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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lawyers With Souls: Sang-Ick Han and Unexpected Help in Law School

I apologize for once quipping that the "Chicken Soup" book, Chicken Soup for the Lawyer's Soul, was pulled from the press once the publisher realized that lawyers actually don't have souls. Fortunately, quite a few lawyers do have souls. Evidence includes a short article in the July 2013 Ensign, "With God, Nothing Shall Be impossible" (link is to the PDF version; there is also an HTML version). This is the story of Sang-Ick Han, a South Korean man who emigrated to New Zealand and, in an effort to better assist other Koreans in New Zealand, decided to go to law school at age 53. Though he had excellent English and had translated General Conference sessions into Korean, he found that the language of law was completely foreign (something that many of us native English speakers can affirm). He found the academic challenge of studying law at his age in a foreign language from intense teachers with strange accents to be much more difficult than he expected, and he quickly realized that it would be impossible to succeed on his own. Only with God's help would he have any chance. He succeeded, and is now a solicitor and barrister at the High Court in New Zealand. His story is notable not just for the faith he demonstrated, but also for the cool wig that he now gets to wear.

One of his examples of how help came illustrate an important principle: do all we can, but put God first. Many people excuse themselves from service or even attending Church when they are under high pressure in their studies or their work. But making God a second priority can sometimes result in missing the little miracles that God often provides when we seek His help in faith.
One day I was struggling to complete an assignment. I did my best, but I could not figure out what the lecturer wanted us to do. When Sunday came, I put off all study to focus on my Church assignments. As a stake high councilor, I visited an assigned ward to give a sacrament meeting talk. After the meeting a brother approached me and said that he had seen me in the classroom. I didn’t know he was a law student as well. When he asked me how the assignment was going, I told him honestly that I was having difficulty. He then offered to come over to my place to help me. If I had not gone to that ward and met him, I could not have submitted the assignment on time. He was an angel whom God had sent to answer my prayer.
Faith of this kind results in miracles, though they may be small. There is no guarantee we will succeed in our ventures or that God's blessings will clearly and quickly compensate for the sacrifices we make, but I love how often the Lord gives us surprise help when we are trying our best and also striving to do what's right, even when it means sacrificing study time or work time to serve others or keep the Sabbath holy.

I experienced a small miracle of this nature in my Ph.D. program. At one time, I needed every spare moment to crunch through a lot of data and prepare a paper for an international conference in Portugal that had to be submitted soon, so the request from my ward to serve in the Temple for a morning was not on my list of welcome diversions, but there was a need for my participation and felt that I should go. While in the Temple, during a quiet moment, my mind turned to the primary equation in my paper that I had been using in analyzing my data, and suddenly I could see that there was an error in it. It was a subtle but serious error that other experts at the conference might have noticed immediately when I gave my presentation. Yikes! I rushed home after the temple service and barely had time over the next few days to revise everything and submit my corrected paper on time. Whew! The conference went well and I was spared from a gruesome disaster, thanks to an unexpected blessing that came while sacrificing my time for some Church service.

Things that might be impossible for us to do can be achieved sometimes with the help of God. I suggest we make Him part of our plans and our daily life in order to do more good and realize inspired goals. May we seek His help and guidance each day.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have had a similar experience except I am not taking college classes or preparing papers at the moment. Money is always short as I lost my job when the economy crashed, what, 8 years ago. I have not been able to find employment. Our mortgage takes everything we have.

Well due to circumstances out of our control we came on very hard times and did not know how we were going to manage. The mortgage company tried to foreclose on us, after negotiating a new contract with them so we had to hire an attorney (and thankfully got a good one), someone hacked our debit card information and wiped out our account, and our well needs to be dug out (we are getting very little water).

On top of that a son of my mother is suing me (I do not claim relations to any more of my so called family). And my husband's first cousin is a cardiologist who passed away 6 weeks ago from cancer. He was trying really hard to help my husband get to the bottom of my husband's health problems. We lost a friend and a good doctor.

All of this came at once. I had been praying hard for something to happen. We have no family or anyone to turn to. Our Home Teacher came by and he asked how things were. I said why do some people have more trials than others, and blurted out the problems and told him I could not understand why as we have had so many trials already. I did not tell him the problems for him to do something. That was the farthest thing from my mind. I told him my husband did not need the stress as my husband has bad health and my health is not too great. Two hours later he came back with the Bishop. My prayers had been answered. We are still having a hard time but at least we know the Bishop is there if and when we need further help.

I never would have gone to the church for help. I know Heavenly Father knows that. The reason why is we had a family tragedy 23 years ago and needed financial help and the Bishop where we were living would not help. We had medical bills of over $250,000.00 Yes over a quarter of a million dollars. We did not want the church to pay the debt, we just needed some help with food and other things because we were paying a huge debt. So we swore we would never ask again. And through the years the church has never been there for us. This is the first time. Anyway, when we do what we are supposed to do and show faith, we get help, even if we do not realize it at the moment. Thank you. And I am sorry for such a long post.

Amy said...

Here's to good home teachers who are there when they're needed.

Sorry about that old bishop, Anonymous, and best wishes as you figure out the next step in your lives.

Anonymous said...

@Amy: Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot.


From:
Anon. at 10:06 pm August 13, 2013