“What I enjoy most about working for Trinity Western University is that I am able to live out God’s calling for my life, to serve my students, the world’s future leaders, in such a way that they may experience Christ’s truth, compassion, reconciliation, and hope.”
— Hyne-Ju Huizenga, MA Leadership program instructor
Hyne-Ju Huizenga, is a Business Stream instructor and advisor for TWU’s Master of Arts in Leadership program, as well as an instructor for the International Degree Completion program. She graduated from the MA in Leadership program in 2016 and is currently completing her PhD in management, with a specialization in leadership and organizational change.
“As we navigate COVID-19, I am ever thankful for how the MA Leadership program prepared me for such a time as this,” Hyne-Ju says.
“The MA Leadership program has helped me navigate the COVID-19 contexts in my various family, work, ministry, and professional roles by preparing me for a life of service and learning.”
She credits the MA Leadership program for developing her leadership knowledge and application, increasing her social responsibility and global engagement, and most especially, deepening her spiritual formation.
Journey from South Korea to Canada
Hyne-Ju was born near Busan in South Korea. Hyne-Ju’s grandfather had been a prisoner of war in the Japanese war camps during World War II, and his second oldest son, Hyne-Ju’s father, went on to become South Korea’s military ambassador to the U.S. Hyne-Ju’s mother was a school teacher.
“When I was four years old,” Hyne-Ju says, “my father took our family, including my mother and new born brother, to Canada.”
Upon coming to a new country, Hyne-Ju met very few others like her. “I started Kindergarten that year not knowing one word of English,” she says, “and no one in the school spoke Korean.”
Hyne-Ju’s parents were eager to help their children assimilate into Canadian culture.
“My mother wanted her daughter to speak English fluently,” says Hyne-Ju, “so she tried her best to never speak to me in Korean, and she started taking ESL classes.”
“My parents also sent me to the church across the street from where we lived, since that was what they saw people in Canada do on Sundays,” Hyne-Ju continues. “I looked forward to the chocolate I received if I learned the English Bible verse.”
Over the years, Hyne-Ju and her family adapted more and more to their Canadian context.
“Although I came to Canada speaking the fluent Korean of a four year-old, the longer I lived in Canada, the less Korean I spoke,” says Hyne-Ju. “Now, after more than a half-century in Canada, I do not know any Korean. My mother would think she served me well, since English is now my only proficient language.”
Developing a love for English and literature
It was around grade three when Hyne-Ju read her first English novel from beginning to end in one day. The story was about Helen Keller, the blind, deaf, and mute girl.
“Perhaps I related [to Helen] since I always felt just a little bit lost in this new country,” Hyne-Ju reflects.
After succeeding in her early feat of completing a novel in a day, Hyne-Ju began to develop her love of literature, reading, and the English language.
Hyne-Ju thoroughly enjoyed school and joined various team sports. She finished with the top of her high school graduating class and was offered admission to UBC and awarded an entrance scholarship to SFU.
Her original plan was to complete an education major with a minor in philosophy, and pursue SFU’s professional development program (PDP) for teachers. Yet, her plans soon changed.
Dreams for raising a family
While still in high school, Hyne-Ju dreamed of how many children she would want to have one day. “I ruminated and came to the conclusion that twelve would be a good number, since Jacob in the Bible was the father to the twelve tribes of Israel,” she says. “It was an even number so every child would have a hand to hold.”
A few years after having that thought, Hyne-Ju met someone while working part-time. She noticed that this man always carried a Bible. “After I finished grade twelve, he came and knocked on my father’s door to ask my father for my hand in marriage,” says Hyne-Ju.
“One look at the person standing at my father’s door brought back memories [for my father] of when he was stationed in Fort Worth, Texas studying special weapons systems,” Hyne-Ju shares. “All the officers were tall, blond, and blue-eyed, and American society did not treat everyone equally, especially those of African descent, the heritage of the man asking my father for his permission to marry his daughter. My father said, “No!”
Pathway to education, career and family
Hyne-Ju left home and started studying at SFU on scholarship. The day after her final exam at the end of her first year, her daughter Mea Jyn was born.
“My mother named her Mea Jyn, which translates to beautiful and true in Korean,” Hyne-Ju says. Today, Hyne-Ju’s daughter Mea Jyn is a police officer for the Vancouver Police Department.
The following year, during the summer semester break, Hyne-Ju’s son, Emmanuel, was born. Today Emmanuel has earned an MBA and works in banking.
During the next summer’s semester break, Hyne-Ju’s second son was born. Hyne-Ju’s father named him the Korean translation for forgiving and merciful.
The following year, during the winter semester break, Job was born. Job is the father of Hyne-Ju’s three grandchildren, Euphrati, Magnus, and Katyusha.
Hyne-Ju started working as a manager in 1990, leaving her studies at SFU having completed just under three years of academic credits. That year, her son Joseph was born.
Hyne-Ju’s son Jeremiah was born in 1992, and her second daughter, Sarah Rachel, soon followed. Today, Sarah teaches English in Korea. “Sarah can probably speak more Korean than her Korean mother,” Hyne-Ju notes.
Hyne-Ju’s next son, Noah is two years younger than Sarah. “He worked very hard to graduate at the same time with [Sarah], and both won scholarships to UBC,” Hyne-Ju shares.
Hyne-Ju’s youngest two daughters are Serenity Faith and Clarity Truth, who received scholarships to study in Ontario.
Today, Hyne-Ju lives in Vancouver with her husband and their two youngest sons, Jacob and Marc, both who play for the BC Soccer High Performance League. Hyne-Ju has also cared for her mother since Hyne-Ju’s father passed away from cancer.
Hyne-Ju Huizenga’s son Job and his family.
Return to University
It was Hyne-Ju’s mother who encouraged her to complete her university degree. Hyne-Ju chose to come to Trinity Western University.
“After starting my degree 31 years previously, I finished my Bachelor of Arts in Leadership through the Adult Degree Completion (ADC) program in 2015,” says Hyne-Ju. “I was so impressed with the learning experience and amazing faculty that I continued into the MA Leadership program.”
At TWU, Hyne-Ju began to pursue her calling in leadership and academia.
“It was in the MA Leadership program that I was encouraged to ‘find my voice’ and pursue the calling I first attempted to follow in SFU’s education program,” she says. “Following Dr. Imbenzi’s advice and footsteps, I started my doctoral studies.”
Today, following a retirement in 2018 from almost thirty years in business management, Hyne-Ju is completing a PhD in management, specializing in leadership and organizational change. She has also finished the Public Leadership program at Harvard University.