Tec Sun enjoys making music.
The sophomore music ministry major and traveling worship team leader said he is content just to make music and be at Northwestern College.
Sun’s contentment with small town Iowa is particularly intriguing in light of his extraordinary life.
Even though he was born in the Philippines, he is Korean. An ethnic Korean, Sun was born and raised by missionary parents in the Philippines. Even though the environment may seem exotic to NW students, Sun said he felt more alienated by his ethnicity there than in Iowa.
“In the Philippines there is more of a gap between the Filipino people and people from other nationalities,” Sun said.. “Here there is not so much of a gap,” said Sun.
Sun has traveled around quite a bit, but he has not found a friendlier place than the American Midwest. “New York is not so friendly, and California seems like whatever. Orange City is nicer, more open, safe and everyone says hi,” Sun said.
Sun believed that his experience growing up in the Philippines was markedly different than his experiences in Iowa.
“You get to see the poorest of the poor,” Sun said. “So you know what the poorest of the poor is and the richest of the rich is.”
Sun believed that his family has been very blessed over the years. When Sun lived in the Philippines, a flood came and the water got into the house. Sun went down to get some belongings before the house flooded entirely.
He recalled getting stuck in the house until the water had risen almost entirely to the ceiling. He managed to get out, and none of his family got hurt.
A few months ago, Sun was working at a camp in Okoboji telling his story when another disaster struck his family’s home in the Philippines.
“I was telling my testimony about eternal life and how our house got flooded,” Sun said. “That night, the Holy Spirit told me to pray for my parents and that day our house caught on fire.”
His parents were sleeping when his mom heard a voice telling her to get out of the house. She woke to discover the fire and was able to get out of the house.
“The Holy Spirit used my prayers to save my parents’ lives,” Sun said. “Prayer is so powerful and God is so powerful. It is so crazy. God is so good.”
For five years Sun attended Chinese schooling back in the Philippines. Since then, he’s been in the United States and even though he comes from a tropical island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, he doesn’t consider Iowa foreign territory anymore. He’s lived here since his freshman year of high school.
“I went to Sioux Center high school and I stayed with host families, Sun said. “I have lost contact with them since then though.”
Sun has been largely independent of his parents since coming to college.
“They come once a year for a conference, but it is very expensive to come here or to go there,” Sun said.
Sun has not been back to the Philippines since he came to the United States. He does, however, have a sister that lives in California and he has gone to visit her over Christmas break.
Sun said the brother and sister have a friendly rivalry between them.
“She graduated from Dordt,” Sun said.
Many students may not believe that very much happens in Orange City, but Sun has had his share of mishaps.
“First semester last year, I was playing in the Alumni soccer game and I got tackled,” Sun said. “The athletic trainer told me I had sprained my ankle and to just walk it off. When I told her I couldn’t, she took another look at it and told me that it was broken. Second semester of last year I burned myself by sitting on hot Ramen [noodles].”
During his time at NW, Sun has participated in Unrated, Concert Choir and is the current president of the I-Club. But Sun says that the tight-knit student community is the reason he loves NW so much.
“There are more activities to do in the Philippines,” Sun said. “I did track, soccer and rugby [there]. Here, the thing to do is community.”
As a resident of the Heemstra wings of Colenbrander Hall, Sun recalled having many enjoyable experiences with his wingmates. Sun has eaten a fruit bat, swum with jelly fish and run around in cornfields at night.
Earlier this year, Sun played a practical joke on his friends by convincing many of them that he was severely injured.
“He had bandages all over and ketchup on his head,” said sophomore Josh Hollinger. “He was also on crutches and at first I thought it was real, but then I looked closer.”
Sun’s intended career path has also had some interesting ups and downs. His parents have been missionaries in the Philippines for 21 years but told Sun to get a career that pays well.
“I was struggling with what do with my life,” Sun said. “My dad said to go for a career that makes money.”
Nevertheless, after graduating from college, Sun would like to work for an organization doing music ministry and traveling. Currently, he is a team leader for NW and played on junior Andrea Hallberg’s traveling worship team last year.
“It was really cool to see him become a team leader after I was his leader last year,” Hallberg said.
Hollinger is on Sun’s worship team this year.
“He is pretty free flowing and it is less structured which makes it fun,” Hollinger said.
Sun isn’t just interested in doing music ministry as a campus work study job.
“This is what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life,” Sun said. “I chose music ministry because I like it, and that is what I used to do at home for my church in the Philippines.”