In a moment, Dong Yun Yoon lost his entire family on Monday when a military jet crashed into his home here in San Diego, killing his wife, two infant daughters and his mother-in-law who had recently come from Korea to help care for the newborn.

How does a person live through something like this?  During this interview on CNN, Dong Yun Yoon, surrounded by his church community, reveals his deep faith in Christ even as he reveals his broken heart.  When his voice breaks and he talks about his daughters, it is utterly crushing:

I can’t believe they’re not here right now.

We were driving back to SD from LA when we heard the terrible news of a military jet crashing into a neighborhood near home.  Our first thoughts turned to family and friends throughout the area, and we were relieved to hear they were safe.  However, we have grieved over the news about Dong Yun Yoon and his family.

As Eugene Cho writes, this news would be horrific and tragic no matter to whom it happened. As a husband and father myself, I cannot even begin to imagine the shock and terror of losing my family in the middle of what should have been an ordinary day.  However, there’s something deeply personal about the story of the Yoon family for our Korean American family.  When we hear their story, we understand why the grandmother made the long journey across an ocean to care for her newborn granddaughter.  When I hear Dong Yun’s voice, I understand the inflection and the heart of what he’s saying. In the faces of those surrounding him, I can see the pastors I have known and loved.  I see the families weeping alongside them, literally crying out to God in prayer.

The Korean American community in San Diego is very small.  Although we didn’t know the family directly, it wasn’t even a day before we found out how the Yoon family is connected to people we know here.

Dong Yun has displayed remarkable faith and grace in the midst of this tragedy.  He does not blame the pilot of the jet that killed his family, even asking others, “Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident.”  We will continue to pray for Dong Yun Yoon as he navigates the dark days ahead, holding onto the psalmist’s hope:

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging.

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