Friday, December 22, 2017

From Life's First Cry to Final Breath

Christmas Party


Every year we do a Christmas Party to celebrate the season, the end of the year, and to get our community together as a family. This year we did a Christmas movies theme with the church decked out in full movie theater decor. And as always, we had our core skits as the main event. It was a really fun time that bonds people together through 

Christmas Devotional


We had our last fellowship night out in the cold! All bundled up and cuddled close together, it was a great time despite the weather, and maybe because of it. Our students loved having it outside, and it was a great opportunity to have visibility on campus. We had more than a couple students join us after hearing the music. 



SMU Advent Service


We had our first advent service at our SMU campus to celebrate the season. We went through a traditional service led by an episcopal priest. We sang through old hymns and through Bible passages that went from Genesis to the Gospels speaking of the entire gospel story. It was a great night of meaning and tradition. 


Thank You and Merry Christmas!


Thank you to everyone so much for your constant support,  it means so much to me. Because of you I'm able to take part in a career that I love and interact with people that I love every day. I hope this Christmas season is a good one for all of you. Because my brother works in customer service, the two of us will be spending Christmas in Dallas while my parents are in Taiwan visiting my grandmother in the hospital. If you could pray for her continued improvement, I would very much appreciate it, as well as for my family in general as we try to spend some time together this season in three different places. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Jesus Commands My Destiny

All-Church Retreat


This month we had a chance for our DFW Metro Family of Churches to get together and celebrate 20 years together. It was a rare opportunity to get some good time being in fellowship with people of all ages rather than just college students. It was such a great time to be a part of a family that's so much bigger than just the people I see week-to-week or the students I minister to.

Pizza Theology


We got to host Professor Bill Watson from Criswell College to speak to our students on the Sermon on the Mount this semester for pizza theology. It was an amazing night that our students absolutely loved. I would highly suggest everyone listen to it here! He has such insight into this famous passage of the Scripture, and really painted a picture for what this life is about. 

Prayer Requests


There are a few things that I've been anxious to share with you and ask for your prayers:

A student named Aaron that I met at Welcome Week this year has been a part of one of our cores this semester. He is not a Christian, but is earnestly seeking and asking questions. Please pray that he continues to have a heart for the truth.

As we head into the holiday season and the end of the semester this is a time that many of our cores start realizing the brotherhood/sisterhood they've built in their short time together. Please pray for lasting friendships and a strong finish to this semester.

Thanksgiving


Thank you all so much for all you've done for me, it has been such a great experience to have you all supporting me. Some of you year after year, some of you for the first time, every one of you means so much to me. Please if there's anything I can ever do for any of you, don't hesitate to ask. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

No Power of Hell, No Sin of Man

Fall Camp
"The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry." Psalm 34:15


So over a weekend we had our 2017 Fall Camp! For just two days and a night, our students retreat from their school stresses and everyday life things and spend some quality time with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Fall Camp is always a good way to cast a vision for our students on what this community is like and how they can be a part of it. It's especially great for our smaller campuses in the Dallas area, Richland, TWU Dallas, and now SMU, to physically see that Christ's family is bigger than what they may see on just their one campus. We had multiple students share their testimonies on how God has shaped and changed their view of being a Christian, a disciple. A common thread throughout the testimonies was that we often get comfortable and complacent on who's "in" and who's "out" when really our God is not as concerned about these trivial things we seem to be concerned about. What we need to concern ourselves with is making Jesus the Lord of my life. 


Worship Night and Outreach

"And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation...'" Mark 16:15


We also had our first week of concerted outreach  (after welcome week of course!) We started it off with a worship night to get our hearts and minds in the right place cast a vision for our students. We firmly believe that relationship and sharing life is the best way to introduce people to God, though we have no doubt that our one-off conversations and brief interactions are part of the watering process as well. We started each day of outreach off with campus conversations, sending our students off in pairs to talk to people, start conversations, relationships, and invite them to the things we were doing so we could share life together. This is the most intimidating thing for our students as you can imagine. Spreading the gospel and speaking to strangers has easily been one of the big fears in all Christian communities. But we encouraged them to invite the people they talked to to hang out with us int he afternoon and then have dinner with us that night. I personally met and got five students' numbers. Please pray as I continue to invite them to join our community and our lives.


Thank You!

"This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:29


Thank you so much for your continued support of me and this ministry. It's because of you and our God that I get to spend time with amazing men and women who are dedicated to making His name known here at UTD. Please continue to pray as our ministry continues to grow, that we may include and integrate these enthusiastic new disciples, and as our ministry faces some tough challenges from the enemy in people who want to divide and sow enmity in the community. Your prayers mean the world to me, and I hope to always show my gratitude for your support!




Friday, September 8, 2017

Can Ever Pluck Me From His Hand

It has definitely been a whirlwind of activity these past few weeks. The start of the year is always so busy, students moving in, ready for new friends. Here's a story from one of the guys I know personally!






Welcome Week


"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4


First Fellowship Night!

After-FOCUS Games!
I have absolutely loved welcome week this year. Every year I love reaching out to new people and building new relationships. Although after a long summer of fundraising, getting back into the swing of things was a little nerve-wracking. It's never fun to put yourself out there and be rejected, but you just have to accept that it's going to happen and do it anyways. We would just interject with people passing by and ask them, "Do you want to play with us?" I'd estimate we had about a 50% success rate. But this year has been my favorite so far because I love my job when I get to be the boots on the ground, one of the people just meeting people, not having to coordinate massive events of hundreds of people, just me and someone else having a deep conversation. I sometimes enjoy coordinating those events, I know their benefits and the impact they have in spreading the Gospel, but the reason I do this as a vocation is because of the personal impact the Gospel can have in one-on-one relationships. So I was so glad that I got to do that this year, along with the large coordinated events.


Hangout at the Park
We tried some new things this year, the biggest among them was a board game and Frisbee night three nights in a row outside the freshmen residence halls. Since freshmen move in before everyone else does it was a low-key, easy event that we could really establish a new normal for the incoming students. One of those nights I ran into a freshman I had played Frisbee with on his way back from a school event. At that point there were only a few of us outside throwing the Frisbee around, not enough for a game of ultimate Frisbee. So I asked him if he wanted to join, and he asked, "Are we playing a game?" I responded saying that we didn't have enough people so we were just practicing throwing the Frisbee around. He told me, "hold on, I have a friend waiting for me, I think he'll want to play." Five minutes later he comes back with about 10 people in tow and asks, "I've got people, can we play?" He was already reaching out for us! After the game I was making dash to get everyone's numbers, and as I was doing it they seemed to pick up on the practice of getting someone's number the first time you meet them. So here's a crowd of 10-15 freshmen all exchanging numbers, all making plans to play together more. And if that's not what being a light to the world is about, I don't know what is. Even if most of them don't join our community, they'll at least have friends so they don't have to go through college alone.





Thank You!



"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26


Laughing with my Intern Class

Thank you all so much for your support. Because of you I get to build these meaningful relationships with these college students. Their lives right now are changing so much, and I want to make sure God is a part of that. Because of you I exceeded my fundraising goal this year! It was close, and I thought it would take a lot more time to reach my goal this year, but God knew what He was doing and put obstacles in my way to make me work harder, to lean on Him more, to know who really is in control of all this. So thank you guys so much for listening to His calling, and following your convictions. I hope to share with you many stories this year of how God is working here in Dallas!




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Till He Returns Or Calls Me Home

Staff Retreat


So the year has officially begun. As we enter into August we're kicking things into high gear for the beginning of the school year. All the students are filing in slowly, moving into their new places, and pretty soon Welcome Week will be upon us. Our staff went on a four-day retreat to prepare for the upcoming year and to welcome in our new apprentices for the year. Please pray for extra energy for us and all our students for the first two weeks of school, and that we would be attentive to the people God puts in our path.

Fundraising Season


With school starting up, that means fundraising season is coming to a close. It has been quite the summer! Every year God always shows up and provides, this year I thought that His timing was going to be slower than mine. But he showed up as He has always done, and He has provided me with 100% of my goal this year!

Thank You!


Because of faithful disciples like you, I am able to answer His call here in Dallas to make and mature disciples. Thank you so much for all your support. Every summer I am so encouraged meeting up with many of you. And even those who I am unable to see, your support means even more. Thank you all so much!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Here in the Pow’r of Christ I’ll Stand

Laments


"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15

Two weeks ago I did my first worship service of the summer. Our director, Brandon, has been hitting the drum of laments for a few years and we've made some small steps in implementing times for our students to lament rather than celebrate. Not every student is happy every week, and while it is a joy to be able to be with our brothers and sisters, it doesn't always nullify the pain of life. So I planned a worship service that was what I consider "lament-lite", not a full night of lamenting, but a window of time set aside for those with laments to share and open up. I told them that it's OK to not be OK, that life has pain and God has not promised us an easy life, but He has promised that He will always be there. It's a refrain that I've repeated many different ways over the past few years, and yet many of us Christians, myself included, need to be reminded that it's OK to not be OK. After the service, I had a girl in our ministry come and give me a hug saying that that message had really helped her give up some burdensome thoughts that had no value but that she had insisted in wallowing in for some time. Another texted me the next day expressing appreciation for letting her not be OK. Many of our staff mentioned that students shared with them vulnerable stories and they were able to pray with them and minister to them. This is all to say, it is OK for you to not be OK as well. If there is ever anything that you need to talk about, I may not be the first on your list, but I want to be on your list. There have been times when I thought I had no one to talk to, and it is a difficult and lonely existence. As we enter our second-to-last Summer FOCUS meeting, we are planning an entire night to laments, to "mourn with those who mourn". Please pray for openness in our students, for revival in them, for deeper relationships with each other and with God.

Student Testimony


"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Revelation 12:11

One of my good friends from UNT, Ismael has a great testimony regarding the real relationships that occur in our ministry (he's also a great drummer!):
"Growing up, I knew there was a God, but I viewed church as a place for people who were “good”, and I did not fit the bill. As a result, I was guarded in my friendships and viewed vulnerability with people as a weakness. Entering college, I suffered from severe depression because of the college drinking culture and a very unhealthy relationship, which ultimately led me to taking a year off of school. During that year I decided to work at a penitentiary to make ends meet. In prison, you fight for respect daily and often look behind your back in case you’d stepped on someone's toes and forgot. This is true for both for the inmates and the officers. As an officer, I learned a lot about the harsh reality of life but I also learned about the consistent presence of God. Once I went into a dorm full of inmates and had to settle down an altercation. One of the inmates said to me, 'This is our home, and you only leave at the end of the day because we let you.' At nineteen years old I had seen and felt pain that most people my age would not experience for a long time, if ever. Those experiences only brought me closer to God. During that year one of my peers and friends from FOCUS, Kurt Doty, never lost touch with me and checked up on me regularly. I find it funny that when I had real questions to ask about faith and religion, God provided me a friend who could help me. God has always met me where I was, and although I could not see it until I started searching, I think the patience in the people God has blessed me with has truly exhibited what the Church is meant to be."


Thank You!


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

It's because of you that I get to have these stories and get to witness God's very real work in the lives of these students. It is a privilege to have your trust and to be working for our great God. Thank you so much for all your support!




Monday, June 19, 2017

I'll Praise The One Who Died For Me

Traveling!


Well, it's been quite the month for me. I've spent nearly all of it away from my little home of Dallas, Texas. First off there was SICM, as most of you read in my last blog post. And then straight from there, I went down to my hometown of Vancouver, Washington to see all my supporters from my home church. Many of you were among that number, and I was extremely excited to be able to catch up with you! I also got the chance to have a reunion with some friends from high school. Some I haven't even seen for years, much less get time to hang out with them. It was such a refreshing time to be able to share lives with them, even to share the gospel with them. 

End of the Year


After that trip I made a brief pit stop back in Dallas to listen to our apprentices' last sermons talking about the things they were taking away from their yearlong experience and how they've grown and changed over the past year. We heard messages of how people have proven their love through difficult times, how other staff members believed in an apprentice's potential to grow, and how an apprentice has been able to unpack past hurts and learn to forgive. This year of intense work and pressure really produces amazing fruit in these lives, just as it did mine last year. And it's because of hundreds of donors like you that we get an opportunity like this. We topped it all off with an end-of-year staff party to celebrate all that God has done this year. 

The Motherland



And finally to wrap up the month of travel, I took a little trip back to the motherland of Taiwan, meeting all three of my siblings there, two of my cousins, and my mom. To celebrate the littlest sister graduating high school, all us kids decided to have a reunion shebang in Taiwan. I had forgotten what a different culture it is back there, from the weather to the pedestrian culture, it was a jarring experience but packed with fun and food. Of course we hit up the night markets almost every night just to see all the big lights and eat the cart food. While there I had to have good conversations with a few of them on how life has been going and where they are in their walk. Sometimes family is the hardest to get to open up, but the ones you care most deeply about. Please pray for them that God would reveal more of Himself to them and that would seek Him earnestly.

Thank You!


It's definitely been a very different month! Not a whole lot of student ministry, but as disciples, our ministry is not confined to only one area. We are disciples of Christ in all areas of life, and it has been a blast to continue to be a part of people's lives long after we have left the same geographical area. Thank you all so much for your support in all aspects of my ministry, and I hope to see many of you soon!