took me a number of years to realise that what I do is actually “ministry”. I thought the work that office staff do is not “as important” as what field staff do. So, there was a time even as I was working for Navigators when I questioned whether I truly was a Navigator. But what we do in the office supports the field staff, and it is crucial to running the organisation. We may not be in the field but we do a lot in the overall process of running the organisation. So, our work is important, and it is ministry.

How has Navigators nurtured you or helped you grow in your relationship with God?

I used to think that, as office staff and also not believing I was “Navigators”, I was exempt from some of the things that field staff did, such as City Bible Studies, retreats or training days. I was working part-time, and so I thought my three days was all I needed to contribute. I thought I was already getting enough from my own church’s studies. I saw my church activities as separate from “extra-curricular” Nav activities.

But one day, a penny dropped as I realised, “these people are my family. I am a Navigator.” At Navs, we are fellow labourers, whether in “the field” or in the office. This just grows on you; it kind of happens over time. We share in Bible studies, and our training is on a different level than, say, what my church does. Within the church community, we are at different stages of our faith journey, so we need to meet people at different levels of need as we live out that community. It’s great to have my church community where I can serve others, and particularly sow into the lives of younger generations and newer believers, but it’s also great to have the Navigators sowing into mine, to help prune me. With Navigators, we go deeper because we have a specific outlook, a focused vision. And that opportunity to go deeper and be specific has helped me grow and mature in my own relationship with God. Nowadays, I find that attending training days and gatherings like Bible studies [that field staff go to] provide the opportunity to go deeper in God’s Word and tackle specific issues, helping me grow and mature in my own relationship with God and how I minister to others around me.

Some other questions to help us get to know you better… If your house was on fire, what item would you take?

 For me, it’s the gift my children gave me when I turned 50. On a two-page laminated spread, my children gave me a list of “50 things we love about our Mum”. Fifty things that my children wrote and gave to me – that is what I treasure. A lot of people would say their phones. But for me, I think everything on my phone is replaceable – because everything is on the cloud now. Even though I do have a photo of it, the gift itself is not replaceable.

What would you say was your “happiest moment” so far?

My happiest moment was when I received that [gift] from my children, especially when I read the last point, which said, “You are our role model and you are what it looks like to be a serving Christian.” That made me happy. As a Christian, that’s what I’m trying to do: serve. And it makes me happy to hear my children say I am their role model.

Another moment – perhaps not what I’d call the happiest, but precious – would be sometime in 2004. It was a really difficult time, but it was when I realised I could do nothing but cling to God. My husband had an aneurysm, and I couldn’t do anything, not even pray. But looking back, it was a time of big growth in my faith. We say suffering brings you closer to God, that when you’re going through extreme suffering, when you feel you can’t do anything, that’s when you cling to God. I suppose if I had to go back to that time, I’d be scared and it would be difficult, but that experience brought me closer to God.

What is your life motto or reason for living?

You know the first catechism: what is the chief end of man? It’s to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. I’ve thought about this before. But recently I realised that it’s what I want to really do. I want to put all my time and my energy, my life, to bring blessing to everyone I meet, which stems from wanting to glorify God and enjoying Him forever. So, for whomever I meet, whether in my community or with Navigators, I want to be a blessing, in that I want to benefit them. And the ultimate blessing, which is the gospel, is that that person is saved.




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