Inja Motsinger was born in rural Korea on the family farm, very far from city lights. She was the middle child of five, with two older sisters and two younger brothers.
Her early years were hard and severe. When Inja was eight, her 18-year-old eldest sister took her own life. Two months later, Inja’s 46-year-old father, who she remembers as often drinking too much, died abruptly at the table while waiting for dinner to be served.
The immensity of the two losses devastated the family. After her father’s death, Inja remembers her mother stoically rising to the occasion to care for her family.
“My mother worked so hard. She was so strong and brave,” Inja says lovingly, "I remember very well what she told us and what she expected of us. ‘Respect anyone who is older than you. Don’t wait to help others—be the first one to help.’ There was no 'why' or 'because' in our home. There was only— this is what Mom says.”
At one point during Inja’s early childhood, her mom had been invited to a Catholic church. While attending a kind of VBS there, Inja memorized the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. “I didn’t understand the words, but I memorized them anyway. I didn’t know then that God was already planting some seeds in my life.”
In her everyday life, Inja helped with planting and growing crops on the family farm. It was exhausting work.
“I didn’t really have a childhood,” she says. “My job was to work on the family farm and help raise my two little brothers.”
One day, the principal of the school called Inja’s mother in for a conference. “Your daughter is too smart not to educate,” he told her. He recommended that Inja go live with a family that he knew and go to school there to save expenses for the family. There were no public schools in Korea, Inja explains. Uniforms, books, tuition and all other costs of education had to be paid by parents.
So, at age 11, Inja found herself traveling 150 miles away from her home to live with strangers. “This was so hard for me—and especially so hard for my mom,” she shares with a catch in her voice. “It broke her heart.”
After she finished school, Inja moved to Seoul for a receptionist job. There, she met an American army officer named Don Motsinger. They dated casually for a year, then moved to the U.S. and got married.
Their early marriage wasn’t easy. “Language and cultural barriers were huge,” Inja remembers. “And there were Don’s three little kids I couldn’t even communicate with.”
“Don was very patient with me,” she adds. “About everything. I feel like he sort of raised his kids and his new wife, too. He even helped me shop for groceries. I had no idea how to do it.”
One day, a Korean lady at work brought Inja a Korean Bible and told her, “Inja, you should come to church.”
“I really didn’t want to go, so I argued back at her, ‘No, I’m not good enough for church.’ I remembered always that I had lied to my mom about coming to America. I told this lady that I would come to church when I got to be a better person.”
But After Don and Inja moved to Virginia, Inja started attending an Assembly of God Bible study with a Korean friend.
“It was very loud volume with lots of clapping,” she said. “It really scared me. I didn’t like it.” But, she says, something just kept her attending that study. “I’m not sure exactly why I kept going, but I think God was continuing to plant seeds in my life.”
After six months, Inja decided to attend the Assembly of God church. “I continued to be exposed to Scripture. I didn’t understand it and I didn’t feel comfortable there, but I kept going.”
Later, when Don had a motorcycle accident and was confined to the couch for a while, the Korean pastor from Inja’s church came to visit him. She stood and listened to their conversation with interest.
“If you died today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” the pastor asked Don.
“I would go to Heaven,” Don replied.
“Why do you say that?” the pastor persisted.
“Because even as a child I knew Christ died on the cross for my sin. I have asked Him to be my Savior,” Don responded.
As they talked, Inja listened intently. “Hearing them talk—it was the first time I really understood the gospel,” she shares. “I knew then that I wanted Christ as my Savior, too. Finally I understood. Finally it became personal.”
“But I had a lot of growing to do,” she says. “Don had been a nominal Christian and I had not been a believer at all. At first, I got works all mixed into my understanding of salvation. I was afraid all the time that I would not please God, that He wouldn’t love me.”
After several different moves and church communities, God led Inja and Don to settle in Titusville. They have been at CCC since they first moved to the area six years ago.
“Here at CCC, I have learned more and more about being loved by God. I have found new freedom in who I am in Christ. I am released from what I think I must do for God. I serve Him from love instead, since I know now that I can’t do anything to save myself or keep myself saved.”
Inja still thinks often of her family back in Korea.
“I am praying so much for them,” she says, “that even in the Catholic church, God will open their hearts to the gospel through the hearing of His Word as He did in my life. I really want so much to see them in Heaven!”
But Inja has also come to think of the CCC community as family.
“And I just love my church family so much,” she says. “I feel so at home.”