Yumi Schaefer (nee Lee) completed a Graduate Diploma of Dance Therapy at Wesley Institute (now Excelsia College) in 2000. At the time, Excelsia College was the only Christian college in the world which offered a dance therapy course. For Yumi, God revealed Excelsia College to her when she was living in Japan, where she was born and raised as a third-generation Korean. Yumi explains the experience of finding Excelsia as God’s rich pathway and His divine leading. ‘When I was in Japan, I was seeking my future mission and heard God’s audible voice for dance therapy, so I started looking for courses in an Australian school guide. God showed me Excelsia College, the only Christian college in the world to offer dance therapy at the time. It was God-sent and it still gives me goosebumps,’ explains Yumi.
Yumi had previously studied in America and visited Australia a few times so she didn’t experience a culture shock upon arriving to Australia in 1998, however God was her constant anchor in adapting to a new home. ‘I dwelled on Bible verses throughout these times, including 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” and Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. Yumi has been a born-again Christian for the past 25 years and finds she is closest to God when worshipping and praising Him through creative expressions like dancing, drawing and painting. ‘As a student, I had significant spiritual growth at college. I have a life calling in dance therapy and creative art ministry. This is truly a heavenly gift for my life,’ explains Yumi. ‘The Christian life is the most exciting and joyful way of living above all, and I want the world to know it.’
It wasn’t just an education and zest for God through the creative pursuits that Yumi picked up, she also met her future husband! The pair have now been married for 20 years and currently reside in Brisbane. Yumi leads an active lifestyle working as a dance therapist, fitness, and Pilates instructor as well as a personal trainer. She works with a wide variety of client groups, from children to the elderly with various physical and mental conditions. She is passionate about the healing and empowerment for personal growth and change that can be brought about by moving our body in creative and expressive ways. It was in fact a serious health and life crisis and becoming a born again Christian that led Yumi to pursue this area. ‘With his tangible leading and healing, I was led to dance therapy and a passion for healing and health ministry’, Yumi says.
Yumi attributes her joy for dance to the College. ‘Excelsia helped me to gain joy of worship dance and creative art which I never thought existed. When I look back, it is truly Excelsia which shaped my life to the fullest and led all my dreams to come true.’
One of Yumi’s dreams was to publish a Faith Art Journal which incorporates Bible verses and beautiful art. She has realised her dream after publishing a book in 2020 called Sparking Joy. The book is a 30-day creative and reflective devotion designed to ‘spark joy’ in your life. This includes discovering your inner creative energy and playfulness given from our Creator and completing a daily gratitude and thanksgiving.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the creative and performing arts industry, why not explore Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Dramatic Art? If you would like to educate the next generation of dancers, you can choose to major in dance in our Master of Teaching (Secondary). Perhaps you want to work with dancers or performers in a relational context. Why not consider a Master of Counselling? You never know how you could combine two industries.