One80 Podcast, Episode 61: Izzy Koo

The Choice: Friends or God

This transcript may have errors that veer from the original podcast audio found at

Izzy Koo was just a normal high schooler living her life. A misunderstanding caused her friends to give her an ultimatum: choose us or choose God. Without thinking, Izzy chose God. This rejection of Izzy’s friends was actually her turning point. The truth was she never actually had thought about it. She wondered, who is this God I just lost my friends for? Izzy needed some answers.

Welcome to Izzy’s. 180.

Izzy Koo:

Ryan Henry: we are so excited to have you, Izzy, on the show. Her book, Finding God, Finding Me takes place in high school, but you’ll now find Izzy in the halls of Pepperdine in Malibu.

Izzy, welcome to 180.

Izzy Koo: Thank you, I’m so happy to be here.

Ryan Henry: we’d like to start our show with a random question. Would you rather adopt a British accent every time you’re having a serious conversation, or would you rather laugh every time someone else cries?

Izzy Koo: Definitely the British accent one. Just because laughing when someone’s crying, that can be pretty bad sometimes,

Ryan Henry: That makes it like really offensive, right? The British accent makes people look at you and go like, “Why are you doing that all of a sudden?” Yeah, it’s probably a safe choice.

Izzy Koo: Honestly, I think I would just pass as being British, just have that accent all the time.

Ryan Henry: Just adopt it completely a hundred percent. I love it. so we like to start, with the before Christ because it helps our listeners, connect to Izzy before you met Christ and just know more about you.

Izzy Koo: I didn’t start out madly in love with Jesus. In fact, I started off quite the opposite. Although I grew up in a Christian home, I didn’t believe the faith for myself. I thought Christianity was just a go to church on Sundays and read the Bible sometimes thing. I didn’t realize Christianity was so much more than that.

Izzy Koo: so I grew up in a Christian home. Both my parents were Christian. but I don’t think I was surrounded by people in my life that really radiated that in a transformed way, people who are living life differently, on like a very extreme scale because they were Christian.

And so, because of that, I thought that it was just, you go to church on Sundays, maybe we do Bible studies as a family sometimes, we pray at night, but it was nothing more than that. And that was what I limited my view of Christianity to.

Ryan Henry: Hmm. Okay. it wasn’t like a bad upbringing. It was good. like the family relationships? Were they all, fairly good?

Izzy Koo: yeah, grew up an amazing family, and it was so good, and I think my family actually did a really good job of never forcing the faith, and I think that actually helped a lot, because it was always my choice, and that also leads to kind of how, I met Christ as well, on my own.

Ryan Henry: In your book mentioned being like a half Christian. Can you just describe that for us?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, I think I classify a half Christian as, you claim Christianity as your title and you do a lot of Christian-y things. So, you go to church, maybe you don’t swear and you do all these things that people would deem as what a Christian is.

Ryan Henry: Mm

Izzy Koo: The heart isn’t there. Like, the life isn’t transformed yet and you aren’t living solely for God. God is just a part of your life rather than consuming your entire life, which I believe is what it should be.

Ryan Henry: Wow. Yeah. It’s almost like, this is kind of a silly analogy, but like putting all the Christmas lights up on your house and getting everything decorated. Everything looks like it’s ready to go. But the one thing you’re missing is electricity.

Izzy Koo: Yeah, it’s a good analogy.

Ryan Henry: So did you feel like you had a pretty good head understanding of who Jesus was?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, I think I had a good understanding of all the biblical stories growing up in Sunday school. If anyone asked me a question, I could give an answer, but I don’t think I could have answered a question like, What does Jesus mean to you?

Or why do you believe in Jesus? I think those questions are different than, how did Jesus, rise from the dead, where it just more has an answer that can be based on the Bible.

Ryan Henry: Right, right. So, talk to me about where you started to have a crisis of faith.

Izzy Koo: Yeah, I think everything was fine up to the point. It was kind of random just at the dinner table one day after church. My dad and I, it was just us two at the table. And he just randomly brought up like, why are you Christian? And I think that was the first time I ever heard that question in a serious manner.

And I knew my dad wasn’t joking. He was genuinely asking me. But kind of not knowing what to say, I was just like, what else would I be? I’ve always been a Christian.

Ryan Henry: Right. Right.

Izzy Koo: And then I think like my dad wasn’t satisfied with that answer. And so he asked me again. He was like, um, I’m asking why you’re a Christian.

Right? Even if we were to all stop going to church, why would you still go?

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Izzy Koo: and it was so personal and it was so just directed to me that I actually had no idea what to say. And I think that began like you said, a bit of a crisis in my mind. Why am I Christian? Why do I believe what I believe?

Because I wanted to know myself.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Yeah. did you find yourself at all wanting to go to canned answers that you know, like dad would be happy to hear, you know, because Jesus loves me or because this or because that, did you find yourself going that direction at all?

Izzy Koo: I don’t think I did actually. And I think it might be because I didn’t truly believe that or understand that for my life, God’s love for me. And so I couldn’t say that confidently either.

Ryan Henry: Okay.

Izzy Koo: From there, I think nothing really changed immediately. I was still going about my life. I was in high school things started progressing when the group of friends that I had at the time, they weren’t Christian, by any means. And we started having problems in our friendship because of my Christianity, not because I was super out there as a Christian, but just because they knew that I was Christian, that I went to church.

Izzy Koo: Um, and that proved a problem when one of my friends came out as bisexual and then the issues there because then she didn’t feel safe having a Christian in the friend group and just stuff like that think that is what started making me question it a little further or the question came back, are my friends more important or is my Christianity more important?

Ryan Henry: And how long of a period of time do you think that you were teeter tottering on that, question?

Izzy Koo: It was a good solid couple months during, my freshman year around when that happened.

Ryan Henry: Can you elaborate, you said that you had a friend who came out as bisexual, where was the struggle with that? Did they not want to participate with you?

Izzy Koo: yeah, the person didn’t tell me directly, it was another friend within the group that told me about the friend, and so it was all, at the end of the day, a miscommunication, she wasn’t able to see my heart as well that I would have been completely accepting of it because it didn’t matter to me. She was still my best friend and nothing would have changed that.

But I think just with the way it happened I think the whole friend group just started to turn away from Christianity and be really opposed to it. They just wanted to do nothing with it

Ryan Henry: Right.

Izzy Koo: And that was really hard and it got to a bit of a climax point where literally we were walking home from school one day and there was kind of a fork in the road, both physically and metaphorically. Um, and they just asked me to choose, like, is it going to be us or is it God?

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Izzy Koo: that was the first turning point.

Ryan Henry: That’s pretty bold.

Izzy Koo: Super bold. So bold where I didn’t know what to say either. And so I think impulsively at the time, I just said, I choose God. Um, not really knowing what that meant, but just maybe having a fear in the back of my mind of what would happen if I didn’t choose God.

Ryan Henry: Right.

Izzy Koo: That day I walked one way, my friends walked the other way and I essentially lost my best friends.

Ryan Henry: Oh my gosh, this must have been so painful for you.

Izzy Koo: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: How did you handle that?

Izzy Koo: I was just super angry and emotional at the beginning because. Obviously, it was a, terrible circumstance but if anything, I think that really fueled the drive in me to want to get to know the faith better, because at the end of the day, I chose the faith, and I chose God, and I wanted to know why I chose God, and I just really wanted to, if I believed in something, I wanted to know why I believed, and believe in it with all my heart,

Ryan Henry: I love what you said in your book. You said that at that moment you decided if you were going to lose all your friends over your faith, that you better believe the faith with all of your heart and that you needed to know more. You need to see if this God thing was truly worth the cost of losing your friends.

And you said, I was determined to learn everything I could about this God I just love the integrity of your heart, it’s like, well, if I’m going to be in, I better be all in. Those are really powerful words, but was it easy? What was really going on in you?

Izzy Koo: that’s a good question. I think the determination came from a place of just utter desperation because at this point, I felt like I had lost everything. And so this had to be true. It was kind of that mindset I was so determined to get to know God and see if everything I had learned about his character and who he is was actually going to be, true for my life as well.

Ryan Henry: what year of high school is this for you?

Izzy Koo: Freshman year leading up to sophomore year.

Ryan Henry: that’s such a vulnerable time of life. Those relationships are so important and you’ve got so much of high school to go still.

Izzy Koo: Yeah Yeah, it was kind of just at the beginning point, which obviously made it really hard as well.

Margaret Ereneta: Friends. We had Izzy read some excerpts from her book because we just loved the way she described some things in there. So here’s one of those parts.

Izzy Koo: I decided in my heart to try to get to know this God I had claimed to believe in my whole life. I was done just believing in him simply because my parents did, or because I felt like I should.

I wanted to believe in God for myself. So the first thing that made sense to do was to read my Bible.

Day and night, I immersed myself in this awe inspiring, yet sometimes confusing, book. It was the first time I was reading the Bible as it was, not just watching some cartoon video about the stories at Sunday school. To tell you the truth, it was difficult to understand.

Izzy Koo: But I was determined to learn everything I could about this God, so I kept at it. I was so determined that some days I stayed up half the night just to read.

Ryan Henry: Wow. Oh my goodness. so while you were reading, what were you learning that was particularly special? Was there something that was really standing out to you?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, I think the first thing that really stood out was actually when I got to the Gospels, and I was just reading through Matthew and I came across the verse Matthew 7, 7. And it’s the verse that says, Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.

And I think that’s the first verse that I read that just made me stop in my tracks and really wondered to myself. Like, what am I seeking, and what will I find if I keep seeking? And it was just this curiosity, I think, burned in my heart. and I wanted to know what was on the other end of this seeking.

I think the verse, just highlighted itself in front of me and it burned into my heart and that verse, it just became my prayer as well.

Izzy Koo: My prayer became, God, I’m seeking and I’m asking and I’m knocking and I want to know I want to know you. I want to, want to see what I will find.

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Izzy Koo: so I think I knew it became important when that verse became the foundation of my prayers, you know, from that point on,

Ryan Henry: That’s so good. Izzy, at that point, did you feel like you believed in your heart yet?

Izzy Koo: At this point, I don’t think I believed in my heart yet, but I think the seed was planted. It was starting to grow and I was starting to think about it more.

Ryan Henry: Okay. Yeah. can you talk to us about your rock bottom? How did you get there and what happened?

Izzy Koo: Yeah. So everything started going pretty well. After I started this search for God was reading the Bible. I was praying more than I ever had before. I was also getting really integrated into my youth ministry at church, getting close tothe youth pastor. And I made two really close friends within that youth ministry as well.

And so all of these things are looking up, until one day I walked into our youth group and our youth pastor was announcing his resignation. And then right after that, it was like a crazy series of events at our church where the youth pastor left, and the senior pastor left, and then our associate pastor left, all in the course of literally a month, I believe, and with that, the two friends I made were their daughters, and so they left as well and I think that is what just completely tore me apart because all I could think about was, I don’t want to believe in a God who just keeps taking away from me.

Because a couple months before it was my friends at school when I chose God over them I lost those best friends then at church when I started finally going again and being integrated into church, then I lost everything at that church essentially in terms of the people that I had there.

And like you said, I think I was at a vulnerable place just that freshman year Kind of then not having any more community left in my life, and I think it was just one night I just broke down I just felt like I didn’t have anybody that cared for me or That would really miss me even if I left And I think that was the lowest point that I went through some of the scariest thoughts entered my mind and I hit what you would call I guess rock bottom.

Ryan Henry: Oh my gosh, that must have been so painful. So you’re having a really hard time. You’re having this breakdown, really, really dark thoughts. How did you get out of it?

Izzy Koo: I don’t remember much from that night, but what I do remember is that I got through it, and there was just a tiny glimmer of hope, that I held on to.

Margaret Ereneta: Here’s Izzy again from her book.

Izzy Koo: One night, I came to my breaking point. It was late and I was on the floor of my room, weeping. I think everything just hit me that night. Memories I had suppressed of losing my school friends, my youth pastor, my church friends, and ultimately, myself, consumed my mind. It was at that moment when some of the scariest thoughts I’ve ever had entered my mind.Is it worth living? Should I keep living? Would anyone care if I stopped living ?

Ryan Henry: Hmm. That’s a really hard place to be.

Izzy Koo: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: Wow. So what did you do at the last resort? What was your answer to all this?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, in that moment, I think I just heard things that I’ve heard about God in the past. Things like, God is a God who cares, God is a God who finds you in your loneliness and sits by you. And those things rang in my mind.

And even though I didn’t believe them to be true, it gave me a little bit of hope to at least get through that night.

and I think that’s what I needed. And I think that’s also just God’s grace, right? Even in the toughest moments, He’ll give you something to help you at least get through it, even though it might be so hard.

Ryan Henry: It reminds me, in the book of John, it talks about how, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the things we’ve been taught. So, those simple things like, God loves me. He doesn’t leave me. might seem very small, but like, in those moments, I really believe that God was speaking to you

Izzy Koo: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s all those little seeds that are planted along the way. things that people say, worship songs that you hear, lyrics that you hear, that come into your mind at kind of those crucial breaking moments that might make all the difference in the world.

Ryan Henry: I know in your book, you talked about that. moment of desperation where you’re praying on your knees. you talked about, a peace that you’ve never had felt before. can you take us to that moment

Izzy Koo: Yeah. I was kind of on my knees in my room. The lights were, dark and I was just crying, just thinking about, all these things that were going wrong in my life. all the reasons why I would be angry at God. and I think it was in that moment because I had nothing, God was the only thing that could come in.

and I think because of that, it was just a brief, glimmer of peace that I felt. That I would experience more of later, but just a glimpse that he showed me that night that kind of Showed me that there would be more.

Ryan Henry: Yes. I’m so thankful for that too. so Izzy, surely at that point, everything is, all better now, right?

Izzy Koo: you would think it would be all better, but it was actually not because I was so used to just that feeling that it was almost more comfortable to stay there and to stay angry at God because it’s easy kind of to do that to stay in that mindset of darkness because you’ve been there and it’s harder to come to the light at that point and I kind of fell into that a little bit.

I just wanted to kind of stay There even though I knew that there could be something better I kind of wrestled with that a little bit.

Ryan Henry: Wow. Wow. I think that’s something that probably a lot of people can connect to. Izzy’s story has two different turning points and believe it or not, you can actually have more than one in your story too.

So let’s, go to, your second turning point. Can you talk to us about, when the new youth pastor was hired?

Izzy Koo: Yeah. Oh, it was a crazy moment. our church was basically on the verge of collapse. And then, our church leadership gets a call from this woman in England who actually had a British accent, to bring that beginning question into play.

Ryan Henry: That’s awesome.

Izzy Koo: but essentially she just said, Hey, in her British accent, my name is Pastor Esther, and, God is calling me to your church.

I have no idea who you guys are, where you guys are, but I’m called there. And we said, well, we’re here in Seattle, Washington. She said, wow, well, I’ll be there at the end of the week. And she flew all the way from England to where we were, to be our youth pastor. And man, I think our youth group probably went from like five kids to 50 in the course of a couple months that she began

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Izzy Koo: Yeah. Crazy story.

Ryan Henry: That’s amazing.

Izzy Koo: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: So just like, she just flew and just came.

Izzy Koo: yeah, I look up to her most probably, out of a lot of people that I know just because she has a heart that’s so willing. We, call her like a moving missionary, just wherever God is leading her, she’ll go with no questions and no hesitation. it’s incredible.

Ryan Henry: So, what happened with this new, this new youth pastor?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, so this new youth pastor came. She got the job, obviously, because we had no other options anyway. And, she basically started up our youth ministry again by throwing kind of an introductory youth retreat during the summer. and I had no interest in going personally. I didn’t even have any interest in getting to know her just because I was so done with Christianity.

I was so done with God just after everything that had happened. I was like, there’s no way I’m going to enter myself again and then lose someone else again,

Ryan Henry: Right. Yeah, that self protection.

Izzy Koo: Right. but the reason I ended up going was my mom kind of gave me an ultimatum. She was like, you know, if you go, you won’t have to ever go to church again.

And I was like, well, that sounds like a deal that’s worth taking. And so I went to this youth retreat very grudgingly, but knowing that at the end of it, I probably wouldn’t be going back again.

Ryan Henry: Hmm.

Izzy Koo: And so I went to the retreat.

Ryan Henry: And what happened there?

Izzy Koo: the retreat was kind of whatever until Saturday night when they usually do the worship and prayer night and I just remember Pastor Esther came to the front of that room.

She didn’t even give a sermon that night, she just said, You know what? God is telling me that there’s someone in this room who just feels so broken, feels so alone, and they just need to feel the presence of God. And obviously at the time, I was like, that’s not gonna be me. I’m sure that there’s somebody in there who feels that, that’s not gonna be me.

But she started singing, and she started singing this song called Surrounded.

the lyrics are, It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.

Ryan Henry: Yes.

Izzy Koo: she sang that line so many times, like over 20 times. And I was just looking at those lyrics on the screen. It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.

And I just had like a flashback of just like a timeline, in my mind. Just of all the moments where I felt like I was so lonely. or that when I was surrounded by so many people, but in reality it was God that was surrounding me.

In all of those moments. And that I was never truly alone because I always had God surrounding me.

Ryan Henry: So while she’s singing that, did she actually sing it over you?

Izzy Koo: She just sang it out to the congregation, and she was just singing, in an improvisational style.

But, Yeah. it just hit me, it was the last time she sang that line too. You know, usually you sing the bridge like five times, but she sang it over twenty times, and it was the last time that she sang it where the lyrics actually pierced my heart. And I just had a moment of literally impulsively falling down to my knees.

And crying just because I was so overwhelmed and I just felt the love of God literally coming into my heart that day and showing me that all those moments, all the broken moments, all the lonely moments, they were to lead up to this moment that that pain wasn’t for a waste, but that pain was only to grow my emptiness so that God could fill it all the more.

And I think that when I look back, all those things needed to happen in my life for the desire for God to be so great that he would actually take over my whole life. and that’s what happened that night.

Ryan Henry: Oh my gosh. It’s like you’re completely emptied so that you could be completely filled.

Izzy Koo: Right?

Margaret Ereneta: Again, here’s Izzy from her book.

Izzy Koo: But it was in that moment of complete brokenness and pain that I felt something like a fire burning inside my soul. Suddenly, I felt a love I’d never felt before surrounding and supernaturally covering me. I felt an unexplainable peace and an inexplicable stillness, and immediately I fell to my knees.

I took all my loneliness and emptiness to the floor with me and gave it all to God. It was then when I declared to God that I desperately needed Him and Him alone. Through my tears, I surrendered my life to Him and told Him I was so sorry for the way I’d been living.

Ryan Henry: That’s really good. What happened next?

Izzy Koo: I just remember I got up from my knees in that room and I opened my eyes and just the way I saw the world was different and I knew it was. I just remember looking around at me to all my youth friends, just people there and just feeling like an immense love for them that I’ve never felt before because I was never the type to be overtly kind or show, you know, love to people in that way.

I was more closed off and, shy, but just in that moment everything dropped all the barriers I had in my mind and I just loved those people and Honestly, I think in that moment All I wanted to do was tell them guys There’s a God who loves you and is right next to you and is surrounding you and it’ll change your life And that was just the message on my heart that I wanted to tell everybody at that time.

Ryan Henry: You went down and then you came back up like a new person.

Izzy Koo: Yeah Yeah in the Bible it says, therefore you are a new creation in Christ It’s literally how they describe it in the Bible is how I experienced it.

Ryan Henry: Wow. That’s amazing.

Izzy Koo: Yeah.

Margaret Ereneta: Izzy shares from her book about this time. It was really powerful.

Izzy Koo: He took me, the broken teenager I was, and changed me through his transforming love and truth. He took my loneliness and replaced it with his powerful presence. He took my emptiness and replaced it with his radical fulfillment. He took my brokenness and replaced it with his life giving restoration.

And he took my coldness and replaced it with his supernatural love. That’s what God does.

Ryan Henry: Wow. That’s amazing. So there was a brand new Izzy, the Lord gave you a new heart. did people start to notice a change?

Izzy Koo: Yeah, they did. I remember I came home, and I just told my parents straight up. I was like, you know what guys, I think I met God. as kind of skeptical parents would be, they were like, I’m sure you did, Izzy, I’m sure you did, and any kind of life

went on, but, what’s cool, I think, is I live with my grandma, and my, it was my grandma who noticed, and I think two weeks into it, she went up to my mom, and she was just like, there’s something about her, and I think you should talk to her about it, I just see Jesus in her, and those were the words that she told my mom, and I actually don’t think I write that in the book, but that was a pretty powerful moment for my mom, I think, for her mom to witness the change in me so much so that she would Bring that up to say something.

Ryan Henry: That’s so amazing.

So what did you notice, right off the bat about yourself? I know you had mentioned that you were filled with love for other people, but where there other things about your life, things that you love to do, just, that shifted.

Izzy Koo: Yeah, um at the time I was super into volleyball. That’s kind of all I did with all of my time I wanted to go to college for that That was kind of everything that consumed my mind and I just remember for the first time Thinking about everything in the larger scheme of things and thinking to myself.

I love volleyball, but volleyball is not everything and that was like a radical thought for me because never in my wildest dreams would I’ve ever thought that I would have even thought that. but it changed the way I thought about even the sport itself. So going forward, to practices and to games and stuff, from that moment, it wasn’t about volleyball anymore, or at least that wasn’t the sole goal.

I was there to be a witness, actually, to my friends who were there, to be somebody who was helpful, who was kind, who brought light to the group. And that was, My new goal, my new intention, for being there rather than just playing the sport, because, for the sake of volleyball, I

Ryan Henry: That’s so amazing. So can you describe some ways that you did try to reach your friends at school?

Izzy Koo: I think when new people came we had a lot of freshmen, transfer students who come. I was always so drawn to them. I would immediately go up to them, want to introduce myself, talk to them, invite them over to my home, and just help them feel like they were part of the group.

My heart was for lonely people because that’s that’s who I was, and wanting to go to those lonely people and make them feel included, not even for the sake of just anything, but knowing that something small as kindness can then plant a seed for God as well, that they would realize, Oh, why was she so kind to me?

why did she come up to me? And I had plenty of those conversations as well, within the volleyball world. Then coming up to me later, asking, why did you come up to me when, no one else did? You didn’t have to, but why did you?

And that was kind of my opportunity to share. And from there, I think I had an opportunity to share my testimony a lot with my friends, my teammates, people like that.

Ryan Henry: so I started witnessing to a lot of my friends, a lot of the people who came on the team, a lot of the new students, Wow. That’s amazing. it’s so simple and so pure. And I think that so many of us, who have been, walking in our faith for a long time, it’s such a good reminder of just like the need to come back to the simple things.

Izzy Koo: Yeah,

Ryan Henry: The simple things, you know, I mean, just remembering the freshness of your faith and the simplicity of just loving people and being present for people.

I could you talk, about, you made bracelets or a key chain or something to pass out to people.

Izzy Koo: Yeah. I was always a crafty person. And when the whole rainbow loom thing started, it was that rubber band trend, but I started making these cross key chains and they were just small, like little cross key chains that I made. and I think I just wanted to tell everybody about it.

Wherever I went, the grocery store, the mall or no matter where I went, I just handed them a key chain. And usually I just said, Hey, nice to meet you. I just want to tell you that God loves you and that was it.

Ryan Henry: people are so hungry for that, Izzy, People are searching, just to know that somebody sees them, and that they’re not alone, And you just can never underestimate the power of just a simple, Hey God Loves You. I just want to add, I think it’s really fascinating, and so like God that you said before Christ, you were lonely, but then after Christ, you were seeking those who are lonely.

Izzy Koo: Yeah, yeah

Ryan Henry: things you struggled with, and he puts inside of you a heart to help other people who you can see yourself in, And it’s just so beautiful. It’s redemption.

Izzy Koo: it’s so cool.  It was like I was a new person. I wanted to go out and tell everybody about God. I wanted to testify to everyone around me, not because I had suddenly gained this newfound confidence within myself, but because I put my confidence in God. I was confident God could transform the lives of my friends.

Ryan Henry: That’s amazing. did you start sharing your testimony more then? Ha

Izzy Koo: And it was always in a natural way too, just it would come up with people who would notice things about my behavior or ask me Why do you have so much joy when we have finals like next week? It’s simple things like that that would give me an opportunity to share

Ryan Henry: Yeah, that’s so good. did you find yourself leading anybody to Christ? I mean, you talked to a lot of people. Did you get to have that experience where someone actually came to faith?

Izzy Koo: one I can think of is my best friend at the time was very wavering with their faith, very distant, but I think through our friendship. and kind of showing her what a godly friendship looks like as well. I was able to kind of not just witness, but also kind of disciple her through the process where now she’s so on fire for God too.

And we do ministry together and all these things, which is just crazy. And I think that’s the coolest thing when it’s your friend, when it’s someone who’s close to you, where not only do you get to just witness, but you also get to walk with them and do life with them and they can see your life on a daily basis and be changed because of that, I think is really cool.

Ryan Henry: Yeah, that’s amazing. what about, the old friends who originally walked away? Did they ever come back in the picture or ask you questions about what happened?

Izzy Koo: we met for coffee, and we just sat in front of each other, and it was actually probably one of the most beautifully redemptive moments I’ve ever experienced in my life, just because we had both grown so much from that time, and even her being so against the faith in Christianity, she could still say to me at that time, even though we’re not close friends anymore, just watching you in high school, I knew that something changed for you and just her telling me that I was like, wow, for someone I don’t even talk to for her to notice that something had changed.

And it was good. We talked about everything we caught up in life. we’re both in college now. We’re not best friends, but we, restored kind of the relationship that we had at least to a certain level, which I think is really awesome.

Ryan Henry: This is so cool. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someday she calls you to ask you more about Jesus.

Izzy Koo: Yeah, that’s the goal.

Ryan Henry: Ha ha

Izzy Koo: Yeah, that’s amazing. we’re going to, we’ll put a link in the show notes, to your book. We want to make sure people can find it.

Ryan Henry: I would love to ask you one more question. And again, thanks for your time for being here with us today. but before you go, what would you say to people out there?

Like the old Izzy living like you call it, like half Christians, just going through the motions, just believing or memorizing information, but not actually taking it to heart. What would you say to them?

Izzy Koo: that’s such a good question. I think I would tell them that the life that you can live with God is a life that is so abundant that’s so full of joy.

It’s a type of love that, that makes you wake up out of bed excited for what’s to come to see everything that God will do. All the people God will introduce you to and just the outlook that you have on life will, it’ll change you. Just the joy that you’ll have, the peace that you’ll experience.

I would tell those people that it’s a whole nother life with God, it’s a life transformed, and it’s a life that satisfies, everything that you’re looking for in this world, and that you’ll find it, through following Jesus.

And especially for people who are my age, kind of college students or just high school students. There’s so many paths you can go down, and everything is vying for your attention. But to choose Jesus, it honestly, for me, it solves everything. It truly does. Not that life will be perfect, but you’ll live life with a purpose, and with meaning, and with joy. And with fulfillment. And I think that’s all you can ever ask for.

Ryan Henry: Wow. That’s amazing. It’s amazing. Izzy, it has been such a blessing to hear your story and I’m so thankful for what God has done in you and how you have allowed him to do what he wants in you because that’s a big part of it.

So thank you so much for all your time today.

Izzy Koo: Thank you