Sung Hee Yoo
Founder, President, CEO, & Missionary (GMS)
My name is Sung Hee Yoo. I am a missionary through GMS and the Founding President of Pace Academy Foundation.
I was born as a pastor’s daughter in a small, rural town in South Korea. Although everyone in my neighborhood was generally poor, I did not see myself nor my friends as those who are in poverty or in need. As I grew older and began attending school, I saw many of my friends and classmates struggle to afford their school tuition. The amount was only about $100/year, but even this meager amount was insurmountable for many families in my town.
Seeing so many of my dear friends lose their educational opportunities pained my heart. Their difficult financial circumstances birthed a passion within me to one day establish schools that offer quality, free education to students in need. As my dream grew, my heart began to be drawn towards the continent of Africa. I imagined myself growing up to be a missionary who provided education opportunities for the underprivileged children of Africa.
In 1982, I immigrated to the United States with my younger sister. We lived in America without our parents, so the burden of providing for our needs rested upon my shoulders. As an extremely poor, struggling high school student who had to work part-time jobs to put food on the table, I began to identify even more with other students who faced poverty. My conviction to one day serve the poor in Africa became all the more certain during the trying years.
Several years later, I married my husband, Peter, and we had our daughter, Janice. Janice was born on November 6, 1998 with multiple birth defects. At birth, she underwent a grueling 13-hour heart surgery and remained in the NICU for months. Seeing my newborn child fighting for her life and undergoing multiple surgeries and operations was the most jarring and painful experience of my life. It is something I would never wish for a mother or parent to endure. However, despite the agony and fears surrounding Janice’s birth, the Lord used this experience to help me better understand how precious and valuable each child is to Him. He spoke into my heart the great compassion and love He had for all His creation. God took my deepest pain and used it to further fuel my passion for serving his underprivileged children in Africa through education.
Hence, for the last 20 years, I have created and operated an after-school learning center in Cypress, CA, to care for the educational needs of local students at an affordable price. My mission was to provide quality education at a reasonable rate that accommodates the financial circumstances of those in my community. Despite the successes and joys of running this after-school academy with 65 staff members, my heart was discontent as I sought to one day serve the children of Africa.
In 2014, I went on my first trip to Malawi, Africa. The Lord presented an opportunity for me to connect with many different missionaries who were serving the country in various ways: supporting children through feeding programs, training pastors and leaders through conferences, and working with the Malawian government to enact prison reforms. After much prayer and thoughtful
consideration, I decided to financially support these missionaries and establish Pace Academy Foundation (PAF) – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to spread the love and Good News of Jesus Christ through quality Christian education, mentorship, and scholarship programs in Malawi.
Over the past years, God has continued to bless and expand PAF through His provisions and by His grace. We are now providing full scholarships for over 2300 students in over 200 high schools throughout the country of Malawi. In addition, each student and school has been assigned to one of our Malawian mentors and pastors, who conduct regular Bible studies and provide mentorship for the children. Our mentors currently have been holding regular bible study groups at over 170 schools as well as in our PAF scholars' villages, going as far as to travel to PAF scholars personally for one-on-one visits. They make these personal one-on-one visits in the students' home villages to share fellowship and provide spiritual guidance & counseling. We also hosted our first annual PAF retreat in July of 2019, where we gathered our students and staff to the capital city of Lilongwe to be equipped and encouraged as one family in Christ through the preaching of God’s Word by international guest speakers and local pastors, corporate worship as one body in Christ, intimate small groups that integrated students from different schools, and fellowship activities that fostered relationships between mentors and students as well as between individual students.
I am so thankful for the work that the Lord is doing in Malawi and the privilege of being used by Him to bless His children. I know that none of this would be possible without the Lord’s faithfulness and the many committed donors and partners of PAF. As more and more students apply for scholarships and mentorship through PAF, we are continually looking for individuals, organizations, and churches that would partner and work together with us. I would like to ask that you would prayerfully consider joining our ministry in laboring for His harvest in Malawi. Please feel free to read our brochure and visit our website (pace-foundation.com) to learn more about us and how you can get involved.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful consideration. May all that we do and all that we are be for His glory and His kingdom alone!
Sung Hee Yoo
Founder & President
Pace Academy Foundation