Nuke Shim has been involved with the Navigators for the past 54 years along with his wife Vie, tangibly showing the Chinese students and immigrants they work with that they are loved.
Originally from the island of Jamaica, Nuke was the son of Chinese immigrants and grew up helping his parents with shop keeping. When Nuke was a young boy, his father contracted tuberculosis and had to be placed in isolation for two to three years. “We had a period of going from what I felt was being a very wealthy family to being a very poor family,” he says, “and that had a tremendous effect on me. One of the things I determined as a youngster is I’d never be poor. My first job was at the Bank of Nova Scotia, and so my orientation to life was money.”
By his late teens, Nuke had come to the conclusion that God was man’s invention and so was the Bible. “I would have considered myself at that time an atheist,” Nuke says. However, he soon began going out with a young lady who was a Christian. He says the reason he started going to church was to try and score some points with her to edge out the competition.
Two to three weeks after he first went to church, a friend invited Nuke to an Easter retreat in 1960, right before he turned 20. It was at this retreat that Nuke says “I truly learned about Jesus and fell in love with him.” Incidentally, it was at this retreat that he first met Vie, though their relationship didn’t start until two years later.
Later on, Nuke met Ray Hoo, a Navigator-trained graduate of Iowa State University and fellow Jamaican who began mentoring Nuke in his young faith. As Nuke grew into a mature Christian, he began to take on a mantle of leadership working with university students at the University of the West Indies with his wife Vie. By 1973, Nuke and Vie were invited by the Navigators to come to Canada. Since their arrival, they have played a key role in the Navigator movement through their work in pioneering a ministry at Memorial University in Newfoundland, assisting and learning with the ministry in Guelph and spending 12 years in Winnipeg developing the Navigator work at the University of Manitoba. Nuke is one of the longest-serving Navigators and currently resides in Ontario, where he and Vie work to help meet the needs of Chinese immigrants and graduate students to ease their transition to life in Canada.