2008 EFC Winter Retreat
Each year, the southern California Evangelical Formosan Churches put on a retreat for their English ministries. The theme this year: "Living a PC (Practical Christian) Life." In making disciples, it is important to live a life worthy of Jesus and glorifying to God. Our theme verse is:
"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." [John 13:17]
I was able to speak on two sessions, and I was very nervous for both of them, as this was the largest group by far I had ever addressed. The other English pastors gathered around me to pray for me, which greatly comforted me. The key words were from Ted Kau, who told me he was once told, "it’s not about you." Knowing that God had things under control helped calm me.
Indeed, God is good, all the time. My sessions can be seen at the official site. Or here. Video on the left, slides on the right.
Session 4: [Love] A Pattern of Love
Session 6: [Purity] A Pattern of Purity/Close
2008 Christmas in Dallas
I went to Dallas again for Christmas. It was good to see the family and extended family, and my nephew Tyler is getting to be huge. Ny neice Lauren also graduated from Texis Christian University.
I flew back to Wisconsin to see my good friend John Amundson get married. It was the first time I was back since I left for seminary over three years ago. It was a bit surreal. Many youth kids could now drive, and many more had nearly doubled in height. I realized that my view of my former youth kids and WI was frozen in time when I left. But time had gone on for these kids, as they had moved on, grown and matured. I was wistful as I realized I had missed out on many of their formidable years. Even new buildings in my former city of Appleton had sprung up, as I marveled at the progress. Life, as they say, goes on. I’m proud of what the Inspired Teens have done for themselves.
Juror #27. LA earthquake. We are the sum of our prejudices.
Santa Monica Beach
Oh, say can you see?
K & K go SMASH! ER time!
Katie and Kyle did their best Hulk impersonation and smashed through a glass table they were sitting on after some heavy Wii boxing. I still think they were makin’ out, but WHATEVER. I drove them to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, and we did not leave until 2 AM. The picture below on the left is how it’s *supposed* to be done. The one on the right is a picture of a half-naked, scruffy-looking, Fuller-graduated, white man. Or Kyle.
I delivered my second sermon at my church today. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. Many people commented on the insights I made of the clashing cultures between immigrant Asian parents and Western society. Here is the Keynote presentation (navigational links are at the bottom of the page):
My mother traveled out here from Cincinnati, OH to see me graduate. In the process, she met my entire church, and they were able to explain to her what I did, for which I am thankful. With my horrible Mandarin/Taiwanese and her horrible English, it was always difficult to explain my job to her. They were able to do it in her native tongue, and I think she gained a greater appreciation for what I do.
The ceremony was great: I did not trip, and my youth kids formed a large cheering section as I walked across the stage. I suppose I can’t complain about my 6 seconds of fame.
I’m finally done, however. At times it seems a bit surreal. Two and a half years ago I entered Fuller not knowing where the bathrooms were; I remember Welcome Week very vividly. The knowledge I have gained during my time here will help me be a better youth pastor. I’ve learned so much, both academically and spiritually. I have made many friends; I have broken hearts, and I have had my heart broken.
It has certainly been a long journey for me. The presence of so many Taiwanese Americans here in southern California is helping me rediscover my cultural roots. I have come to appreciate and embrace my Taiwanese side (except for the possible sole exception of tso tofu). When I started seminary I could not think of anything but going back to WI, for I missed my old youth group, the Inspired Teens. And now, I cannot imagine going back in the middle of my journey of cultural reawakening. I feel called to work at a Chinese/Taiwanese church and immerse myself in the culture that I have denied for so many years in the Midwest. I pray that I have the strength to go whereever God leads me.
Highlander. The bear, not the immortal.
I went to visit Angel Lin and Derrick Hong in their natural habitat: the Univerisity of California at Riverside (and a shout out to their good friends Jennifer Ma and Sherrie Wu!). It was loads of fun: staying up until 4 AM, eating cafeteria food (better than my own cooking!), and attending classes with the both of them. Here we are in their computer class. Notice Derrick on the left doing his best "impersonation" of a hibernating bear. Instead of a jar of honey, that’s shaved ice he is cradling. I think perhaps he learns through osmosis. Perhaps.