Q: Tell us about yourself including where you are from and which department you teach in.
A: My name is Heinz Schoenhoff and the department I’m working in is with the Department of Counseling Psychology and Social Welfare. We have been here 5 years. In August, it’s going to be 5 years. I’m a veteran, heh? (chuckles)
Q: What made you come to Handong Global University?
A: Well, to give a short answer, God was leading it this way. How he was leading me. We had contact with Handong back in 1996. There was a group of students that came to Hawaii where we were working for the University of the Nations at that time and they came to do a DTS. I was also pastoring a little church in addition to working with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). So one Sunday, these students showed up and we asked them, “Where are you from?” “From Pohang,” but nobody knew where Pohang was. We asked them, “So what are you doing?” They replied, “We’re going to a university: Handong University.” Nobody had heard of Handong University back then, but they were wonderful people. There were about 40 of them, and we had a whole bunch of them over at our home for meals, and they came regularly to our church. So that was our first encounter. Then, in 2001, Handong students came to Honolulu, Hawaii to do EHDS. Pastor Young Ho Hwang and his wife were leading that, and there were about 60 all together. Apparently, somebody told them about me so they asked if I could come over and teach, but we were on another island, Kona. So, I went over to teach them. We had a great time, and then they kept asking me to come back every year to Pohang to teach in EHDS. Then they kept asking, why don’t you pray about coming to join the faculty here? So my wife and I, we first thought, you know, that they were trying to be nice. But we kept praying about it and we felt that the Lord was directing us this way, so we came here in 2005.
Q: Tell us about your teaching experience at Handong Global University, including hardships or joys you’ve faced.
A: You know really, for both my wife and I, there are no real hardships. It has been a real blessing for us to teach; for me, I could choose which courses I wanted to teach and I could structure the courses the way I felt was right, introduce material that I wanted to introduce including Bible content. It has been a real blessing and same for my wife. To get to know the students and to be involved in the church, Handong International Church, and also in the community at Jaeil Presbyterian Church has been a real blessing all around. Hardships, we’ve had worse than here, you know. We really appreciate the housing that we have. We’ve lived in several different countries; so we’re used to living in different cultures, and it’s not really difficult for us to adjust here.
Q: Tell us about your cultural experience in Korea.
A: Of course, I really wish I would be able to learn to language quicker, but it just doesn’t stick too much anymore. (smiles) I speak a bit of French, English, and German—my mother tongue. But Korean, I stopped making an effort after a while, but I wish I had persevered a bit more and be more fluent besides “anyounghasaeyo” 안녕하세요, and “gamsahamnida” 감사합니다. Add a few more words, you know? (laughs) But that’s one thing, usually we pick up a little bit of the language, like when I was in Cambodia, or in Switzerland I had to learn French because we lived in the French part. It’s hard, because you know culture and language are so interwoven; you miss out on a lot when you don’t speak the language.
Q: Do you have a vision for your life?
A: Well, you know, we did a lot of things already. I think what has been sort of a fulfillment of our vision is to be involved in counseling and in training. Wherever we have been, we have been involved in marriage counseling and we’ve been leading family therapy classes in the University of the Nations, Hawaii, in family ministry classes. We’ve been taking students on outreach trips and stayed in countries for two to three months and got the students, Christian and non-Christian, involved in various places. So, that’s what we would want to continue to do. To be involved in helping people and also training them. This break, we’re going to take a bunch of students to Cambodia, train them a bit and get them involved as much as possible. I’ve also been asked to take a group of students to Hawaii during the next break and get them involved in counseling facilities that are operating there and make them aware of what’s being done in that area. So, teaching, training, mobilizing, and setting up seminars as much as possible. We’re involved with a group of businessmen in Seoul that we connect with regularly for prayer and for counseling.
Lastly, one blessing has been that I’ve been able to be involved in pastoring, because that has been a part of my life wherever I’ve been, whether it was in Switzerland—preaching in churches in Switzerland—or in Germany and France, and here in Korea too. Even in Hawaii, the 13 years we were living there, I was working at a church on the side or equally; both of them were equally important in ministry. Here in Korea too, both to be involved in Handong International Church as an elder and preaching occasionally have been a blessing. Every Sunday, I preach at Jaeil Presbyterian in the English service there. I greatly enjoy being involved in preaching the Word.