Asian-American clergyman thinking about issues of faith, place, race and culture-making in the vast city of Houston, TX. Tri-coastal, born & raised in NYC, coming of age in Seattle, and now making my home in the South.
1. begins in a suburb of New York called Flushing. My neighborhood gang would play outside all day. We were all the same: black, white, Chinese, Korean, Jewish and Italian. All day we’d play together and then go home to our own smells, families, and cultural cooking. That’s where we learned we were so different.
2. I’d play hooky at church every Sunday. My brother Steve and I would discreetly slip out of services and run across the street to the local bodega. Then we’d chow down on Twinkies and snacks on the church stoop. I vowed to quit church when I got to High School.
3. When I got to High School I got religious. I became a “made” man. The sprinkling of water was just the beginning. I got up front and got so good at it that they decided to make a leader out of me. I had it made.
4. I lost my faith when I got to college. Thanks to Dr. Klein and this thing called epistemological relativity. Essentially, “why / how do you believe what you believe?” I was just one lost, depressed dude.
5. I wandered the NYC streets in the wee hours of the morning questioning what was real. And then I’d go to class and have the last bit of hope dashed to pieces by my profs.
6. Something broke. I heard a whisper say, “I love you, will you follow me?”
7. I was in a prolonged state of ecstasy that lasted several years. That was 1997. In the spring of 1998 Mrs. S told me she’d been praying for me for the past 7 months, when it was most dark. She spiritually birthed me, and I told her I would die for her, if called to it.
8. I left NY. Wandered for a bit in Montana. I was back in the ‘hood again with black, white, Chinese, Korean, Jewish, Italian. Add to that mix: Indians, a few Aussies, 2 Egyptians, Europeans, Islanders, and a Thai guy we kept calling Marijuana, because his name was really Manirojana. Stir vigorously. Bake for 5 months and out comes a YWAM missionary.
9. I marry pretty Ashley Im and we start life together in Bellingham, WA to continue with YWAM. We work as campus ministers at Western Washington University. Every summer we’ve taken college students overseas as missionaries – West Africa, Eastern Europe, Mongolia, Western China.
10. Began attending Regent college for a Master of Divinity and also began a new church plant in Bellingham, WA.
11. Became dad to Austin.
12. Closed down missio. Learned volumes about church planting. Hooked up with a great cross-town church named Roosevelt Community Church, where I begin pastoring there.
13. Became dad to Zoe.
14. Completed my Master of Divinity at Regent college with good marks in summer ’10
15. Took a pastoral call at Harvest Community Church in Houston, TX as of November 2010
16. Ordained into the Evangelical Covenant Church, July 2013.
17. Concluded my tenure at Harvest and planting a new church called Woven Covenant Church in the suburbs of West Houston, July 2014.
18. Begin work towards a Doctorate of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary with a cohort focused on “Faith, Work, Economics, & Vocation.”
19. Became Team Lead for Vocation Formation Groups at Fuller’s Houston campus guiding students in spiritual formation practices and vocational discernment.
20. Became Executive Director of Operations at Kingdom City Houston, an international church collective meeting in Houston’s Energy Corridor.